By now, if you have read about hormones, you will hopefully be in a position to make an educated choice about what prohormone is best suited to you, depending on your own individual circumstances. If you have not reading this yet, we advise you to do so before proceeding any further.
Given the importance of educating yourself to the effects that various prohormones impart, it is curious that a lot of people will take these powerful muscle building supplements & fail to do everything they can to acquire & maintain the best possible gains from the use of prohormone supplements. This article will look at various ways to improve the effectiveness of your prohormone cycle by the effective use of correct training, dietary, & supplement regimes to assist users in obtaining the maximum benefit that is possible, whilst ameliorating any probable drawbacks that prohormone usage can entail.
What makes a prohormone cycle various?
Prohormones will act on your body in a number of unique ways, which means that simply training & eating as you normally would, will mean missing out on many of the benefits prohormones confer. For a start, prohormones will enhance protein synthesis in the body which is the main mechanism by which they add power mass. They will also have the following effects :
Increased carbohydrate storage;
Enhanced levels of increase factors such as GH, IGF-1, MGF, etc.
Enhanced creatine synthesis;
Lowered levels of cortisol;
While improved protein synthesis is considered most important for increasing muscle mass, these other actions of prohormones will all have an anabolic (muscle building) effect on your body.
Furthermore, prohormones will increase recovery rates from training allowing us to train harder than before, & also enhance neural drive. Enhanced neural drive translates into increased aggression & focus when performing athletic activity. This translates into improved strength independent of the actual muscle mass increase. This is an important point & one reason why we reserve use of strength enhancing stimulants for Post Cycle Treatment.
On the negative side, prohormones have the probable to cause side effects related to excess androgen levels, elevated levels of estrogens (depending on the type of prohormone taken), lowered levels of cortisol, & actions of prohormones on the liver & other organs.
Taking the above knowledge in mind, we can now explore potential ways we can improve the effectiveness of our cycle, maximizing the benefits of prohormone usage, while limiting potential side effects these supplements can cause.
Training is the one area most group taking prohormones overlook so it is appropriate to consider it first to illustrate its importance in optimizing our prohormone cycle.
Most people will just train on cycle as they would off cycle & use the greater muscle & strength increases that they experience taking prohormones to push up their training weights. This means that though taking prohormones you are able to add strength rapidly on a weekly basis which is psychologically very satisfying.
But is this the right thing to do?
To answer this, let’s take a look at what happens if you follow this approach on a typical prohormone cycle of four weeks where you increase training weights rapidly every week leading up to the end of the cycle. At the finish of the prohormone cycle you will no doubt be feeling very happy with yourself, but what happens after that when you discontinue prohormone use?
First of all, testosterone levels as outlined in our other articles will be low which means building/supporting muscle mass will be much more hard. In fact, even if you run our recommended post cycle treatment method to the letter, some loss of weight mass is still likely to occur. Your body’s low down testosterone levels at the end of a prohormone cycle also means that you lose the psychological benefit of taking prohormones (enhanced neural drive, which is vital for strength).
So, assuming you have maxed out on training weights during your cycle you will struggle mightily trying to increase the weights any more during the period coming off. This sets up a very bad circumstance where we have both lowered testosterone levels & decreased weights on the bar. Obviously, low testosterone & decreased training loads means you are not in a good position as this combination will cause loss of muscle mass even if you hadn’t just experienced a four week cycle of elevated androgen levels.
To remedy this, it is recommended that the use of prohormones be scheduled before you hit the heaviest weights in a typical training cycle. If following a per iodized training cycle where you gradually move from lower weight/high reps to higher weight/low reps, you would be most excellent off using prohormones while training weights are light. This will allow you to grow the weight on the bar when you come off since the lowered rep phase of your training cycle will permit the use of heavier weights. The heavier weight will improve permit you to keep your gains coming off.
A second option for athletes who do not follow a periodized training program but usually stick to a given set/rep range is to increase training volume whilst taking prohormones. In this case the higher improvement rates while taking prohormones will permit you to increase both reps & sets if necessary which will have its own anabolic effect on muscle tissue. Then, when coming off, go back to your usual set/rep range (or even lower than normal during the first few weeks of PCT), & increase the weight on the bar.
Physiologically, the heavier heaviness coming off will act as a signal to the body to keep the muscle mass gained during the prohormone cycle, & psychologically, the ability to maintain & increase the weight on the bar coming off will lead to greater satisfaction for the athlete & likely help with motivation & adherence to their training.
Diet & Nutritional Needs
Given the ability for prohormones to rapidly growth protein synthesis it should be obvious that some major adjustments to diet are necessary to maximise gains.
Assuming most athletes are eating around 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight in general, it is recommended to double this protein intake while on cycle to 4g per kg of bodyweight. Ordinarily, this advanced a level of protein consumption is likely to lead to nothing more than the body excreting it with little to no benefit in terms of enhanced weight mass. However, when taking prohormones, the body’s aptitude to utilize such a high level of protein is dramatically increased to the point that it is considered essential to adopt an ultra-high protein intake by ordinary standards, whenever a course of prohormones is undertaken. By doing this, the body is stored with the need building blocks to build muscle at a far greater rate than normal & take full advantage of the favorable hormonal environment during prohormone use.
Carbohydrates should be kept high during a cycle with fats at a moderate to low level. With the fat burning competence that are an inherent benefit of prohormones, an extra of calories can be safely employed in the knowledge that, with a diet advanced in protein, the excess calories are highly likely to be used to build muscle rather than fat. People with susceptibility towards fat increase may not want to increase their calories by as much, but for all athletes a advanced protein intake during prohormone cycles is required to obtain the maximum benefit possible.
It is recommended that prohormones are taken with food, with preferably a some fat at least, to growth absorption. For those who are particularly anal, they be able to taken with grapefruit juice to increase bioavailability although this is not recommended as increasing bioavailability can also increase stress on the liver.
Next off of a cycle of prohormones we encounter the same problem as noted in the training section, namely a hormonal environment characterized by low testosterone, with elevated estrogen & cortisol levels in the post cycle period being key elements that need to be brought under control to prevent muscle breakdown from happening.
At the same time, the elevated estrogen & cortisol found during the post cycle period will, if not addressed, cause an growth in body fat. Assuming that a supplemental PCT regime is being followed as outlined in our PCT article, we still necessity to consider the fact that it will take a few weeks for the body to revert to homeostasis (that is, the normal state before the start of the prohormone cycle). During the PCT stage it is vital to remember the body is setup to gain fat & lose muscle.
Solution to the problem
The first thing to note is that Hashmi’s supplements such as VETOLL XL will help prevent fat gain by combating the cortisol rise that occurs during post cycle therapy, the body is nevertheless going to add body fat quickly if we carry on eating as if we were trying to pack on muscle fast as we would during the actual prohormone cycle itself.
Instead, calories should be cut to maintenance or slightly above – not so low that we put our body in a state where it loses power, but at the same time not eating so far above maintenance that we gain a large amount of body fat. Eating at around maintenance or just supra, with the addition of appropriate PCT supplements should help to ensure we are consuming enough calories to prevent muscle breakdown while limiting the prospect for fat gain.
As for the actual makeup of what to eat post cycle, protein intake can be reduced back to extra normal ranges as excess protein in the PCT stage will just be excreted or changed to glucose. Assuming our main goal is to keep muscle mass while avoiding fat gain, a aliment higher in fats post cycle but relatively low in carbohydrates (around 100-150g of carbs daily only), will help to protect power from wasting away. The reasoning behind this is that the highest fat/lowered carb intake creates an environment of insulin resistance which helps to prevent muscle from being broken down.
The final aspect to be covered with regards to optimizing our usage of prohormones is with working out the appropriate methods for utilizing other supplements when taking prohormones. As the post cycle treat article already covers the use of supplements during the post cycle stage, we will restrict ourselves to the use of supplements during the cycle.
The first thing to note is that when taking prohormones all other ergogenic aids designed to boost performance ought to be stopped. This is not because they cannot complement a prohormone cycle, but, on the contrary, their use is improved left for the PCT period when they will be needed to help offset the loss in performance when our prohormone cycle is discontinued.
Leaving aside ergogenics, what else ought to we look to supplement during our cycle? Of more importance, what should other supplements be used for? To answer the first question we must first look at the second.
As outlined already, there is little reason to use anything to increase performance when prohormones are taken as the effects of other supplements will be swamped. Instead we ought to look at supplements whose primary function is to offset any side effects that prohormones can cause.
Our guide to prohormones article gives a detailed breakdown of the actions of different products on the marketplace today. Some of these, as the astute reader will gather, will convert in some scale to estrogen, while others are somewhat hepatoxic (stressful on the liver). As a universal rule, all prohormones will increase blood pressure & cardiac stress somewhat. Although these side effects be able to sound worrying they are all things which intelligent use of supplements can help to combat.
Turning first to estrogen, anti-estrogen supplements such as Erase Pro & Triazole will help to resolve any potential issues arising from certain prohormones converting to estrogen. Although they are generally reserved for the post cycle platform, it is wise to keep them to one side even during the prohormone cycle, and, should estrogenic side things be noted, introduced by the prohormone user to help combat any problem.
As far as addressing the issue of liver & cardiovascular concerns is anxious, supplements will effectively act to help protect & regenerate not only the liver, but also lower blood pressing, normalize cholesterol, & aid health in many other forms. In fact some people would even propose taking them off cycle as a way to improve overall health. For the customer of prohormones who is concerned about health then their use is a prudent safeguard to ensure that health is not compromised for the sake of athletic performance.
By now, we hope readers appreciate that there is more to maximizing the benefits of a prohormone cycle than merely taking the products according to the label & hoping for the best. Although even a poor training, diet & supplementation protocol will still deliver some measure of results for the user, the efficiency of prohormone cycles can be increased greatly by the careful application of the information presented in this article. We hope that with this knowledge you can gain more muscle mass whilst limiting sides, advancing strength & performance greatly during your prohormone cycle.