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Priming: Preparing for an AAS Growth Spurt



Oct 17, 2010
Priming: Preparing for an AAS Growth Spurt - WarriorFX

Frequently, athletes research how to better layout an anabolic-androgenic steroid cycle, as well as proper post cycle therapy for making the transition back to a natural training state. Unfortunately, many neglect another component for a successful AAS cycle: maximizing the time spent on using pre-cycle therapy, better know as “priming.”
What is priming?

Priming is a preparatory method used to create a favorable growth environment so an AAS cycle can maximize muscle gains. The goal of priming is to make an athletes system very sensitive to increased calories, greater training intensity and elevated anabolic hormones. Psychologically, a trainee should feel pent up and ready to move heavy loads.

Priming should be done before every cycle – no matter the athlete’s previous AAS cycle experience. If completed correctly, priming will lead to very quick and dramatic results. Because of the faster results, cycle duration can also be cut back to make coming off and restoring proper hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis functioning easier, for a faster recovery of the body’s endogenous androgen production.

How should you prime?

Priming involves correct dietary and training manipulations that allow an athlete to lower body fat while sparing muscle. Basically, it is essential to diet down slow enough to simply lose fat – again, no muscle or strength should be lost.

Bodybuilders spend a lot of time preparing to exhibit a lean, muscular build. But other things are going on inside. Their body is getting really sensitive for a period of growth following the long period of dieting and depletion training. Most advanced bodybuilders – especially those that compete – know how responsive the body can be right after leaning up; such as the growth spurts frequently experienced after a competition with or without concurrent AAS administration. This is an example of what occurs by priming before a bulking phase, although pre-contest routines are generally too exhaustive since extremely low body fat levels are required. Simply put: priming opens the window for a great opportunity to obtain phenomenal muscle building results and end training plateaus.

Training cycles must change as goals change. While priming, the training should not be so intense that overtraining is likely; in fact, a general maintenance routine would be best in many circumstances. The training routine should also let the athlete mentally prepare for a split that is very progressive. The amount of aerobic training (as well a total calorie intake) is determined by current lean body mass and what has previously been learned about personal metabolism and limitations. The concurrent aerobic and anaerobic training effect won’t limit results since the goal is not to gain strength or muscle but rather to preserve it.

The diet should allow the body to become sensitive to carbohydrates and the other macronutrients. Generally, a cyclic-ketogenic diet works wonders. This method helps many lose fat while preserving lean body mass while becoming carbohydrate sensitive for superior calorie partitioning once the AAS cycle begins.

It is very catabolic to train with no carbohydrate intake and no scheduled carbohydrate loads; lost muscle is inevitable. Why take two steps back and then two steps forward every time you cycle? Scheduling carbohydrate loads presents an opportunity to fill out energy stores for a productive – and frequently progressive – power workouts, opportunities to fight for strength levels and muscle mass.

Using a CKD approach, carbohydrates remain very low for three or four days – maximum – followed by a “carb up,” a period where carbohydrate intake is substantial. Remember, glycogen levels must become grossly depleted during the weekly rotation to ensure the proper response from a carbohydrate load. Be careful of total calorie intake – results gained by obtaining low carbohydrate can be diverted if total calorie intake is too high; this can negatively affect the depletion phase.

After successfully depleting glycogen levels, a subsequent carb up can not only replenish glycogen depots but super compensate them. Stick to high-protein and high-carbohydrate food sources during the carbohydrate load. Total calorie intake during this period can be very high – some can eat well over 6,000 calories and still burn fat! Any high-fat cravings should be curbed within the first several hours of the carbohydrate load. Studies show fat gain during this time is very low since the body is more interested in replenishing itself than it is in storing fat. As you advance through the carbohydrate load, high fat foods are more likely to be stored as fat.

Regardless, carbohydrate loading will cause dramatic increases in bodyweight, though this is not suggestive of regaining fat. Weight fluctuations vary based on the athletes lean body mass. It is common for many to re-gain six to 10 pounds after a carbohydrate load due; much of this is due to the concurrent water uptake required to store the excess supply of glycogen. During the depletion week, it is common for many to lose seven to 12 pounds – roughly netting one or two pounds of fat loss per week with the rest of the weight composed mostly of dropped water.

The carbohydrate load also provides a key opportunity to train heavy and possibly make some gains in limit strength. A succeeding power training day is a great opportunity to accurately gauge muscle wasting or drops in limit strength. An abbreviated full body workout can be used with great success. All of the lifts should stay strong or possibly get stronger – use a workout journal!

The last four or five days before the cycle starts should be low carbohydrate. The steroid cycle should commence on the same day as a carbohydrate load. Testosterone and most of its popular derivatives will make this carbohydrate load very effective. Glycogen super compensation can occur very quickly, especially if short-ester (suspension, acetate, propionate) steroids are used; otherwise, front load longer esters (enanthate, cypionate, decanoate) to get blood levels up quickly.

Here is an example split for successful priming (based on Ultimate Diet 2.0 by Lyle McDonald, which is considered an up-to-date version of Underground Bodyopus by Daniel Duchaine):

Day 1: Moderate Carb/Cardio at maintenance calorie intake.
Day 2: Low Carb/Upperbody Supersets at a caloric deficit, either through diet or cardio.
Day 3: Low Carb/Lowerbody Supersets at a caloric deficit, either through diet or cardio.
Day 4: Low Carb/Cardio at a caloric deficit, either through diet or cardio.
Day 5: Low Carb/Full Body Workout with daytime calorie intake should be slightly less than they were during the previous days. The carbohydrate load should follow immediately after evening training.
Day 6: Carb Load/No training
Day 7: Moderate Carb/Power Training (Squats, Deadlifts and Bench Presses), eating slightly above maintenance.

Once the cycle has begun, your body will remain very responsive and you should begin training hard; using supersets, drop sets, rest-pause – heavy and intense training. You should feel pent up and ready for it. As always, a training log will help maximize the growth window.
How long should the priming period last?

Proper priming generally last about six to eight weeks, pre-cycle. The body will be very responsive if finished correctly and long enough. Obviously, finding the best ratio between priming, cutting and growth macro cycles can guarantee the greatest results during the training year. This relation is best identified through experience.

Successful priming will bring your body fat levels down but the most important aspect is to become sensitive for a growth period. If body fat is high, an athlete could extend the priming period with a target body composition in mind before switching to a growth phase but don’t allow gross overtraining to occur. If body fat mass is currently out of control, it is better to focus on dieting and training strictly for fat loss. A lean body is much more effective at proper calorie partitioning. Once bodyfat levels are within reason, take a brief pause, and then begin priming for the AAS cycle.
Are any ancillary drugs helpful for priming?

Proviron and Bromocriptine can be very helpful for sustaining muscle mass and fat metabolism. Proviron helps to support natural testosterone levels during a calorie restricted diet. Bromocriptine helps support suitable hormone levels while training to metabolize body fat; in addition to dulling hunger pangs. Either drug can help trick your body from trying to put a stopper on fat loss and limit muscle wasting. Unfortunately, Bromocriptine is notorious for bad side effects, such as decreased appetite and nausea. This drug should be tapered up and only administered in the mornings, to avoid uncomfortable side effects. Exogenous insulin can help carbohydrate loads – especially brief loads under 24 hours – by increasing faster glycogen storage.
Are any non-pharmaceutical ancillaries helpful for priming?

A multi vitamin and mineral supplement is always good practice while on a macro-restrictive diet, to fill holes in daily nutritional requirements. Extra Vitamin C can also help deter flu symptoms and keep you from falling ill during an important training cycle. A daily dose of around four to eight grams of vitamin C per day will serve to support a healthy immune system during any training cycle. Obviously, getting sick can mess everything up.

Taking a healthy dose of the essential branched chain amino acids helps to deter overtraining and over-reaching symptoms. They also help prevent muscle wasting during dieting to foster a better environment to remain on a progressive strength routine. Studies show that it’s harder to overtrain while taking at least 10 grams of the essential BCAA’s daily. Ten grams pre-workout can have a substantially positive effect on strength and mental focus while using a CKD program.

When you stay low-carbohydrate your body starts to produce less of the digestive enzymes responsible for carbohydrate metabolism. This can cause bad gastrointestinal problems when carbohydrate loading. In particular, a low carbohydrate phase results in less production of the enzyme Amylase. To combat this, you could supplement with digestive enzymes to aid proper digestion.

Charles Poliquin, a famous strength coach, has been quoted supporting the idea of post-workout high-dose glutamine. He suggests this in place of sugar for those needing to drop some body fat. The idea of mega dosing glutamine is debatable but many have used 30 to 40 grams of post-workout glutamine with great success

Caffeine and other thermogenics are an absolute help when training during low carbohydrate intake. They support energy levels and depress appetite. During carbohydrate loading, they help with the lethargic feeling easily acquired from a dramatic increase in starches and sugars. Alternatively, the carbohydrate loading phase can be used as a break from caffeine-containing supplements and drinks.

Taking the time to properly prepare for a steroid cycle can make the experience more rewarding. A properly primed system is more responsive to growth, allowing for a lower dose or shorter duration. Appropriate post-cycle therapy helps retain gains – proper pre-cycle preparation helps attain them.

This is an example of a primed bulking cycle. Starting bodyweight was 228 pounds. After seven weeks of priming, a slender 220 was revealed. Finally, after four weeks of testosterone administration, a stronger and more muscular 250 pounds were obtained with a peak weight of 254 within those four weeks – 34 pounds gained in less than a month.


Oct 28, 2010
Charles Poliquin, a famous strength coach, has been quoted supporting the idea of post-workout high-dose glutamine. He suggests this in place of sugar for those needing to drop some body fat. The idea of mega dosing glutamine is debatable but many have used 30 to 40 grams of post-workout glutamine with great success

I have heard of others doing this with some success as well.
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