Is a test-only cycle the best first cycle?

Anyone’s first steroid cycle is often the most exciting one, as the person doing it is probably super dedicated at that point, doing everything they can to maximize their results.

Also, the first steroid cycle will catch the androgenic receptors in a “virgin” state, and as such it will be able to sensitize them in a very strong way with low doses of steroids, making it easy to gain 20 all the way up to 30lbs even if the person has limited knowledge of steroids, nutrition and training. This shows just how powerful a first cycle can be.

However, as you plan your first cycle, you’re faced with a simple yet very important question: which steroid (or steroids) should you use? Well, most people you ask will tell you to go with a test-only first cycle, and here are a few reasons as to why:

  1. It’s “natural”: of course, you’re looking to go supraphysiological when cycling (which means going over your natural levels), but testosterone is a hormone your body already knows and produces by itself, unlike some other synthetical compounds;
  2. Reduced side effects: although they exist, testosterone-only side effects are mild, and can be easily controlled by most people, specially when taking low doses as a first cycle should be;
  3. Availability: being a compound that is commonly used for medical applications, such as HRT, burn recovery, muscle mass retention in anemic and HIV patients, among others, real, pharma-grade testosterone is available either on pharmacies or online in several regions of the world, although controlled in most countries.
  4. Wide choice of esters: available in short (propionate), medium (enanthate, cypionate) and long (decanoate, undecanoate) esters that provide a wide range of options for users with relation to application frequency, how fast it starts acting, as well as allowing to stop usage faster if side effects are present. Many preparations such as sustanon offer a blend of testosterone esters that are a viable option.
  5. Low-cost: testosterone is probably the cheapest steroid available today in relation to its anabolic properties, with a first cycle being possible with as little as a single 10mL vial.
  6. It’s a “wet drug”: testosterone makes your body retain water (mainly due to its conversion to estrogen via the aromatase enzyme) and while this may seem like a bad thing at first, a moderate amount of estrogen will help in building muscle, as well as protecting your heart and joints as your strength and weight increases rapidly.
  7. It works as a “benchmark”: a test-only first cycle, while being relatively safe, will show you whether or not your body responds well to anabolic steroids e.g., if you make significant gains while being able to cope with the side effects. This information will be extremely helpful as you move into your next cycle or helping you decide you should even do it.

If you have a decent amount of experience training and dieting, is already in good shape and/or want to compete in the near future, testosterone can be combined with other compounds in your first cycle, such as: oxandrolone, nandrolone, methandienone (dianabol) or oxymetholone (anadrol), among others. Including an oral in the first weeks in this case may be a good idea as it will kick start the cycle after a couple of doses.

Marco D. Angelo

PhD in biochemistry, specialized in enzymology and metabolic biochemistry with a background in pharmacology, he works in a molecular biology laboratory and in his spare time works as a high-performance trainer in addition to assisting other coaches.