10 Cycle Mistakes to Avoid
Although many of these mistakes can be considered beginners folly, it is still important for bodybuilders at any level to keep these common mistakes in mind during steroid cycles.
Many new steroid users are under the mistaken belief that, while on steroids, they can eat whatever they like because the steroids and training will counter the ill effects of the food. Some even believe that eating junk food can lead to even greater gains due to the abundance of carbohydrates and fat in the system. This is simply not true whether you are on a bulking or a cutting cycle. Steroids, although perhaps not innately as unhealthy as the media portrays them, do increase the risk of various health complications. The greatest concern of all steroid users should be their cholesterol levels and heart health and thus a healthy diet with lots of protein and good fats is advisable.
Speaking of eating healthy, eat lots! It is not just the exercise that you need to account for while counting calories and tailoring your diet, it is recovery. Your body expends a lot of energy healing your muscles (and thus making them bigger), so you need to eat enough to offset this or else your muscles may be slower to heal. Eat frequently and on a regular schedule; you cannot get bigger eating the same or less than you did at a smaller weight. If you are cutting, be sure not to completely eliminate fats and sugars as this can result in your body turning to your muscles for energy.
And just when do you think your body does all of that healing? Well, it primarily occurs while you are sleeping. Because of this you should try to get a maximal amount of sleep such as 8 hours every night. Sufficient sleep can almost double your gains, so get dreaming!
Under Emphasizing Cardio
On the note of heart health, cardio exercise is extremely important even if you are bulking! Even walking a couple of times a week can be great for both your heart and overall health. However, remember to do a variety of cardio exercises as your body will quickly adapt to one routine and you will lose the benefits you once saw.
Over Emphasizing Cardio
When cutting, however, do not rely too heavily on cardio. Excessive cardio can quickly burn up muscle gains. Keep your cardio short and sweet while cutting! In fact, you should be careful not to over-train with any type of exercise while cutting. This is because, with your reduced caloric intake, your body will be slower to heal and grow its muscles meaning you can injure yourself easily.
A common issue for younger bodybuilders is foregoing costly blood work on the assumption that, since they are young, negative consequences are unlikely for them. While consequences may be unlikely, pre-steroidal blood work may be the difference between life and death should consequences occur.
Another all too common mistake is that beginners often neglect post-cycle therapy (PCT). When you go off steroids your testosterone levels will plummet and, because your natural testosterone production has been suppressed, it may be some time before your body can return to normal. This can result in a number of unpleasantries, the worst for a bodybuilder being the loss of gained muscle mass. If estrogen levels have not been maintained either you may begin to pack on the pounds and possible exhibit gynecomastia (or moobs)! Always plan for PCT.
Among other common pitfalls for those new to steroids are the inappropriate choices in which steroids to buy. Before buying or using steroids, you should go home and do your research. Read profiles for various steroids (many can be found on this site!) and find out which one is best for your body type and your goals. In particular, beginners should avoid Trenbolone as well as blended testosterone mixtures (such as Sustanon 250, Sustanon 350, Supertest 450, Sustamed, Sustaxyl). New users should also follow dosage guidelines closely; until you are familiar with your limits, do not use more than suggested amounts or you may put yourself at risk for unpleasant side effects.
Overusing a Steroid
This next problem occurs just as often with new users as with long time ones: staying on a particular steroid for too long. It is generally advisable to only take a particular steroid for a maximum of 8 weeks with experienced users sometimes padding this out to 12 weeks. Steroids should never be taken any longer than that. Despite this, many new and old users exceed this warning, and this is because the longer you are on a steroid the weaker the effect of them becomes. Some may become so obsessed with their physique that they will go beyond the recommended duration and dosage in a vain attempt to sustain their gains. This is an impossible goal; your body will always adapt. The body needs to have down time or it may habituate to the changes you have made and, if it does, this could mean a life time of hormone replacement treatments for you.
Finally, another big problem those new to steroids face is supply. Where do you buy steroids? Most bodybuilders first experience with performance enhancing drugs will either come from a fellow gym goer, or from a gym dealer. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with this, it does mean that you do not know where the drugs you are being offered came from and whether or not they are legit. But you trust your friend? Of course you do, there is no reason not to trust him, but can you be sure he is as concerned with his source as you are? Counterfeit drugs are all over the market these days and can be anything from a placebo, a cheaper steroid relabeled to the product you are buying, or something else entirely with its own issues. There are many online and brick and mortar stores where you can buy legitimate steroids and these should always be chosen over less transparent options.