Keeping gains-

These tips are for the moderate user and not for the high dose or long term AAS user, these basic methods will help maintain a degree of muscularity while in the off period. If all procedures are carried out during cycle you would of maximise gains and will be carrying new muscle tissue, then you need to focus on the off period and put yourself in an optimal position to keeping your new found gains once the cycle is stopped.

Recovery- One of the areas of focus is the HPTA (Hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular axis), Recovering the HPTA is vital to maintaining gains, typically on a 10-12 week standard AAS cycle will almost certainly cause full suppression/shutdown despite any strategies we might undertake. The natural androgen production needs to be quickly recovered so anabolic hormones are up and running to help maintain the new found muscle. This is why post cycle therapy is vital and the correct protocol's are adhered to. Shorter cycles are becoming increasingly more popular because with these type of cycles there is a significant chance you will have testicular function straight after or very shortly after the cycle as stopped and recovery looks to be alot faster, not in all cases that would depend on compounds used but overall, the shorter the cycle the quicker the recovery.

Once the cycle as stopped we must preserve our gains and if steps haven't been taken during cycle we must now take some steps to reduce estrogen binding in the hypothalamus.You have to look at post cycle estrogen this can be a huge problem for some and this will have a negative impact on recovery of your HPTA just like androgens can and do in this period. The only way to fully recover your HPTA is to completely come off cycle, with this day and age of PCT compounds to recover with, the job will be alot easier. Problems occur if you stayed on cycle for to long or keep taking low suppression drugs to bridge cycles together, all this will have an effect on your HPTA and long term health. Recovery and maintenance of the new found gains are the objects at this stage and stay as healthy as possible, remember suppression and shutdown are linked they both effect your HPTA, so get a decent PCT protocol and recover as fast as possible. The common ancillary drugs what will support the post cycle and the recovery period are clomid,nolvadex ,a-dex and HCG to name a few. Please check out the PCT section and the stickies for protocols and further advice.

Nutrition - is another area which we must focus on to help maintain the new found gains, after a cycle androgen levels are going to be lower than normal even with the above strategies. We have to maximise the anabolic hormones as much as possible while our system is recovering. First we need to calculate the change in the new calories needed for the new tissue gained during the cycle and support the new tissue, a person who under eats to their requirements will be stripped of the muscle mass very quickly.

Overeating has been shown in numerous studies to maximise these factors. Over maintenance calories are needed to promote the anabolic edge, dietary fat has an influence on androgen secretion, monounsaturated and saturated fat raises testosterone levels but polyunsaturated fat does not so a healthy diet containing O'3 and O'6 will help in this period. Eat clean and feed the new tissue with abundance of calories but always have in mind of muscle building foods and not the sugar rich alternatives we can easily lean to in this period. As testosterone returns to normal and recovery is nearly there, eating over the calories can be lowered to maintenance of the new found muscle what's been gained during the cycle. Never start dieting in the recovery stage it will strip you of your hard earned tissue.

Training - If you have been training intensely during the on period you can help to maintain the new found gains with a slight alteration in the way your training. In some cases further gains have been seen in the recovery part of cycling, this is normally with short cycles and very intense training. If you implement more rest days and make sure your C.N.S gets fully recovered, further gains can be seen. Keep the training sessions down to around 30 mins and incorporate longer rest days in-between. Long workouts lower testosterone to cortisol ratio, so don't go for long workouts no matter how strong or fit you may feel, short and fast will help with recovery without further stress on your system.

Still concentrate on the basic heavy movements this and still focus on HIT type of training, also take more attention on the eccentric part of the lift because this causes most of the muscle fibre damage, after warm up do about 2 sets per bodypart and dropset them, which should consist of eccentric reps start with maximum followed by 90% Max, then 80%max, making sure you take a good 5-6 seconds for the eccentric portion of the reps on all dropsets. There are many other ways of training to help recovery but this method does have great benefits by making the workout shorter and the muscle being hit in a different way. Further gains can be achieved if careful planning is done of your training sessions.

Supplements- Its hard to advice what supplements will help and work for you in the recovery and maintenance period. Clearly a quality protein powder,creatine, test booster's,BCAA's, glutamine and vital vits and supps in the off period does help drastically and all aid recovery, past experience will help to pick which other supps may help and agree with your body.

The more advance you become the more advanced procedure need to be carried out, this is just a basic methods and tips on maintaining post cycle for the moderate user.