How to Come off Steroids
When it comes to performance enhancement, most will spend quite a bit of time learning about anabolic steroids, searching out proper supplementation practices and every last aspect they can as it pertains to remaining safe. Many who’ve never touched the first anabolic steroid will spend months and months, maybe even years going back and forth searching out everything they can; such research should be applauded. Even so, while the cycle itself is researched, many fail to consider the post cycle aspect; specifically, how to come off steroids. Of course, at some point in time you’re going to come off; there are those who will stay on cycle for indefinite periods of time, hardcore performance enhancers who will be on cycle for an enormous amount of time, but eventually everyone comes off. Understand this here and now; you need to know how to come off steroids, and you need to know how to come off steroids in the most efficient and healthy way possible.
When we supplement with anabolic androgenic steroids for the purpose of performance enhancement, we are providing our body with a massive amount of hormones; far more than it is naturally accustomed to. Once a cycle is complete, once the exogenous hormones are no longer provided something must be done in-order to help the body normalize; otherwise, complications may arise. In many ways, one of the primary factors is testosterone; anabolic androgenic steroids will suppress our natural testosterone production; the degree of the suppression will vary and be dependent on the steroids we’re using, but it will occur. Once our cycle is complete, our levels are still suppressed; granted, natural production will begin again, but it is going to take quite a bit of time for you natural levels to return to normal. A simple 12-16wk testosterone cycle will take around a full year to recover from if nothing is done, and that means you’ll be living with low levels for quite some time. A low testosterone condition cannot only be extremely bothersome due to the symptoms it can provide, it is extremely unhealthy, and what’s worse is there is absolutely no reason for it. It must be noted; when it comes to post cycle testosterone recovery this is assuming you did not suffer from low testosterone prior to anabolic steroid use, and that you did not severely damage your HPTA with poor or improper supplementation practices.
Beyond testosterone suppression, you need to know how to come off steroids for simple normalization factors. This is extremely important when and if you reach extreme levels of anabolic steroidal use for long periods of time. We’re referring to hardcore supplementation, and when you discontinue use abruptly and without any thought to the future this can cause a shock to your body that can be quite uncomfortable. Such a case may mean your natural testosterone production will not begin on its own; even your entire endocrine system could be found lacking.
With all of this in mind, we want to look at how to come off steroids; specifically, we want to find out how to come off steroids safely, properly and effectively. We’ll look at post cycle plans for moderate to extreme use, and the options you have; we’ll even look at extreme hardcore scenarios some may be interested in. It should be noted; most of the information provided assumes you’re going to be off-cycle for an extended period of time with a few exceptions that will be noted. An extended period of time will be at least 12 weeks; if you’re going to be off cycle for less than 12 weeks, promoting things like testosterone stimulation is counterproductive since you’ll be suppressing it again shortly. Of course, if you are only going to be off for a short period of time, we have plans for you too.
How to Come off Steroids 101
When your cycle comes to an end and you’re ready to promote recovery, the first thing you need on hand is a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM) and your top choices will always be Tamoxifen Citrate (Nolvadex) and Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid). You will not need both, and each one can get the job done; simply choose one. You may find its best to try one and then the other the next time and see which one you prefer. At any rate, by their natural mode of action, these SERM’s will stimulate your natural testosterone production through a very simple action. SERM’s like Nolvadex and Clomid stimulate the pituitary to release more Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which in-turn stimulate the testicles to produce more testosterone. Without LH and FSH, especially LH there is no natural testosterone production.
While a SERM is always needed, there is a second additional option that can be worth your consideration; the potent peptide hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). By its mode of action, hCG acts to stimulate natural testosterone through an LH mimicking effect; LH isn’t actually released, but your body thinks it is. hCG use isn’t always needed, but it can be a perfect way to prime your body for the SERM therapy to come. Of course, as you want to understand how to come off steroids, you need to know how to implement both hCG and your SERM, and depending on which SERM you use, how your steroid cycle ends and if you include hCG this will determine what is known as your Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) treatment plan. It must be noted; hCG use must be limited; hCG abuse can be more damaging than most other types of performance abuse in a long-term sense. If you use too much or for too long, your body may become dependent on this LH mimicking action, and if this occurs, you may very well find a permanent low testosterone condition.
How to Come off Steroids – The Plans
If your steroid cycle is of a simple or moderate nature, there’s a good chance you’ll only need a SERM for 4 weeks; simple or moderate might refer to 12 weeks of a low dose testosterone cycle. In such an instance, you could use hCG and it won’t hurt anything, but it’s not going to be necessary. Above this, you will need five to six weeks of SERM therapy and ten days of hCG therapy preceding it. In any case, in the chart below we have listed the standard SERM therapy to get you started; if your steroid cycle was of a very moderate nature, simply adjust the doses to meet a four week plan.
The above represents a solid SERM plan for most PCT plans; again, you do not need both Clomid and Nolvadex, we have simply laid out the dosing protocol for both; you simply need to pick one. Of course, if you’re going to use hCG, you need to know the dose of this too. For most men, 10 days of hCG therapy at 500iu to 1,000iu per day for 10 straight days is perfect; you may not need 1,000iu’s, but it should never be surpassed. At any rate, how you implement all of this will depend on how your steroid cycle ends, and the bullet points below will display each possibility and exactly how you need to plan things out.
- Large Ester & SERM Only: if your anabolic steroid cycle ends with any large ester based steroids, even if it’s a mixture of small and large ester steroids you will begin your SERM therapy approximately 14-18 days after your last injection following the protocol in the SERM chart above. Any steroids that are attached to the Caproate, Cypionate, Enanthate, Decanoate, Heptanoate , Hexanoate, Isocaproate, Nonanoate ,Octanoate or Undecylenate ester meet this large ester definition.
- Small Ester & SERM Only: if your anabolic steroid cycle ends with all small ester based steroids, you will begin your SERM therapy approximately 3 days after your last injection following the protocol in the SERM chart above. Any steroids that are attached to the Acetate, Formate, Phenylpropionate or Propionate ester meet this large ester definition. It should be noted; if you have a Butyrate or Valerate based steroid, you might wait a few more days to start SERM therapy; however, the odds are extremely low that you’ll ever come across such a steroid.
- Large Ester, SERM & hCG: if your anabolic steroid cycle ends with any large ester based steroids, even if it’s a mixture of small and large ester steroids you will begin your hCG therapy 10 days after your last injection and administer the hCG every day for 10 straight days. Once hCG therapy is complete, you will immediately begin your SERM therapy as laid out in the SERM chart above the very next day.
- Small Ester, SERM 7 hCG: if your anabolic steroid cycle ends with all small ester based steroids, you will begin your hCG therapy 2 days after your last injection and administer the hCG every day for 10 straight days. Once hCG therapy is complete, you will immediately begin your SERM therapy as laid out in the SERM chart above the very next day.
Important PCT Notes
You know how to come off steroids, but there’s something you need to understand about a PCT plan. No, the above PCT plans will not take your hormone levels back to normal all on their own; there is no PCT plan on earth that can do such a thing. Even so, it will significantly reduce your total recovery time, maybe in half, but there’s a much more important factor. Through the testosterone stimulation, you will ensure your body has enough testosterone to function properly while your levels continue to naturally rise. This is extremely important as testosterone is one of the most important hormones your body produces; it is absolutely essential to our health, function and well-being. You know how to come off steroids, and if you’re going to be off for an extended period of time, as you can see there is no logical reason for forgoing a solid PCT plan.
There is another important note we must briefly discuss and it’s the use of AromataseInhibitors (AI’s) in a PCT plan. AI’s such as Anastrozole (Arimidex) and Letrozole (Femara) and even Exemestane (Aromasin) will stimulate LH and FSH in a similar fashion as a SERM and tremendously so; even so, we do not recommend them for this purpose. As you understand, AI’s will reduce estrogen levels dramatically, and a PCT plan isn’t just about stimulating natural testosterone but normalizing your body. No, estrogen is nowhere near as exciting as testosterone, but you need a fair amount for proper health and function. In the end, save your AI use for when it’s the most beneficial, and that’s for combating estrogenic and progestin related anabolic steroid side-effects when on cycle.
How to Come off Steroids – Short Periods & Bridging
If you’re only going to be off cycle for a short period of time, less than 12 weeks, the PCT plans above are not that beneficial; you’ll only be immediately suppressing production after you’ve stimulated it. If this is the case, you could just stay off everything for a few weeks or a couple months; you will lose a little lean tissue, but if you stay consistent with your training and diet it won’t be much, and it will come right back as soon as you start again. It is important during this time that you back off your training a little bit; do enough training to keep the body functioning properly and in good health, but your recovery abilities will be lower. If you go nuts with your training during this time, you’ll only burn yourself out, and if you’re sloppy with your diet this is the perfect time to gain a lot of excess body-fat.
For many men, if they’re going to be off for a short period of time they will find a low dose of testosterone during that time to be perfect; we’re talking about 200mg to 250mg per week. Of course, technically this isn’t off, but it’s definitely not a full blow cycle. Such testosterone doses will protect your gains during your down time, and such use can be beneficial to the hardcore athlete. Another option is a low dose of Nolvadex and Dianabol; we’re talking about 10mg per day of each for four to five weeks. Is this necessary; probably not if you’re only going to be off for that short of a time, but it is the best option other than testosterone if it’s an option you want. Even so, the best option of all will always be an HRT or TRT level dosing of testosterone as described above.
The Bottom Line
By now, if you don’t know how to come off steroids properly, well, you weren’t paying attention or you have bigger problems. The above represents the truth, and while there’s no magical solution we can give you the above represents the most effective solutions available. Sure, there are other things you can add; regardless of a full blown PCT or a bridging type plan many find the continuation of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to be quite beneficial; we tend to agree. Of course, HGH is something that needs to be used for a long period of time, and if you weren’t supplementing with it while on cycle there’s no reason to include it as part of your PCT. Then again, you could start HGH use during your PCT plan and continue it to and through your next steroid cycle, but only during the PCT plan is useless.
There is one more important factor we must discuss, and it revolves around hardcore heavy anabolic steroid cycles; we’re talking about cycles that exceed moderate dosing plans extensively. If this is the case, and you’re going to come off cycle and transition into a PCT plan you’ll find a steroid taper at the end of your cycle to be beneficial as it will allow for a smoother transition. If you’ve completed a hardcore cycle, dropping down to a low dose of testosterone, 200mg to 300mg per week for four weeks and then going into a PCT plan will be your best route. Some have argued this tapering method isn’t necessary, but based on the reactions and real life results shown by performance enhancers it appears to be the most efficient. At any rate, when you want to know how to come off steroids properly, doing so in the most efficient way possible is the most important factor, and that’s the bottom line.