I have been af member of this forum since last year where I decided to do my first ever cycle, after having done extensive research for about a year. Time flies and right now I am planning to start my second cycle within a couple of days and had some questions first I wanted to get clarified before starting. This is going to be a bit long, but please bear with me.
So, last summer I did a 12 weeks 500 mg test E cycle combined with 0,5mg adex EOD. I had a really good first cycle, felt great, good mass and strenght gains, little to no sides (got an acne break out in PCT tho) and gained around 8-9 kgs (19 lbs). Diet and training were good. I ate at a surplus of around 300 cals in the start of the cycle and bumped up to around 500 cals over maintenance in the later stages. PCT went smooth and I didn't feel the "crash". I did a HCG 10 days blast 14 days after my last pin and started my SERM-therapy consisting of 40/40/20/20/20 mgs of Nolva 3 days later. This time I am planning to change things a bit. I will still do a 500 mg Test only cycle with 0,5 mg Adex EOD, but will do HCG at 2x250iu during cycle to keep testes working and speed up recovery.
Now on to my question. During PCT I continued to eat around 300-500 calories over maintenance, decreased training volume but kept the same intensity and continued to lift heavy. I managed to keep strenght levels, lost maybe 1-2 reps in the big exercises during the first couple of months, but I gained a lot of body fat (think I went from around 14% to 17-18%) This is probably due to the fact that during PCT T-levels are at an all time low, cortisol is high, estrogen is high, leaving you in a very catabolic state. On one side you don't want to lose the muscle tissue that you have just gained, so you want to continue to eat a high amount of calories, but on the other side this way you are likely to put on a lot of body fat. I ate over maintenance during PCT and 2 months beyond and gained probably gained around 3-4 kgs of body fat. I decided to cut in February and I have managed to reduce my body fat from around 18% to 12%. I am back at around the same weight prior to my first cycle but with a lower BF% and a better overall form, probably 2-3 kgs of muscle in difference, so all in all this is small progress but could be better. Now, I don't want to make the same mistake again, I don't want to experience this yoyo-effect and I'm not going to throw all this hard work from the last couple of months away. My question is, how do you guys keep your gains during PCT and beyond without gaining any/much fat? Would I be wise to just eat at maintenance during PCT (keeping protein high) and after? Cardio maybe? I am not doing this for short term. I want to be able to keep my gains naturally for years. I have not reached my natural limit yet, so this should be very possible. I don't plan to do steroids for years, so if I could gain 3-4 kgs of muscle and keep most of it for years, I would be more than satisfied.
I will take your advice to my heart