PCT (post-cycle therapy)
The Complete Beginners Guide to PCT (Post Cycle Therapy)
Discover everything you need to know about your post steroid cycle therapy protocol including the differences between SERMs, aromatase inhibitors, and HCG.
What is PCT
If you do any sort of research into steroids or SARMs online, you’ll no doubt run across the term “PCT”. PCT stands for post-cycle therapy and it refers to the chunk of time that immediately follows your steroid or SARM cycle, a timeframe where you need to regulate your hormones more carefully and get them ready and prepared for normal activity. This is done primarily so that you recover safely and effectively from your cycle, but it also gives you the best chance possible at preserving your hard-earned gains you’ve developed over the course of your cycle. This is necessary because on a cycle your body is receiving doses of hormones so large that it shuts down its own natural production, and this is something you do NOT want to skip — making this a necessary part of any steroid cycle.
Common PCT Drugs and What they Do
Steroids and SARMs can sometimes cause side effects, though it is generally understood these side effects can be greatly diminished by taking appropriate cycle support and post cycle therapy. What you end up taking for your PCT regimen is entirely dependent on what substances you used in your cycle and also dependent on the side effects you may be experiencing. These are the most common types of drugs used for post cycle therapy and their functions:
SERMs stands for selective estrogen receptor modulators, and it’s considered the most important part of any post cycle therapy. They block the effects of estrogen which can save you from developing gynecomastia or other nasty side effects, and it also works to bring your natural production of testosterone back to baseline.
The two most commonly used SERMs are Nolvadex and Clomid. They work in very similar ways and are largely considered alternatives to each other. The only major difference is that nolvadex produces more luteinizing hormone, which is thought to help improve the release of testosterone.
Depending on your cycle, your gonna want to have enough SERM on hand for 4-8 weeks. Lots of folks recommend going at a lower dosage for 6-8 weeks while lots of others recommend
doing a higher dosage for the first 2 weeks, then a smaller dose for your final 2 weeks (for a total PCT time of 4 weeks). Evidence shows that both works, and it really comes down to your own personal preference for what you like and what you need specifically.
AIs stands for aromatase inhibitors, the most common of which for our purposes is called Arimidex, and they are used to inhibit the specific release of aromatizing enzymes which convert your excess androgens into excess estrogen. While they commonly used at the end of cycles in conjunction with SERMs, they are most often found being used intra-cycle as they are a great way to immediately respond to negative cycle side-effects in a quick and effective way.
SERMs vs AIs
While both affect estrogen, they both effect it differently. SERMs prevent the negative side effects by blocking estorgen’s androgenic properties while AI’s inhibits the creation of estrogen entirely. Generally it’s accepted that you only need a SERM for your post cycle therapy, and AIs are there if you start seeing worse-than-normal side effects that you want to reverse immediately. So while you’ll always want a SERM for your PCT, it’s always smart to have an aromatase inhibitor on hand just in case you need it.
HCG, which stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, has become a new and very popular drug choice for steroid users looking to help regulate their post cycle hormones intra and post cycle. First and foremost, HCG is a peptide that helps stimulate Leydig cells which help strengthen natural testosterone production. Secondly, it’s also commonly used by bodybuilders because it is believed to help reverse atrophy in the testes after a steroid cycle that shuts your testicles down. For those that are concerned with fertility issues when it comes to their steroid or SARM cycle, it is believed that this will help you maintain natural and healthy sperm production. This substance is believed to be most effective taken intra-cycle.
Protip: The drugs you take for post cycle therapy can be just as liver toxic as steroids, so always take a Milk Thistle of Tudca supplement to help keep your liver function strong.
Why is PCT necessary?
Steroid cycles, and even some SARM cycles, can be incredibly taxing on the body. In some instances, you are forcing more hormones into your body in a 8-week period than it may have ever produced naturally on it’s own. Because of this, there are negative side-effects like crashing your Luteinizing and Follicle Stimulating Hormones which are essential to muscle building, but the great news is that PCT makes these side-effects practically non-existent. By working to suppress high estrogen levels which is common post cycle, and by boosting your natural testosterone production back to baseline levels, you can minimize any hair loss, bloating, gynecomastia, and ultimately preserve your hard-earned gains you just developed. In our opinion, you should never attempt a steroid cycle without having your PCT protocols
properly planned and setup so make sure you thoroughly research what you’re taking and what you’ll need for every single cycle.
Protip: We recommend getting your blood work checked before you begin every cycle and after you end every post cycle therapy treatment protocol. This is the only way to know for sure that your hormones are back to what they should be, and the most accurate way to make sure you’re healthy.
What happens if I don’t take PCT?
If you don’t take PCT, you can expect to feel terrible for a few weeks or even months following your cycle. Your natural hormone making processes will be shut down from your cycle, and it will take some time for those to recover on their own. Since your hormones will be a mess, you can also expect to deal with more side effects like acne, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and more. Finally and frankly the worst side effect of not taking PCT is that it’s almost guaranteed you will lose all of your gains from your cycle.