Performance-enhancing drugs – such as anabolic steroids and testosterone – are medications sometimes used by athletes, including those in men’s bodybuilding. When misused, these drugs can potentially wreak havoc on hormone levels – particularly for those athletes over the age of 50. Post-cycle therapy (PCT) can be a crucial part of any steroid cycle, helping to restore the body’s natural hormone levels (video also included below).
Post-cycle medications can help minimize the adverse side effects of performance-enhancing drugs and help get testosterone levels back on track.
Should PCT meds play a role in your workouts and fitness goals?
Here is a general overview of how hormone restoration works.
What Is Post-Cycle Therapy In Bodybuilding?
Post-cycle therapy is a procedure that begins when a user completes an exercise program based mainly on anabolic steroid use.
Steroids and prohormones offer several advantages, including increasing strength and faster recovery.
Is Using Gear in Bodybuilding a Wise Idea?
Steroid use, known colloquially as “gear” in the sports world, is helpful to some and harmful to many. The problem is that almost everyone thinks they are the exception to this.
Most people are overconfident about their nutrition, sleep, and stress reduction.
In other words, many people believe their lifestyle habits are healthier than they actually are. This has been proven in numerous research studies.
Anabolics require the user to have absolutely all other lifestyle habits on point, to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of steroid use or high-dose testosterone. That means sleep, stress reduction, and – especially – nutrition must be optimized before and during a cycle.
But that’s not how most people use performance enhancers.
Instead, they use them as a shortcut in an attempt to save effort and time.
Less common – but more severe effects – include tumors of the testicles and liver.
Post-Cycle Therapy Protocols
While I don’t encourage others to pursue anabolics, I do encourage you to consult your medical doctor – who certainly knows you better than I do.
Present all your questions and concerns – and health and fitness goals – for your doctor’s advice.
When a person begins to use performance-enhancing drugs, the odds are his body will start reducing its own internal production of testosterone:
- There are different types of post-cycle therapy protocols, but the most common one is the SERM protocol. The SERM protocol is a type of post-cycle therapy that uses drugs like Nolvadex and Clomid to help promote the body’s natural testosterone production.
- The other type of post-cycle therapy is the AI protocol. The AI protocol uses drugs like Arimidex and Letrozole to help suppress estrogen production. This type of post-cycle therapy is often used in conjunction with the SERM protocol.
How Long Should Post-Cycle Therapy Last?
The duration of a post-cycle therapy protocol varies on the unique circumstances of the athlete.
Generally, a post-cycle therapy period runs between 4 to 6 weeks. Again, the exact duration varies depending upon individual recovery capacity.
Purpose Of Post-Cycle Therapy
These treatments are intended to aid the body in recovering from the harmful effects that can result from taking steroids.
Post-cycle uses various substances depending on the therapy. Among these are sometimes estrogen blockers, testosterone encouragers, and liver restoratives.
Different Types of Post-Cycle Therapy Supplements
There are many different types of post-cycle therapy supplements available on the market. Some of the more common include:
- Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate)
- Clomid (clomiphene citrate)
- HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin)
- Tribulus Terrestris
- Milk thistle.
Post-Cycle Therapy Method 1: Nolvadex
Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate) is a strep throat medicine used in breast-cancer patients which is often used to reduce their risk of cancer. Nolvadex was created to treat women’s infertility in 1962. The peptide has antimitogenic properties that reduce inflammatory responses in breasts, reducing the development of ovarian cancer. Nolvadex has also shown cancer-killing effects through oxidative stress and protein synthesis.
Post-Cycle Therapy Method 2: Clomid
Clomid has been prescribed in women for fertility as an ovulation stimulator. Clomid inhibits estrogen production in different cells. Clomid can reduce cholesterol levels. During the course of a cycle, the enzyme can improve blood lipid concentration and relieve the cardiovascular burden.
Post-Cycle Therapy Method 3: HCG
HCG is a hormone that is often used for post-cycle therapy. HCG works by stimulating the production of testosterone in the testicles.
This can help to increase testosterone levels and reduce the side effects of low testosterone, such as fatigue and impotence.
Post-Cycle Therapy Method 4: Tribulus Terrestris
Tribulus Terrestris is a supplement that is often used for post-cycle therapy. Tribulus Terrestris has been shown to increase testosterone levels and improve libido.
Post Cycle Therapy Method 5: Zinc
Zinc is a mineral that is often used for post-cycle therapy. Zinc helps to increase testosterone levels and improve sperm quality.
Post-Cycle Therapy Method 6: Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a herb that is often used for post-cycle therapy. Milk thistle helps to detoxify the liver and protect it from the side effects of steroids.
Why Do Some Men Take Synthetic Testosterone?
- There are different types of steroids, but the most common are synthetic versions of the hormone testosterone.
- Testosterone is the hormone responsible for developing male sex characteristics, such as facial hair, a deep voice, stronger muscles, and shorter recovery time.
Testosterone Production And Its Role
- Testosterone is a hormone produced in the testes. It’s anabolic, which means it helps to build muscle. Testosterone is a male sex hormone that promotes secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle mass and bone density in males. Testosterone is also vital for health and well-being, and it aids in the prevention of osteoporosis.
- Testosterone production is controlled by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Testosterone production declines with age, reducing muscle mass, increasing body fat, and decreasing libido. However, there are treatments available to restore normal testosterone levels.
- Post-cycle therapy (PCT) is a critical part of any steroid cycle. PCT is designed to restore your natural hormone levels after a cycle of anabolic steroids. Without PCT, it is possible to experience side effects from using steroids, such as reduced testosterone production.
- There are many different protocols for PCT, but they all typically involve using medications to stimulate testosterone production levels. In some cases, hormone replacement therapy may also be necessary.
- If you are considering using steroids for bodybuilding, you must understand the risks and benefits of PCT. Talk to your doctor or a medical professional before beginning any type of steroid cycle.
When should I start PCT?
Many people start PCT 3-4 weeks after their last dose of steroids.
“The normal range on labs that are done in this country is based not necessarily on what’s optimal for the human body – which is what a lot of people think it’s based on. “Normal” is considered what 95% of Americans are – and that doesn’t really correlate with optimal health.”– Myles Spar, MD
How long should I do PCT?
Many people do PCT for 4-8 weeks.
What is the best PCT protocol for me?
The best PCT protocol for you will depend on the type of steroids you have used and your individual goals. Talk to your doctor or a medical professional to develop a plan that is right for you.