Post-Cycle Therapy, or PCT for short, is essentially the process of levelling your body’s hormone levels after a SARMs, steroid or prohormone cycle. Simply put, your body may cease to produce or at least lower your natural hormone production when subjected to significantly raised levels of exogenous substances.
To run the most effective PCT, there are 5 goals we want to achieve:
- To restart HPTA
- Prevent catabolism as our cortisol level rises
- Prevent fat gain while retaining enough calories to maintain the muscle
- Minimise the loss of strength
- To balance our hormones in order to reduce potential negative effects
HPTA Restart Protocol
Restarting the HPTA has been covered many times, a quick evolutionary search on SERMs and you will find many articles relating to the use of both Clomid and Nolvadex, these can be combined together or used solo. To restart HPTA Clomid is a solid choice but you can also use Nolvadex. Both are effective in aiding recovery.
Ostarine Prevents Catabolism During PCT
At this transition point, your body will quickly begin to produce testosterone. It’s here you must be careful not to allow excess cortisol from chewing up your hard-earned muscle. At the same time, your body will have little to no nitrogen which will cause your muscles to crave nutrients that you don’t have.
To counter these effects, prevent catabolism and lessen the amount of muscle loss, a sensible solution is to introduce a non-suppressive anabolic; and this is the greatest opportunity for SARMs to really shine. A low dose at 10mg of Ostarine (MK-2866) will help preserve your muscle gain and increase your nitrogen and IGF levels. This will also help you continue smashing your workouts and even improve muscle pumps.
Cardarine Prevents Fat Gain During PCT
After you’ve dealt with your cortisol levels, you’ll find that the excess testosterone binds with it, rendering it inactive. To prevent fat gain yet keeping your calories up requires a PPAR modulator such as Cardarine (GW-50156). This will regulate the rate at which you burn fat. It does this in a number of ways but essentially it promotes glycogen retention in muscle tissue. This allows the body to alter its metabolism and increase the amount of fat burned instead of using carbs or protein as fuel.
This is a true win/win and means your body retains muscles and yet fat retention is reduced. This, in turn, will give you more stamina and can have the added bonus of reducing cravings.
Balancing Your Hormones During PCT
The drawback to most PCT is the potentially negative side effects. To counter these you need to ensure you keep your hormones balanced. As testosterone levels rise, estrogen levels are also significantly increased and sometimes at a faster rate. Estrogen flooding causes skin problems and can even cause gynecomastia (swelling of the nipples).
To counteract this, Aromasin can be used to inhibit aromatase whilst only increasing your IGF levels by approximately 30%. Aromasin will also prevent estrogen rebound and therefore save you from developing man-boobs. Taken on alternate days, a 12.5mgs dose of Aromasin is great for PCT. It helps up your testosterone levels by actually lowering estrogen.
Benefits of an Aromatase Inhibitor
Although some supplements and SARMs do not convert to estrogen, you will still get the odd one or two guys who experience estrogen-related side effects during their cycle. In such cases, a mild over-the-counter PCT supplement with an aromatase inhibitor is ideal. Mild suppression of testosterone will throw your estrogen levels out of balance and therefore can cause side effects in those who are more prone.
The extent of these side effects will always depend on several factors:
- Which compound you are using
- The dose
- The length of your cycle
- Your individual predisposition to suppression
For most prohormones and SARMs, your best solution is Arimistane or 6-OXO.
What is 6-OXO?
6-Oxo in Pumping Iron Pro PCT is used to block the conversion of testosterone to estradiol. When the body has more testosterone, the anabolic potential is significantly increased. This will help to build more lean muscle and increase overall body strength.
By having more testosterone, not only will you have increased muscle mass but there is a greater capacity to decrease body fat. Favourable testosterone to estrogen ratio is critical for achieving optimal body composition.
- 6-OXO is the strongest legal aromatase inhibitor on the market
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Reduces conversion of testosterone to estradiol
- Supports muscle retention
- Increases testosterone:estrogen ratio
What is Arimistane?
Arimistane is a powerful Aromatase Inhibitor (AI) and cortisol blocker that effectively reduces circulating levels of estrogen in the body. It acts as a suicide inhibitor to decrease the number of androgens in the body that can change to estrogen.
Arimistane is a great compound to use for PCT after a prohormone cycle as it increases testosterone whilst lowering estrogen levels. This also means it’s an effective natural muscle builder so you can expect a noticeable increase in muscle growth, strength, muscle hardness and definition.
- Blocks high levels of estrogen and cortisol
- Increases testosterone levels
- Increases muscle mass
- Reduces fat storage
- Improves recovery
- Improves vascularity
- Drying and muscle hardening effect
- Boosts libido
What is Blue Ox?
Enhanced Labs Blue Ox is a natural test booster supplement for men that supports a balanced mood and optimal strength. Blue Ox is often stacked alongside more potent PCT compounds.
Whether you’re off-cycle or just pure natty, our Blue Ox booster is chock-full of essential ingredients that excel in boosting virility and libido.
- 120 Capsules
- PCT Regeneration
- Boost strength and muscle
- Maintain muscle mass between cycles
- Increase libido and sexual performance
- Support healthy energy levels
- Mood support
- Clinically formulated to naturally elevate testosterone levels
- Contains 9 naturally derived pharmaceutical grade ingredients to increase the body’s own natural testosterone production through multiple different pathways
- Contains natural anti-estrogen ingredients to regulate estrogen production and remove the metabolites that can cause health concerns like water retention and gynecomastia
- All of the ingredients in Blue OX have been scientifically verified in human studies
How to do a SARMs PCT
PCT protocol is a highly debated and subjective matter depending on the individual so we can’t advise you on what you should/shouldn’t do but we can give you some guidance. In general, a person cannot be sure which option is best for them unless they do blood tests before and post cycle. Every individual is different and the many factors that will affect your requirements include:
- Your starting point/baseline
- Any previous supplement/cycle history
- Your predisposition/genetics
- Your age
- Which compound(s) you are using
- The dosage(s)
- The length of your cycle
- How your body reacts to the compound(s)
- Side effects encountered – if any
There are some options you can look at:
- Aromatase Inhibitor: Suitable for Ostarine and (for some people) potentially other SARMs (such as LGD-4033, LGD-3303, S-4), and/or shorter cycles up to 8 weeks): A mild over-the-counter PCT stack that includes an aromatase inhibitor (Arimistane) such as Arim-RX combined with a high-quality natural testosterone booster such as Blue Ox.
- SERMs: For potent compounds (such as RAD-140, YK-11, S-23), advanced stacks and long cycles: A full PCT which includes a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator, not to be confused with SARMs), such as Nolvadex and Clomid.
- 6-OXO – A very potent aromatase inhibitor that is effective for most people and most compounds including prohormones and SARMs, often combined with a natural testosterone booster such as Blue Ox.
A SERMs PCT protocol for an advanced cycle may look like:
- Nolvadex (Weeks 1-4): 40mg/40mg/20mg/20mg
- or Clomid (Weeks 1-4): 50mg/50mg/25mg/25mg
Preparation is key. One thing we can recommend is always having both options on hand in case you find that you need to run a full PCT, even if you haven’t anticipated this possibility.
A proper PCT is equally as important as your cycle. Don’t wait until near the end of your cycle to find the products that you need.
You can also make a judgement on the signs of testosterone suppression if you experience any of these (low energy, low libido, sadness, loss of strength and motivation, chronically poor performance in the gym) after finishing the cycle which will give you an idea of how suppressed you are. This also applies after you complete your PCT to assess the indicators of a successful PCT. Always ensure to take enough time off between cycles to ensure adequate recovery; listen to your body and if in doubt, take more time off.
Read more about Bridging Prohormone Cycles with SARMs to get the most out of your PCT protocol.