Proper PCT Protocols
Proper PCT Protocol
PCT should only begin when the body is in an environment to stimulate LH and FSH secretion. In the case of testosterone this environment is achieved once TT begins to dip below pre cycle TT levels. Therefore, not only to judge when pct has been successful but also to determine when pct should begin Pre-cycle blood levels should be taken.
How do we determine when TT levels fall below baseline aside from experiencing side effects or getting blood drawn every week?
As we know TT is directly related with the amount of exogenous testosterone we administer. In TRT studies it is generally excepted that a 100mg shot of testosterone enanthate/cyp will put blood levels at around 800-900ng/dl.
We can thus use this conversion with decent accuracy to judge at what mg TT levels will fall below baseline. (The conversion ratio somewhat lessens as doses increase therefore we should air on the side of caution when determining the optimal test mg target)
For example, if pre-cycle levels are 500ng/dl then PCT should only begin when exogenous test falls to roughly 50mg. This will put TT in the 400-500ng/dl ranges and thus in a state where HPTA stimulation of FSH and LH release begins to become possible.
Now that we understand how to determine optimal Mg range of ex Test for HPTA restoration we must now find the length of time required to reach said levels after the last injection. To do this we must first understand Half-lives of the varying esters and the variation they can have with each individual's physiology. Some users metabolize AAS more quickly or more slowly than others therefore we can only identify an average. I’ll give one practical example of the commonly used ester Enanthate.
Enanthate has a half-life of 5 days +/- 2.5 days (I will use a 7-day calculation to air on the side of caution)
A 12wk cycle of test e at 500mg per week will put ex Test at around 1000mg
(500mg+250+125+62.5+31.25 etc = 1000mg)
This means it will take 5 half-lives to reach ex test at or below 50mg therefore time between last injection and start of PCT is 35 days.
It would be worthwhile to determine your own metabolization rate by taking a blood test after the 4th AVERAGE half-life has passed. (In this case it would be at 20 days) Based on TT levels at this point you can determine YOUR half-life.
Now that we understand how to accurately calculate a PCT start date based on our own physiology, what should an effective pct consist of?
hcg may be used during cycle and is consider to be a better option by many. There is a bill Roberts article that you may refer to on the subject. He suggests 500iu EOD throughout the cycle. If you did not use HCG during your cycle, here is a variation of Dr. Scally's PCT protocol for AAS users (his experience and expertise speaks for itself)
HCG 2000iu E3D for 14 days before pct start date
1-35 clomiphene 50mg morning and night
1-45 tamoxifen 20mg morning and night
1-45 low dose of exemestane 12.5mg E3D (Optional)
The combination of clomid and nolva has been shown to provide better results than when compared alone. Clomid has a slightly different MOA than Nolva and Torem if you must use Torem in your PCT it should be a substitute for Nolva not Clomid. An equivalent dose of Torem for 40mg Nolva would be 120mg.
This PCT will give you the best chance at achieving and maintaining pre cycle TT levels rapidly after cessation of treatment for all AAS cycles under 25 weeks of suppression. PCT requirements vary depending on the user and mainly length of shutdown.
Post pct bloods should be taken approximately 2-3 weeks after cessation of treatment to ensure restoration has been achieved without further aid from SERM's. If restoration has not been achieved restart this PCT or better yet, CONSULT A PHYSICIAN!
Switching to Short Chain Esters
A largely overlooked factor that can greatly aid in maintaining gains, reducing HPTA shutdown length or extending a cycle without lengthening HPTA shutdown is switching from Long ester AAS to short ester AAS toward the end of the cycle. When done correctly this reduces the amount of time that users must wait to start PCT and/or increases the amount of time TT levels stay supra-physiological.
Here is a practical example of how to perform a switch to Test P from a regular 12 week cycle of Test E allowing us to extend it to 16 weeks. (In both cases length of shutdown is still 17 weeks)
First we must calculate our pct start date. For this example, we will be using 750mg test e a week. With Ex test at about 1500 5 half-lives have to pass to reach below 50mg. A PCT start date of 35 days is again warranted. Therefore, we will start test p injections 35 days or 5 weeks before the end of the cycle.
Week 1-11 Test e 750mg
Week 13 Test p 400mg
Week 14 Test p 600mg
Week 15-16 Test p 700mg
Test p half-life 2 days +/- 18hours (I will use a 2.5-day calculation)
PCT start 7 days
Tapering the test p injections upward in this fashion will ensure that TT levels do not spike dramatically when the shorter more quickly metabolized half-life is introduced.
As we can see This will apply the same length of shutdown to the HPTA (17 weeks in both cases) but you will be able to extend the amount of time TT levels remain supra physiological.
Or if you would like you can use this method to shorten HPTA suppression length by removing the extra weeks of injections and starting test p from weeks 8-12. (13 weeks of shutdown instead