Nothing and literally nothing in the gear world is as basic and simple as a Test only cycle. It’s like drawing a circle when you’re going to be an artist. Or learning what the gas & brake pedals do if you want to be a NASCAR driver. Or learning to walk if you want to challenge Usain Bolt on 100 meters distance.
- What is Testosterone
- What is Injectable Testosterone
- How Injectable Testosterone Works
- Test Only Cycle Benefits
- Test Only Cycle Side Effects
- Why Are There So Many Esters for Your Test Only Cycle
- Test Only Cycle Dosage
- Testosterone Cycle For Beginners
- Testosterone Cycle for Experienced Athletes
- Testosterone Only Cycle For Bulking or Cutting
- Deca and Test Cycle
- Testosterone Before and After Pictures
- Why PCT is Essential for Test Only Cycle
- Personal Opinion on Test Only Cycle
Why the fuck is this guide so big then, you’ll ask? Because something that basic is also a good opportunity to explain all the stuff in detail. After all, Test only cycle is a popular first steroid cycle option for beginners.
Skip to the practical part if you have enough years of experience under your belt. We’ll start with the alphabet and the multiplication table this time.
What is Testosterone
Naturally, Testosterone is a male sex hormone produced in your balls. Leydig cells work day and night to give you the necessary 7-10mg of Testosterone in 24 hours. That’s it! Here’s a study on natural Testosterone production with the numbers.
7-10mg a day (70-100mg in a week) might be not much, but it’s totally enough to make you a man (aka give you all the male sex characteristics):
- Body hair growth;
- Face bones structure;
- Sex drive and libido;
- Partly — fertility and sperm count;
- And most importantly — muscle growth.
It’s a long list, here you can see just a short version, but you get the idea:
Test – being a male sex hormone – makes a man a man.
That’s why female to male trannies are second in line for it (right after bodybuilders). It’s the opposite of a female-to-male therapy; all the RuPaul fans stand in the next line to get Estrogen-based substances since Estrogen (and mainly Estradiol) is the primary female sex hormone.
What is Injectable Testosterone
Injectable Testosterone is a whole different story. Back in the 1950s, a company called Upjohn decided to SYNTHESISE natural Testosterone.
It was rough, «dirty», massive (in microscopic terms, of course, but you still could see the crystals with your bare eyes), and nothing like the oil-based Testosterone we have nowadays. However, it worked, and in the last 70 years, big laboratories worldwide made all the improvements.
In basic terms, it’s literally the same compound that your balls produce, but it comes from an injection (aka exogenously) to give you all the benefits of an enhanced Testosterone level.
How Injectable Testosterone Works
Injectable Test works the same way as the natural one, but with a few extra steps:
- You inject Testosterone in your muscles (or subcutaneously, in a thin fat layer between your skin and muscles);
- The substance — loaded with Testosterone molecules — makes it to your blood flow through tiny blood vessels;
- It travels to your muscle cells (and other places with androgen receptors);
- Each Testosterone molecule enters the muscle (or other) cell to connect to the androgen receptor;
- When the connection happens, the cell gets the command to enhance protein synthesis, boost nitrogen retention, and basically — grow and multiply;
- It keeps happening to the point that you don’t have any Testosterone molecules left in your blood (this active period is called a half-life);
- In the end — you get enhanced muscle growth and an extensive list of other benefits (along with side effects) that elevated T levels can give you.
Simple stuff. While Leydig cells can give you the maximum of about 10mg per day, injectable Testosterone doses in bodybuilding can vary between 200mg and 1000, sometimes even 1500mg a week. Unnatural? Hell yes. But let’s see WHY athletes do it.
Test Only Cycle Benefits
No introductions — here’s the list:
A pretty obvious one. You get more Testosterone — you get more muscles. While nobody will ever tell you the exact results YOU will have (since it’s individual and dose-dependent), you can expect notable gains.
You should know that those gains won’t be as clean as they would be on «dry» DHT-based compounds. Testosterone WILL cause water retention, so a significant part of the gains will vanish with the water.
There are multiple studies on the exact mechanism of action. This meta-analysis of Testosterone injections’ effects on muscle growth (aka hypertrophy) is probably the best-looking nowadays. Yes, even though its main target was to compare Testosterone gels and injections effectiveness on TRT. By the way, here’s our Ultimate TRT guide. Feel free to give it a look as well.
More muscles — more strength. Seems obvious, right? Again, you can definitely expect notable improvement in your personal results, but we can’t promise you any numbers. The exact outcome will depend on your:
- Experience with gear;
- Sleep schedule;
- Stress levels;
- Workout intensity and regularity;
- Testosterone quality;
- Personal response to the substance.
Many other factors can affect your results, so don’t believe everything you see on the Internet in other guides.
Instead, check out this classic study on Testosterone effects from 1996. They did a 10-week 600mg Test only cycle with 43 men and compared the results between Test guys and the placebo control group. The study results are pretty dramatic (even though we’re not talking about hardcore athletes here): they’ve got +19-28lbs in the bench press, +26-44lbs in squats in 10 weeks.
The last — but not by importance. In this study on Testosterone and endurance, you can see that even natural Test levels can affect your performance. Now, what would you expect from an injection that is roughly equal to the amount of Testosterone you can naturally produce in a month?
Besides, Injectable Testosterone significantly boosts red blood cell production. These little guys are responsible (among other things) for oxygen transportation in your body, and the more oxygen your muscles get in the moment of peak performance — the longer they can stay active.
Here’s a 2017 study on Test only cycle and RBC. It shows how just 200mg of Testosterone Enanthate (or Cypionate) can give you an extra 67% of red blood cell count.
Test Only Cycle Side Effects
Good things rarely come for free, and with Testosterone only cycle — you have to pay for every benefit by coping with the side effects. Here’s the list of what you can expect:
- Testosterone suppression — read more on it down there in the PCT part. Basically, you get high Estrogen and low (to zero) natural Testosterone production. Get ready to feel like shit, unless you’ll take proper counter-measures;
- Androgenic side effects — just because Testosterone is 100% anabolic and 100% androgenic. Acne, hair shedding, and low stamina are on the list;
- CNS effects — from anxiety and panic attacks to high irritability and aggression. Your central nervous system is definitely taking a hit from all your hormonal experiments;
- Heart issues — because increased red blood cell count increases your overall blood volume and leads to high blood pressure. Your veins and blood vessels, at the same time, remain the same in size. Severe effects, such as a heart attack, are infrequent, but swelling, nose bleeds, red face, and sometimes fainting are relatively common.
Definitely not a complete list, but you’ve got to be a healthy one to avoid all of these.
How To Counter Test Only Cycle Side Effects
Some tips that will help you get the best gains with the least notable consequences and uncomfortable sides:
- Check your health beforehand. Seriously, cycling Testosterone if you have pre-existing heart problems or any sort of cancer is a suicide mission. Make sure that you’re healthy enough for it;
- Keep your diet clean. No junk food, no trans fats, and plenty of water. No, not your Coke or BCAA water — just a usual one. It will help in reducing water retention and keep your body running;
- Get some ancillaries. Supportive compounds may significantly raise your chances for cycling with no long-term side effects. Taurine will help with painful pumps if you get them. Magnesium is an excellent antioxidant. Check out our guide to the 5 best ancillaries to counter the 5 worst side effects.
In short, make sure that you are healthy enough for it BEFORE the cycle and maintain a healthy lifestyle while ON cycle.
The last, but probably the most important thing: don’t overdose. Most of the side effects are dose-dependent. With every extra mg, you raise your chances to make your cycle more uncomfortable. The correct dosage and the right ester are the keys to success with test only cycle. Speaking of…
Why Are There So Many Esters for Your Test Only Cycle
Ester is basically a «tail» added to the chemical structure of the substance. It doesn’t change the effects but alters the half-life, aka the time your body needs to break it down and actually USE the substance.
Esters solve two problems:
- Reduce the frequency of the injections (because nobody likes pinning multiple times a day, and it’s a risky process because of all the possible infections and consequences) by prolonging the half-life;
- Smooth out the peaks in Testosterone levels. Peaks are bad for your gains: a rapid, explosive elevation of Testosterone levels that lasts just a few hours is not enough for your body to use it properly. Ester tails make peaks less «sharp» and make your elevated Testosterone levels smoother.
Testosterone esters – as well as the substance they are reconstituted with – are necessary for different situations. Let’s take a better look at each of the popular options:
With a half-life of approximately 5-7 days, testosterone Enanthate is one of the most popular esters among bodybuilders. Test E is probably the best option for a Test only cycle, and in the meantime — it can act as a base.
Even though the half-life — technically — allows you to inject Test E just once a week, most athletes still go for EOD (every other day) or E3D (every third day) scheme to make the levels smoother. It’s popular enough to deserve its own, separate material — here’s our Testosterone Enanthate guide.
Another popular option is way faster than Enanthate: its half-life is just around 20 hours or just one day. You need to inject it daily to keep the levels high. It’s also anecdotally more painful than Enanthate due to its short ester tail.
Test Prop works best as a base for quick-acting oral compounds, like Dianabol, Anavar, or Anadrol. However, it’s still suitable for a Test only cycle. Just not that popular.
Slightly less popular among athletes, but the top option for TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy). Cypionate is roughly equal to Enanthate in terms of the release speed: it keeps delivering the effects in about eight days.
Other Testoterone Esters
These three are just the most popular, but they definitely don’t make up the whole list. We have other notable options here:
- Testosterone Suspension: the fastest, but therefore — the most dangerous one. It’s not mixed with any oil but reconstituted with water instead;
- T-400: A mixture of 5 different esters, supposed to «turn on» one after another, allowing you to inject it only once in roughly two weeks. It doesn’t work as intended but still acts as a potent pre-made mix. Here’s our complete guide on Testosterone-400 with more details and explanation on what exactly it contains;
- Testosterone Decanoate, Phenylpropionate, Isocaproate, Buciclate, and other «ate’s»: work as intended, but really not that popular in the bodybuilding community, and therefore — hard to find in pure form.
Some esters got their slice of the market. Some didn’t. Most of the time, you’re left with Enanthate and Propionate options. Here’s a little table to help you visualize the differences:
There’s basically no difference (but half-life), so dosage plays a crucial role.
Test Only Cycle Dosage
Here we get to direct recommendations. Of course, technically, you can inject as much as you want (if you’re ready to face the nasty side effects that will make you drop it immediately), but there are still some recommendations. And the main difference is — your experience and your targets.
Testosterone Cycle For Beginners
It’s crucial not to fuck up your first Testosterone cycle. It works the same with ANY steroids, so be sure to check out our full-scale guide on the first steroid cycle. With Testosterone — the perfect beginner’s dosage is between 200 and 300mg per week, cut in halves and injected once in three days:
|Week||Test Enantate (EW)||Nolvadex PCT (ED)|
It’s THAT simple. Don’t forget to wait for a week before the last testosterone molecule will leave your body so you can safely start the PCT. Post-cycle therapy is absolutely crucial after literally ANY cycle. Here’s our ultimate PCT guide for more info.
Testosterone Cycle for Experienced Athletes
The main difference here is the dosage. It’s, like, the only difference. Pro bodybuilders simply need more:
|Week||Test Enantate (EW)||Nolvadex PCT (ED)|
Note that the doses here are approximate. For some heavy aromatizers, 700mg will be a killer dose that will make them question their bodybuilding career. For some maniacs, anything under a complete 1g of Testosterone will look like a baby dose.
Testosterone Only Cycle For Bulking or Cutting
Wonder why these two are in the same part? The answer may shock you: It’s still the same fucking Test! Whether you have weight loss or mass gains on your mind, it will act the same and give you the same effects.
There’s a little trick to make your Test only cycle go In the direction you want it to go: a proper diet.
Eat in a surplus if you want your Test cycle to give you mass, and lower your calories intake if you want to end up with a leaner look by the end of the cycle.
Deca and Test Cycle
Even though this article is about Test only cycle — you still should know that stacking is always an option. You can use Testosterone as a base for oral cycles (and you probably should — because an oral-only cycle is a myth), or run it with other injectables.
Of all compounds on the list, the Deca and test cycle stands out. Here’s why:
- Deca Durabolin (as well as NPP, its shorter version) is not self-sufficient — it needs Testosterone to prevent the shutdown;
- Deca and test cycle is an example of an ultimate wet off-season bulking. Two potent compounds will give much more gains (and much more water) than each of them could ever give solo;
- Deca and test cycle is classic to the point that Deca is believed to be Arnold’s steroid of choice (along with Primobolan and Dianabol). Dianabol, by the way, would make a perfect kickstart for Deca and test cycle — it’s a quick-acting, potent oral gear. Here’s our guide on Dianabol and its crazy history.
Deca would work perfectly — but it’s not the ONLY option. You can use Trenbolone, Winstrol, Anadrol, Masteron, EQ, Halo, or Superdrol (the last two are insanely potent orals, so it’s a PRO-only zone). Testosterone is basic enough to work with everything. And still — self-sufficient enough to give you all the benefits solo. By the way, here’s our guide on cycling Deca Durabolin. You might want to check it for more details (like Deca Dick and joints effects).
Even though now you know WHAT compound you need, how LONG you should stay on it, and how to alter the results — there’s one more thing that can turn the whole thing into a nightmare (if you avoid it) — the post cycle therapy.
Testosterone Before and After Pictures
Now let’s talk about your Testosterone Before and After results. Note a few things here:
There’s no way to predict your EXACT outcome. All people have a different response to the compound;
Your exact results depend on a shit ton of factors, including your age, your weight, body fat, experience with gear and the gains you’ve had before the cycle. Without clear understanding of these — it’s impossible to say what YOUR Testosterone before and after pictures would look like.
Now, let’s imagine a situation. Since Test only cycle is MOSTLY a beginners’ thing, we’ve got to take a beginner, a young guy. Also, your DIET can heavily alter the outcome, so we’ll take a guy who was good with his calories and wanted to get just some extra gains. In this case, the Testosterone Before and After picture would look something like this:
Extra attention to a few facts on this pic:
- Did he get much drier? No, because Testosterone is a WET compound. It won’t help you with water retention combating;
- Did he get any sort of extreme gains? Again, nope, Test is rather MILD in comparison to other gear;
- And did he get the changes though? Hell yes. More pronounced main muscles, more visible chest, and better details in arms.
Now, there’s no way to be sure that this dude in the picture was on Testosterone. We weren’t standing behind him the whole time, watching him pinning, to ensure clear Testosterone Before and After pictures. He could’ve been a natty, just dedicated to his thing. No bold claims here. However, THIS is what an average guy can expect to see after a typical Test only cycle. Just make sure you don’t get fooled by the lighting in the pic. The AFTER one is clearly a studio shot.
Why PCT is Essential for Test Only Cycle
Post Cycle Therapy is a must after any prolonged steroids intake, and test only cycle is not an exception.
In short, your balls don’t like what you’re doing, and it’s totally understandable. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute:
Imagine working your whole life, doing just one thing, producing Testosterone. You do it for 10, 20, 30 years. You truly master your skill and consider yourself an irreplaceable professional. You’re at your place, and you’re pretty happy about it.
One day, some thin-ass needle motherfucker comes out of nowhere and does 10 times more job than you’ll ever be able to accomplish. While you can do just 10mg, he gives 150mg and more at a time! You think, «whoa, who’s that bitch, hope he leaves now», but he just keeps coming every week with more and more.
You feel empty. Your career seems to be ruined. You hate yourself for never being able to produce more than you physically can. You stop even trying because why would you go on? This shiny thin-ass needle motherfucker will come again and do the job so well that your peak results will look like nothing.
Depression kicks in. You stay at home, do nothing all day and try to wash away the tears with booze, and drown yourself in shitty TV soap operas. You are suppressed, and you do zero job. You almost forgot how to do it in the first place.
Then, in a month or two, this guy just stops coming. It’s his time, you learned his schedule (and it hurts), but he’s nowhere to be seen. The cycle has come to an end. The results of his job, even though they were fantastic, simply vanish. No job is being done. The body has no Testosterone. At all.
You sit on your couch, still depressed, and start thinking about getting back to work. Is it worth it? What if he comes again? Will you be able to do just as well as you used to? Time flies. Nobody is doing the job. The results look catastrophic, but you just can’t start quickly.
You need to reconsider your life choices, find some inner motivation, maybe refresh some of the knowledge you had… and only in a few more months you’ll be able to do the job normally as if this shit never happened.
A little too dramatic, but this is what testosterone suppression looks like from your balls’ perspective.
When you run injectable Testosterone (get it from the outside, exogenously), your natural Testosterone production (endogenous one) just stops.
The thing — in scientific terms — is called Hypogonadism. Here’s a 2015 study on steroids and Hypogonadism that basically shows the same drama in a more professional way.
Besides, while you have practically zero Testosterone, your Estrogen receptors remain high. Among the effects, you can get:
- Erectile disfunction;
- Low (or non-existent) libido;
- Low self-esteem;
- And finally — a little nasty thing called gynecomastia (aka bitch tits, aka moobs, aka «no I’m not wearing my wife’s BRA, why’d you ask».
How to reduce the stress your balls get, or, at least, lower the scale of the catastrophe you will experience while they get back on track?
The answer is — PCT. Or HCG. Two different abbreviations with the same effects: keep you safe from testosterone suppression effects.
PCT Compounds for Testosterone
Traditionally, we have just two main PCT compounds: Nolvadex and Clomid. Clomid should be reserved for PCT after Trenbolone and similar steroids (read why in our guide on Clomid). So, the only suitable option you have is Nolvadex (aka Tamoxifen).
Nolvadex is a SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator). It won’t directly help your balls get their function back, but they will protect you from the excessive Estrogen levels while your balls learn to function properly again. Here’s our complete guide on Nolvadex PCT if you need more details.
The shortest ever instruction is to start when your body gets steroid-free, take 20-40mg every day, and stop in 2-4 weeks or when you feel like you don’t need it anymore. 4 weeks is usually enough for it.
HCG for Test Only Cycle
HCG, aka Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is another life-saving thing your balls may need by the end of the cycle. It’s mostly reserved for the hardcore athletes that cycle prolonged, multi-steroidal cycles in high doses. However, a pro-level test only cycle (like, up to 700mg-1mg a week one) is dangerous enough to talk about HCG.
HCG is anti-depressants for your balls. It acts as both a soft, warm-hearted psychotherapy expert AND an army drill sergeant. For more details on its mechanism of action, check out our guide on HCG. The result is simple: your balls learn to work again faster and get on track in the shorter term. For more details — see our HCG basics material here.
Personal Opinion on Test Only Cycle
Despite the popular opinion, I’m absolutely sure that Test only cycle is NOT a beginner-only thing. Sure, the gear world has many options, and you may feel tempted to stack Testosterone with something else, but it’s not necessary.
Testosterone alone is capable of delivering the results you want from it. It’s basic and simple enough to be easily adjustable by dietary changes or dosage.
At the same time, Testosterone is — hands down — the absolute BEST option when it comes to beginners. It is the best thing to feel «on» in its purest, 100% anabolic, and 100% androgenic form.