Post-cycle therapy or PCT for short, is one protocol that bodybuilders on androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS) should not fail to implement, if they want to live healthy lives after their respective AAS cycles.
The best PCT for bodybuilding will be designed to help restore balance to the functioning of your endogenous hormones which is exceedingly important after your steroid cycle.
In this post, you will get to know more about PCT in bodybuilding including when you should start it, what it involves, and the role of PCT during a steroid cycle.
I. What is PCT in bodybuilding?
PCT in bodybuilding is a structured protocol that is often recommended by physicians and/or professional bodybuilding coaches for bodybuilders or athletes before they begin any androgenic-anabolic steroid (AAS) cycle or stack.
Typically, PCT is planned for after a scheduled androgenic-anabolic steroid cycle or stack when it is expected that the natural hormones of the bodybuilder or athlete is out of sorts and needs to be normalized.
The use of certain AAS, especially derivatives of testosterone or dihydrotestosterone, such as; Testosterone Enanthate and Nandrolone by male bodybuilders will lead to a process known as aromatization where the exogenous testosterone introduced into the bloodstream is converted to estrogen hormone.
Estrogen is a female hormone that is produced in minute amounts in men, but when there is a rise in this female hormone in the body, it can cause male bodybuilders to experience several estrogenic side effects like gynecomastia, water retention, acne, low libido, erectile dysfunction, fogginess, sleeping disorders, and so on.
In addition to raising estrogen levels in the body, dihydrotestosterone and testosterone-based AAS can also suppress the body’s natural production of endogenous testosterone by the adrenal gland and testicles.
In order to restore the natural production of testosterone after your AAS cycle, you will need to run PCT with the use of antiestrogen, aromatase inhibitors and/or selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERMs) medications, as prescribed by your physician.
The best PCT for bodybuilding will help to reduce your estrogen level while stimulating your testicles to start producing testosterone at the same time.
II. What Does Post Cycle Therapy Involve?
It is important to note that the best PCT for bodybuilding plan will not only include antiestrogen or estrogen blockers, but will also involve the use of sleeping aids, liver support supplements like Samarin or LIV-52, and testosterone boosters to promote recovery from your AAS cycle or stack.
It is also worth noting that PCT uses both exercise and diet to be effective in delivering optimal results fast. The body’s hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPTA) system needs sufficient time to start producing, releasing, and regulating endogenous testosterone hormone and PCT drugs will help the HPTA system in this regard.
To avoid building up tolerance to AAS, bodybuilders are advised to run steroid cycles rather than use steroids indiscriminately as this may be detrimental to their overall health and wellbeing.
What’s more, steroid users are susceptible to a loss of skeletal muscle after a cycle, and the sustenance of bulking gains form one of the key benefits of PCT uses along with restoring endogenous hormonal balance.
III. Can the Best PCT for Bodybuilding be used at any time?
The best time for PCT is usually after your steroid cycle. Typically, the longer you run a steroid cycle, the more suppressed your endogenous hormones will be and the longer you will have to run a PCT protocol in order to return your endogenous hormones to normal.
Generally speaking, a PCT plan of between 4 to 8 weeks is recommended for a steroid user that has been cycling for over 12 weeks. However, you are advised to get your blood work done after your steroid cycle, as this would help in determining the sought of PCT protocol that would be ideally suited to your recovery needs including recommended medications and the length of post-cycle therapy.
IV. The role of PCT during a steroid cycle
The most popular drugs that form part of a PCT plan for bodybuilders after a steroid cycle include:
#1. Clomiphene (Clomid)
Clomid is a known fertility drug that serves as an ovulatory stimulant in females. Clomid is also a selective estrogen receptor modulator or SERM that will inhibit the release of estrogen in the body while boosting the secretion of FSH and LH gonadotropins at the same time to increase the body’s release of endogenous testosterone.
Clomid will therefore help in relieving bodybuilders of estrogenic side effects like water retention, and gynecomastia while helping to restore normalcy to their natural hormonal functions.
#2. Nolvadex (Tamoxifen citrate)
Nolvadex is a fertility drug that is also prescribed to females suffering from breast cancer, and similar to Clomid, Nolvadex is a SERM that will help to prevent bodybuilders from developing gynecomastia amongst other estrogenic side effects.
Nolvadex will stimulate both FSH and LH production by inhibiting estrogenic side effects in the HPTA system. Your suppressed natural testosterone production will be halted while your adrenal gland and testicles are stimulated to produce and release endogenous testosterone as it normally would.
#3. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)
HCG is produced in high quantities by women during the early stages of their pregnancy and causes an increase in the level of progesterone which helps in nurturing the fetus and help with its development.
As a PCT drug, HCG will boost LH hormone levels to trigger the Leydig cells into producing and releasing a greater amount of endogenous testosterone.
As a result of its spermatogenesis stimulating effects, HCG is helpful in the treatment of testicular atrophy which is another estrogenic side effect that male bodybuilders on a steroid cycle could face without the help of PCT.
Proviron is an oral derivative of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that can help to boost your free testosterone while also enhancing your libido and sex drive.
However, Proviron will not directly stimulate endogenous testosterone production by your testicles and adrenal gland.
#5. Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (HMG)
The HMG is made up of both the Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that is extracted from the urine of menopausal women.
HMG is great for PCT because it is capable of stimulating your testicles to produce endogenous testosterone while promoting the maturation of your sperm cells. As a matter of fact, HMG is reputed as providing a more comprehensive stimulation of the testicles than HCG.
PCT is important to the success of any bodybuilding program as it can help bodybuilders to retain their gains while providing balance to their endogenous hormones.
But PCT is not all about taking recommended drugs, it also involves a protocol that incorporates diet, exercise, and liver support along with testosterone boosting PCT drugs, such as SERMs like Clomid and Nolvadex.
You should remember that the best PCT for bodybuilding is that protocol that is structured to your specific PCT needs based on the results of your blood work at the end of your steroid cycle.
Never start an AAS cycle without first consulting with your physician and/or personal coach. You should also have your PCT plan clearly stated beforehand or along with your steroid cycle. But note that you may still make adjustments to this plan after your cycle and when you have received results from your blood work.
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