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The Purpose of PCT
When we supplement with anabolic steroids we suppress our natural testosterone production. Testosterone, the primary male hormone, is essential to our very well being. Most men who supplement with anabolic steroids will always include at least a minimal amount of testosterone in their cycle due to this suppression factor.
Testosterone is manufactured in the testicles. For testosterone to exist the pituitary releases two gonadotropins Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FHS); this tells the testicles to make testosterone. When we take anabolic steroids the signal that tells the pituitary to produce LH and FSH is reduced and therefore less testosterone is produced. If we are supplementing with testosterone this suppression is of very little consequence as we’re providing our body with what it needs through an outside source. However, once the steroid use comes to an end we have the issue of a suppressed signal that must be dealt with. That is the purpose of PCT, to stimulate natural testosterone production so that we are not left in a low testosterone state.
What to Expect from PCT
The biggest problem with most PCT plans is the individual having unrealistic explanations. Most PCT plans will last 4-6 weeks and many men expect everything to be back to normal once this 4-6 week period is complete. PCT does not work this way. Many men also expect for all their gains be they weight or strength gains to be maintained post-PCT if the PCT plan was proper and appropriate. Again, PCT does not work this way.
A good PCT plan will help you protect and maintain some of the progress you made, but if the high influx of hormones is no longer there (the high influx of hormones that helped you make your gains), without that support system you will lose some of your gains. A good way to look at is as we look at food – the nutrients you eat help you buildup your body. The nutrients you eat become the support system. Take away the nutrients and the support system goes away with it and the “Building” begins to collapse. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for some men to begin consuming extra calories during PCT in order to protect their gains – in simplistic terms, they’re substituting in nutrients for the hormones that have been taken away. This can help maintain weight but it’s not always a good idea. Weight is just weight and if it does not weight that’s muscle tissue it’s rather useless. It’s not uncommon for some men to put on a good bit of body fat during this phase due to their desperation to hang onto gains.
The primary purpose of PCT is to stimulate natural testosterone production. Some gains may be lost during this period, but it’s not the end of the world. For the steroid user, he will be on cycle again one day. For the present period, he should focus on his hormone recovery, continue to train and eat properly protecting the gains he can without putting on excess body fat. This is truly the only logical long-term approach.