Steroid Cycles – The 2 Routes by Phil D


There are many questions regarding steroid cycles. I thought it would help to clarify the two schools of thought. 

Bulking and cutting

This is the traditional steroid cycle. It had its roots in the bulking cycle that basically started with athletes experimenting with steroids. It soon became evident that the water and fat retention that went hand in hand with bulking cycles. This was a problem when it came to stage preparation. More experimentation followed and the traditional cutting cycle became commonplace.

The problem today is that guys are doing bulking cycles and then stopping there. This leads to a few problems. To understand this you need to understand the benefits of the bulking cutting cycle.


During the bulking cycle the goal is to pack on as much muscle as possible. This goes hand in hand with water and fat retention. Both are desirable in getting maximum strength and size gains. At the end of the cycle you sit with lots of muscle, fat and water. The cutting cycle has one main purpose.  That is minimising muscle loss while you are dieting hard to get rid of the fat. The “cutting steroids” as often wrongly thought of as fat burners. They don’t actually burn fat, the diet does that. The diet also burns muscle. The “cutting steroids” are used to reduce the muscle loss. A the same time you don’t want them to cause water retention.

There is one key feature of the bulking and cutting cycles that many people overlook. The ultimate goal is a very low body fat situation meant to be for a short duration. So one can say the main goal of this type of cycle is to get maximum muscle. At the same time radically reduce fat and water.


During these cycles your body fat can go from 25% down to 1%, and bodyweight may vary by 10-20kgs. But this is not sustainable. However, after the cycle is completed one finds an increase in size and weight. Both stabilises depending on diet. The overall ratio of muscle gained and fat lost will be higher a “trade off” cycle for the same period. The bulking and cutting cycles works hand in hand. By themselves you don’t get a great overall result. If you bulk only you end up bloated and with no cutting cycle to solidify the muscle gain, even with a post cycle treatment regimen you will lose most of the gains. A cutting cycle by itself will not yield any real gains.

For “normal” people the bulking cutting cycle is very much an option. One simply does not go to the extremes as would a competitive bodybuilder. The “trade off” cycle may well be an better option. It is safer, more gradual muscle gain, with less side effects and better retention of results.

Trade muscle for fat

As the use of steroids moved from purely competitive use to ascetics, the cycle evolved as well. The demands on bodybuilders who found themselves in long season also contributed to this type of cycles popularity.

The main goal here is to trade fat weight for muscle weight. The ideal cycle will leave with the same body weight where you started, but a marked reduction in body fat. Generally, these results are more permanent. Diets on “trade” cycles are not as radical as during the bulking/cutting cycles. This is another reason it is preferred by the average or non-competitive person. Your body fat will never go as low. That is because the diet is not as radical but a more sustainable situation is achieved.

Which one?

Having a better understanding of the two cycles, you can research potential steroids with a bit more accuracy. Regardless of your choice of cycles, the important thing is to have a plan and to stick to it. If you are looking at a 12-week transformation cycle then “trade-off” is a good option. If you are looking to gain muscle and compete, the bulking and cutting is the way to go.