bodybuilder steroids supplements prohormones pct guide

PCT: A Guide to Post Cycle Therapy (Updated 2022)

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:

  1. To restart HPTA
  2. Prevent catabolism as our cortisol level rises
  3. Prevent fat gain while retaining enough calories to maintain the muscle
  4. Minimise the loss of strength
  5. 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.

Pumping Iron Pro PCT (6-OXO)
Pumping Iron Pro PCT (6-OXO)

 

  • 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.

Enhanced Athlete Arim-RX
Enhanced Athlete Arim-RX

 

  • 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

 

Enhanced Athlete Blue Ox Test Booster
Enhanced Athlete Blue Ox Test Booster

 

  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

How To Run A SARMs PCT (Updated 2020)

The Best SARMs PCT for You (Updated 2021)

One of the most commonly asked questions we get – do you need PCT for SARMs and what are the best SARMs PCT products to use?

First and foremost, SARMs 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 get bloodwork done pre 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)

The Three Different SARMs PCT Protocols

In general, there are two options to look at when considering your SARMs PCT protocol. These guidelines are NOT instructions – it is down to you as the individual to make a judgement call (or get bloodwork done) in order to choose the best and most effective course of action:

  1. 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 Black Ox. This is almost always the best option after an Ostarine cycle. For some people, this is also a suitable option for other mid-range SARMs such as LGD-4033, LGD-3303, S-4), and/or shorter cycles up to 8 weeks.
  2. A potent over-the-counter PCT such as Pumping Iron Pro PCT (6-OXO) which is powerful enough for SARMs and pro hormones alike.
  3. A full PCT which includes a SERM, such as Nolvadex and/or Clomid. Ensure to do thorough research on PCT protocols before you consider researching SARMs. This option is often recommended for potent compounds (such as RAD-140, YK-11, S-23), advanced stacks and longer cycles of 12 weeks.

There is also added benefit of adding Cardarine and a low dose of Ostarine to your chosen SARMs PCT protocol, which we go into detail further below.

What is Pro PCT (6-Oxo)?

Pumping Iron Pro PCT is an advanced SARMs and prohormone PCT that contains 6-OXO, a potent aromatase inhibitor which should only be used by experienced users of SARMs and prohormones. This supplement is intended for male athletes only and shouldn’t be used by women. PRO PCT can be used to prevent estrogen related side effects on-cycle as well as a powerful recovery agent for post cycle therapy (PCT)

  • Strongest aromatase inhibitor on the market
  • Increases lean muscle mass
  • Reduces conversion of testosterone to estradiol
  • Supports muscle retention
  • Increases testosterone:estrogen ratio
  • Suitable for vegans (HMPC Veg Cap)

What are SERMs?

SERMs (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators) – not to be confused with SARMs – help to control the effects of estrogen and ultimately helps you to avoid gyno (gynecomastia), maintain the muscle mass you’ve gained during your cycle and to boost your testosterone levels. The pharmaceutical grade SERMs are most effective but in some cases, you can use an over-the-counter supplement if your cycle consists of a very mild compound that isn’t too suppressive. The more potent the compound (or the stronger your cycle) the better your SERM needs to be.

The two most common and effective SERMs are:

  1. Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate) is a pharmaceutical drug that has the ability to inhibit estrogen formation. Clomid is often used for heavy cycles or those stacking several compounds. This is because Clomid is the strongest PCT compound but which also carries the greatest side effects. Most users prefer to stick to Nolvadex for their SARMs PCT unless they have no other choice.
  2. Nolvadex (Tamoxifen Citrate) is a pharmaceutical drug used after most steroid cycles to help the user recover. It is a mild yet effective compound which is it’s often preferred over Clomid.

Some users will use a low dosage of Clomid and Nolvadex in their PCT protocol rather than pick one, or the other. This prevents the potential emotional side effects users can experience by using a high dosage of a single SERM. To further enhance recovery, it is recommended to include a good natural testosterone booster, a liver/organ detox supplement, an aromatase inhibitor, Ostarine and Cardarine.

A quick 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.

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.

Signs of Testosterone Suppression

You can also make a judgement on the signs of testosterone suppression if you experience any of these:

  • Low energy
  • Low libido
  • Feelings of sadness
  • Loss of strength and motivation
  • Chronically poor performance in the gym

Assess how you feel after finishing the cycle and this should give you an idea of the degree of testosterone suppression. This also applies after you complete your SARMs PCT to assess the indicators of a successful post cycle therapy. 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.

Should You Use an Aromatase Inhibitor During your SARMs Cycle?

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 SARMs 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.

For most prohormones and SARMs PCT, your best solution is Regen-T or Arim-RX.

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 this SARM 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.

Find the latest SARMs PCT supplements here.

Bridging with SARMs

Bridging with SARMs (3 Best Compounds)

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face after a steroid or prohormone cycle is keeping the gains and that’s where bridging with SARMs is a game-changer. It’s the fear of losing gains that encourages the poor habit of staying ‘on-cycle’ for extended periods of time. Clearly, this is not ideal since it can seriously damage your health and organs; our bodies aren’t designed to take that kind of strain. So how can you deal with ‘off-cycle’ blues?

The answer is bridging with SARMs. Simply put, SARMs are built for this.

What is Bridging?

If you are not familiar with bridging, this is the phase of recovery or ‘time-off’ between steroid or prohormone cycles. As some of you will know, it is the time you’re desperately fighting to maintain the same strength, power and endurance as you had during your cycle. This is the time you try to maintain the gains that you’ve worked so hard for.

As a general guideline, the minimum time-off should be the total time on-cycle plus the length of the PCT. For example a 12-week cycle with 4 weeks PCT is a 16-week cycle in total. This would reflect the duration of 16 weeks off, after the PCT.

Inevitably, this is a time when you will lose some strength and you will experience a dip in energy, which can cause physical and mental strain.

Don’t despair. This is a time when SARMs truly shine.

This is where “bridging” comes into play. For athletes on SARMs, a perfect bridge is one that allows one to maintain a huge majority of gains whilst helping to restore hormonal balance.

Benefits of Bridging with SARMs

SARMs still don’t get the credit they deserve in the bodybuilding community but good quality SARMs, at the right dose, can provide the perfect bridge when taking time off. Although there is some confusion, SARMs are not anabolics and some can benefit your recovery phase, providing the dosage is low.

SARMs like Ostarine and Andarine were designed specifically to prevent muscle loss and lend themselves perfectly to that function. Not only that, but used at a low dose they can give the impression of still being ‘on-cycle’ and can help firm up your neural drive. Physiologically, they increase anabolic activity and thus will not only prevent muscle loss but also aid recovery.

Top 3 SARMS for Bridging

#1 Ostarine (MK-2866)

Ostarine prevents catabolism during your bridging phase, and also improves insulin resistance and lowers blood glucose levels.

At this transitioning point, your body will begin to produce testosterone but 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 low dose Ostarine helps to preserve your muscle mass and increase your nitrogen and IGF levels. This will also help you continue smashing your workouts and even improve muscle pumps.

#2 Cardarine (GW-501516)

Although not a SARM, it’s often found in the same category. Cardarine prevents fat gain. 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.

#3 Andarine (S-4)

Andarine is one of the most researched SARMs, often used for bridging because it is very minimally suppressive. Andarine has shown the most favourable ratio of anabolic/androgenic effects. This means more gains and fewer unwanted side-effects. This is also why it makes a fantastic SARM for women.

This dry compound yields superb results famed for the hard, chiselled look. It not only increased muscle mass and calcium production for increased bone density but it did so in a highly selective manner. When applied to humans, this means it is able to selectively stimulate anabolic activity, allowing the user to mostly surpass any of the nasty side effects associated with products of similar potency.

The 12 Week SARMs Bridge

This is an example of the ideal SARMs bridge, which would follow your prohormone or steroid cycle. Bridging with SARMs would begin immediately after completing your cycle and PCT (i.e. the bridge is going to fill the ‘off-cycle’ period that would usually follow your cycle).

Weeks 1-12 – Andarine (S-4) 50mg per day (25mg in the AM and 25mg in the PM)
Weeks 1-12 – Cardarine (GW-510516) 20mg per day (full dose 30 minutes before workout)
Weeks 1-12 – Ostarine (MK-2866) 10mg per day  (full dose once per day in the AM)
Weeks 9-12 – Arimistane/DAA

Weeks 13-16 – Mini PCT:
Clomid 50/25/25/25
Cardarine (GW-501516) 20mg per day

How to Bridge Between Cycles Effectively

There are 3 key factors to consider when bridging with SARMs, and each is equally important. It’s not just about the supplements you use; its the foundation you lay and that comes from the following:

Mindset:

You can’t just let yourself go when you move ‘off-cycle’. Your chemistry may be changing, but you can’t allow your focus to slip. Keeping up a solid mental state is essential if you don’t want to lose your gains. Losing your aggression and neural drive can be as damaging as losing muscle gain so it’s important to keep your mind sharp.

Diet:

You don’t need us to tell you how important diet is to bodybuilding. Indeed some would say it’s the most important aspect of all. It’s essential that when you move ‘off-cycle’ you adjust your diet accordingly. Increasing your protein intake and equalizing your carbohydrate and fat intake will help you keep your muscle mass. There’s no hard and fast rule to this, but just keep in mind that your diet ‘off-cycle’ should not be the same as your ‘on-cycle’ diet.

Training:

In order to bridge successfully, it’s important to stay on top of your training. One way to achieve this is to ensure that when you’re ‘on-cycle’ you focus more on lower weight and higher reps, whilst your off-cycle training should be heavy. Heavier training, when you’re off-cycle or bridging, will effectively build strength and help to maintain the muscle mass you build during your cycle.

In conclusion

All of the above factors are important when bridging with SARMs. To get the most of your cycle, as well as your bridge, each phase requires a subtle balance of all factors to optimise progress as well as health. Be prepared and be well-read. Read our Guide to PCT After Prohormone Cycle to ensure you optimise results, health and recovery.

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