A steroid cycle is the time in which someone is using steroids. If an athlete is using performance enhancing anabolic steroids, he or she is said to be in an “on cycle,” as opposed to an “off cycle,” the time in which anabolic steroids are not in use. When in an on cycle, it is rare that only one type of anabolic steroid is in use. Most performance enhancers will use a designer combination of anabolic steroids, called a “steroid stack.” For our purposes for this article, we will be looking at the “how” and “why” of steroid cycles and stacks, not the legality. We are not recommending that any reader should use illegal performance enhancers, but we are definitely interested in exploring how they work. So here we go…
For a first-timer who’s never completed a steroid cycle before, it’s recommended that they use a small, simple stack. The body will react to any new hormones. If you start with a large, complicated stack, your body may have an adverse reaction to one of the types of steroids you’ve ingested, but you’ll have a very hard time figuring out which one, whether it needs to be removed or decreased, etc. Experts recommend starting small and simple for this reason. Even experts who recommend steroid cycles for added muscle mass and performance warn about the risks inherent in steroid use. So, if you are considering personal performance enhancement through anabolic steroid use, always consider the dangers. If you are considering it to gain performance in competition, know that use of performance enhancing drugs is illegal and can cost you more than just a title or award; it can result in jail time.
On and Off Time to Minimize Risk when Using
So how long does a steroid cycle last? Typically, enhancers’ on cycles last six to twelve weeks . It’s recommended that newer users do not exceed twelve weeks. While they may see great changes in their physique, strength, and stamina, the body needs time to adjust to any changes, especially hormonal injections. Additionally, the longer one uses anabolic steroids, the more likely one is to see adverse side effects, like liver damage, cardiovascular problems, issues with the reproductive system, and psychological side effects like uncontrollable mood swings and aggression . Especially in new users, it is recommended that the first off cycle be at least as long as the first on cycle. Regular anabolic steroid users, who are going for a massive change and gain in physique and strength, will go for sixteen to twenty week on cycles, with only a four to eight week off cycle . It should be pointed out here, again, that this is incredibly dangerous and that the side effects of over-use of anabolic steroids can be severe and even fatal.
How it affects your Body
Steroid cycles aid in changing the body’s shape, size, and muscle density. They also bear a hefty tax on the body’s other functions, especially the liver and the heart. The body produces enough testosterone and other steroids to function at a healthy level. If it does not, prescriptions can be obtained for a safe amount of steroid use. Performance enhancing steroids are illegal for professional athletes, not only because they give an unfair advantage to one player over another, but also because their use comes with a serious risk. This is why steroid users have adopted the steroid cycle method. The idea is that, through periods of use and disuse, they can get the most effectiveness from the drugs with the least risk.
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