I'd like to start by saying this...If you are a newbie running your first or second cycle refer to GS's first cycle sticky. This is for the bro who has at least 2 cycles under their belt. This is just my opinion so take it as such...
Planning your cycle:
You should constantly be on the research grind. The world of AAS' is constantly changing so you need to keep up with the latest in Gear, PCT, Peptides, etc... One should start seriously planning their next cycle about a month after ending PCT, this is done for a few reasons...Hind-site is 20/20...You can review what gains you are keeping, how many sides you came down with (or hopefully didn't), and you can look at your lab results to determine where you are as far as your overall health goes.
The next thing you need to do is determine what your "goal" will be when it comes to your next cycle. This is basically going to be a "bulking cycle" or a "cutting cycle" (I hate to lump a cycle into 2 classes like that, but for the purpose of compound selection it's the easiest way to make a determination). Speaking very simply a bulker will consist of longer esters and a cutter will consist of shorter. I assume most of you know this and so I will no elaborate.
You have decided your goal(s) for your next cycle and you have an idea on cycle length and what gear you will be using. If you are like me you have at least 4 to 5 different combo's of gear bouncing around in your head and while you'd love to just use them all (forever ) we all know you have to make a choice. This is where your "off cycle" time is useful in getting not only your funds in order, but also your research and planning. It helps me to write out each possible cycle...so put pen to paper-it helps!
So you have decided you like the look of 5 or 6 different types of gear and now you want to thin it down and comprise a stack. The #1 most important thing we want to consider is 'what is the safest, less toxic cycle we can make with our predetermined steroid choices?' For example: We want to keep our liver in mind and also keep anabolic potency solid without compromising estrogenic (secondary) activity. This, IMO, falls under the "Testosterone base" theory that most of us adhere to faithfully.
Estrogen has it's place in muscle building (as you all know) so using Testosterone as your base compound is very important because it will aromatise. If for some reason you choose to run a Deca or Tren only cycle you are simply asking for sexual disfunction (ie: Deca-dick) I've researched the possibility of supplementing Pregnenolone and DHEA as a substitute for a Test base, and while this can help to stave off ED on a Nandrolone only cycle, eventually you're going to wish you had run some form of TEST.
So what am I saying...I guess simply this; when planning a stack
1) Determine what your goal will be (final result AFTER PCT).
2) Select the appropriate compounds to reach this goal, and research each compound.
3) Determine if your chosen "stack" is as safe and as low on the toxic scale as possible.
4) Is your cycle going to cause you any abnormal adverse sides?
This "formula" may not be condusive to everyone, but I think if you take from this thread the basics of what I'm trying to convey you will be pleased with your cycle planning, and I think if you invest the time and energy you will be much happier than just having a rough idea...please remember once you finish this step you then need to start planning diet and training routine. The more disipline you have, the better results you will produce!!