Q: “I’ve just read the article on time between cycles. In your analysis, a main goal was recovery of natural testosterone production. But what about guys on TRT who aren’t looking for recovery? Is lipid normalization or RBC count the standard then? Obviously we need some time off but what are the milestones?”
A: For those with good capacity to produce natural testosterone, indeed a driving reason for time off is to help maintain that ability. However, usually the amount of time off is more than that purpose alone requires.
Other reasons for time off include allowing the body more time with healthy blood lipid profile than unhealthy, and to allow the heart more time with normal androgen levels than with highly elevated levels that can promote left ventricular hypertrophy.
Maintaining a healthful (no greater than 53%) hematocrit can also be a reason. Hematocrit is closely related to red blood cell count but is not exactly the same, as it is related to volume rather than number.
It’s really not possible to give absolutely certain, proven answers. There will be guys who have stayed “on” anabolic steroids at for example 500 mg for a decade or more on end and swear that they’re fine. There are also many power athletes who have died young, as well as many who have never used a performance-enhancing drug who have died young.
But my expectation is that the greater the total annual use of anabolic steroids, and/or the more weeks per year that are at greatly supraphysiological levels, the greater the cumulative adverse health effects. I recommend limiting to about 25 g/year total for conservative but still very effective results, 30 g/year for somewhat more aggressive results, or 35 g/year for a still more aggressive approach. In terms of percent of time “off” versus “on,” it would be the same as with those wishing to retain good natural testosterone production. Twice as much time off as on is conservative, allowing only equal time off as on is more aggressive, and twice as much on time as off is very aggressive.
Definitely seek to have healthful blood lipid profile most of the time, as well as normal values in general.