Priming 101 - Preparing for an AAS Growth Spurt
Frequently people research how to better layout an AAS cycle, as well as proper post cycle therapy for making the transition back to natural. Unfortunately, many neglect another component for a successful AAS cycle - maximizing the time spent on - pre cycle therapy, better know as Priming.
What is priming?
Priming is a prepatory method used to better prepare the body before starting an AAS cycle. The goal of priming is to make the system very sensitive to a flood of androgens, food and intense training. Most advanced bodybuilders (especially those that compete) know how responsive the body can be right after leaning up - such as the growth spurts that are frequently experienced after a competition... with or without AAS.
If done correctly, priming will surprise you by very quick and dramatic results. In my opinion, priming should be done before every cycle - no matter the athlete's previous cycle experience. Because of the quicker results, cycle duration could also be cut back to make coming off and restoring proper HPTA function easier. The basic principle here is to create an environment where you body is very responsive to increased calories and your mind feels pent up and ready to move heavy weights.
Note by Marcus300: "Priming opens the growth window and creates a very anabolic environment for muscle tissue to grow at a very fast rate, i can not express enough how important this process is, this will enhance any cycle and hugh gains can be produce and maintained by this simple process of priming (carb cycling), just to note when priming dont be hard on the body and try and force the environment a slow steady carb cycling so the body doesn't react in starvation mode is what is needed, 3-5 days low carb to 1 day high carbs is a general rule.
"When the priming is done your body is ready to direct everything into the muscle cells, because of the priming the cells on the muscles are very excitable and everything is directed into the muscle cells instead of fat cells, so if you incorporate the priming so it ends when a cycle starts and the intense training everything is directed into growth of muscle tissue and the growth spurt starts, in nature growth occurs in spurts and we are no different babies and teenagers all grow in spurts we cant carry on growing for a long period of time our bodies just dont work like that no matter what we put into them, so take advantage of the window and start a cycle when priming ends, because of the spurt only last for a few wks a short cycle fits nicely into it but longer cycle can be used it depends on the individual and how good he responds to AAS, i normally only grow for the first half of cycles so short cycling works great for me,
"The cycle needs to be designed around some form of cycle history and use what works best for you, looking over the cycle history will tell you which compounds work and which ones your body responds well to with little sides, design a cycle with this in mind."
How should you prime?
Priming involves the correct dietary and training techniques that get you to drop fat but no muscle. Basically, you diet down slow enough to simply lose some fat - no muscle should be lost. The training should not be so intense that you risk overtraining; in fact, a general maintenance routine would be best in most cases. The diet should allow your body to become sensitive to carbohydrates and other macronutrients. Generally, a cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD) works wonders - staying low carb for 3-4 days maximum, then carbing up. Again, the goal is to lean up but preserve current LBM.
Here is an example split that I have used for successful priming:
Day 1: Moderate Carb/Cardio
Day 2: Low Carb/Upperbody Supersets
Day 3: Low Carb/Lowerbody Supersets
Day 4: Low Carb/Cardio
Day 5: Low Carb/Full Body Workout (begin carb load after evening training)
Day 6: Carb Load/No training
Day 7: Moderate Carb/Power Training (Squat/Deads/Bench)
How much cardio you do and how low you take your calories, is determined by your LBM and what you have learned about your metabolism and personal limitations.
The last 4-5 days before the cycle starts should be low carb. On the day you carb up - you should begin the cycle. Testosterone and most of it's popular deriatives will make this carb load very effective - and glycogen supercompensation should occur very quickly... especially if you use short esters or frontload longer esters - to get blood levels up quickly. After this point your body will remain very responsive to the cycle and you should begin training hard - drop sets, rest-pause... go intense! You should feel ready for it. As always - keep a training log to maximize the growth window.
Here are the results of a priming period I did (based on the 7-day CKD example):
Starting weight: 248.2 Target weight: 225.0
Week 1: Depleted to: 237.0 Loaded to: 244.8
Week 2: Depleted to: 235.5 Loaded to: 243.2
Week 3: Depleted to: 234.8 Loaded to: 242.1
Week 4: Depleted to: 233.4 Loaded to: 244.0 (salty carb load - wife made a big pot of soup! )
Week 5: Depleted to: 231.8 Loaded to: 239.2
Week 6: Depleted to: 229.6 Loaded to: 241.0
Week 7: Depleted to: 229.2 Loaded to: 240.5
Week 8: Depleted to: 227.9 Loaded to: 240.0
Week 9: Depleted to: 226.6 Loaded to: 237.2
Week 10: a slow ride down to 225. Once I hit that, I consider the prime over and the window wide open. Physcially: strength has improved or sustained. Mentally: I am ready to move some heavy weights again - and ditch some of this damn cardio
NOTE: Carb Loading - if you haven't ran a CKD before, remember that you need to deplete glycogen during the week so you can get the proper response from the carb loads. Be carefull of total calorie intake - if you go low carb, but eat too much - this will effect the depletion phase. During the carb load, stick to protein and carb food sources... if you have a craving to curb that is also high in fat, the best time to indulge is within the first several hours of the carb load - studies show fat gain during this time is very low... the body is more interested in replenishing itself than it is in storing fat. As you advance through the carb load - high fat food are more likely to be stored.
How long should the priming period last?
Proper priming should last about 6-8 weeks precycle. If done correctly and long enough, your body will be very responsive - you should feel physically pent up and ready from the priming period - you should be mentally and physically prepared to move some heavy weights and put in 100% effort in the gym.
Are any ancillary drugs helpful for priming?
I have found Proviron and (drum roll) Bromocriptine to be helpful. Proviron helps to support natural testosterone levels during a calorie restricted diet; bromocriptine helps support proper metabolism and hormone levels to trick your body from trying to put a stopper on fat loss. An important word on Bromo: taper up and only take it in the mornings to avoid uncomfortable side effects. Exogenous insulin can help carb loads - I feel filled out quicker and stronger the day after...
By Marcus300: "Growth Hormone is of great benefit, it should be run at a low-dose during priming, and when the cycle starts and the intense training the dose of GH should be high for that individual, all these growth factors all work together in producing new muscle tissue gains, ive done my own personal studies with GH and priming and different ways of cycling and the GH is of great benefit in pushing new boundaries of growth while the growth spurt is open.
"GH is a wonderful and remarkable hormone, its basically a lipolytic it burns fat while supporting the immune system and prevents bone loss and supports the retention of lean body mass, it other words in time it makes you big and ripped and transforms your physic,when you start GH therapy it causes a shift in the metabolism where the body tries to burn alot more fatty acids than glucose, this benefit is sometimes mild but over time strips the fat away from the muscle, now for the other effect GH as on the body it increases amino acid uptake by muscles and can build lean muscle tissue, so what happens especially if your a bodybuilder and training and eating like one is you start to increase in lean body mass even more so if AAS are implement aswell so an increase in LBM which in turn changes the rate of body fat is burnt due to the LBM increasing, so in time major changes in the bodys compostion are notice even with no alteration on the diet, so just think if the right cycle and diet was done with GH the body changes put all this with the priming and designed cycle and you have everything you need to achieve your goals
"Now the dose what is need to transform the body is something ive discovered over the years, this is were i went wrong for years using too little of amount of GH, all i used to recieve was fat loss and slight condition, A former Mr O's camp at the time said i was doing it all wrong and they showed me and made me understand what i needed to do to change my body totally, nowadays ive found what works 100% for me, its a good solid prime and create the anabolic window for muscle then i start a short cycle weather heavy/light or modertae put this together with a very intense training program and diet and incorporate GH at a muscle building dose and the body changes very quickly,
"Sides with GH are bad if your a sufferer, carpel tunnel syndrome is murder but at least you know the GH you are taking is real, what i found is to run a maintenance dose of gh during the prime and slowly build the dose up and when you stop the prime and start the cycle and hit the food,training and AAS increase the GH its not as bad if you run it for a few wks before and steadily up the dose for the start of cycle."
Are any non-pharmaceutical ancillaries helpful for priming?
A multi vitamin/mineral is always good practice while on a macro-restrive diet... to help fill nutritional holes. Extra Vitamin C can also help deter flu symptoms and keep you from falling ill during an important training cycle... I will usually take somewhere between 4-8 grams of vitamin C per day to support a healthy immune system during any important training cycle. Getting sick can mess everything up...
Taking a healthy dose of the essential BCAA's helps to deter overtraining and keep you from losing muscle during dieting - or possibly remain progressive in your strength training. Studies show that it's harder to overtrain while taking in >10 grams of the essential BCAA's daily. I find 10 grams preworkout has a substantial effect on strength retention/gains and mental focus while on a CKD primer.
When you stay low-carb your body starts to produce less of the digestive enzymes responsible for carbohydrate metabolism - this can cause bad gas when carb loading. In particular, a low carb phase results in less production of the enzyme Amylase. To help this, you could take digestive enzymes to aid proper digestion.
The great Charles Poliquin has been quoted to suggort the idea of high-dose glutamine as a post workout sugar replacement for those needing to drop some bodyfat. The idea of mega dosing glutamine is debatable... but I have used it with success. Usually during the depletion week - my post workout shake is one banana and about 30-40 grams of glutamine.
Caffeine and other thermogenics are an absolute help when CKD priming. They keep you moving when after a few days on low carb and they help depress appetite. During the carb loads, they can also help keep you from feeling tired from all the incoming starches and sugars; however I usually use the carb load day as a detox from caffeine-containing sups and drinks.
Text by Warrior