Q: OK, I have been on test cyp for about 6-7 months now. I am going to try to come off. I AM NOT GOING TO PCT, unless can be avoided. Tell me why I should, and what to expect, and look out for, IN A NUTSHELL!!! …Why it is I should actually have to do this, instead of just blindly across the board telling everyone to “do their PCT”. I am truly concerned about taking these drugs, and I am not convinced that my particular case will require.
A: The need for PCT (especially following longer cycles) is one of those things that, at least in my opinion, were established through anecdotal observations long before we had studies to look at “proving” it is right. The “post cycle crash” is something every steroid user had to historically deal with. As the cycles dragged on, most experienced steroid users would develop significant stories of crash and muscle loss. This is one of the reasons many steroid users would simply “stay on”. The ups and downs of steroid use can be a bitch, to put it frankly.
But as bodybuilders experimented more and more with other drugs, they began to develop PCT (Post-Cycle Therapy) approaches to restoring hormones more quickly based on theoretical models of what should happen with certain ancillary drugs and our bodies post cycle. Key to this became the use of HCG, Nolvadex, and Clomid, three drugs known to stimulate increased testosterone production in men. As the “early and less informed days” of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s gave way to the 90’s and on, more people learned of these drugs, and began experimenting and reporting their own results. Consistently, it seemed that using these drugs post cycle was a big help.
But herein lies your dilemma. How do we know these drugs really work for PCT beyond unproven personal reports (which in the science world usually aren’t held in high regard)? While I know of no definitive placebo-controlled study proving a proper PCT program will work, I can give you two very quick bits of evidence that I feel strongly support what bodybuilders have long known – these drugs do help, at least somewhat, and at least most of the time.
- Studies involving the use of fairly moderate doses of testosterone enanthate (250mg pre week if I recall correctly) showed a very long recovery window after use. The post-cycle androgen-deficient state lasted for as long as 4-6 months before pre-treated testosterone levels were restored. This is a long time to wait for a balanced endocrine system to return, and logically is not going to be a good stretch for maintaining muscle mass.
- One abstract thus far has been presented discussing the results of a 45-day PCT program following steroid use. It is based on the combined/stepped use of HCG, Nolvadex, and Clomid. All subjects noticed a return to pretreated androgen levels by the end of the 45 day treatment with these drugs, which is significantly shorter time frame than the recovery window noticed with testosterone enanthate without PCT.
By the way, the abstract above is to my knowledge the only study ever conducted on a PCT program following steroid use. Many claim to have developed the “Ultimate PCT Program”, but such drug plans are based entirely on theories about what “should” work. For what it is worth, I recommend avoiding such theories, and instead paying attention to the one PCT program that has actually been studied by physicians (with seemingly good success I might add). Bottom line, for me the data and reports are strong enough to take a program like this seriously. Mind you, we are not talking about 100% muscle retention by any means. But the prospect of a 45-day recovery window is logically a lot more appealing than a 6-month window, even if we can never accurately quantify the end difference between both approaches.