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COMING OFF ANABOLIC STEROID CYCLES

Sure, it’s easy to compile a drug stash, and if you can get past needle phobias, can successfully stack your ‘roids, and suffer through the side effects of your cycle, you’re doing better than a lot of bodybuilders. But there’s one more hurdle for you to get over… how to come off of your cycle, relatively unscathed.  (c) Steroids 101 

DO NOT COPY WITHOUT PERMISSION!
Steroids 101 © 2012



In the old days (the late 80’s and early 90’s), bodybuilders came off steroids much more often than they do today. A lot of that is because the number of appearances that bodybuilders made in the late 80’s, for instance, were far fewer than the number of appearances they make today. In fact, most pro bodybuilders are gone at least 2 weekends every month in between competitions. If they’re sponsored by or under contract with a major supplement company, they are often on the road far more than that. Because of the number of appearances these days, the pros—and many amateurs—need to remain in good condition, and that necessitates longer drug cycles. The fear that accompanies longer drug cycles is the catabolic phase—the one that will usher in muscle loss, fat gain, slower metabolism, etc.

In the late 80’s, I remember a friend of mine (a popular IFBB pro) who told me that he hadn’t gone off a drug cycle in well over a year. No breaks whatsoever! At that time, staying on a cycle for longer than 16-20 weeks was almost unheard of. So, I was inclined to believe it based on his hair-trigger temper, the quality of his physique (he had a perpetual “androgen sunburn”) and the odd hardness and mottled appearance he displayed.

I asked if staying on that long was messing with his head, and he proceeded to tell me that he had recently experienced suicidal feelings and tendencies. I asked, “Do you think there’s a correlation between being on steroids non-stop, and feeling suicidal, or at least, ‘pent up’?” He said he did, but that he was deathly afraid to go off of a cycle for fear he’d “lose size” and not be competitive enough in the current climate.  Today, that would be an even bigger concern, and the bells and whistles in this guy’s head would be deafening.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not into telling pathetic cautionary tales, warning against the evils of ‘roids. My honest feeling is that most people can maintain a drug cycle for an extended period of time, and be healthy, if they know what they’re doing. It’s the coming off that is the hard part; whether over a short period of time or a long one. Naturally, coming off after 24 weeks is going to be harder than coming off after 10 weeks.  

Symptoms that follow going off an anabolic steroid cycle include: weight loss, muscle atrophy, loss of body strength, fatty deposits, as well as depression, lack of motivation and discipline and an actual aversion to the gym. In general, symptoms worsen when the individual has been on the cycle for an extended period of time. It’s the proportional kick in the ass!  The body gives back what you give it.

Drug Trade – Why We Make it More Difficult for Ourselves
Part of why people experience side effects in coming off a drug cycle is the fact that they haven’t planned for impending side effects while on the drugs. In other words, they start out planning for a 12 week cycle and choose drugs in combination that would suit that length of time. Once they decide to remain on a longer cycle, however, the game changes and the drugs they have been using during that 3 month cycle aren’t terribly conducive to the longer 18-20 week cycle. When they try to continue with the original drugs they’ve been taking, and extend the time alone, it becomes increasingly difficult to come off in any way that is correct or safe. In my experience, this is when bitch tits occur most often because people miscalculate the half-life of drugs and don’t take enough drugs to counteract aromatization, or to kickstart testosterone production. The latter provides a whole other set of side effects when facilitated improperly.  

Different Drugs…
Resuming testosterone production is the trickiest part of going off of any cycle, but particularly tricky following a long one. All steroids will cause a certain amount of lag in testosterone resumption, but among steroids some are worse than others. For instance, moderate testosterone suppressing drugs such as Primobolan, D-bol, Winstrol or Deca aren’t going to suppress testosterone production as much as hardcore drugs like Testosterone Propionate or Cypionate. However, testosterone suppression shoots up to about 30%-40% after just 10 days on a cycle. That doesn't mean that 100 days will put suppression into the negative zone, because it is not exponential. Testosterone suppression does level off at a certain point, but what happens is that the body’s own production of testosterone takes much longer to resume, the longer that body remains on a cycle. So, a male bodybuilder on a 10 week cycle, for instance, will have less time between cessation of the cycle and resumption of their own testosterone production than someone who stays on a cycle for 20 weeks. This is an important consideration because it dictates how much Clomid and HCG to take in order to get normal testosterone production back.  

Direct Relief
Clomid and HCG are the obvious choices to kickstart testosterone production again, but there are a host of other problems to tackle, too. Let’s first deal with this combination of drugs and then move on to some others that will help bridge the gap between your cycle and life off steroids. In order to re-start or increase the body's own testosterone production, doses of HCG are necessary. Essentially, what HCG does is directly and rapidly stimulate the testes’ Leydig’s cells. This is where testosterone production begins. But Clomid is also necessary because it completes the hypothalamohypophysial testicular axis. But Clomid therapy must begin prior to HCG therapy since it takes longer to become effective and has a great deal to do with half-life of steroids ingested over the period of time in question.
Roughly, this is approximately what a bodybuilder/ athlete should inject:

Administration of HCG: Middle of the last week of discontinuance of anabolic steroids
                                   5000i.u./ per day x 3 days (total: 3 days)
                                   5000i.u./every 5 days x 3 shots (total: 15 days)

The administration of Clomid is taken over the course of 2 weeks, and usually after HCG therapy begins:
                                   Two-50mg tablets/day x 7 days
                                   One-50mg tablet/ day x 7 days

Note: For those people who remain on cycles for longer than 12 weeks, I always recommend HCG injections that are a little more frequent in the last 15 days. I recommend 5 shots, in fact, rather than 3. I also recommend for everyone that they take additional steps to see that their exit from a cycle is a smooth and graceful one.

A Graceful Exit
Gracefully exiting a cycle in a general sense is listed above. But there is little information out there on other ways to bridge the gap between being full of anabolic steroids and being free of them. One thing you need to get over, however, before ever starting a cycle, is the notion that you can actually ameliorate symptoms by using natural means. Sure, these ergogenic aids can’t hurt you, but you’re going to be wasting money that you could be spending on legitimate non-steroidal chemical bridges, such as Cytadren, Clenbuterol and Cytomel.

Cytadren: It reduces cortisol levels exceedingly well just following the completion of a cycle. Typically, athletes will cycle it and gradually go from higher doses down to low doses in the hope to let the body’s production of cortisol trickle in slowly until the body becomes accustomed to it. Elevated cortisol levels are, of course, associated with a lot of undesirable symptoms, such as loss of strength, loss of muscle size, and fatty deposits. Typically, a 2-4 week cycle of Cytadren is common. Dose depends upon length of time on cycle, weight of athlete and other pharmaceuticals being used in conjunction.

Clenbuterol: This is also a successful cortisol blocker, and can and should be used in conjunction with Cytadren. Clenbuterol can also contribute to increases in strength gains or, in the case of a person just exiting a cycle, maintain current strength relatively well. Keeping fat stores at bay after stopping a cycle can also be an issue, but Clenbuterol can help athletes remain lean. Begin taking Clenbuterol about 1-2 weeks prior to cessation of the cycle, to overlap and ‘bridge’ the gap between the anabolic steroid cycle and the weeks that will be spent ‘resting’. Usually, I recommend people stay on Clenbuterol for about 8-10 weeks, including the overlapped time.

Cytomel: Many athletes take Cytomel in an effort to drop fat prior to a competition. This is a fairly serious investment in a potential future of obligatory intake of something for life. I do think it has its place after a cycle, however, because it can smooth rough edges of a metabolic rate that will inevitably dip below normal once the cycle has ended. I don’t advocate its use for women as much as for men, but if either feel the need to take it, take no more than 25-40mcg daily for no more than 30 days. Taper off by cutting pills in half until you are down to a few days of 12.5mcg at the end.