A growing number of people are taking bodybuilding and fitness supplements, as they strive to live happier, healthier lives. According to IBISWorld, the market for these supplements is expected to be worth $39.8 billion this year.
The use of prohormones, SARMs, and anabolic-androgenic steroids can all enhance physical performance. Whether you’re a bodybuilder or a competitive athlete seeking an edge in their sport, these compounds can help you get there faster.
However, using these types of compounds increases the need for reliable post cycle therapy (PCT). PCT will help protect your body from the potential side effects of taking performance-enhancing solid substances.
The guidelines below will focus on how you can maximize your results with PCT in bodybuilding, and the risks associated with not taking it.
How Post Cycle Therapy Works
After taking performance enhancers such as anabolic steroids, SARMs, or prohormones, your natural hormone production takes a hit. This downtrend in hormone production occurs because when you take these substances into your system, they provide your body with testosterone, suppressing your body’s natural ability to produce hormones.
After the cycle has ended and you are ready to begin the recovery process, the post cycle therapy is going to begin. PCT helps restore balance to your body by flushing out any remaining anabolic content that may still be present. It also helps kick-start your testosterone production back into gear. Since losing this testosterone as part of regular cycles can have negative long-term side effects on your health and wellness, you will need to invest in a proper post cycle therapy plan to mitigate any possible risks related to deficits in natural hormones.
A good post cycle therapy should include medications designed to stimulate hormone production within the body, proper nutrition, adequate muscle stimulation, and restorative supplement products that do not contain steroids or similar compounds.
The Different Post Cycle Therapy Protocols
Various post cycle therapies are available, each with different management protocols.
The most commonly used PCT protocols involve clomiphene citrate (Clomid) or tamoxifen citrate (Nolvadex). Both of these drugs are selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), which block the effects of estrogen in some tissues while mimicking the effects of it in other tissues.
1. Enclomiphene Citrate
Enclomiphene citrate has become increasingly popular as an option for PCT.
Enclomiphene citrate increases free, bioavailable testosterone via binding to estrogen receptors and effectively decreases cortisol by blocking its production at the hypothalamus level. This makes it the ideal solution if you want to keep your gains.
Enclomiphene can be a viable alternative to harsher post cycle therapy treatments or selective estrogen receptor modulators such as Clomid or Tamoxifen.
2. Tamoxifen Citrate (Nolvadex)
Nolvadex, or tamoxifen citrate, is commonly used in post cycle therapies (PCT) to help restore the body’s natural balance of hormones after prolonged anabolic steroid use. It is generally considered to be the best PCT cycle after steroids.
It works as a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), actively blocking estrogen production and increasing testosterone levels. This helps to reduce the development of gynecomastia, or breast tissue enlargement, which often occurs when steroids are used for an extended period of time.
When taken correctly and within the recommended time frame, Nolvadex can help promote healthy hormone levels and reduce negative side effects associated with anabolic steroid use.
3. Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid)
Clomid, or clomiphene citrate, is a synthetic hormone initially developed to help women with difficulty ovulating conceive.
This medication works by blocking the effects of estrogen on the body and stimulating the natural production of testosterone. As testosterone levels increase, it helps to offset the decline caused by anabolic steroid use and minimizes potential side effects such as gynecomastia, bloating, and abdominal issues.
Which is the Best PCT Cycle to Keep Gains?
Maintaining muscle mass and strength is an important goal for any bodybuilding enthusiast.
To achieve this, it’s essential to focus on the key factors that play a role in muscle maintenance:
- testosterone support
- estrogen inhibition
- reducing cortisol levels
- enhancing workout performance
- maximizing non-hormonally mediated anabolic processes
To find the best PCT cycle to keep gains, consider taking a supplement that can support testosterone and estrogen while inhibiting cortisol; enclomiphene citrate is perfect.
Pre-workout supplements intended to increase energy and performance are also highly recommended for those seeking to maintain muscle size and strength.
Make sure that whatever cycle you decide upon meets your expectations regarding efficacy and safety. You do not want to choose a product of poor quality that may lead to adverse side effects or be easily damaged with regular use. Keep in mind that spending a little more on a high-quality PCT cycle can save you from long-term loss due to unreliable results or possible harm caused by low-grade products.
Additionally, reliability plays an important role. While one cycle may have excellent effects during its active phase, it could mean far less enduring gains if it doesn’t serve as effective protection during a transition period. Make sure you choose a reliable cycle that serves both purposes effectively.
When To Start PCT
When deciding when to start post cycle therapy, it depends on the type of compounds used during the cycle.
Androgenic anabolic steroids are notoriously suppressive, which means they can significantly reduce your own hormone production levels leading to health issues in the long run. Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) and prohormones are comparatively less suppressive than AAS; however, they still require PCT.
It is essential to know that all these compounds will have their individual timeframes for optimal effectiveness, so you should always begin post cycle therapy early.
Your PCT plan should factor into your overall cycle plan because it will likely form a significant part of the optimization process. Depending on what goals you intend to reach with steroids or performance-enhancing drugs such as SARMs or prohormones, beginning a suitable PCT once your last dose is taken could be incredibly beneficial in maximizing your gains.
How Long Does Post Cycle Therapy Take?
Different types of post cycle therapies can take different amounts of time depending on the individual and the potency of the therapy.
For some therapies, only a few weeks may be needed, while others may require several months to clear the system and return it to balance completely.
When considering what type of post cycle therapy to use, it’s essential to consider how out of whack your hormones are and what kind of countermeasures you need to implement to help get your body back into equilibrium.
Steroid use strains the liver and kidneys as these organs work harder than usual to metabolize the drugs associated with steroids. Over time, this can increase enzymes and fluid retention, seriously affecting health if left untreated.
Getting your hormones back into balance immediately is key to avoiding potential medical problems. Finding the right post cycle therapy for you will depend on considering all these factors.
The Risks of Not Taking Post Cycle Therapy
When an individual chooses not to use PCT in bodybuilding after a completed cycle, they risk their body’s natural hormone production and health.
Without the proper PCT balance, once an individual completes a steroid cycle, they may likely suffer from reduced testosterone levels and related symptoms. These can include:
- Changes in energy levels
- Libido depression or suppression
- Loss of size and strength gains made during the previous cycle
- Water retention issues or bloating
- Depression & mood swings
- Enlarged prostate
- Reduction in HDL cholesterol levels
- Dry skin
- Brittle bones/osteoporosis
- Decreased immune system functions as well as increased susceptibility to infection
- Increased risk of heart attack & stroke
If you don’t manage your post cycle regime properly, you are placing yourself at serious risk of short and long-term health problems that could have otherwise been avoided by managing your hormonal health appropriately.
The Final Word on PCT
A good post cycle therapy will increase natural testosterone production, reduce cortisol levels in the blood, restore the balance between estrogen and testosterone levels, and normalize cholesterol levels.
While some PCTs come in ready-made formulas, not all are created equal. Considering the compound you are using is essential when determining which post cycle therapy is right for you, whether you are looking for the best pct cycle to keep gains, reduce fat, or increase energy.
Doing your research on how combinations of anti-estrogens, aromatase inhibitors, and other components may interact is also a good idea.
Choosing a reputable supplement company specializing in providing users with quality post cycle therapy products is the best option for anyone needing it.