Is Traditional PCT Obsolete?
by Mike Arnold
Post Cycle Therapy has become such an integral part of the cycling BB’rs program that its inclusion is automatically accepted and rarely questioned. While there is no doubt that traditional PCT has a lot to offer, its one-sided approach is rather limited when it comes to assisting the BB’r in holding onto his muscle tissue in-between cycles. It focuses solely on the restoration of natural testosterone production, but in terms of muscle tissue maintenance, this will only help us so much. Obviously, even when endogenous testosterone production is functioning at its peak, it is not sufficient for building a steroid-like level of muscle mass, so why would it be suitable for maintaining a steroid-induced level of muscle mass post-cycle? It’s not.
This is one of the problems with traditional PCT. It simply isn’t sufficient for maintaining the muscle tissue we gained on-cycle. While a more rapid restoration of endogenous testosterone production will certainly be helpful in this regard, it is far from ideal. Traditional PCT focuses primarily on SERMS (Clomid, Nolvadex, etc), HCG, and sometimes AI’s (Aromasin, Anastrozole, Etc). All of these compounds are geared towards recovery of the HPTA. However, as you can see, there is a complete lack of any components displaying direct anabolic/anti-catabolic activity. We are left completely at the mercy of our own HPTA. As BB’rs we should always be questioning the norm and seeking to advance the way we do things. While traditional PCT was suitable for its time, that time has passed.
Fortunately, modern science has not left us in the 90’s. Today, we have a variety of both anabolic & anti-catabolic products which can be used in conjunction with traditional PCT, in order to help us build-muscle tissue at a more rapid rate. As people we can be resistant to change, especially when it comes to generally accepted ideas, but every facet of the BB’ing experience continues to evolve and PCT is no different. In reality, we have had several of these anabolic/anti-catabolic drugs available for many years, while others have just recently begun to make their way onto the scene. In the following paragraphs we will go over some of these products and how we can use them in order to help us accomplish our goals.
The most notable among these is a drug called Ostarine. Ostarine is part of a new and novel class of compounds called SARM’s (selective androgen receptor modulators). SARMS were designed to provide steroid-like effects without the side effects found in AAS, but the true value of this compound (for PCT purposes) is found in the fact that it does not lead to suppression of natural testosterone production when administered at dosages of 25 mg per day or less (or at least not to any significant degree). This means that for the first time, we now have a substance which is able to impart “steroid-like” gains without impairing function of the HPTA. This takes us one step closer to helping us solve the decades long problem of how to maintain the gains we make on-cycle. For many steroid users, Ostarine alone will be sufficient for the maintenance of on-cycle gains, allowing them to eventually move into their next cycle with zero gains loss. Now, for steroid users who have achieved a massive level of development, Ostarine alone will not be capable of sustaining all on-cycle gains, but it will still be far superior to traditional PCT alone. While Ostarine is a huge breakthrough for cycling BB’rs and in my opinion, the single best drug for post-cycle muscle tissue maintenance, it is not the only product available for this purpose.
For several years the category of drugs known as “peptides” (a general term used to describe a vast amount of different substances) has been accessible to the BB’ing community. Several of the drugs found within this group have significant benefits for the cycling BB’r. Most notable among these are GH, GH peptides, Insulin, and the IGF-1’s. GH has been used occasionally during PCT, but due to its cost, it is usually avoided. GH peptides are a much less costly alternative. We’ve learned a lot about GH peptides in the last 1-2 years, particularly when it comes to dosage. GH peptides are much more effective at higher dosages, while still costly considerably less than exogenous GH. Up until recently, most guys were using the traditional 100/100 mcg programs (100 mcg of a GHRP & 100 mcg of a GHRH, 3X per day). However, these programs only increased GH about 2-3 IU a day. Higher dosages can easily increase GH output 2X to even 3X that amount. GH at these higher dosages will help moderately with lean mean retention.
A better combination than GH alone would be GH + Insulin. I am not going to get into the potential dangers of insulin use, as it is outside the scope of this article, but I will say that insulin is not for everyone and those who consider using it should be properly educated regarding its administration. These 2 compounds used concurrently demonstrate a synergistic effect, leading to substantial improvements in lean mass retention.
One of my favorite categories of peptides for use during PCT is the IGF-1’s, especially IGF-1 LR3 and DES IGF-1. Standard IGF-1 will not have a significant effect on muscle tissue maintenance (unless the dose was grossly high), but LR3 and DES will both provide measurable effects. While DES and LR3 are two different forms of IGF-1, they both have very similar effects on the body. The primary difference between the two is in how long they stay active and in terms of potency. LR3 is much longer acting than DES, while DES is the more potent of the two. However, the longer active life of LR3 largely makes up for the greater potency of DES when it comes to muscle tissue maintenance.
With LR3, the average daily dose ranges between 50-150 mcg per day, injected once per day. While DES’s average dosing range is very similar at 75-150 mcg per day, it can be injected as little as once per day, to as often as every 30 minutes all day long. In my opinion, better results will be realized with DES by splitting up the total daily dosage into at least 3-4 equally divided injects. This provides the body with a longer period of time from which to reap its benefits, instead of hammering the body with a large dose only once per day. There are differing opinions on this subject and the jury is still out on how to best use this form of IGF-1. As far as which form to choose for PCT, again, it is a matter of opinion, with different people preferring one over the other.
For years BB’rs have been seeking ways to enhance gains maintenance after a cycle. BB’rs have employed bridging, various methods of cycling designed to help minimize shutdown and improve recovery, SERMS, HCG, AI’s, OTC supplements, etc. Finally, we now have several additional options available, some of which are extremely effective. We do not need to blindly accept traditional PCT as being “as good as it gets” after a cycle. Traditional PCT is dead; it’s just that some people haven’t figured it out yet. We have moved into an era where we no longer have to depend on the restoration of natural testosterone production alone, in order to sustain our gains. We can now employ anabolic substances which supply steroid-like effects without having to concern ourselves with HPTA shutdown.
Check out IronMagLabs Osta Rx SARM!