Steroids are an essential part of life for many bodybuilders as they help them achieve their body goals. While many steroids are effective in strength and muscle gain, at some point you want to come off steroids. Now, the difficult thing is you cannot just wake up one day and stop taking steroids if you already take them. Doing so can be dangerous for your health and may reverse the effects it has had on your muscles.
We take steroids in cycles to allow them to do their work efficiently. Similarly, if you decide to stop taking them, you need a proper pattern to do that. Otherwise, you could be looking at some serious trouble. For instance, if you take Anavar your body stops producing hormones naturally. If you cease the steroid intake, you have no hormones being produced for a while naturally or artificially. As a result, your muscle mass may begin to reduce because of lower androgenic levels.
Scientifically speaking, testosterone is produced in the testicles and they do so when the pituitary gland produces two hormone signals: Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). The natural process is suppressed, but our body functions generally because we supply the same through external sources, i.e. steroids.
To address the gap that comes between production through steroids and the natural production after the suppression stops can be solved with what is called Post Cycle Therapy (PCT).
Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)
PCT is sort of a controversial topic for bodybuilders and still, many people have little knowledge about it and how it works. The duration of this therapy also differs and depends on your steroid use. However, the important thing to know is that it revolves around three drugs: Nolvadex, Clomid and Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG).These drugs are what constitutes the PCT and what helps your natural production of testosterone to get back in action.
HCG is the main drug that pushes the testes to start producing testosterone. You can take as much of it as you feel the need to as it will also help slow down muscle breakdown which is called catabolism. Clomid and Nolvadex can be considered as drugs that support HCG in its operation which mimics LH. Clomid stimulates testosterone and Nolvadex have anti-estrogen effects that help create the right balance of testosterone and estrogen.
The one problem with PCT is that there is not much information about how to take these drugs in medical journals. People mostly have to rely on experiences of others who have done the PCT or look for information online. As opposed to the general belief that PCT does not take much time, the therapy may in fact take considerable time.
You can expect to take Clomid or Nolvadex for 10-12 weeks even. HCG is a stronger drug, so it is taken for fewer weeks in comparison with the other two drugs. The restoration of the natural balance of hormones in your body is a long and slow process and you should expect some muscle loss in the process. Your natural hormones can only produce so much of muscle as compared to steroids which excessively supply testosterone and hence cause quicker and generous muscle gains.
In most cases, the PCT should take 4-5 weeks with the administration of HCG starting immediately after you stop taking the steroids. HCG can be shot four times with five days gap. In the meantime, you can also take Clomid and anti-estrogen drug like Nolvadex to restore hormonal balance gradually. Proviron is another anti-estrogen drug that can be used in PCT, but not many people know or use it.
It is common for bodybuilders to consume more calories in the PCT period to prevent any loss of lean muscle. The massive influx of testosterone due to steroids has to be replaced and some choose to do that through nutrients besides the PCT drugs. However, how effective it is debatable because eating more may help you maintain your weight, but you cannot be sure that that weight is purely muscle mass.
Realistically speaking, some muscle loss is inevitable in most cases and you should accept it. First of all, it would not be that significant that you should worry too much about spoiling all your hard work. Secondly, you will be saving yourself from any harmful side-effects you may face because of stopping on steroids all of a sudden.
Coming off steroids is not as easy as it looks and requires the same kind of determination as taking steroids does. However, if you take the right drugs and follow the appropriate protocols, you will stop relying on steroids and come out of it with minimum loss. Always research thoroughly and consult with a physician if something seems off.