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    Why You Should Not Frontload a Cycle 
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    This is taken from a post I made on another thread, but really I should stick it in its own thread...

    ***

    Why you should never frontload ('kickstart') a cycle: homeostasis



    Basically, all bodybuilders are in a battle against homeostasis. We try to overcome the body's tendency to not gain mass by eating more food, training more frequently or harder, taking more supplements, and so on. The idea being that more of [whatever] sends a stronger message for protein synthesis. Let's call all these compounds and techniques 'growth factors'.

    Well eventually, as we all know, these growth factors stop working. We ramp up the training intensity, take more creatine and so on, but growth plateaus regardless. You may be on a bulk cramming down the burgers, but the body finds a way to overcome this and prevent the growth message getting through - probably by elevating myostatin levels, among other mechanisms.

    At this point bodyfat may go up quickly, but LBM gain is closing in on zero net growth. So we have to take a break, usually shrink back a bit, and let the body get used to the absence of all these growth factors - creating a new 'normal' or set-point.

    In the process myostatin and all the other inhibitory mechanisms drop back too - with a slight lag, hence the loss of mass. At this point, hopefully we're holding more mass than when we started the last bulking cycle, and now we're ready to go and repeat it all over again, in the hope of retaining even more at the end of it; rinse repeat; rinse repeat.

    Steroids fit into this homeostatic cycle in exactly the same way as the other growth factors, albeit to a much higher degree. The growth benefit they confer is not an absolute factor. For instance 300mg of test doesn't build, say, 3 kg of muscle, nor does 600mg build 6kg. Steroids don't work like that.

    Just like with increasing training intensity or food intake, it's the relative change compared to what you were doing or taking before that accounts for their benefit.


    To make this obvious, let's use an example:


    Person A has been on a cycle of 1000mg test for a while and his growth has plateaued. So he increases the dose by 500mg for the next 10 weeks (it could just as easily be a different compound he's adding instead, btw). And suddenly, he experiences some new growth. Just what we want and what we would expect.

    Person B has also been training for years and his growth is at a plateau. So he's just starting a cycle, which is 500mg test total for 10 weeks.

    In other words, they are both doing exactly the same thing in adding 500mg testosterone to their bodies after hitting a plateau.

    But all other things being equal, who is going to gain more from that 500mg over the next 10 weeks?


    No prizes for guessing Person B.


    Person B is experiencing a dramatic change in his testosterone levels of several multiples of what he produces naturally. Meanwhile Person A was only increasing his testosterone level by 50%. For Person A to even have a chance at a similar result, he'd probably need to take something like 3-4000mg, which would be a relatively similar increase.


    So what does this mean for our normal gains-hungry bodybuilder?


    Well if you take this fundamental physiological fact, and now programme it into a regular cycle, you can see that ultimately the most effective strategy for overcoming homeostasis on AAS must be to continuously create as much relative change as you can. To be constantly tapering-up the dose from the lowest effective level.

    Now I ask anyone, if you intend to frontload your cycle with 1000mg of testosterone for a few weeks (or an oral steroid or whatever), how the fuck do you plan on creating much relative change after? You're starting out so high, the only way up is through the stratosphere. And since it's only a frontload, your serum levels may actually start to decline after peaking in the first month!

    So fine, you'll bloat up quickly at first and it will look like an amazing idea because the changes come on fast and you'll leave Mr Tortoise behind. But good luck if you thought those bloated 10lbs were solid real muscle. And good luck maintaining that pace for a solid 12 weeks of continuous real growth while your testosterone levels flatten out or even decline. This is one reason most cycles stop being productive after about 8 weeks or so - the body's homeostatic mechanisms kick in so quickly that you're fighting a losing battle from that point onwards.

    Meanwhile Mr Tortoise, who started out low and slow but keeps upping the dose, soon overtakes you despite still being on less AAS, all the while staying harder and drier and never once resembling the bloated watery Pufferfish you became thanks to your frontload.


    Which is why I say frontloading is logically one of the most retarded practices there is.


    By boosting AAS levels up to a peak within the first weeks, you are literally killing off your future growth potential. You're wasting your most effective tool for growth (relative change) by throwing it all in at the start. And you're deluding yourself that the rapid changes you saw were real keepable gains post-cycle.

    The clever approach to cycling - and indeed bodybuilding in general, given our battle with homeostasis - is to always be 'confusing' the body (and overcoming inhibitors like myostatin) by upping whatever variable you're playing with (be it food intake, training intensity, supplements or AAS) from the lowest effective starting point.

    Thus I advise guys to do the complete opposite of frontloading. Start your cycle on a dose that's barely over natural levels, so you can then spend the next 12-15+ weeks gradually raising the dose, achieving the solid relative change we all want, while still staying at a sensible level and without experiencing all the negative side-effects that high doses entail.

    This should be commonsense, even on the most anecdotal level and to the most novice trainee - after all, we all know our bodies plateau sometime after we make a change. So to be constantly changing (periodising) and tapering up various compounds and strategies from their lowest effective level is self-evidently the most efficient - and healthy - way to build muscle.
    Last edited by CFC; 21-09-2016 at 06:06.
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    What a great post CFC.... I recon we should make it a sticky...
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    #3
    What is your opinion on many very short cycles of fast acting strong compounds at relatively high doses? Homeostasis is avoided but the high doses and compounds necessary are likely to produce more side effects and very short cycles might be too short for muscle mass to grow since it takes time from the genes necessary being activated and for muscle cell hypertrophy since all of the processes involved take time (sattelite cells multiplying, fusing with the muscle fibers and protein syntheses to happen.
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    I think short blast cycles like that are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

    You're already basically maxing out your growth potential at the start of a cycle given the relative change even a small increase in natural hormone levels brings.

    It serves no purpose at all to then go and triple that already highly effective dose for the sake of some more bloat and negative sides. Let's say you manage to put on an extra 4-5lbs in the first 2 weeks with that blast approach - it's highly unlikely any of that is actually functional muscle tissue that will be retained afterwards.

    However short low-dose cycles, those make sense and do work very effectively for anyone not wishing to experience too much shut-down or sides but to attain some decently sustainable, incremental gains.
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    Good write up CFC, makes sense..
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by CFC View Post
    I think short blast cycles like that are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

    You're already basically maxing out your growth potential at the start of a cycle given the relative change even a small increase in natural hormone levels brings.

    It serves no purpose at all to then go and triple that already highly effective dose for the sake of some more bloat and negative sides. Let's say you manage to put on an extra 4-5lbs in the first 2 weeks with that blast approach - it's highly unlikely any of that is actually functional muscle tissue that will be retained afterwards.

    However short low-dose cycles, those make sense and do work very effectively for anyone not wishing to experience too much shut-down or sides but to attain some decently sustainable, incremental gains.
    Good response, although I have to apologize for not wording my question in the best way. Relatively high doses meant doses that while being on the high side (so not going from 500 mg test to 1.5g but to 750 mg or where ever your personal tipping point is since not all people respond the same to the the same doses) are still not at the level that just causes more side effects and bloat without any real increase in muscle growth (with the exception of strength athletes where the cut off is at the point where you are just causing more and more side effects with no real performance improvements.... if that means extra bloat that isn't desirable in body building then so be it.... especially since bloat has slight effects on your lifts that are unrelated to muscle growth or better nervous system utilization of the muscle already present).
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    #7
    So... Should I been titrating Clomid? I went from Total T of 260 to 750 in a week and then added Anastrozole and reached 1000-1200, which is where it stayed since... Did I also screw up my progress? I am cutting, not bulking...
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    If you're cutting, your aim is really just to support the balance of protein synthesis (nitrogen retention) to keep it positive, which doesn't need a lot. You're not going to gain serious muscle either way. However from your other posts my understanding was that below 1000 your mood/sense of wellbeing became poor, therefore maintaining that would be my primary focus.
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    #9
    Serious muscle can be gained even by women. Eventually, I want to look like Hugh Jackman in Wolverine or the dude in Spartacus. I doubt steroids are even necessary to get that big. Christian Bale got huge from Machinist to Batman in like 4-6 months without AAS. 1200ng/dL is probably top 1 percent of men. Then again, people lie...
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    Sorry reading what I wrote the way you have makes it look like an insult lol. What I meant was that serious muscle isn't going to be gained on a cut. I'm sure you can attain your ideal body, certainly.
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    #11
    It's not possible to gain muscle on a cut unless you've never hit the gym before and even then the growth will stop after a month once caloric deficit kicks in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by InfectedWithDrugs View Post
    Serious muscle can be gained even by women. Eventually, I want to look like Hugh Jackman in Wolverine or the dude in Spartacus. I doubt steroids are even necessary to get that big. Christian Bale got huge from Machinist to Batman in like 4-6 months without AAS. 1200ng/dL is probably top 1 percent of men. Then again, people lie...
    You don't think hugh and bale used aas?..


    Quote Originally Posted by InfectedWithDrugs View Post
    It's not possible to gain muscle on a cut unless you've never hit the gym before and even then the growth will stop after a month once caloric deficit kicks in.

    Depends on genetics. Kevin Levrone can do it. I would guess 95% of the population can not to the degree he can though, it's pretty shocking.
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    In a way I wish we didn't have pro-bodybuilders. They are so far off the chart, genetically speaking, and as close to being physically 'superhuman' that comparisons to the rest of us are pointless and completely misleading.

    One reason I think AAS doses are so high is the mistaken belief that their achievements are just a result of AAS, rather than the combination with their exceptional genetics.

    Academically, it's like comparing Einstein or Hawking to the average Uni student and expecting similar results from reading the same papers.
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by CFC View Post
    In a way I wish we didn't have pro-bodybuilders. They are so far off the chart, genetically speaking, and as close to being physically 'superhuman' that comparisons to the rest of us are pointless and completely misleading.

    One reason I think AAS doses are so high is the mistaken belief that their achievements are just a result of AAS, rather than the combination with their exceptional genetics.

    Academically, it's like comparing Einstein or Hawking to the average Uni student and expecting similar results from reading the same papers.
    True. I also believe they can put everything they have in to lifting, essentially it is their religion. They live in the gym.
    I enjoy my family too much for that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jr77 View Post
    True. I also believe they can put everything they have in to lifting, essentially it is their religion. They live in the gym.
    I enjoy my family too much for that.

    Well for the bodybuilders who do it for a living 2 hrs in the gym a day verses 8-10 at a office job. You actually get more time with your kids if you choose to.
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by CFC View Post
    In a way I wish we didn't have pro-bodybuilders. They are so far off the chart, genetically speaking, and as close to being physically 'superhuman' that comparisons to the rest of us are pointless and completely misleading.

    One reason I think AAS doses are so high is the mistaken belief that their achievements are just a result of AAS, rather than the combination with their exceptional genetics.

    Academically, it's like comparing Einstein or Hawking to the average Uni student and expecting similar results from reading the same papers.
    Or pro strongmen / powerlifters / oly lifters. I could take all the AAS in the world and not do an olympic press with 230 kg.
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    #17
    Yeah there is so much more to good genes for BB than high T levels. I thought high healthy T levels would make me Superman, but it simply made progress quicker by 50 percent or so. Strength went up, endurance, energy, but fat loss / muscle gain is still at 1lbs per week and strict diet also needed, counting every single calorie.

    The biggest advantage of T for me was becoming a much more confident man, which helped in the dating scene dramatically. More T = more Alpha.
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    #18
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    Nice post!
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    #19
    If you want your cycle to kick off fast pin test p along side test e for about 14 days. The test p will hit you in a couple days an work until you stop taking it. You stop taking it at the 2 week mark because that's when the test e has saturated your blood. There will be a little overlap of high test levels but that not a big deal. You won't even notice that. So let's say 350 mg a week TP for 14 days and 500mg a week of TE your entire cycle. Those numbers are just an example, you do what you do. This is how I've always known it to be done.

    Front loading 2 grams of test makes zero sense like OP said. That is putting your body through some serious hormone changes for no reason. And you couldn't adjust anti e quick enough if you are sensitive to gyno.

    To me, they are both foolish. Just let the hormones work at the rate they were designed to work. With gear, slow and steady wins the race. Being consistent in this order will get you results... Eating, lifting, supplements (all supplements, gear and protein shakes and so on).

    Take gear in a rush and your gains will rush right out alongside your pct
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefcastleomega View Post
    If you want your cycle to kick off fast pin test p along side test e for about 14 days. The test p will hit you in a couple days an work until you stop taking it. You stop taking it at the 2 week mark because that's when the test e has saturated your blood. There will be a little overlap of high test levels but that not a big deal. You won't even notice that. So let's say 350 mg a week TP for 14 days and 500mg a week of TE your entire cycle. Those numbers are just an example, you do what you do. This is how I've always known it to be done.
    Have you not read the OP, it quite clearly explains why frontloading is retarded..
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Genetic Freak View Post
    Have you not read the OP, it quite clearly explains why frontloading is retarded..
    Great post!! I've front-loaded in the past and have never seen this info you posted-wish I had!!!


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    #22
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    In a way, it's also fundamentally an argument for using the smallest effective doses of AAS possible at all times.
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    #23
    I'd somewhat disagree.

    The main underlying point here is the constant progression and improvement of growth factors, be it improvement in diet, harder training, increased drugs, etc, is the mechanism behind growth which I would agree with.

    The idea presented here is that frontloading will start you out at a higher baseline in the cycle which means, at some point, to continue growth you will need above and beyond what you would have needed at any given point to continue growing.

    I'd argue that it just alters the timeline for results. Let's say someone is running a 10 week cycle for round numbers (could be 20 or 40 weeks or whatever). I'm going to arbitrarily pick some percentages to show X% amount of improvement throughout the cycle.

    Without a front load or with a taper up it may look like this
    Week 2 - 25% improvement, 25% gain
    Week 4 - 45% improvement, 20% gain
    Week 6 - 65% , 20% gain
    Week 8 - 85% , 20% gain
    Week 10 - 100% , 15% gain


    With a frontload it may look like this
    Week 2 - 40% improvement, 40% gain
    Week 4 -70% improvement, 30% gain
    Week 6 - 90% , 20% gain
    Week 8 - 95% , 5% gain
    Week 10 - 100% , 5% gain


    Obviously these are just arbitrary numbers to show the concept. You see the same amount of improvement over the course of the run but more of the results land on the front end with the front load and the constant or taper up keeps things rolling more evenly.

    Its the same as when people say that you make better gains when you come off or, to a lesser extent when you blast cruise. Personally that's not my opinion because you're just dropping your baseline way down without the gear - of course your going to gain like crazy when you get back on.

    i.e. Blasting and cruising or constantly blasting will put you in roughly the same place as cycling on and off except with blast cruise or only blasting you'll constantly be at the level you reach when you cycle back in from being off. It's just a question of whether you want your baseline to be, say, 225lbs @ 8% year around or if you want to yo-yo up and down.

    I may be biased since I usually frontload and spend a lot of time blasting but that's been my experience. They're just different methods to get to the same place in different periods of time and should primarily should just be dictated by your overall long term goals.

    I've had the privilege to talk to Dallas McCarvers old training partner and a couple of doctors that have worked with pros (Flex Lewis, Ronnie, Phil heath, Dexter to name a few) and some, Dallas especially, are hitting it hard from the start and never letting off the gas. Their goals dictate their approaches.
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    #24
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    Wouldn't one put one's self at a greater risk of injury trying to master a frontload like that? I mean, say that a lift goes up by 50lbs over 10 weeks. The tapering up method would more or less be consistent with 5lb/wk progression, but a frontload might make a person want to jump 25lbs on week 2.
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by RedLeader View Post
    Wouldn't one put one's self at a greater risk of injury trying to master a frontload like that? I mean, say that a lift goes up by 50lbs over 10 weeks. The tapering up method would more or less be consistent with 5lb/wk progression, but a frontload might make a person want to jump 25lbs on week 2.
    Yeah, potentially I suppose although there are a couple things to consider. One, IMO if someone is always lifting as heavy as they actually can on gear, primarily when a cycle begins or doses are increased, they are an idiot to begin with. Just because you can lift something doesn't mean you should and reasonable progressive overload should always be considered in order to prevent injuries.

    The next thing to consider would be doses. Say person X doesn't have an enormous history and is planning on running 400mg a week total. Person B is experienced and plans on running 1000mg a week total. Person A started with a 800mg front load and person B starts with their usual 1000mg a week. Who's at greater risk for injury? There are a lot of factors to consider but ultimately I'd argue that one week of front load isn't going to cause any massive difference in strength increase. But, again, if there is, you should always be sticking to progressive overload, not lift shit as heavy as you can all the time.
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