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⫸STICKY⫷ ⫸Why You Should NOT Frontload⫷

Swim15

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I'd somewhat disagree.

The main underlying point here is the constant progression and improvement of growth factors, be it improvement in diet, harder training, increased drugs, etc, is the mechanism behind growth which I would agree with.

The idea presented here is that frontloading will start you out at a higher baseline in the cycle which means, at some point, to continue growth you will need above and beyond what you would have needed at any given point to continue growing.

I'd argue that it just alters the timeline for results. Let's say someone is running a 10 week cycle for round numbers (could be 20 or 40 weeks or whatever). I'm going to arbitrarily pick some percentages to show X% amount of improvement throughout the cycle.

Without a front load or with a taper up it may look like this
Week 2 - 25% improvement, 25% gain
Week 4 - 45% improvement, 20% gain
Week 6 - 65% , 20% gain
Week 8 - 85% , 20% gain
Week 10 - 100% , 15% gain


With a frontload it may look like this
Week 2 - 40% improvement, 40% gain
Week 4 -70% improvement, 30% gain
Week 6 - 90% , 20% gain
Week 8 - 95% , 5% gain
Week 10 - 100% , 5% gain


Obviously these are just arbitrary numbers to show the concept. You see the same amount of improvement over the course of the run but more of the results land on the front end with the front load and the constant or taper up keeps things rolling more evenly.

Its the same as when people say that you make better gains when you come off or, to a lesser extent when you blast cruise. Personally that's not my opinion because you're just dropping your baseline way down without the gear - of course your going to gain like crazy when you get back on.

i.e. Blasting and cruising or constantly blasting will put you in roughly the same place as cycling on and off except with blast cruise or only blasting you'll constantly be at the level you reach when you cycle back in from being off. It's just a question of whether you want your baseline to be, say, 225lbs @ 8% year around or if you want to yo-yo up and down.

I may be biased since I usually frontload and spend a lot of time blasting but that's been my experience. They're just different methods to get to the same place in different periods of time and should primarily should just be dictated by your overall long term goals.

I've had the privilege to talk to Dallas McCarvers old training partner and a couple of doctors that have worked with pros (Flex Lewis, Ronnie, Phil heath, Dexter to name a few) and some, Dallas especially, are hitting it hard from the start and never letting off the gas. Their goals dictate their approaches.
 

RedLeader

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Wouldn't one put one's self at a greater risk of injury trying to master a frontload like that? I mean, say that a lift goes up by 50lbs over 10 weeks. The tapering up method would more or less be consistent with 5lb/wk progression, but a frontload might make a person want to jump 25lbs on week 2.
 

Swim15

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Wouldn't one put one's self at a greater risk of injury trying to master a frontload like that? I mean, say that a lift goes up by 50lbs over 10 weeks. The tapering up method would more or less be consistent with 5lb/wk progression, but a frontload might make a person want to jump 25lbs on week 2.
Yeah, potentially I suppose although there are a couple things to consider. One, IMO if someone is always lifting as heavy as they actually can on gear, primarily when a cycle begins or doses are increased, they are an idiot to begin with. Just because you can lift something doesn't mean you should and reasonable progressive overload should always be considered in order to prevent injuries.

The next thing to consider would be doses. Say person X doesn't have an enormous history and is planning on running 400mg a week total. Person B is experienced and plans on running 1000mg a week total. Person A started with a 800mg front load and person B starts with their usual 1000mg a week. Who's at greater risk for injury? There are a lot of factors to consider but ultimately I'd argue that one week of front load isn't going to cause any massive difference in strength increase. But, again, if there is, you should always be sticking to progressive overload, not lift shit as heavy as you can all the time.
 

CFC

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I'd somewhat disagree.

The main [...] to Dallas McCarvers old training partner and a couple of doctors that have worked with pros (Flex Lewis, Ronnie, Phil heath, Dexter to name a few) and some, Dallas especially, are hitting it hard from the start and never letting off the gas. Their goals dictate their approaches.
Thanks for taking the time to write that up swim15, much appreciated.

I understand what you're saying, but I don't think it's particularly logical. The argument I'm making in the OP is that it's more important, for bodybuilding purposes, to stay even marginally ahead of your baseline than it is to be massively above it for a very short period of time (which is basically what you're arguing).

This all hinges on basic physiological science: biological systems, particularly complex ones with numerous interdependent pathways like those involved in muscle growth, naturally take time to upregulate growth factors, and not just for muscle cells and new nuclei, but also all the necessary support systems too including angiogenesis (for new blood vessel growth), collagen growth, nerve cells, and so on. There's absolutely no sense in throwing everything in at the start when the body isn't yet primed to make use of it, then letting off the gas after, when it is.

Furthermore, no matter how far above your 'baseline' you are, and even when all systems and growth pathways are running at full speed, you can only add so much muscle in any fixed period of time, with steep diminishing returns on higher AAS doses (eg: if person A takes 1g of AAS, he may gain (say) 5kg of muscle over a fixed time period. But 2g of AAS will certainly not equal 10kg for him over that same period, and so on).

Now clearly, these factors and their parameters do vary from person to person, and highly genetically gifted people will obviously benefit more no matter what they do, but in general never so much as to make the general point invalid.

What this implies is two things:

First, you simply aren't going to add huge slabs of permanent muscle tissue in just 1-2 weeks, it's not physiologically feasible. If a person did see their weight shoot up to, as in your example, 40% of what they managed to achieve in total throughout their entire cycle after frontloading, then frankly I'd be disappointed, as it implies much of what was gained was most likely water, glycogen, some plasma volume etc, and will come crashing down when the cycle's over.

Second, the best way to circumvent these homeostatic processes is to ensure you're always slightly above your baseline. In other words, once you're growing at a healthy pace, it makes sense to try and keep things running at that level for as long as possible, and not to allow homeostasis (eg rising myostatin levels) to 'catch up' and slow it all down again. And one of the most potent ways to achieve this is to ensure you're tapering up AAS and seeing rising serum levels for as long as you can.

Finally, the other variable missing from your discussion is health. While I'm mostly dealing with a theoretical model to enhance muscle growth here, I'm also an advocate of long-term healthy use of PEDs. I could never support anyone using multiple grams of AAS for relatively marginal improvements over what someone doing a fraction of the dose could achieve. In time, that person doing smaller doses will still probably get to where the other guy is. I guess this is a perspective I tend to notice shared moreso by us older guys who've been doing this for long enough to realise that this or that cycle at this or that dose really makes fuck all difference in the long run, compared to long-term dedication and consistency.
 

Swim15

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CFC - no prob and thanks for the thoughts, definitely think there is a lot of validity in your OP. Mostly just wanted to present some alternate thoughts.

Overall, I'd agree it's much more about consistency and long term dedication since, as you said, almost no one is going to put on any decent amount real tissue in a short period of time. The effects from frontloadimg really aren't that drastic IME though and ultimately the end effect is just going to put you at the same stable blood plasma levels at week 2 as ~4-5 weeks into the run.

Personally, I do what most people would probably consider blasting year around although I've been reducing overall dosages in general for the last year or two with longevity in mind. However I also make money off of my physique and wouldn't recommend that to most people unless they were in a similar situation.
 

CFC

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However I also make money off of my physique and wouldn't recommend that to most people unless they were in a similar situation.
I do appreciate that mate, and of course when it comes to competing, marginal gains are actually pretty critical. Convincing competitors in any sport that they can achieve the same with less than others they're up against is hard work and takes a lot of trust. Even moreso when sponsorship, product ambassadorship etc rely on it - one of the guys I used to work with admitted doubling up his doses when I wasn't around lol =D

There's also a bit of hypocrisy, in that I would never have listened to what I talk about now when I was in my 20s. I was hugely impatient and seem to remember that the saying about having a big coffin rather than living life small seemed quite sensible to me at the time ;) It seems completely retarded to me now, but I guess that's what happens to most of us over time. Being big and looking good is way down my list of priorities now, but for a time my whole life was built around it.
 

Swim15

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Yeah I'm young, in my 20's but I've definitely stared coming to that realization probably a little early compared to my peers. A lot of that is also due to what I've seen drug use, even gear, do. Only get one body and, while I do plan on living life like a lion rather than a sheep, I definitely want to mitigate the consequences of that as much as I can.

Curious, how has your gear use changed with your mindset compared to when you were younger?
 

CFC

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I've basically reverted to using tiny doses (generally never over 250-300mg total at the peak of a taper, starting out much lower). I can achieve as much as I used to on more conventional (and occasionally excessive multi-gram) cycles but without most of the sides. I also take very long breaks now, whereas at one point I was on a nonstop cycle for probably 10+ years. Despite that I actually hit a new peak LBM last year without really trying.

I do prefer being a bit smaller though as after a while all the bulk gets a bit tiresome (sweaty, sores/rubbing muscles, eating tons of food etc). I like that I no longer get paranoid about losing mass, eating meals at specific times, taking supps, always trying to progress etc etc. When I go to the gym now I just train whatever I fancy in whatever way I feel like doing that day. I still push myself hard, as that's fun, but generally I'm way more relaxed and just in it to feel good.
 

Serotonin101

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I've basically reverted to using tiny doses (generally never over 250-300mg total at the peak of a taper, starting out much lower). I can achieve as much as I used to on more conventional (and occasionally excessive multi-gram) cycles but without most of the sides. I also take very long breaks now, whereas at one point I was on a nonstop cycle for probably 10+ years. Despite that I actually hit a new peak LBM last year without really trying.

I do prefer being a bit smaller though as after a while all the bulk gets a bit tiresome (sweaty, sores/rubbing muscles, eating tons of food etc). I like that I no longer get paranoid about losing mass, eating meals at specific times, taking supps, always trying to progress etc etc. When I go to the gym now I just train whatever I fancy in whatever way I feel like doing that day. I still push myself hard, as that's fun, but generally I'm way more relaxed and just in it to feel good.
This is how I aim to do my 8 week recovery cruise before my winter blast. Basically low dose test and mast while eating more freely to get out of the neurotic pattern that dieting causes me to have. I mean, last night I didn't sleep worth of crap because today is a refeed and I felt exactly the same as a kid the night before Xmas. Going to get my muffin this morning gave me the exact feeling I used to get when going to score H which I haven't done in close to 6 years. The mental break will be a welcome
 

Swim15

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^hahaha I know that feeling and honestly why I don't have much in the way of plans to compete anymore. Might hit a classic physique show just to do it but feeling like that all the time is miserable.

CFC - that's good to hear. Definitely have progressed more towards that mentality than I used to be. What's the point of training if you can't live life at all? Mostly just stay lean enough now that if needed I can be ready for an event in two weeks or so but otherwise train how I feel and usually let myself eat how I feel within reason. Gotta be able to find the balance and sounds like you've gotten to a good spot with it
 

brook_brook

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"First, you simply aren't going to add huge slabs of permanent muscle tissue in just 1-2 weeks, it's not physiologically feasible. If a person did see their weight shoot up to, as in your example, 40% of what they managed to achieve in total throughout their entire cycle after frontloading, then frankly I'd be disappointed, as it implies much of what was gained was most likely water, glycogen, some plasma volume etc, and will come crashing down when the cycle's over."

Slabs of permanent tissue refers to myofibrillar hypertrophy of the actin and myosin fibres i assume? Agreed not, but the myogenic growth factors stimulated by AAS would be present, starting to agonise their receptors, at a greater degree than that seen with lower doses. Furthermore i assume you're referring (to 'water' [being in fact a component of glycogenesis it must be said], glycogen and [blood] plasma volume) to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, which doesnt equate to mere fleeting water retention dropping within hours/days, which is what you seem to be implying. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is considerably more resilient than is being suggested.

Of course water 'bloat', subcutaneous and intracellular water is quickly lost after a super-dose of a highly estrogenic androgen is discontinued, and before substantial myofibrillar or significant sarcoplasmic hypertrophy can be achieved.

One thing i will add however is the immediate transduction of genomic and non genomic (anabolic cascade) signals will contribute to myogenic hypertrophic advantages by early high dose administration of anabolic androgens, more so than the equivalent pathway activation of doses significantly lower.

Lastly, what about high dose DHT or even 19-nor based androgens used in the front load, there would be no bloat, just extra time for the system to have a supra-physiological level of anabolics increasing growth factors, maintaining a positive nitrogen: cortisol ratio and maintaining a stable blood-hormone level throughout the cycle, promoting an albeit artificial homeostatic environment.
 

CFC

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Slabs of permanent tissue refers to myofibrillar hypertrophy of the actin and myosin fibres i assume? Agreed not, but the myogenic growth factors stimulated by AAS would be present, starting to agonise their receptors, at a greater degree than that seen with lower doses. Furthermore i assume you're referring (to 'water' [being in fact a component of glycogenesis it must be said], glycogen and [blood] plasma volume) to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, which doesnt equate to mere fleeting water retention dropping within hours/days, which is what you seem to be implying. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is considerably more resilient than is being suggested.

Of course water 'bloat', subcutaneous and intracellular water is quickly lost after a super-dose of a highly estrogenic androgen is discontinued, and before substantial myofibrillar or significant sarcoplasmic hypertrophy can be achieved.

For the purposes of the discussion it doesn't really matter what, how or why water (or 'bloat') is gained or lost or what (im)permanent tissue is or isn't. The intention was simply to describe an actually-observed reality in the broadest sense. But, FYI, muscle is generally 70-80% water, there are numerous other compartments in which water can be retained, and most of the change in weight of everyone is, and always will be, easily gained and easily lost water.


One thing i will add however is the immediate transduction of genomic and non genomic (anabolic cascade) signals will contribute to myogenic hypertrophic advantages by early high dose administration of anabolic androgens, more so than the equivalent pathway activation of doses significantly lower.

Lastly, what about high dose DHT or even 19-nor based androgens used in the front load, there would be no bloat, just extra time for the system to have a supra-physiological level of anabolics increasing growth factors, maintaining a positive nitrogen: cortisol ratio and maintaining a stable blood-hormone level throughout the cycle, promoting an albeit artificial homeostatic environment.

Yeah, you're completely missing the point. Inhibition of growth isn't caused by a lack of maximal early signalling or a 'lack of time' at supraphysiological AAS levels. If this were all, we could all just use massive doses and stay on a cycle forever and become endlessly huge. The fact that doesn't happen should make this plainly obvious - ie common sense - and that 'homeostasis' is the last thing you want when you're trying to grow.
 

Aieek

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Thanks for the interesting thread.

I've basically reverted to using tiny doses (generally never over 250-300mg total at the peak of a taper, starting out much lower).
CFC, would you mind sharing an example of a cycle that you've followed at these peaks? I'm curious to see how long you went and how you tapered up. Also, interested in whether you used an ai or any pct.
 
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