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Whether you are a professional bodybuilder or athlete, or just looking to get ripped quickly, steroids can make the difference between make and break. They can help get bulked up, improve strength and endurance, and are equally suitable for cutting.
However, using steroids is not that easy. It is not like taking vitamins. There is a whole science behind the use of steroids for improving sports performance. One has to do a lot of study before starting using steroids to avoid adverse effects and get maximum benefits from them.
Anabolic steroids can be injectables or taken orally. Injectables are preferred by many as there is no need for daily dosing. Generally one injection a week is enough. Steroids could be testosterone esters or synthetic analogs.
One of the reasons why testosterone or steroids harm health is due to negative feedback. Let’s say that your body produces 5-7 mg of testosterone a day. And then one day you start taking testosterone by injection, and your level of testosterone rises to 50 mg in blood. That is ten times above your natural level. When it happens, your brain detects the high levels and orders the various glands to stop producing testosterone.
The result of negative feedback is that your body resorts to complete shutdown of testosterone production. If you continue to take testosterone or steroids without a break than your testicles will start contracting in the absence of workload. If you do not take any break from steroids than part of testosterone-producing cells in testicles will be lost forever, and irreversible damage will happen.
To avoid irreversible damage steroids are taken in cycles. It means you take steroids for 8 to 12 week and then take a break so that your body’s natural testosterone production can recover. Advanced users even use post cycle therapy to accelerate this recovery.
In most cases, steroids are taken for 12 weeks followed by a period of rest. This combination of on-steroids followed by off-steroids is called cycles. For a beginner, the recommendation is of 1:1, meaning 12 weeks of on-steroids to be followed by 12 weeks of rest. Or even better is 1:2, that is 12 weeks of use followed by 24 weeks of rest to make sure that no side effects occur at all.
However, for the advanced users or those using post cycle therapy (PCT) things may differ a bit. They may have much shorter rest periods. Thus, they may use steroids for 12 weeks, followed by just four weeks of recovery time. In some cases, recovery time may be kept to only two weeks, though it is not recommended as it is too short for recovery even with PCT.
So, as you must have understood by now that recovery time or rest periods are needed to ensure that your internal production of testosterone recovers, it also helps prevent shrinking of testicles. If recovery time is less than the time you were on steroids than it is almost essential to use aggressive PCT.