First Steroid Cycle: The Ultimate Guide
Disclaimer: The following article is for educational purposes only and NOT to promote the use of illegal steroids. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Touliatos is currently available for consultations.
A first steroid cycle is often the most exciting one — with a man or woman set to experience the best gains of their life.
It’s easy to gain 20-30lbs of muscle during a first cycle, even if the person has limited knowledge of steroids, nutrition and training. This demonstrates the power of anabolic steroids.
However, with great power also comes great responsibility (as uncle Ben famously said in Spider-Man).
Thus, a person’s first steroid cycle should be as safe as possible, to minimize side effects; with the body being completely new to potentially dangerous compounds.
Although many anabolic steroids are banned by the FDA today, there are precautions a bodybuilder can take to limit the risks.
- Taking mild steroids (with lowered toxicity)
- Taking conservative dosages
- Running a cycle for a conservative amount of time
Also abusing steroids by taking high dosages and running the steroid for too long are big errors, that will surely lead to health problems.
The below steroid cycles are tailored for beginners, helping to maximize gains; whilst minimizing negative effects.
A testosterone cycle is by far the best protocol for a first time steroid-user.
Not only will testosterone produce the gains most beginners are looking for — such as 20-30lbs of muscle gains and incredible strength increases.
But testosterone also has no negative effects on the liver, and it only negatively increases cholesterol levels (to a small degree).
Thus, blood pressure won’t go through the roof when using conservative doses.
Therefore, for many users the heart can remain in good shape; whilst the liver remains strong and healthy.
There is no need to cycle testosterone beyond 7 weeks as a newbie, and to go above 350mg of testosterone per week.
Elite bodybuilders can take double this dose comfortably, however a beginner will be more susceptive to side effects (as they’ve had no time to build up a tolerance).
Users may use any testosterone ester and experience exceptional gains. The ester won’t determine your results as such, although they can make a difference to how fast you gain muscle in the early stages of your cycle (when using short esters).
Testosterone cypionate and enanthate are the most popular esters, as they aren’t typically troublesome to inject and they don’t need to be injected too often. They are also very affordable.
Note: Although oral testosterone is available, under the brand name Andriol (testosterone undecanoate) — it is predominantly taken in injectable form. Also Andriol is very expensive in comparison.
Those taking testosterone may want to run a PCT after their cycle, as endogenous testosterone levels will take a hit. Generally natural levels can return to peak levels several months after a cycle ends. However, when administering an effective PCT, this may only last 1-2 months before a person’s hormone levels are fully functioning again.
Although testosterone doesn’t provide a dramatic spike in blood pressure, users may still want to supplement with fish oil (taking 4 grams per day), to ease strain on the heart.
Testosterone does convert into estrogen, thus some water retention is to be expected. There is also a risk of gynecomastia, due to this female hormone rising. Thus, users may want to take a SERM or an anti-estrogen to prevent such estrogenic side effects.
However, a SERM is preferred to an anti-estrogen, as the latter can negatively affect cholesterol values. This is because they block estrogen levels, lowering good HDL cholesterol, whilst increasing LDL.
In contrast, a SERM can prevent gyno by specifically blocking estrogenic effects in the mammary glands; keeping blood pressure stable.
Acne and hair loss (on the scalp) are also common symptoms among users, due to testosterone having a moderate amount of androgenic properties.
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Anavar is another suitable first steroid cycle, common among men and women.
A man may take anavar for his first cycle if he wants to avoid needles (with anavar being an oral).
Also anavar may be chosen if big muscle and strength gains aren’t needed, but with the person preferring more fat loss and smaller gains in size and strength.
Anavar is one of the safest steroids a beginner can take, due to its mild side effects. Thus, it’s rare users will experience any complications on anavar (when taken responsibly).
Testosterone and many other steroids are unsuitable for women, because they can cause virilization effects — such as enlarged clitoris, deepened voice, reduction in breast size and an increase in bodily hair. However, anavar rarely causes virilization in women when taking modest doses.
An anavar cycle has the power to significantly reduce a person’s body fat percentage, whilst adding 10-15lbs of muscle mass. Its anabolic effects are considerably less compared to bulking steroids, such as testosterone, dianabol, anadrol etc; however the gains in size and strength aren’t to be scoffed at. Anavar is generally classed as a cutting steroid, due to its potent fat burning effects.
Anavar is an oral steroid, which are notorious for causing liver toxicity; however anavar is the exception. It is likely to raise liver values, however considerably less than anadrol, dianabol, winstrol and other orals.
This is partly because the kidneys work synergistically with the liver to break down oxandrolone, reducing its work load.
Anavar will raise cholesterol levels, contributing to an increase in blood pressure. This effect however is thought to be mild (like testosterone). However, users are still recommended to take 4 grams of fish oil per day for optimal cardiovascular health.
Anavar will also cause a dramatic decrease in natural testosterone levels, however it won’t shut them down entirely (like other steroids can). Thus, a PCT may be used, however it’s not compulsory. Those wanting to restore their testosterone sooner can take clomid post-cycle.
Women may also experience crash-like symptoms post-cycle, thus they can take DHEA to recover their natural test levels.
What about dianabol for a first steroid cycle?
Taking dianabol as a first steroid cycle is relatively common — although not optimal.
Beginners who do opt for dianabol generally do so because they want anting huge muscle and strength gains; but don’t want to take an injectable.
The downside to dianabol is it poses significant liver strain, whilst having a worse effect on blood pressure compared to testosterone or anavar.
Liver values will drop back down, as well as blood pressure post-cycle; however it’s not the most health-conscious compound for a first cycle.
If a novice did want to run dianabol, it would be wise to follow the dosing protocol below:
Beginners should also supplement with TUDCA when taking dianabol to limit liver damage. A dose of 500mg/day will help to keep ALT/AST levels from rising excessively.
A SERM such as nolvadex may also be taken during this cycle, to help prevent the onset of gynecomastia.