Long-Term & Low-Dose Oral Steroid Use as an Alternative to Traditional Steroid Cycles

Question: “Instead of doing cycles that suppress my system for weeks on end, I’m considering using oral steroids on some days but not others. One reasons is, I don’t want my bodyweight fluctuating by 20-30 lb at a time. That would raise questions. Shouldn’t total gains per year depend on the total amount of steroids I take per year, not on how I time them?”

Answer: I can’t tell you for a fact that you cannot get a similar result following this idea as with traditional anabolic steroid cycles, particularly if the result you had in mind was a modest one.

However, there’s a real lack of evidence for the idea. I’ve never seen it done with success worth mentioning. On the other hand, it’s rarely tried, so I’ve only seen a handful of examples. And perhaps less-focused, less-dedicated training might have gone along with the less-focused, less-dedicated steroid use.

Pharmacologically, there are reasons why using anabolic steroids some days but not others might not give as much results as sustained use. The biological processes activated by the androgen receptor are not immediate, but take days to complete. Failing to sustain high androgen levels throughout the process might limit results. But that’s not a conclusive argument. For example, GH levels don’t have to be sustained to provide sustained biological activity.

What is conclusive is that sustaining high androgen levels does work, beyond doubt. Peaks that come and go? Not proven, and what evidence there is has it not working very well.

So if you want to experiment with this idea, you can, but inferior results are likely.

To meet your concerns while making at least as much gains per year as with traditional cycles, I’d suggest 2-week cycles. Total yearly progress is typically as good or better as with longer cycles, but body transformation is in smaller jumps.

Another reason not to rely only on orals is liver toxicity. With properly-planned steroid cycles, at most some of the steroids used will be liver toxic, because half or more of the total amount used will be non-alkylated injectables. Relying on orals only, the entire amount used is liver toxic, typically. It’s better to get most or all of the effect from injectables than to rely solely on orals.