Cycles

Introduction to steroid cycling

If you manage your diet properly and train diligently, there will come a time when you’re finding it difficult to lift your results to the next level. When that time comes, you have two choices: either continue as you are, or use something to give you that extra edge.

Anabolic steroids can help to deliver amazing results in a relatively short space of time, but won’t offer a magic solution. If you haven’t got the basics right, the benefits you receive will be limited so there’s no point moving onto them too quickly. Spend the time and effort in understanding how to create a good regime, and you’ll be well set up when you’re ready to make the jump. Most people will have been training for a few years before they start using steroids.

If you’re thinking of using steroids, check your body fat levels. Ideally this should be 20% or less before you cycle with steroids. Any higher and you’ll be at a much greater risk of developing side effects such as gynecomastia.

But when you do decide the time is right to start taking anabolic steroids, you can’t just simply pop a pill every day and wait to bulk up. Some steroids are potentially very toxic drugs and all of them can be detrimental if taken for too long.

For this reason, steroids are always taken in cycles, sometimes on their own, and at other times stacked with additional steroids or supplements. The length of the best steroid cycle depends on a variety of factors and varies from drug to drug.

There’s no “one size fits all” steroid cycle; beginners, intermediate and advanced use will use different steroids and different dosages, so for more information take a look at the specific steroid cycling guides on this site.

Staying safe

One of the biggest concerns many users may have is how to stay safe while taking anabolic steroids. Although there’s been a lot of negative coverage in the press over the years, providing you do your research and approach steroid use properly, there’s a much lower risk than you may think.

picture of many different steroids

Before you begin, it’s highly advisable to have a health check, including bloodwork. This is because some steroids can push up cholesterol or elevate liver enzymes. If you don’t know your base reading, you won’t be able to judge if your body can cope with the extra stress in these areas.

Many people get into bodybuilding at a young age, and that’s fine, but anabolic steroids of all kinds are harsh on the body. For this reason, it’s never a good idea to start taking them too young. Some experts advise waiting until age 25 while others believe it’s safe to start from 21 years old. The level of hormones within the body steadily increases until around the age of 26, then leveling off before beginning to fall. For this reason, the natural state of the body before age 26 can be considered as being very similar to a mild steroid cycle because of the high levels of hormones. Adding more into the mix can not only produce variable results but can cause much greater harm including permanent problems such as stunted growth.

Whatever stage of steroid use you’re at, you will inevitably want to get the best results but this doesn’t mean leaping in at the highest dose available. To minimize side effects, and also to help with the cost, it’s advisable to take the lowest dose that produces the desired results. It’s a careful balancing act: too low and you won’t get the effect you want, and too high and the drug will produce more side effects than can be tolerated.

Oral or injectable?

Injecting steroids may seem like a big leap if you’re new to using them but this is actually preferable in the majority of cases, and certainly for beginners.

Oral anabolic steroids are generally much more toxic and can be potentially far more harmful than those which are injected. This doesn’t mean that they should never be taken but the cycles should be short, and in many cases they are best used as an accompaniment to an injectable steroid.

Stacking steroids

Stacking two steroids together can increase the results, without necessarily upping the side effects. By choosing different types of steroids which complement each other, lower doses can be taken thereby reducing the overall risk. Because the accumulative effect of stacking steroids can lead to better results than taking them singly, stacks are very popular.

When stacking steroids, it’s important not to choose drugs which are too similar. This is because the side effects can increase rather than reduce. By choosing different types of steroids, one can often help to offset the side effects of the other. This action may be enhanced by taking an additional drug such as an aromatase inhibitor, for example.

Some of the best steroid stacks include (testosterone should always be used as a base):

When creating a steroid stack, some users opt to do something known as “front loading”. This is where two steroids are used together, one which takes a while to kick in and another which is fast acting. The fast acting steroid is taken for a relatively short period at the start of the cycle but once the slower acting steroid starts to work, it is tapered out.

Examples of anabolic steroid cycles

The exact steroid you choose will depend on what you’re trying to achieve and also whether you’re a new or experienced user. Steroids which are taken when you are first starting out can still be effective for advanced users, but there are some which should be reserved for those with more experience.

Here’s some examples of the types of steroids used in cycles and stacks, and what level they may be used at:

New and beginner steroid cycles

Intermediate steroid cycles

Advanced steroid cycles

Check out our guides

For more information about specific steroids, or how to cycle in more detail, take a look through our free expert guides.