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Your First Cycle

Your First Cycle

So, you got interested in steroids and are now trying to figure out where to start. Beginners have one rule: KISS.

That stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. The more chemicals you toss in at once, the bigger your chances of going down in a flaming fireball. A big, bloated, gyno-y fireball. BUT most potential side effects can be avoided entirely if the cycle is followed correctly and the proper precautions are taken.

Contrary to what a lot of people say, we do not believe that you have to have reach your full natural potential before running a cycle. What is recommend is that you have a good amount of experience and knowledge when it comes to training and nutrition and that you start off fairly lean – It is recommended that you are under 15% body fat and ideally closer to 10%.

This wiki page will include how to administer the steroids, recommended doses and durations, how to prevent and counteract side effects, and what you can expect to gain from your first cycle.

Can I Just Do An Oral Only Cycle?

You can. Should you? Probably not. Oral steroids are still going to suppress your natural Test pretty hard. You may find you don't feel the best or symptoms of low testosterone. If you choose to do a oral only cycle, you should still look into getting a SERM (like Nolvadex/Clomid or the sorts) for a proper PCT, as well. You should consider reading through this Wiki and potentially doing a real cycle, complete with Testosterone, as you'll find better results, as well as feeling better overall too.

What about a Prohormone/Designer Steroid cycle?

Again. You can. Should you? Probably not. Prohormones & Designer Steroids are going to suppress your natural Test pretty hard. You may find you don't feel the best or symptoms of low testosterone. Prohormones & Designer Steroids are no better (or even worse in some cases) than using a traditional oral steroid. The supplemental PCT crap they sell with these Prohormones / Designer Steroids is predominantly bogus stuff and if you choose to do a Prohormone / Designer Steroid cycle, you should at least look into getting a SERM (like Nolvadex/Clomid or the sorts) for a real PCT. You should consider reading through this Wiki and potentially doing a real cycle, complete with Testosterone, as you'll find better results, as well as feeling better overall too.

The Basic Bulk

The Basic Bulk, that is recommend, is a 12-15 week cycle of Testosterone while running a moderate calorie surplus with emphasis on gaining as much lean muscle tissue as possible and progressively adding weight to your lifts.

Testosterone is a powerful tool, if used correctly and can put a good +12-15lbs of LEAN mass on you (excluding water and fat gain) over the course of the 15 weeks. It is also a relatively mild compound and causes little to no issues with side effects. Again, most potential side effects can be avoided entirely if the cycle is followed correctly and the proper precautions are taken.

When purchasing your AI (Aromatase Inhibitor) and SERMs (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator) it is advised to buy pharmaceutical grade products when possible. Your Testosterone can be pharmaceutical grade or from an underground lab (UGL) – just make sure you do plenty of research of the brand before you spend any money to make sure they have good reviews. 

What You Will Need


  • Testosterone Enanthate or Cypionate - 3x 10 mL Vials (generally dosed 250-300mg per mL)
  • An Aromatase Inhibitor (AI) like Arimidex or Aromasin
  • PCT Medication
        |--- Recomended PCT
  • Syringes and Needles
        |--- Luer Lock Syringes
        |--- 21g Needles (1" to 1.5") for drawing
        |--- 25g Needles (1" to 1.5") for injecting Glutes
        |--- 25g Needles (1") for injecting anywhere else (Not necessary if only injecting Glutes.)
        |--- Alcohol injection swabs

Optional Items

Why 3 Vials of Testosterone?

On a lot of forums the first cycle advised to new steroid users is 10-12 weeks. 10 weeks is slightly too little. 12 weeks is fine, but you will have Test left in the vial. For this reason, you may go up to 15 weeks. Given this is your first cycle and will likely yield some of the most dramatic results, (assuming diet, training and rest are on point) you want to strike a balance between maximizing your gain and minimizing the time it will take to recover from the cycle and any potential side effects. It is always recommended to at least PCT for your first cycle vs. Blast & Cruise.

Testosterone Enanthate Or Testosterone Cypionate?

What's The Difference?
Approximately nothing. Definitely nothing that is going to make a difference in choosing one or the other for our purposes. Read the specifics below:

  • The ester weights are almost identical, with Cypionate being ever so-slightly heavier.
    Meaning there is ever so-slightly more actual testosterone hormone (~1%) in Enanthate.

  • The terminal half-life's are also almost identical.
    Enanthate is 4.5 days.
    Cypionate is 5 days.
    This will result in ever so-slightly more stable bloods with Cypionate.

  • For some, they may experience a slight difference in potential Post Injection Pain (PIP). This is due to Cypionate having a higher melting point than Enanthate, making Cypionate more prone to being able to cause PIP. This all depends on how your Testosterone was brewed by your source/supplier. Read more on Post Injection Pain (PIP): Here.

Please See Our Esters Wiki Page: Here

Arimidex or Aromasin?

You should read the AI portion of The Estrogen Handbook, as well as the compound profiles for each, and make that choice on your own. Arimidex's compound profile: Here. Aromasin's compound profile: Here.

If you choose Arimidex: Just be aware the blood levels of Arimidex can drop a bit when used alongside Nolvadex. (see Ancillaries section from the link) (In case of a gyno flair-up - see more below)

If you choose Aromasin: BE SURE TO TAKE IT WITH FATS (see Ancillaries section from the link)

How Much AI Do I Need?

How much AI is required can vary from person-to-person, as a guide it advised you get bloodwork to dial in your dose. You will basically need to use trial and error to find your ideal AI dose to get your Test:Estrogen balance at your personal ‘sweet spot’. MOST users will find .5 mg of Arimidex or 12.5 mg Aromasin E3D or E3.5D to be a good starting dose. Some may need more frequent (EOD) dosing or some may even need less than E3.5D; this is really something that varies person-to-person too much.

In The Estrogen Handbook, it gives an idea of side effects for both low and high Estrogen levels which may help you gauge an idea of where you’re at should you become confused and not want to have bloods taken, BUT blood work will be the only way to know 100%.

It is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that you will need this dose on 500mg of Testosterone, but it is suggested to have enough to run the Arimidex 1mg EOD or Aromasin 25mg EOD, this will give you more than what you realistically should need. REMEMBER: Get bloodwork to dial in the AI dose you may need.

When Should You Start Your AI?

Okay this seems to be hot topic for the past forever. Thing is, there’s no set way to do this. There are two different trains of thought here:

  1. Dose preventatively (i.e. before you get high bp, spicy nips, etc.)

  2. Dose when you start to notice sides (acne, bloating/water retention, high blood pressure, nips that are a bit zesty) — This may not be optimal for your first cycle.

To be cautious, we are just going to cover when you should start preventatively. We are also going to be presuming that this is your first cycle and as such we will be going by what’s outlined on this wiki page.

What We Know

Testosterone Peaks

Testosterone will peak shortly after your first injection. See below:

  • Test E has been shown to peak as soon as ~6-10hr after injection[1][2]

  • Test C has been shown to have pharmacokinetics very similar to the pharmacokinetics of testosterone enanthate, with peak testosterone serum concentrations shortly occurring after injection.[1][3]

With the above, it may indirectly answer another question we see a lot. “When does the Test kick in?” and to which the research shows your levels will rise very quick to supraphysiological levels. You will build upon this with each shot. You probably will start noticing some increased recovery and some mild weight gain (depending on diet) around week 3-4. You probably won’t notice much outside of greater recovery unless you had low(er) T to begin with.

Estradiol Rise

With this testosterone peak, Estradiol (E2) has been found to correlate directly.[5] This is no surprise as aromatization will occur, causing Estradiol to peak shortly after as well. See below:

  • One study found that after a 200mg Test E injection, E2 values rose significantly in just 6hrs post injection in eugonadal men and that peaked at 2 days after injection (base serum E2 was 23 ± 4 pg/ml, peaked at day 2 (45 ± 4 pg/ml). Alternatively, hypogonadal men were also studied and found to increase significantly in just 6hrs as well and peaking the day after the injection, but bringing them to a more optimal range (base serum E2 was 7.2 ± 2 pg/ml, peaked at day 1 to 29 ± 4 pg/ml).[2] Another study supports this level of change in Hypogonadal men.[4]

  • Another study found that after a 200mg Test C injection, E2 values rose significantly from a mean of 26.2 ± 14.9 pg/ml to 76.9 ± 26.3 pg/ml on days 4 to 5.[3]

The above two studies are strange showing that despite them being similar, Test E seems to peak E2 much faster than Test C (side note: Test C is shown peaking Test levels much slower than seen in other studies as well.[1] I believe it’s important to remember how much variance we can have as individuals). It’s important to note that these peaks shown above are just that, the peaks — the levels begin to drop off after them, but with each new injection you will reach a new peak, until finally around the time saturation levels are reached. Note that you should reach close to ~94% saturation by the beginning of the 4th week and with that by week 5 you should know if your AI dosing is working for you or not, but week 5 or 6 get blood work done to confirm.

One factor that you’ll notice from the first bullet point is the difference between raise in Estradiol in eugonadal vs hypogonadal. For most individuals starting their first cycle it can be assumed you are eugonadal unless you have been properly diagnosed as hypogonadal, thus your Estradiol can spike close to the upper range after your first shot of Test. If you are doing the "Your First Cycle" outlined on this wiki page then your first shot will be 250mg — 50mg over that of the study.

Another point of thought is your age. It was shown in individuals ~65 y/o that the aromatization is far greater than that of someone in their 20s. This was even the case when controlling percentage fat mass as that can increase aromatase.[5][6] So if your Gramps is wanting to do his first cycle, you may want to start his AI sooner. Likewise If you are entering your 40s-50s, you may want to dose slightly early, if not I think you will be fine with the below.

Study Disclaimer

The problem with these studies for anabolic steroid users is they’re not just injecting once. They are Injecting weekly and with that we don’t have cold hard data for right at the beginning of the cycle — how E2 is affected injection by injection. The best we have is a table showing 300mg and 600mg injected weekly for 5 months, but the table with the data is just the average over the 5 months, this doesn’t show us each point of data that they took. It would be interesting to see the first few weeks of the study.

Putting It All Together

Since we are focusing on dosing preventatively and:

  • Assuming you are a healthy eugonadal male
  • Assuming you’re using Test E or C
  • Assuming you are of decent BF% (ideal close to 10%)
  • Assuming that you are a young guy (in your 20s-30s).
  • Assuming your pre-cycle blood work did not show that you have borderline out-of-range high estradiol to begin with.

You will start dosing on your 3rd injection.

For Example:
You are injecting on Mondays and Thursdays:

  • You do your first injection on Monday
  • You will start your AI on or after the following Monday injection

Dosing Disclaimer

We are all different. You may need to dose sooner than the above (sometime between your 1st and 3rd injection) or you may feel symptoms of low E2 and skip a dose, but this preventative dosing works well for most.

Again we are all different. This is just a starting point for you. Get regular blood work if you are unsure of anything.

SERM On Cycle?

I thought SERMs were just for PCT, why do I need Raloxifene or Nolvadex for on cycle?

Raloxifene and Nolvadex will both bind to the Estrogen receptor at the breast site and be your first plan of attack against uncontrollable gyno sides. If your Estrogen is wildly out of control and you are developing puffy, sore, or itchy nipples, UP your AI dose and start taking your SERM (Rolax - 60mg ED) (Nolva - 20mg ED). It usually will subside after a 7-12 days. Continue the SERM for 3 days after the symptoms have subsided before you drop the SERM.

Note: If you choose Arimidex as your AI, just be aware the blood levels of Arimidex can drop a bit when used alongside Nolvadex.(see Ancillaries section from the link) To avoid this, you may choose Raloxifene.

This isn't required, but it is definitely RECOMMENDED. It's always better to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it.

Injecting Your Gear

The injection process itself is relatively straight forward. Perhaps nothing causes more anxiety for AAS users than their 1st injection. This fear is far more psychological than physical, as the act of performing an injection, especially when utilizing proper technique and the correct pin size, can be relatively painless. Some muscle groups are more prone to causing discomfort than others and the possibility of hitting a nerve, scar tissue, or a sore spot is a reality, but in general, an injection should not be considered a “painful” experience.

To Learn Step-By-Step On How To Inject Safely, Click Here

For a first cycle, the easiest not to mess up is Glutes, a nice big muscle with decent circulation and low risk of hitting any nerve clusters. The twisting and turning can be a problem for some in which case shooting Ventro Glutes is another option. If that is too hard to find for you, try Quads, but there is a slightly larger margin for error in regard to hitting nerve clusters and puncturing large veins. But you should aim to have as many injection sites as possible to avoid building scar tissue. Visit our injection page to learn all about Safe Injection Technique.

Post Injection Pain

Front Loading Test?

Front loading simply means to take a calculated, especially high dose on the first day (or week) for injectable AAS. This allows blood levels of the compound to reach a stable level faster. The problem is taking a large amount of Test can be hard to control estrogen.

Should I Front Load My Test?

No, this is your first cycle and we want to keep things as simple as possible, that includes managing sides; the optional oral is already pushing things.

What Oral Steroid Should I Use?

Again, an oral steroid is completely optional. Oral steroids can add some complexity to cycles if we start throwing in more compounds. You'll find AI dosing starts to become more complicated, as not only do you need to find your dosing for whilst on Dianabol and Testosterone, but then you also need to readjust once you come off the Dianabol. But regardless, it's a timeless classic and has been used for first cycles for a long long time. Other options include Anadrol or Superdrol, both of which do not aromatize, but have been known to cause Gyno by some other mechanism. If you choose to use Anadrol or Superdrol, it is recommended to have Raloxifene on hand in case of a Gyno Flair-Up.

Suggested Orals

  • Dianabol (Dbol) is a very "wet" compound, which means that it converts to estrogen and at a high rate at that. It is highly recommended to use an AI from day one of this cycle in order to prevent heavy water retention, gynecomastia, and other high estrogen side effects. (Sides.)
  • Anadrol (Adrol) is considered a "dry" compound, which means that it doesn't convert to estrogen. Despite this, individuals using this compound will often report pronounced estrogen related side effects such as gynecomastia and water retention, among others. (Sides.)
  • Superdrol (Sdrol) is considered a "dry" compound, which means that it doesn't convert to estrogen. Despite this, some individuals using this compound still report gynecomastia symptoms. There are theories on why this may happen, but nothing has ever been proven. Sdrol is also known to cause lethargy in some. It is a DHT derivative, so hair loss can be a concern. (Sides.)
  • Turinabol (Tbol) is considered a "dry" compound, which means that it doesn't convert to estrogen. It also doesn't convert to DHT. It is also one of the most "side-effect free" compounds, but it is also not known for putting on as much potential mass as Dbol or Adrol. You should still review the compounds side effect profile. It does still affect lipids negatively, but most oral steroids do.

Note: These are just some of the suggested orals based on their properties. You may also use any of the orals in The Basic Cut. Anecdotally, some have reported just as good (if not better) size gains from the orals listed in The Basic Cut as Turinabol (Tbol).

When Should I Take It?

There is two trains of thought when It comes to this and a third if you mix the two. Whatever you decide, if you experience gastro-intestinal discomfort, you can avoid this by taking your oral steroids with meals when possible.

Half-Life Method

Oral steroids have a short half-life of just a few hours. One classic method says that they should be split throughout the day. So you'd start dosing as soon as you wake up and then every 4 hours or so (as much as you can split it up) throughout the day.

Off Days: Same as above.

Pre-Workout Method

One recent trend which has become quite popular lately is the pre-workout method, in which the individual administers the entire day’s dose of oral AAS immediately before training; usually around ~1.5 hours pre-workout.

Off Days: Either all upon waking or the Half-Life Method.

Hybrid Method

A third option is to mix the two above methods. What you would do is take a small dose throughout the day, but pre-workout (~1.5 hours pre-workout) you will take a slightly higher dose.

Off Days: Use the Half-Life Method.

How Often Should I Pin (Inject)?

It is suggested on that you should at least inject E3D or E3.5D to keep blood levels as stable as possible for Testosterone Enanthate or Cypionate. This will minimize side effects and make controlling estrogen easier. You may do once a week, but it is not optimal.

Here is an example of blood levels with 500mg of Test Enanthate injected once a week (E7D).

Here is an example of 250mg Test Enanthate injected every 3.5 days. As you can see the release rate, in which Testosterone is released into your blood, is more stable.

Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)

After you did your 12-15 week cycle, you have to begin your Post Cycle Therapy (PCT). The first two weeks after your last injection you do not take any drugs, as the endogenous testosterone is still disrupting your natural endocrine system.

Then, you will either do a Recomended PCT.

Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG)

Why Should I Use HCG?

Running a small dose of HCG will help to keep the testes full and will aid with recovery once you come to the end of your cycle and need to PCT. It’s not 100% necessary, but if you have access to some and don’t mind spending a small amount of money to speed up your recovery then it is probably worth looking at. Learn more on the PCT wiki page.

How Do I Mix And Run My HCG?

An easy ratio for mixing is 1ml of bacteriostatic water per 5000iu of HCG which results in 10 units (5 small lines on a 1 mL insulin syringe or 10 small lines on a 1/2 mL insulin syringe) being 500iu of HCG.

Blood Work

Regular blood work is STRONGLY encouraged. It is recommend getting blood work before starting your cycle (to assess your baseline Testosterone levels and general health), during your cycle (to confirm that your Testosterone is legitimate and properly dosed), and after your cycle (to assess how well you have recovered). The wiki page regarding blood work can be found here and some help in how to understand your results can be found here.

When Should I Get Bloodwork?

The standard recommendation for Test E/C injections is to get bloodwork drawn 36-48 hours after your last injection, in order to try to get a representative picture of your PEAK testosterone levels. Actual pharmacokinetic calculations speculate the peak plasma levels of testosterone will happen at about 35-40 hours post last injection, but you must remember that everyone responds slightly differently to gear and that injection site (ie glute or delt) may make a small difference.


It is recommended to eat about TDEE + 30%. Go find multiple TDEE calculators and calculate your TDEE on each. We highly recommend the 3-Suns Adaptive TDEE Spreadsheet. It gets more accurate the longer you use it, but by week 3 or 4 it should be really close and closer than any online calculator. Just remember it's better to over eat than under gain.

The Dosing / Protocol

Note: For this example we are using the time frame for the 15 weeks. If you wish to end it sooner, obviously all your ending weeks will change and the week you start PCT will as well.

  • Weeks 1-15: Testosterone Enanthate or Cypionate, 250 mg, E3D or E3.5D
  • Weeks 16-17: Nothing (This allows the exogenous testosterone to clear your body to a reasonable amount).
  • Weeks 18-Til: Whatever PCT protocol you choose.
  • Throughout Cycle (or at least on hand): An AI like Arimidex or Aromasin. Again, dosing is user dependent and you should get blood work to dial in your dose, but MOST users will find .5 mg of Arimidex or 12.5 mg Aromasin E3D or E3.5D to be a good starting dose. Some may need more frequent (EOD) dosing or some may even need less than E3.5D; this is really something that varies person-to-person too much. Watch out for signs of low or high estrogen- especially high estrogen, like excessive bloating or itchy nipples.

Oral Steroid Options / Additives:
Test E & C takes about six weeks to fully saturate the blood (i.e. kick in). If you don't want to wait that long and you want to aid in your bulk, a popular thing to do is start the oral from day 1 (kickstarting). Another popular thing to do is to run your oral at the very end of your cycle, leading up to PCT (finisher). You can run your oral anytime during the cycle though. You may pick one of the following:

Note: These are just some of the suggested orals based on their properties. You may also use any of the orals in The Basic Cut. Anecdotally, some have reported just as good (if not better) size gains from the orals listed in The Basic Cut as Turinabol (Tbol).