Steroids are risky, but it’s one of the fastest ways to gain significant results in muscle building and recovery from certain health issues.
Although taking steroids is not entirely recommended unless it’s for medical treatments, some still do so to aid in their physical activities. If you’re one of these people, then you have to know what to do after you stop taking them.
This is where post cycle therapy, or PCT, comes in. It is deemed as one of the most effective methods for hormone restoration and solving the physical issues that the anabolic steroids left in your body.
Now, what exactly do you need to know about post cycle therapy? Do you need it? Is it necessary? This is what we’re going to talk about in the following sections.
What is Post Cycle Therapy?
A post cycle therapy, more commonly known as PCT, is a type of corrective treatment that happens after a person’s continuous AAS use. AAS refers to “anabolic-androgenic steroid,” a substance used to boost testosterone levels and aid in purposes like muscle building and strength enhancement.
Now, PCT is considered a corrective treatment because its main goal is to “correct” or regularize the body’s hormone production since, if you don’t know yet, AAS can terribly mess your body up when it comes to the aspect.
The treatment isn’t actually necessary, but experts highly recommend this to speed up your body’s systems in going back to its healthy hormone production.
Your body will still do so regardless, but it can take several months up to a year or two. Throughout the period, you will experience difficulties in managing your own moods, sexual dysfunction, and other health complications. To avoid this, as well as the prolonged struggle for you, PCT is designed to get your body up and running in 12 weeks maximum, sometimes even shorter.
How Does PCT Work?
PCT works through maintaining a certain medication, which will then target both your testosterone and estrogen levels and keep them on the rise.
On the other hand, some medications work by completely stopping estrogen production to make way for testosterone. It will all depend on what you’re taking. No matter what, however, expect that the treatment will do its job by working alongside your hormones. This will last for around four to 12 weeks, depending on your needs.
After the 12-week (standard) period, you can expect to already feel positive changes within your body. There’s no need to undergo surgeries, invasive medical processes, and likes. There is also no need to repeat the process unless you plan on retaking AAS, which isn’t really recommended if not necessary.
Who Should Undergo Post Cycle Therapy?
In a nutshell, anyone who recently stopped taking AAS should undergo post cycle therapy. The gender doesn’t matter, and your only basis should only lie in steroid-related activities. It’s necessary for one to start delving into the process as soon as they finish their last dosage of testosterone.
Note, though, that you still need to consult a professional to know the specifics of going into PCT. Since it’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment, you can’t just rely on the experiences and opinions of other PCT patients. Moreover, you will usually need a prescription for the necessary medications, which makes professionals a much more important part of your hormone restoration journey.
What Medications Can Be Used for PCT?
There are three main post therapy cycle protocols or medications that you can look into. See the following list:
Clomid PCT (Clomiphene)
Clomid PCT, also known as Clomiphene, is a SERM. This means that it’s a “selective estrogen receptor modulator” whose goal is to regulate the estrogen in your body. It aims to continuously but moderately increase the level of the said hormone with the end purpose of increasing testosterone during the process.
This protocol is the strongest compound that may be prescribed to you by a doctor. Because of this, the treatment will only last for around two to four weeks. It’s also important to take note of the right dosage, which is 25 to 50mg daily. A dosage higher than this is not recommended unless stated. Again, a health professional will be able to provide a clearer view of this topic.
Similarly, you should also be aware that because of the potency, Clomid PCT comes with more noticeable side effects, such as vomiting and nausea.
Nolvadex PCT (Tamoxifen)
Nolvadex PCT or Tamoxifen is probably one of the most common medications for PCT because of the slightly lower potency. Note, though, that because of this, it will be a little less effective than Clomid PCT. Still, treatment will only take two to four weeks.
Now, Nolvadex PCT works by reducing your body’s estrogen production and preventing it from overpowering testosterone, the common after-effect of taking AAS. The recommended dosage amounts to 20 to 40mg a day. This will be prescribed to you by a doctor, so make sure to consult one first.
Again, since this protocol is a little weaker, you can expect less severe side effects. At most, you can expect a headache and hot flashes.
Rebirth PCT is a protocol that won’t require you to have any sort of prescription from a doctor. This is because it’s considered a supplement rather than a direct medication protocol. It’s the latest advancement in post cycle therapy, and for a lot of valid reasons.
For instance, despite having the ability to regularize your hormone levels, it can ensure that you maintain your muscle mass, although not all. It also has little to no effect on your strength and sexual condition.
In terms of effectiveness and dosage, this is also deemed safer. While maintaining effectiveness, you can take up to six capsules a day, depending on the brand you opted for.
Note that this is only reserved for moderate issues with hormone irregularities. If you came from heavy AAS use, a doctor might advise you to take either one of the previous protocols we discussed.
How to Make Post Cycle Therapy More Effective
Your lifestyle will affect the progress of your post cycle therapy. There is no guarantee that everything will be back to normal if you don’t take care of your body throughout the process.
That said, what exactly are the things that you can do to make PCT more effective while keeping your health in check? Below are the tasks you should highly work on:
Pay Attention to What You Eat
While under PCT, you need to take in more calories to suffice for your body’s needs and internal changes. For reference, men need to have 3,500 up to 4,000 calories, while women require around 3,000 to 3,500 calories, both a lot higher than the regular standard. Not meeting this can lead to a lack of energy, more severe side effects, malnutrition, and other issues.
Keep in mind that what you eat will also affect your body’s state. No matter if you reach the caloric requirement, it will make no sense if you’re only eating unhealthy food. Stick to protein, fiber, and basically nutrient-rich food.
Give Importance to Sleep and Rest
There are some cases when PCT medications can cause sleeping difficulties, but despite this, you need to try your best to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. You should also take a rest after strenuous activities so as to not overwork your body.
Moreover, sleep deprivation can affect the effectiveness of the treatment. This is more of a reason why you shouldn’t stay up late unless necessary.
If you’re taking prescription-based medicines, you will lose weight and muscle mass. This can cause your body to feel weaker, which is something you definitely want to avoid. Because of this, make it a habit to exercise regularly. Even a 10-minute run will already do a lot to keep your body in a good state. Doing so will help your body absorb the protocols more properly without risking its health.
Take Additional Supplements for Maintenance
Some experts recommend taking testosterone boosters and other vitamins alongside your PCT medication to further enhance the benefits of the treatment. If you have the budget, you should definitely look for a good booster. It will speed up the process and will help prevent your body from completely depending on the medication you’re taking.
The last thing that you should do is be consistent. Maintain your medication, and continue taking it at the right dosage and time. This is the same for the health-based tasks that you’re currently doing, such as eating healthy food, exercising regularly, and likes. This is the main key to ensuring that everything goes well in recovering your hormones.
Post cycle therapy, or PCT, is a necessary process for people who recently finished taking steroids, specifically anabolics that affect the body’s hormone levels. It will be the key to helping your body recover and regain full control over its own hormone production.
There are several ways how you can undergo PCT.
The three main ones include Clomid PCT (Clomiphene), Nolvadex PCT (Tamoxifen), and Rebirth PCT. Each has its own medication, dosage instructions, and side effects. When choosing, you have to take factors, such as your goal, steroid activities, and current health condition, into account.
Keep in mind that no matter how beneficial PCT is, the whole treatment can still get a little tricky. If you proceed with the medication without professional consultation and sufficient knowledge, it may do more bad than good.