Prohormone Basics

TAGS: prohormone, testosterone, marc bartley, mass, supplements, strength

I'm not a doctor, but I play one on the internet. In the age of massive information, gurus and forums galore, opinions and thoughts run rampant. Most of this graffiti-style information is well intended. But you know what they say about “good intentions.” If you don't know what I mean, then I'll write it out for you, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” This means that everything said and done usually starts out with people wanting to do the best for other people and help them out, but as it goes on for whatever reason (greed and ego being the main issues) it turns into something it wasn't meant to be. This is a bare bones tidbit article to help you figure out what is right for you in the prohormone world. The information I'm providing below details the simplest and most effective way to include them into your regimen, or not to if that is your choice. After you read this you'll have the basics for sure.

I get a ton of e-mails and question on my Q/A log at EliteFTS.com concerning supplements. The questions run the gambit between protein, creatine, fat burners and the most popular: prohormones. Prohormones are a very HOT topic that stir up controversy everywhere, and controversy attracts a lot of attention. Inside, our desire to be the biggest, strongest, hottest, smartest, prettiest (you name it), drives us to do pretty much anything to get there to win. Plastic surgery, makeup, tanning, cardio, training for any sport - these are things we turn to so that we can try and achieve our goals. The desire to win and be the best drives us all. Where do prohormones come into this? We shall see. But, we shall also see the what, how, why and when to use prohormones safely and effectively to reach your goals, no matter what they are.

What are Prohormones?

Prohormones in the nitty gritty ugly truth are anabolic steriods in various forms, mostly crude variances of other well known anabolics. They are usually analogs (close to or a step or two away from) the most well known anabolics such as winstrol, trenbolene, anadrol, dianabol, turnibol, anavar, etc. Some from this list were used in the past, but were thrown out because of their harsh side effects. Some are new methylated versions derived and transformed and aren't classifed by law, yet. The bottom line is prohormones are various types of TESTOSTERONE.

What purpose do prohormones have?

The purposes of prohormones vary depending on what your goals are. Here's a short list:

First, most of the time guys just want to have more muscle -  that desire for more muscle is usually endless. Prohormones can definitely deliver. Other guys just want to get ripped and have their six (or eight) pack showing, or have more of a lean athletic look. Prohormones can deliver that, too. Females may use them to harden up for a fitness or figure show (yes chicks take them too, a lot of them). Athletes may want to recover faster and gain more endurance, this is true for cyclists. They can recover faster and go much longer in a race with the use of prohormones. A strength athlete always wants to lift more and increase their training volume, again prohormones can help. Interestingly, patients with wasting diseases such as HIV/AIDS where muscle tissue is lost at a high rate, have great results with prohormones, which helps them gain and maintain healthy weight. Prohormones are a great OTC hormone replacement therapy for men, as after 30 years of age, they begin losing testosterone. This is also one of the reasons that as we get older, our bodies fall apart. And last, prohormones are a way for men who were once on anabolics to receive the same benefits but in an OTC version. There are many, many more purposes, but in some way shape or form you may fall into one of these and want to start using prohormones.

What are the different kinds of prohormones and which one is right for you?

This is the most frequently asked question I get and it's a good one. There are many prohormones to choose from and they all work a little bit differently. In this article I will not cover any of the new DHEA derived ones that have come out this year. I will stick to the ones that I deal with on a consistent basis and the ones that have the most anecdotal evidence. Some of the newer ones haven't been out long enough for me to reach a solid conclusion on. Most of the brands out right now are single compounds or multiple compounds of the list below.

4-chloro-17a-methyl-androst-1Halodrol is the chemical name for this single compound. This was one of the first to be recognized when it came out in the product Halodrol 50 by Gaspari Nutrition. Prohormones that contain a single compound of Halodrol are a great place to start for beginners. Halodrol usually comes in tablet of 25mg to 50mg, with 50mg being the normal dose per day.  The average gains are between 4 lbs. to 8lbs in a one month cycle at the 50 mg a day dosage. There are little to no side effects from this compound.  The brands available now are H-Roid by Hardcore Formulations.2a, 17a-dimethyl-17ß-hydroxy-5a-etiocholan -3-one This compound is commonly known as Superdrol. This compound does have a few other names but they are not used very often. The name Dymethazine is used when a Prohormone is made from two Superdrol molecules bonded together.  Superdrol compounds are also good for beginners, but only if they are taken alone at a 10mg dose per day. The gains are similar to Halddrol when taken in a low dose.  You can expect a 4 lb. to 10 lb weight gain in a 30 day cycle. Side effects vary depending on the dose and can include cramping, lowered sex drive/libido and some lethargy.  Superdrol is a very good compound for STRENGTH gains.2a, 3a epithio-17a-methyl-5a-androstan-17b-ol This compound is known as Epistane and it is one is least estrogenic compounds available. What does this mean?  The body’s reaction when taking Epistane is to produce less estrogen then with other compounds. The gains you will see are supposed to be dry, which means you will have very little water retention or fat gain. I find this compound interesting as fat gain is typically almost entirely food related. The tendency for men when on anabolics is to eat more (a lot more and usually bad for you food) and then they blame the drugs for making them bloat.  Epistane helps to curb this tendency so that you do not get a sloppy weight gain.  Epistane is not one of my favorites as a stand alone but it is safer then the rest (and a good one also for beginners) with little or no side effects. The dosing starts at 10mg per day and can go as high as 60mg. You can go a little longer than a 30 day cycle on this compound but should not exceed a 6 week cycle.  We currently do not have any products in this category but may have some in the future.13-Ethyl-3-Methoxy-Gona-2, 5(10)-Diene-17-One 25mg

This compound is referred to as SuperTren and it has been replacing Nor-19 and other Tren products which you may be familiar with.  Super Tren is a Tren analog. Tren is an extremely androgenic compound which acts quickly to add mass.  In addition it is also extremely thermal to the body.  Guys love Tren products because they can trim body fat quickly while still allowing you to add/keep size while dieting. Tren products can cause some libido issues and possible estrogen issues.  It is a good mass gainer with about a 10 lb. gain possible in a 30 day cycle.  The gains with Tren are known as “wet” gains because the possibility of bloating is higher, but this is often more related to your diet than to the actual compound.  Tren will product good STRENGTH gains, usually (if proper training regimens are followed).  The dosing is 40mg to 75mg per day. Beginners should stay on the low end. If you choose a higher dosage then you should also use an anti-estrogen product like 6-bromo or the Sci Fit Estro Suppress.  Tren is a compound that is no longer available and we do not have any products with this compound in them.

Androsta-1-ene-3b-ol,17-one

This compound is commonly known as 1-Andro and it is a 1-AD precursor or 1 Test.  Many of you had success with an old product called 1-AD, and if you did then the products in this category should interest you.  A basic cycle for 1-AD is 4 to 6 weeks (possibly 8weeks if you take a good anti estrogen). The gains will vary but 10 lbs. plus are possible if you are training sufficiently and eating well. Dosing also varies with the low end at 100 mg a day up to 600mg.  The 600 mg is very high and although I have known guys to do it successfully I do not recommend it. The brand we currently have are Androstorm (w/ Superdrol) by Valhalla labs

[3,2-c]pyrazole-5alpha-etioallocholane-17beta-tetrahydropyranol

This compound is known as Prostanzol/Orastan E and is basically a Winstrol type Prohormone.  It is very mild with little sides and is a good starter Prohormone at 50 mg per day.  If you have used Prohormones before then you can use a dose up to 150 mg per day.  You can expect drier gains of 5 lbs. to possibly 8 lbs. or 10 lbs. These gains are also easier to maintain once the cycle is completed.

The current brands with this compound are Cyanabol by Hardcore Formulations, Orastan E by Thai Labs and Dragon by Chinese Anabolics.

12-ethyl-3-methoxy-gona-diene &6-17 dihydroxyetiocholone-3-ol proponate

This is commonly referred to as Propadrol and is a good starter compound for beginners.  It is very similar to the Prostanol/Orastan E (Winstrol) type with an even more noticeable decrease in body fat. Smaller gains can be expected of between 5 and 8 lbs at a dosage of 15mg to 30mg per day (2 caps per day).  There can be some mild side effects.

Typical cycles of these types of prohormones are four weeks in length. You can go six, or even eight weeks but I do not recommend this. The longer the run, the longer periods of time you will need between cycles to recover and reset your body. If you begin taking another prohormone before you system is fully restored, you will saturate your body with the compound faster, hasten estrogen buildup, and possibly cause gyno symptoms to occur.

What is Gyno and why do you get it?

Since prohormones are basically forms of testosterone, they function as messengers to tell the body to make more muscle, recover faster, increase endurance, etc. In a simple way of saying it, whatever your goal is, the testosterone will improve it. When you take in new things the body spends a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to figure out what you're giving it and how it's supposed to react. The body's goal is to be prepared the next time you take something so it practices on how to handle the new thing each time. The body’s goal is to always try to get itself back to its original and comfortable state called homeostasis. It does not want new muscle, a stronger heart, or whatever you are trying to accomplish, it just wants its original version back.

To combat your body's pre-set homeostasis and the prohormone you ingest, your body will begin to make estrogen and other catabolic compounds (muscle killers) to fight you. Estrogen and testosterone look the same but have completely different messages to give. Testosterone tells your body to get big, strong, and fast while Estrogen is telling your body to slow down and back up. When your body notices too much testosterone it begins to increase estrogen production. At that point both hormones (Testosterone and Estrogen) begin to compete for muscle to “land on” and give information too.  The Estrogen works to send messages to stop the natural production of testosterone which will begin shrinking your testicles and make you begin growing man boobs, sort of.

Not to scare you, but this can happen especially when guys get wide open on prohormones. Done correctly and incrementally over time, you can make solid permanent gains that the body learns to maintain. If you stick to a normal 4 - 6 week run then you will not have any of the estrogenic side effects.

What is a PCT and Do I really need to take one?

Yes, you should always take a PCT (Post Cycle Therapy) supplement, and here is why: With any introduction of an outside (exogenous) testosterone you will have a natural suppression of your own testosterone production. An exogenous testosterone is a prohormone, something that introduces a non-natural version of testosterone into your system. With a normal 4 week run on a prohormone, you will have a lighter suppression issue (unless you take doses much higher than the recommended doses), but will still require PCT. A PCT is nothing but estrogen blockers or inhibitors that help clear out the estrogen in your system. PCTs also work to kick start your natural testosterone production which had fallen while you were giving your body the exogenous testosterone. In other words, PCTs jumpstart your testicles into working at full capacity again. The best PCT is one that has compounds both to fight estrogen build-up and bring up your natural testosterone.

The main purpose of a PCT is to restore normal hormone production so that there is little or no lapse when the prohormone leaves your body and when your body's natural testosterone is back at full production. The essence of this is you don't want a large gap in testosterones (yours and the prohormone). For instance, if you just came off a prohormone with no PCT, then the only thing upholding your new muscle is the residuals from the prohormone. If your natural testosterone levels do not kick back in until after the prohormone cycle is done, then there is nothing to help support the new muscle. At this point your body will revert back to its original form and you will lose all the gains you received from the prohormone. If, on the other hand, you get your natural testosterone levels back to normal once you are done with the prohormone, you will support and keep the new muscle you worked so hard to put on.

Most PCTs have a mix of both estrogen blocking/anti-aromatase and natural boosters like a tribulus.

If you go with a brand that only provides one or the other then you should purchase the other one as well. A good dose of 4000 mg or 4grams of tribulus per day along with your estrogen suppressor is usually more then enough.

This is why PCT is a must for any cycle. You want to layer the two cycles together like this: Week 1: prohormone, Week 2: prohormone, Week 3: prohormone & PCT, Week 4: prohormone & PCT, Week 5: PCT, Week 6: PCT.

Note: If you elect to go with a multi-compound or very high dose single compound then you should add in a estrogen blocker/suppressor from the start or by week two latest. If you get into a cycle and you nipples get sore to the touch or even very sensitive, get on an estrogen blocker/suppressor immediately. If it persists, get off the prohormones.

Here is a list of some PCT’s that work mainly on estrogen suppression: Estro Suppress by Sci Fit, Advanced PCT by Anabolic Xtreme, Arimedex by BPI, Arimidex by GET, and Arimiplex by Innovate.

Some products that work just to elevate natural testosterone levels are:  Trib-650 by Dymatize, Trib 750 by 4EverFit, ProCycle by Diesel Test, and Hardcore by Diesel Test.  There are more combinations but these are what I have found to be the best.  Finally, here is a list of PCT’s that combine estrogen suppression and natural testosterone boosting: TZ3 by Sci Fit, PCT Revolution by Redefine, RV1 by ANC, and SuperTest by The Beast Sports Nutrition.

This is a basic start to your understanding of prohormones. Something to remember when adding a prohormone to your supplement regimen are to eat clean (but eat enough), increase your protein intake daily, and drink a lot of water (as you should be anyway) to help with cramping. New muscle requires more nutrients to support and maintain. Other then that, I would monitor and note progress on every cycle. Different people will respond differently to different prohormones. Finding the right combo is always the goal. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at marc@southcarolinabarbell.com, or any of our staff at nuthousesupplents.com (just click on “Ask Spud”). Everyone on the staff is well-versed in what works and what doesn't. You can call us at 803-788-2852 as well and speak to Dale, Sue, or Randi. Of course, you can always reach me on the EliteFTS Q&A.

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