Humans are organisms that do best by learning from experience, but one of the ways humans learn is by mimicking the behaviours of other humans. This is a great survival skill to possess as an organism, because it can fast track the process of learning. Through the use of complex languages no other species has the ability to orchestrate, humans can pass down information from generation to generation—resulting in each generation being more intelligent that the one before them. Unfortunately, this process isn’t without trial and error. One of the downsides to learning through mimicking, is that this removes critical thinking. Critical thinking is the process by which a human does not believe a truth to be true just because another human of status said it is true. Critical thinking requires a human to look to rational and reason, not status. If the concept of a truth does not fit another humans rationale, then it is possible that the human preaching the truth to them, might be wrong. We’re not all critical thinkers by nature. Or, we’re not all critical thinkers for every topic. Often times it is intelligent to put our trust in the hands of a reputable professional because life gets in the way. If we questioned every little thing in life, we may not get much done. Thankfully for you all reading today, I am that professional who will be breaking down an age old myth through this rational, critical thinking process. Let’s begin.
“500 mg of testosterone (2 ml) per week mate. That’s where you should start.” How many times have we heard this? Or seen it posted all over the forum boards? The answer to that question is that you hear and see it all the time. We first have to ask ourselves where this cookie cutter recommendation for a first cycle began? In the 80’s and early 90’s, the underground steroid scene wasn’t a 100th the size it is was today. There was almost no such thing as a recreational anabolic steroid user. Anyone back then who was taking gear, was usually a competitive athlete only. It is for this reason that there wasn’t much incentive for anyone to become a supplier either. Small market, scarce supply. Most of the athletes back then would source their gear from unscrupulous Doctor prescriptions. As their wasn’t many people taking gear, there was also less incentive for law enforcement and regulatory boards to control how easily a Doctor’s script could be handed out. I’m getting on with my age now. I recall the days as a young Dave. I’d arrive at Doctor (insert foreign surname)’s surgery, slip him a fifty bucker and then leave with a prescription for 10 x assorted repeats of Primoteston Depot (which is test e), Deca Durabolin, Anavar and Proviron. How does this trivia explain the cookie cutter recommendation of a first cycle you may ask? The anabolic steroid users years ago had less choice and range of anabolic steroids. Most often, the only choice was testosterone. This is an important component to consider as I break down the cookie cutter beginner cycle. You can only use what you have access to. You can only use as much as your budget allows. For most back then, this ruled out a lot of the drugs that are more easily accessible and affordable in 2019. It was here, with this limited drug choice, where testosterone enanthate only as a first cycle got its name.
What about the dosage? 500 mg of testosterone per week? There is some rational behind this recommendation. The research papers suggest to us that doubling our natural testosterone levels has little effect on muscle size and strength. Healthy males will naturally produce the exogenous equivalent of 100-150 mg of testosterone enanthate per week. Sure, a dose of 250-300 mg per week will have some positive effect, but significant enough for a competitive athlete (and in this case a competitive bodybuilder)? No, not worth your time. Let me reiterate that most users who cycled back then were not after “a little boost.” They were preparing for competition. Trial and error or a research paper read well; 5 mg per kg weekly is (and still is) an effective dose of testosterone to induce some added size and strength. For a 100 kg male, 5 mg/kg comes to 500 mg per week. Anabolic steroids do work on a dose response curve. The more you take, the bigger you can get. I say the bigger you “can” get, not the bigger you get; getting big is more than just drug regimes. The old school lads got this part fairly accurate. 500 mg of testosterone per week will definitely produce noticeable and appreciable effects on a first timer’s physique. “So what’s the big deal then,” you may ask? My quarrels are not that 500 mg of testosterone per week won’t do the trick, my quarrel’s lie with what’s optimal. Is there a better way to start? Are there ways to minimise side effects? Of course there is. Let’s get into it.
All anabolic steroids are derivatives of testosterone. Technically speaking, testosterone is not an anabolic steroid. Testosterone is testosterone. As all anabolic steroids are derivatives of testosterone, they all work in similar ways to build muscle, too. One has to ask themselves why anabolic steroids were even invented. If testosterone does the trick, what do we need anabolic steroids for? Unfortunately, once you dose testosterone outside of the physiological range (natural range), the chances of side effects increase on a dose response scale. Being the mother of anabolic steroids, testosterone has an anabolic to androgenic ratio of 1:1. The anabolic component contributes mostly to the desired effects on muscle size, bone health and increased blood cell production. The androgenic component contributes to the masculinising effects. In short, anabolic steroids were invented to induce desired effects on muscle, bone and blood as good or better than testosterone, while also minimising side effects. Of course, we would later discover that not all of these anabolic steroids would come with less side effects, but more. Within these science experiments would emerge a number of drugs that would produce the same or greater effects on muscle size and strength as testosterone, with less side effect potential. This is comparing milligram for milligram too. I’d like to provide my recommendations, but I first need to explain why testosterone doses outside of the physiological range can cause adverse effects for some people.
Testosterone is androgenic as much as it is anabolic on the anabolic steroid scale. Androgens when used in excess (which means anymore than what’s naturally possible. So that means all of us cycling), can cause androgen related side effects. These side effects can include acne, growth of the clitoris in females, increased growth of androgen sensitive hair, increased vocal cord size and deepening of the voice, increased aggression and increased libido. As you can read, not all of these effects are negative. We’d like some androgenic activity at play for just those very reasons. We want to be driven and horny. Note that aggression is not anger. Aggression can be channeled towards motivation and can significantly increase the quality of one’s workout. As important as this androgen to anabolic ratio may be to female first timers, it has less significance for the majority of males. At the end of the day, most of us want results, not a piece of paper talking about anabolic to androgenic ratios. What then, is the most common issue with a testosterone only cycle?
When we inject testosterone, we also get estrogen as a result. Once again, we have a dose response curve here. The more testosterone you dose, the more estrogen will be created from that testosterone in a lineal fashion, all the way up to ~ 600 mg of testosterone per week. After 600 mg of testosterone per week, little extra estrogen is produced. This is called the saturation point. Before this point, every 50 mg extra per week may mean the difference between a cycle that makes you feel king, or feel like a lethargic slob. Before I talk about the potential negative effects of excess estrogen, I want to ensure that people do not take this text as a demonisation of estrogen. Estrogen is critical to not only male health and well being, but muscle growth also. I would go as far as saying the more estrogen the better, until it becomes a problem. We can talk about estrogen and it’s role in anabolism another time, but for now you want to trust me that having low estrogen levels may be the biggest mistake you ever make on your hormone manipulation journey. When enough testosterone is used, enough estrogen can be produced to cause side effects in some users. These side effects may include gynecomastia (aka man boobs), mood disorders, lethargy, additional fluid retention and even depression and anxiety. Yuck! I heard someone say arimidex or estrogen blockers? I’m glad you brought that up. It will never make sense to me why we would want to add more drugs into the equation. Wouldn’t we first prefer to avoid the issue in the first place? More drugs means more drugs to point the finger at when things go wrong. You probably guessed that aromatise inhibitors like arimidex and aromasin have side effects of their own too? You guessed correct. Some “gurus” like to think because of the specific mechanism of action with aromatise inhibitors, that if we simply reduce estrogen to a healthy level, that there shouldn’t be any adverse effects. One look at the medical textbooks will tell you that every drug since the beginning of time can produce side effects outside of the drug’s goal mechanism of action. If you’re asking me what I’ve seen in my clinical experience, then I’ll tell you that I have witnessed countless clients who have perfect estrogen on paper (whatever that means) thanks to the use of aromatise inhibitors, but still feel like dog crap. Medicine is not as simple as A to B unfortunately. The more drugs you add, the more that can go wrong. To add to this conundrum, the predictability of aromatise inhibitors as far as how many points they’ll bring your estrogen down, is hard to predict. Sure, there are some known doses that are a reasonable place to start, but when it comes to estrogen, from Bob to Harry there can be a 3 fold difference in estrogen levels with the same dose and type of aromatise inhibitor. So with all that said, why on this planet earth would we bother messing with aromatise inhibitors and worrying about excess estrogen related side effects on our very first cycle? We wouldn’t. Well we do, but we shouldn’t. We don’t have to and I’m going to show you how to do it better. Hang in there guys, you’ve read this far. Time to get to the juicy stuff. No pun intended.
If we can all agree that using that much testosterone for a first cycle is probably a bad idea, then I will explain my recommendations. What we want for a first timer is to reduce pain and inconvenience while administering medications and for the cycle to prioritise the minimisation of side effects. Let’s begin with pain and inconvenience. It’s a no brainer that injecting testosterone propionate everyday is too frequent and too much of a hassle for a first time user. We need to choose drugs that are longer acting in nature. The enanthate ester is a better choice. Most will not experience any ups and downs if they inject at least once per week. Could we benefit from splitting that dose into two times weekly shots? Maybe. Probably. But remember, we are prioritising convenience and this is not TRT. Even if levels of an enanthate shot are lower one week after injection, because we’re using doses at least five times the normal range, we don’t need to worry about feeling low, even if we didn’t have an injection for two weeks. Two weeks post injection of 500 mg enanthate will still likely be producing supra-physiological levels of androgens. But let’s not get lazy. One shot per week is a good place to start.
Do we need testosterone for a cycle? Arnold didn’t use it. He seemed to do okay. Could we benefit though from a specific dose of testosterone in every cycle? I believe so. I want to see all first timers use a dose of 100-200 mg of testosterone per week and not a milligram more or less. If you feel like you’re on the sensitive end for estrogen related side effects, use the lower dose. If you’re like the majority of us, 200 mg is likely going to be okay. And yes, it would be an intelligent place to start somewhere in the middle at 150 mg of testosterone enanthate per week, injected once weekly. Remember, use enanthate. You can also use cypionate. Same shizz really. If you are enjoying your injections, you’re more than welcome to split these injections into two shots per week instead. Remember, I’m trying to save you time and pain. It’s your first time. A dose of 100-200 mg of testosterone will be sufficient to produce healthy levels of estrogen and DHT which will likely help mood, libido, energy and well being. It’s just good insurance. This dose of testosterone will of course add to the 5 mg/kg per week dose of total drugs I will be recommending. It’s the bread, now we need the butter—and maybe some ham.
Step two is masteron enanthate. An identical ester to the one your testosterone enanthate comes with, so you can inject both drugs on the same day, in the same syringe. Masteron enanthate is also known as drostanolone enanthate and most typically comes in a 200 mg/ml formula. Masteron does not aromatise, which means it does not produce any of that estrogen we don’t want anymore of. We have sufficient estrogen from the testosterone. Masteron is a very pure drug as far as muscle building goes. Side effects are minimal and gains in muscle and strength are underrated compared to your next Google search. Again, if you trust me and you trust your supplier, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised with just how effective a dose of 350 mg of masteron per week can be. There’s word on the grape vine that masteron has a cool little side effect in some. That is, that in some users it can make you pretty frisky. Don’t mind if I do. So that’s our dose. 350 mg of masteron enanthate, once per week. This dose is on top of your 100-200 mg of testosterone enanthate per week. Okay, so we may have exceeded the 5 mg/kg dose for some. That’s okay, I like to bend the rules a little. I personally know for a cycle like this to produce far less negative experiences than a testosterone only cycle for the vast majority. We’re good, trust me. We’re so good, that if you wanted to add 20-30 mg of anavar per day on top of all this, I would have no issues with that. Anavar, like masteron, does not aromatise and offers little risk in the way of androgenic side effects also. Low toxic oral anabolic steroids at low doses are a suitable choice for a first timer because they’re convenient to dose. Anavar has been thoroughly researched in medical settings. The verdict is out. The elevations in liver enzymes seen with anavar use are mild at best and do not require any intervention. You may want to refer to this text I wrote about liver supplements here [Liver supplements worth it or scam] before I go on another tangent. We now have my first line recommendations for a first time user:
– 100-200 mg of testosterone enanthate per weekly split into 1-2 x shots
– 350 mg of masteron enanthate per week split into 1-2 x shots
– optional: 20-30 mg anavar daily. Taken once daily.
I’m not going to be anyone’s mother and preach health, but even if you don’t value your health as much as I do and just want to be big at all costs, then you’ll come to learn that being generally healthy is the way to stay large long term. Anabolic steroids, when used reasonably, especially at these doses are generally quite safe to use. It’s sensible insurance to get your blood work and blood pressure checked at least before your cycle, so I strongly urge everyone does this. I have created a guide on exactly what you want to get checked here [How to stay as healthy as possible in an unhealthy hobby]
Now to teach you how to inject this stuff properly. Jokes. Get out of here! YouTube is your friend. That’s enough for today. You now know that with valid reason, your first cycle probably shouldn’t be the classic testosterone only stack. Stress less and use my protocol. Until next time folks.