A Guide to Testosterone Cycles, From Beginners to More Advanced Users

guide to testosterone cycles

The use of substances to enhance athletic performance is as old as civilization itself. Humans have always been, and always will be, a competitive species. From faddy diets to sesame seeds, to the use of ancient oils, we know from the scattered literary texts of those bygone eras that humans have tried a variety of methods to improve physical performance.

The Olympics is, believe it or not, an ancient institution. Despite that the first-ever recorded Olympic game happened in 776 B.C., historians know for a fact that the Olympics started nearly 500 years before. Indeed, records at the time show that ingredients such as mushrooms and strychnine were used to enhance physical performance among Greek Olympians.

In the modern era, during the 19th century, doping was primarily a horseracing issue. Horses were fed a concoction of stimulants to boost their performance in races. This was when anti-doping research was born, and the first anti-doping tests were carried out for the purpose of weeding out illegally drugged horses from competing.

horses were fed a stimulants

Around the same time, athletes discovered that, just like in horses, stimulants such as amphetamines helped fight fatigue, increased alertness and concentration, and significantly improved athletic performance.

1935 was the year when testosterone was first synthesized and used on German soldiers to increase aggressiveness at the frontlines. It wasn’t until the ’40s that testosterone started being used in competitive sports, and when the ’50s arrived, the hormone was already widely available in the market.

Not much has changed since then in terms of anabolic steroids. Certainly, we now know a lot more about anabolic steroids than we did at the time, but one thing that’s remained relatively static is the popularity of testosterone for muscle building and performance enhancement.

Testosterone, by all accounts, is still the most popular steroid in the market, and for good reason. The compound simply works, and the risks are completely avoidable with responsible use. This is why medical professionals issue prescriptions for testosterone as hormone replacement therapy in the thousands.

Testosterone, because of its popularity among bodybuilders, is still being manufactured to keep up with demand.

Types of Testosterone

Testosterone has been used by those looking to cut weight and build muscle for decades. However, the truth is that there are many esters of testosterone available in the market, and not all of them are made equal. To be sure, each of these esters will induce massive gains in any individual, but some will be faster to take effect, while others will have increased side effects, and so on. The best testosterone ester will depend on the type of bulking you want to get into, but as a general rule, less potent esters, which can be expected to have fewer side effects, are what beginners should be taking, before going on to the more heavy stuff.

bodybuilders for building muscle

The 5 most common compounds of testosterone today are suspension, enanthate, undecanoate, pellet, and cypionate.

The first thing to say about these testosterone esters is that there isn’t one of them that’s better than the rest — they are all testosterone. The difference mainly lies in the length of time they stay in the body, and how fast they take effect. Most beginners, however, go for enanthate and cypionate, for reasons that will be clear below.

Testosterone Suspension

This water-based injectable, known among bodybuilders as a “potent mass agent,” is perhaps the most powerful (and potent) among testosterone esters — if it can be said to be an ester at all. The reason for this is its purity. Testosterone suspension is the least modified form of testosterone and it produces almost immediate effects because it becomes active as soon as it enters the body.

Because testosterone suspension stays in the body for a short amount of time, users are often required to inject frequently to maintain optimum levels in the body. For this reason — and because it is so potent — it’s not generally recommended for beginners.

Testosterone Enanthate

Also referred to as testosterone heptanoate, it’s one of the most popular forms of testosterone. It’s often prescribed as a therapy to men who’ve developed conditions due to a lack of the hormone. Of course, among bodybuilders, it’s used to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance.

Testosterone enanthate doesn’t activate immediately upon entering the body because of the manner in which it’s been esterified. This means effects take longer to notice (typically, improvements can be felt after every cycle), but the upside is that, unlike faster acting esters, one can spread out usage to once every 3-4 days.

Because of its high androgenic to anabolic ratio, testosterone enanthate is not typically recommended for use by women looking to avoid the virilizing effects of anabolic steroids while building muscle and cutting weight.

Some of the effects one can expect from using testosterone enanthate include muscle production, improved bone density, weight loss, and increased body recovery.

Testosterone Undecanoate

Undecanoate is a testosterone variant that can be injected or taken orally. It is often prescribed to men as either a hormone replacement therapy or to alleviate conditions that result from a lack of testosterone.

The injectable form of testosterone undecanoate is esterified to have a long half-life and to be slow releasing. This means that, compared to other forms of testosterone, this one only needs to be used a few times a year.

Because testosterone undecanoate acts slowly in the body, it is not as popular as other forms of testosterone for improving muscle and performance. It is, however, commonly used as an addition to a steroid stack rather than by itself.

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Testosterone Pellets

Testosterone pellets, just like the more common forms of testosterone, are mainly prescribed as an HRT for men suffering symptoms of low testosterone.

The difference between testosterone pellets and other testosterone esters is the way it’s administered. Whereas most esters of testosterone are injected (a few can be taken orally) testosterone pellets are the size of a single grain of rice and are designed to be implanted underneath the skin and absorbed. One advantage of this slow rate of absorption is that it only needs to be taken 6 months at a time.

Testosterone pellets can be effective in building lean muscle, increasing metabolism, and increasing energy. Dosages can be personalized for one’s testosterone needs, but implanting them into the skin requires a short in-office procedure that might be inconvenient for some.

Testosterone Cypionate

Just like the rest of the pharmaceutical forms of testosterone discussed above, testosterone cypionate is primarily prescribed for treating men with conditions brought about by poor levels of testosterone. It is well-tolerated and is a popular injectable HRT used by athletes and bodybuilders for building muscle and increasing athletic performance.

Like its enanthate counterpart, testosterone cypionate is a popular slow-releasing ester for beginners. This means that testosterone cypionate can be taken once every 4 to 5 days and improvements can be noticed after every cycle.

Users of testosterone cypionate can expect to improve muscle mass, sexual drive, and weight loss after each cycle. Another reported benefit cypionate has over enanthate is that it produces much less irritation around the injection area.

Testosterone Side Effects

testosterone side effects

Testosterone has a high safety profile and is generally safe to use. Granted one uses testosterone responsibly, goes through regular check-ups, refrains from exceeding the recommended doses, and is without health preconditions, then there shouldn’t be a problem.

Furthermore, since some testosterone esters require subcutaneous administration, they don’t pass through the liver (like other anabolic steroids such as Anadrol or Dianabol do) and have the added benefit of not adversely affecting liver enzymes.

However, using testosterone does carry risks of side effects when misused or taken in high doses. For instance, testosterone is not recommended for people with cancer, heart, or liver and kidney diseases. Testosterone may also negatively interact with certain types of medication, so it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before going on a cycle.

Among the side effects of testosterone are cardiovascular diseases, liver damage, infertility, and virilization (in women).

As an androgenic compound, women, in particular, can experience masculinization from testosterone use, including a deepening of the voice, excessive hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles, and baldness.

LDL cholesterol values can also be expected to spike after testosterone use, which can lead to periods of high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.

Although rare, gynecomastia, or an increase in the size of breast tissue in males, can also result from testosterone overuse. Veteran bodybuilders who are aware of this risk will typically include a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) such as Nolvadex in their cycle to avert the possibility of breast tissue enlargement.

The fact is that testosterone’s muscle and performance-building effects are undeniable and well-documented. Testosterone, in particular, has been known to induce physical changes in the body to improve competitive advantage. However, an increase in dosage does increase the risk of side effects, and anyone intending to use testosterone should be doing so responsibly and following the right doses and cycle lengths.

Testosterone Cycles For Beginners

If you’re a beginner looking to get into your first testosterone cycle, we suggest using either testosterone enanthate or cypionate. These are mild forms of testosterone, and, because of how they’ve been esterified, will require less frequent injections.

If you’re looking to get into a testosterone-only cycle, however, the table below shows how many milligrams of testosterone should be taken per week. These dose amounts are in the “cautious” range but are guaranteed to produce noticeable gains in muscle size and strength after every cycle.

1200 mg
2200 mg
3300 mg
4300 mg
5300 mg
6350 mg
7350 mg

Testosterone Cycles For Beginners Who Want a Higher Dose

This higher-dose cycle below can be used by beginners who want to see faster gains. The stagnation of gains is a problem many experience after a while of sticking to lower doses, so to avoid this rut, one solution is to increase testosterone dosage by a few milligrams per week. Indeed, one can expect an additional 10 lbs of muscle to be added after following up the first set of beginner cycles with the one below.

Of course, an important thing to note is that this cycle carries more risk in terms of side effects than the previous one.

1200 mg
2400 mg
3400 mg
4400 mg
5400 mg
6500 mg
7500 mg
8500 mg
9500 mg
10200 mg

Testosterone And Dianabol Beginner Cycle

Dianabol was one of the first anabolic steroids made available in the market and one of the first made available in pill form. It is a very effective compound when used in conjunction with testosterone because it works to increase the effects of the latter.

Adding Dianabol to your cycle stack will increase your gains significantly and improve weight loss. Indeed, few steroids can match Dianabol when it comes to building muscle and improving performance, which is why it’s a favorite among veteran bodybuilders.

The cycles below are designed for beginners looking to include Dianabol in their steroid stack to increase gains.

1200 mg
2400 mg
3400 mg10 mg/day
4400 mg 10 mg/day
5400 mg20 mg/day
6500 mg 20 mg/day
7500 mg 20 mg/day
8500 mg 20 mg/day
9500 mg 20 mg/day
10200 mg 20 mg/day

Side Effects of Using Testosterone with Dianabol

Gynecomastia and excess water retention caused by an increase in the aromatization of estrogen are among the side effects of Dianabol. Women, in particular, will be more sensitive to these effects than men because their bodies naturally produce more estrogen. Generally, gynecomastia can be avoided when taking Dianabol by taking an aromatase inhibitor such as Letrozole or Arimidex, or by taking a SERM (like Nolvadex) for the duration of your cycle.

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Another side effect of Dianabol is liver toxicity. Because of this, it is not recommended to take Dianabol for more than the recommended period. One taking Dianabol should also take around 2-3 gallons of water per day to avoid liver toxicity by allowing the liver to catch up and be proportional to the body’s increased metabolic rate.

Dianabol will also have the effect of elevating blood pressure, increasing one’s risk of heart disease. Because of this, people with elevated blood pressure or with a family history of high blood pressure should avoid taking Dianabol. Conversely, those with normal blood pressure and who aren’t at risk of heart disease should be fine.

After a cycle, one should expect testosterone shut down to occur. To mitigate the effects of this, one will need to undergo post-cycle therapy. Post testosterone shutdowns can occur after a cycle because, during a cycle, the body is constantly supplied with testosterone from performance-enhancing drugs, resulting in a shut down of natural hormone production. To allow natural hormone production to restart, you’ll need a PCT like Clomid. Taking a PCT should be able to restore you back to normal after 1-2 months of use.

Testosterone and Deca Durabolin Cycle

Stacking steroids together always increases the risk of side effects. This is simply what can reasonably be expected from having more than one kind of anabolic compound act on the body.

Deca Durabolin, however, is one of the safest compounds to use in conjunction with testosterone, which makes it one of the most popular stacking partners of testosterone.

Also known as Nandrolone, Deca Durabolin is considered a mild form of synthetic testosterone that produces pretty much the same effects as testosterone. It improves muscle development, bone density, and athletic performance using the same mechanism of action as testosterone, but is less potent overall.

Deca can be injected or taken orally, but most bodybuilders prefer the former because of the faster gains.

Below is an example of a steroid cycle that includes both testosterone and Deca Durabolin.

1600 mg300 mg
2 600 mg 300 mg
3 600 mg 300 mg
4 600 mg 300 mg
5 600 mg 300 mg
6 600 mg 300 mg
7 600 mg 300 mg
8 600 mg 300 mg
9 600 mg 300 mg
10 600 mg 300 mg

Side Effects of Using Testosterone with Deca Durabolin

Just because Deca Durabolin is much less toxic than other anabolic steroids, this doesn’t mean it is without side effects. One of the side effects of Deca Durabolin is what’s called “Deca Dick.”

In a nutshell, “Deca Dick” is sexual impairment. Not only are users unable to get it up, so to speak, there’ll also be a tendency for users of Deca Durabolin to experience extended periods of decreased libido. One reason for this is because the compound decreases vascular nitric oxide availability, thus decreasing blood flow to the genitals.

The good news is that including an androgenic steroid such as testosterone in your Deca stack can help you avoid “Deca dick.” Testosterone can counter the effects of Deca by keeping your DHT levels high and maintaining your vascular nitric oxide levels to keep blood flowing freely to the genitals.

Deca Durabolin is also known to give abdominal pain and diarrhea. This will be particularly hard to deal with especially if your routine involves consuming large amounts of protein. The doses listed here, however, are on the low side of the spectrum, so the risk of abdominal pain and diarrhea are relatively low. But in the event that you do experience these particular side effects and find them less than tolerable, then you should halt the cycle immediately and consult with a health professional.

Testosterone and Trenbolone Cycle

If there is one word to describe trenbolone as an anabolic steroid, it’s powerful. For veteran bodybuilders, trenbolone is one of the most potent, and therefore one of the most sought-after anabolic steroids available in the market. Indeed, its ability to produce massive gains is the stuff of legend. It burns fat like crazy without causing water retention, and its capacity for producing lean muscles rivals Anadrol and Dianabol.

Veteran bodybuilding contestants aspiring to be as ripped as possible will often turn to trenbolone because of its non-aromatizing effects, but it can be considered too strong an androgenic to be recommended for women.

For those looking to include trenbolone in their steroid stack, below is what a testosterone and trenbolone cycle will look like.

1 600 mg150 mg
2 600 mg 150 mg
3 600 mg 150 mg
4 600 mg 150 mg
5 600 mg 150 mg
6 600 mg 150 mg
7 600 mg 150 mg
8 600 mg 150 mg
9 600 mg 150 mg
10 600 mg 150 mg

Side Effects of Using Testosterone with Trenbolone

Because both testosterone and trenbolone are taken subcutaneously, there won’t be any risk of liver toxicity in this cycle. One major side effect of trenbolone, however, is that it can cause a spike in blood pressure. This effect can be mitigated by consuming 4g of fish oil for each day of the cycle to decrease blood pressure.

Like Deca Durabolin, trenbolone increases the risk of gynecomastia. While aromatase inhibitors such as Letrozole or Arimidex can prevent gynecomastia, the downside is that they also have the effect of increasing blood pressure. Since trenbolone already increases blood pressure, taking AIs while on tren is not advisable.

To avoid gynecomastia, one can take AIs when early signs of gynecomastia, such as swelling in and around the nipple area, are observed — but not before.

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Because tren is highly androgenic, other side effects can include hair loss, acne, and an enlarged prostate. Women can avoid the worst of trenbolone’s virilizing effects by taking a lower dose, but because the compound is among the most virilizing among the anabolic steroids available in the market, it is generally not recommended for use for women.

Taking DHT-blocking supplements can assist in mitigating hair loss, but it will have the added effect of hindering some gains — so use at your discretion.

These side-effects won’t occur for everyone, but as with everything, genetics plays a role. If you have a history of these conditions, then your chances of experiencing them are increased. Conversely, some users, because of their genetic history, may experience mild symptoms, or none at all.

Testosterone and Anavar Cycle

Anavar, also known as oxandrolone, is a compound often prescribed to those who’ve lost weight as a result of some medical condition. It is also prescribed to sufferers of osteoporosis and other conditions that have resulted in a reduction of bone density.

It is an oral medication whose dosage is dependent on the condition it’s being used to treat, and the condition’s severity. Due to Anavar’s ability to increase metabolism, it’s often used in bodybuilding circles to cut weight. Anavar also doesn’t aromatize in the body, which means the gains from the compound will mostly be due to muscle development and not water retention.

As an anabolic, Anavar can be used to build muscle and improve athletic performance, but its potency in this regard is considered ‘mild’ compared to other anabolic steroids available in the market.

Testosterone and Anavar are often used in conjunction with one another because they are known to complement each other in a variety of ways. In particular, testosterone’s androgenic effects and Anavar’s ability to increase metabolism are a great combination for those looking to cut weight while bulking up.

The good thing about Anavar is that it is one of the safest steroids available, and a testosterone-Anavar combination, in particular, is one of the most popular steroid stacks for beginners, precisely because of the stack’s safety profile.

Below is what a good testosterone and Anavar cycle would look like. Novice users who prefer to use lower dosages can do a 6-week cycle instead, decrease their testosterone intake to 350 mg, and take 15 mg of Anavar for the first three weeks, followed by 20 mg for the last three.

1200 mg20 mg/day
2400 mg 20 mg/day
3 400 mg 20 mg/day
4 400 mg 20 mg/day
5 400 mg 20 mg/day
6500 mg 500 mg
7 500 mg 500 mg
8 500 mg 500 mg
9 500 mg
10200 mg

Side Effects of Using Testosterone with Anavar

Unfortunately, Anavar will lead to a testosterone suppression cycle whose effects will require a strong PCT to mitigate. Those who are used to experiencing TSC after a testosterone-only cycle should be aware that the TSC on an Anavar and testosterone cycle will be worse. Of course, since Anavar is milder than other anabolic steroids, the TSC from an Anavar and testosterone cycle won’t be as bad as what one can expect from other testosterone stack combinations.

Users can also expect to be at a decreased risk of gynecomastia with the above cycle compared to a testosterone-only cycle. Modest increases in blood pressure might occur, however, due to Anavar’s effect on cholesterol levels.

As opposed to some of the compounds discussed above, the risk of liver toxicity is much lower on Anavar because of how the compound is metabolized in the body. Needless to say, since testosterone plays a prominent role in this cycle, there will be risks of androgenic effects.

Testosterone and Anadrol Cycle

Anadrol is a powerful compound that is rivaled in potency by Dianabol. Indeed, if there’s an anabolic steroid that can be considered the most powerful, it will probably be Anadrol. It is used by bodybuilders to increase muscle size, but it’s so powerful that most veterans in the bodybuilding community opt to include it in their stack during the off-season.

Anadrol was originally synthesized to treat conditions like anemia and osteoporosis but was made available in the 60s for bodybuilding purposes. In the 1970s, however, observational studies reached the conclusion that Anadrol was too dangerous to be used for cosmetic purposes, so it was banned for off-label use. Be that as it may, Anadrol is still widely used among bodybuilders because of its effectiveness in building muscle.

Below is what a testosterone and Anadrol cycle will look like. To be clear, beginners and inexperienced users shouldn’t start with Anadrol and should start with milder compounds such as Anavar and Deca instead.

1200 mg50 mg/day
2200 mg 50 mg/day
3300 mg 50 mg/day
4300 mg 75 mg/day
5300 mg 75 mg/day
6350 mg 75 mg/day

Testosterone and Anadrol Side Effects

Anadrol is a very powerful drug, and it can cause liver enzymes to shoot up and cause liver toxicity. In this regard, it’s important to use a liver support supplement such as TUCDA throughout the duration of your cycle to mitigate liver stress.

Another big concern when using Anadrol is the steroid’s ability to increase blood pressure to dangerous levels. Users including Anadrol in their stack are recommended to take 4g of fish oil per day, cut back on salt, and limit themselves to foods that are known to reduce blood pressure.

Including cardio in your routine is also recommended to reduce blood pressure spikes. It might seem counterintuitive to do cardio while bulking up, but trust us, it will help keep your blood pressure down while you’re on the cycle.

Anadrol also carries the risk of water retention and gynecomastia, so a SERM like Novaldex should be taken throughout the duration of the cycle to avoid these risks.

Clomid and hCG will help alleviate the body at the end of the cycle and help bring it back to normal during the inevitable post-cycle testosterone shut down, so make sure you store up on these drugs beforehand.

The Bottomline

testosterone is great for bulking

Testosterone is great for bulking. Not just that, the fat-burning effects that can be had from the hormone are great for those looking to cut weight, too.

In terms of the different esters of testosterone that we discussed above, it’s recommended that beginners looking to include them in their stack should start with enanthate and cypionate. These are the safest testosterone esters, and they don’t need to be injected as frequently, which makes them easy to use.

The cycles discussed above aren’t for everyone. Beginners and inexperienced users should avoid using Dianabol and Anadrol — these are only for veteran bodybuilders. A testosterone-only, or a testosterone and Anavar cycle, however, can definitely give beginners a taste, so to speak, of the muscle- and strength-building benefits of anabolic steroids.

Whatever cycle you choose to go for, you’re sure to experience massive gains. Always remember to include the precautions and the supplementary drugs we mentioned for each cycle to counteract your chosen stack’s side effects. Also, we recommend that you get yourself checked by a health professional before beginning any cycle to make sure your heart and liver are in good condition.

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