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Understanding pct

What is pct ?  Do I really need it ?  How does it work ?  How do I run PCT ?

This discussion will be based on these four questions since they are the most commonly asked. Many moons ago, pct was rarely thought about due to lack of knowledge and the availability of the associated compounds. But thanks to the internet and review sites, people are able to share their knowledge and experiences for others to educate themselves on this mandatory protocol.

What is PCT ? - PCT stands for post cycle therapy and to fully understand the logic behind it, we must first understand the definition of Homeostasis. Homoeostasis is a condition in the human body where balance is achieved. Our bodies are constantly looking for this balance and in an attempt to achieve it, certain signals are sent out to activate specific processes. These processes may include an increase/decrease in Testosterone production, an increase/decrease in estrogen levels, LH signals,  prolacion production as well as a host of other signals to achieve homeostasis. The human body is truly an incredibly well balanced, self maintaining marvel. For this discussion, we will be concentrating on what effects steroid cycles have on testosterone, estrogen, LH, and prolactin levels.

When steroids are taken, the increase in hormone levels causes our “Homeostatic levels” to increase beyond their normal range. In layman’s terms, and just to pick a few, we are elevating hormones like testosterone, DHT, and estrogen far beyond their normal ranges. Our bodies react to theses elevated hormone levels, and try to adapt to these conditions, by shutting down production. Again, our systems are constantly trying to achieve that “Homeostatic State” where everything is in balance so the elevated hormone level conditions are processed by shutting down natural production. So to summarize this paragraph, steroids shut down, or greatly decrees, your natural hormone production.( This is a general statement since each steroid’s “anabolic and androgenic rating” largely plays a role in the intensity of shutdown, but you should be able to understand what I am trying to explain here)

Do I really need PCT ? Why yes you do, unless you want to keep your natural hormone production suppressed, loose your gains, and feel like crap. Worst case scenario you will be stuck on TRT for the remainder of your life poking yourself every week as a result of your negligence. With the exception of TRT, pct should be incorporated after every cycle to kick-start your natural hormone production. Over time you body, on its own, will attempt to recover but keep in mind that your gains will take most of the hit. A now suppressed hormone level cannot maintain that anti-catabolic state where protein loss from muscles is reduced. Bottom line is you will loose most of your gains. Now if you’re only going to be off-cycle for a short period of time, there’s no reason to stimulate your natural production since you will only be shutting it down again, this is called a bridge and is a totally different topic. If you re on TRT then you do not need pct with the exception of hcg which remains debatable. Everyone else needs PCT.

How does pct work ? Ok, so we have completed our cycle and our hormone levels are on a downward spiral. These muscle building hormones will soon leave our systems and we will have to rely solely on our own natural production to hold our gains that we have worked so hard for. Ideally we want our own natural production to step in and help carry the load but it has been suppressed as explained above. That’s where PCT comes in so let’s go over the most commonly used compounds.

Definition - A Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM) is a class of compounds that act on the estrogen receptor.

How you cycled your steroids will play a role, but regardless of your steroid use your PCT plan will always include a SERM such as Tamoxifen Citrate (Nolvadex) and Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid). Theses are the two most commonly used compounds for PCT and are your best options. It really doesn’t matter which SERM you choose, since both are designed to perform the same. Where the debate comes in is how to run SERMS since the most common practice is to run both nova and clomid together. However, implementing HCG for PCT is gaining popularity and many are starting to run it in a “Blast” fashion at cycle end. We shall leave this up for debate since the goal here is to familiarize you with the importance of running PCT. Different PCT protocols can be researched in our forums and cycle logs will provide you with member feedback as well as others implement PCT.

Definition - Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone that supports the normal development of an egg in a woman's ovary. It is sold as a peptide hormone that can be used to prime the body for the upcoming SERM therapy due to its LH mimicking effect. The use of HGC for PCT has become quite the debate recently and with that being said, we shall leave it up for debate. One should note that HCG abuse can be very dangerous as it is potentially damaging to your HPTA. If you use too much or for too long because your body may become dependent on the mimicked LH and therefore HGC blasting for PCT needs to be covered in a forum of its own. For this discussion, the use of HCG is for testicular non-responsiveness or atrophy which translates to keeping your testicles from shrinking due to lack of testosterone production. Remember, in a cycle, your HPTA is sending signals to shut down testosterone production because it senses an abundance of it in your system. (When using HCG during a cycle for atropy, you should discontinue it use 1 week before you start PCT)

How do I run PCT?  Now that you understand your options, you need to understand how to implement them.  This is where your actual steroid cycle will affect your post cycle therapy plan since compound half lives play a huge role in determining when to implement PCT.

If using large esters, you will begin SERM therapy approximately 14-18 days after your last injection.

If using short esters you will begin SERM therapy approximately 3 days after your last injection.

In most cases, a good PCT plan will run for approximately 4 weeks and dosages are represented in this fashion: (Take notice that the weeks are represented by the / symbol and the numeric value is the daily dosage)

Clomid 100/100/50/50  + Nova (Tamoxifen) 40/40/20/20

While some use these compounds independently, this is a standard PCT protocol and is the most commonly used. There are many different opinions, as well as compounds, on how and what to run for PCT. This write is to educate you on the importance of running a PCT protocol and does not dictate one in particular. The above compounds and dosages are the most commonly used based on general consensus and are presented as example protocols. As with all decisions pertaining to compound usage, do your research, listen to others feedback, ask questions, but for heavens sake make dam sure you understand what you are taking.

Aside from a good PCT, on cycle ancillaries should be used to combat steroid related sides. The PCT section of the forums will provide you with plenty of information on HCG, and aromatase inhibitors.

And here is the Muscle Guru’s forum disclaimer

Your experienced feedback is welcome so please help others understand the importance of running a proper pct protocol. Questions are welcome and no question shall receive criticism so ask what you want. Anyone criticizing any member’s questions will be rightfully reprimanded, and not banned if we are feeling generous. We are here to learn from each other and although opinions may differ, that’s what discussions forums are all about which is looking at topics from different angles. So if you disagree with another members comment, by all means state your reason why you have a different view on the topic of debate, but do so in a respectable manner. It’s not a pissing contest here, it’s a discussion! We pride ourselves on being a “Respectable Review Site” so we ask members respect others opinions.

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