"What?! One hundred dollars for the Hcg and Clomid that I would need to come off of this cycle? Na, I think that I will just tough it out."
These were the words of my good friend as he contemplated the end of his last cycle.
I encouraged him to at least go down to GNC and buy some Tribulus stack with DHEA by Twinlab, but he again frowned and said that he did not believe in the herbs enough to spend the $23.
Now don't get me wrong. I like this guy and he is a hell of a good lifting partner. He also has a wonderful family who has me over for Sunday dinners frequently. His wife is beautiful as are his children. His physique is phenomenal and he is 44 years old.
One day in the gym I heard a 25 year old guy comment to his girlfriend about my friend. He said, "Now there is the physique that I always wanted to have", to which his girlfriend quipped, "Yeah, me too!". Fortunately, the young buck had a good sense of humor.
So...the situation begs the question, "How can this guy (or any guy) not be willing to pay the necessary money to come off the cycle properly?".
This was his third 15 week cycle and I have seen it before with him: Two weeks out from coming off everything the fears of returning to midlife vitality begin to creep in, but the remaining enathate and cypionate keep deceiving him that everything will be ok.
The hormones are doing the thinking for him, and this is where the bodybuilder falls off the precipice into non-intelligent bodybuilding and supplementation.
Problems in the bedroom, on the job, and in life in general are just around the corner in this situation, but the Pharma-courage of the moment makes denial of this fact easy.
I remember my first cycle before I understood that there is a "cycle after the cycle". I had come off of a 12 week Androgenic/Anabolic cycle consisting of Test Enathate, Test Propionate, Proviron, Deca, and Winstrol. I used no testosterone recovery drugs at the conclusion of the cycle and as a result I crashed big time. I was depressed and lacking Libido so I resorted to an injection of Enathate to boost things and to be able to rise to the occasion in the bedroom. All this did was take me into another 4 weeks of testosterone usage in order to feel functional.
Of course, this is the pitfall that so many fall into, which can lead to non-cycling use of anabolic steroids and a severely dysfunctional endocrine system.
Finally, enough people who cared and knew what they were doing got me into some Hcg and Clomid therapy. I was then able to comfortably put down the Enathate and take a 12 week
rest from AS.
THE CYCLE AFTER THE CYCLE
It is important for the reader to know that I typically use only about 400-500mg/week of Testosterone during the beginning 8 weeks of my cycle.
I will knock the Test down to 250mg/week the last four weeks of a 12 week cycle. This is in combination with 600mg/week Deca throughout the whole cycle, and then 200mg/week
Winstrol injection the last six weeks of the cycle. I also use Proviron 50mg/day throughout the schedule until I begin the recovery period.
My cycles of AAS use are usually 12-15 weeks in duration. The significance of this cycle information is that the reader should be aware that greater doses of Hcg and Clomid
therapy may be necessary when greater quantities of Androgenics have been used, or when cycles have been quite lengthy.
The reader will need to be the judge and adjust accordingly.
Typically, I will do the following recovery cycle:
1) One Month prior to last AAS injection I begin Twinlab Tribulus Stack at 2500mg/day split into morning and evening doses. I use this product up until I begin Hcg and Clomid therapy.
2) One week after my last AAS injection I begin Hcg and Clomid therapy. I do one 2500iu injection of Hcg and begin taking 50mg Clomid/day at mealtimes. At the same time as the
Clomid I also take 10mg Nolvadex. The Clomid and Nolvadex will be done together daily for the next 30 days from this day forward.
3) The following week I do another 2500iu Hcg while continuing with the Clomid and Nolvadex.
4) The following week I do another 2500iu Hcg while continuing the Clomid and Nolvadex.
5) The following week (fourth week) I continue with the Clomid and Nolvadex but use no Hcg.
6) The fifth week I conclude the use of Clomid but continue to use Nolvadex at 10mg/day. I also now add in the Tribulus Stack again at the same above dosage for the next 30 days, which would give me 8 weeks off the last cycle.
7) After the 30 days of Tribulus Stack and Nolvadex, I take 2-4 weeks off everything to prepare my body's receptors for another Anabolic cycle.
The rationale for the above recovery stack is as follows:
1) Tribulus is "herbal Clomid" in the way that it stimulates the testes. I simply use it to prepare the way for the Hcg and Clomid therapy. DHEA just gives it a little extra boost.
2) Hcg and Clomid both stimulate the testes to produce testosterone. Also, the clomid is an anti-estrogen drug, competing for estrogen receptor sites. They are added in close proximity to the last shot in hopes of waking up the testes well in advance of total evacuation of AS from the
system. My attempt is to overlap the startup of natural testosterone production with the last week or two of effects from the last AS injection.
3) Nolvadex is used during the Testosterone recovery period since it aggressively promotes the production of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) as well as LH (luteinizing hormone), which in turn stimulates the Leydig's cells in the testes to produce more testosterone.
Nolvadex also works well with Clomid in regulating the estrogen used by the body as Hcg can cause increased levels of this hormone and the accompanying water "blow-up".
Since I began using Nolvadex during the recovery cycle I have appreciated a much harder look and continued vascularity well after discontinuing the main cycle. My fat burning remains higher as well with the decreased estrogen being recognized in the body.
4) I remain on the Nolvadex even after the discontinuation of Clomid and Hcg in order to continue to promote the Test vs Estrogen ratio and to avoid a serious estrogen "rebound" that may occur by pulling both the Clomid and Nolvadex simultaneously.
5) I add in the Tribulus Stack with DHEA again as it is more gentle on the system than Clomid, and the hopes are that it will continue on a more subtle level to promote my natural levels of Test to a higher level. This is another reason that I stay on the Nolvadex as DHEA has been known to show some increases in estrogen levels in men.
6) I know longer bridge with Primobolan or Anavar since contrary to popular belief, they have been shown to promote some shutdown of the pituitary-axis and suppress natural testosterone production.
Proviron is also a strong enough androgenic to effect the same responses from the system, and will not be a good supplement to be using at this time if one wants the maximum recovery in their natural production.
When my situation affords it I bridge with Hgh 3iu/day and Insulin 8iu/day split into two doses, along with the Nolvadex and Tribulus Stack. I have had nice results with this bridge and found that it allowed for good retention of mass and strength without affecting my testosterone recovery period adversely.
There have been times also where I just did the Tribulus Stack and the Nolvadex. Regardless of my bridge, I have been able to avoid impotence and depression when using the above recovery cycle.
FOR THE FEMALE BODYBUILDERS...
For the female bodybuilders, I have seen women using the Clomid to bring their own levels of estrogen back into alignment after a cycle. It seems to work well in that department, whereas the Hcg promotes progesterone production and irritability in female bodybuilders.
The other supplement that I am aware of female bodybuilders using with regard to restoring estrogen balance is a soy product called Estroven.
Some ladies that I know swear by it in terms of reestablishing their own balance. It is added in at the end of a cycle much like the Clomid therapy in men. They are using double the doses on the box for the first week and then they follow the dosage on the box for the remaining 3 weeks.
The effects of the soy product are slow and gentle, and as a result water retention due to sudden resurgence of estrogen is rarely a problem.
There is a lot of intelligent bodybuilding going on by both men and women and I feel so fortunate to be a part of this era of the sport.
As we pursue our ambitions and goals though, let's not forget about the people in our lives that are there for us as we cycle on and off of the gear. In many cases they encourage and support us even when it may be hard for them to do so.
We not only owe ourselves the "cycle after the cycle", but we also owe our partners and family this informed way of transitioning out of a cycle in order to avoid lost intimacy, depression, and lost vitality. I have seen many lose their entire focus of optimism when not coming off properly.
So, next time you plan your cycle, be generous when purchasing these "muscle-keepers" and view them with equal respect and importance as the Androgenics and Anabolics that you would give your left nut for (no pun intended). Although they may not be as dramatic in their effect, we
need to remember that sometimes the smallest strokes of the artist's brush make all the difference in the total picture.