Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

How Long Should You Wait Between Steroid Cycles?

Jordan Smith
Published by Jordan Smith | Medical Doctor
Last updated: September 22, 2023
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

As a personal fitness and strength coach, I’ve encountered many athletes and bodybuilders who have taken steroids to achieve their gains.

The problem is that these people often take serious risks with the dosage and how long they run steroid cycles. They seem to believe that there are general guidelines you can follow and avoid running into trouble.

After talking with a medical doctor and doing some research on steroid cycles, I decided to give our readers an overview of why working out steroid cycles is such a difficult task.

Here’s what I found out.

Quick Summary

  • You should stay on anabolic steroids for between 6-12 weeks to completely recover from an injury, or disease.
  • Using steroids for too long presents an array of side effects like liver damage.
  • Steroids should only be consumed upon prescription from a medical doctor, and not for recreational purposes.

How Long Does A Steroid Cycle Last?

Muscular person holding different pills

A typical steroid cycle can last anywhere from 6-12 weeks for a patient recovering from a disease or injury.

But it’s important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all cycle time [1]. Here’s the problem.

How long a patient needs to stay on steroids depends on how severe their medical conditions are.

And even then, some people respond to steroids much faster, meaning that a planned 10-week cycle can sometimes be cut in half.

After completing a steroid cycle, it's crucial to consider post cycle therapy to support natural testosterone production, allowing for optimal recovery and muscle mass gains before starting another cycle or considering testosterone replacement therapy.

And that’s why it’s so important to have a doctor involved when it comes to monitoring steroid cycles.

Having talked to many bodybuilders and athletes who resorted to taking steroids for performance gains, I know that way too many of them simply stick with a set amount of time before taking a couple of weeks off.

Not only can that initial cycle time be too long cycle, but the constant on and off cycle can also increase your risk of side effects.

When planning between steroid cycles, it is essential to monitor blood pressure and allow adequate time for muscle tissue recovery to maintain lean muscle and optimize gains in muscle mass, especially with testosterone propionate.

Let’s see what can happen if you push things too far.

What Happens If You Use Steroids For Too Long?

If you use steroids for too long, you can encounter significant health problems with the liver and many other systems in your body.

Corticosteroids used for treating inflammation can have serious impacts on the immune system leading to increased risks of infection [2].

The more common type of steroids used by athletes is the anabolic one for muscle gains. The result of long-term anabolic use can be serious damage to the liver, leaving lasting and permanent issues [3].

There’s also the risk of skin conditions like acne and significant mood swings, and aggression [4].

In some cases, this might not happen within the first steroid cycle, but repeated cycles that doctors would very rarely recommend can bring about these side effects a lot sooner than many people believe.

“Anabolic steroid use causes decreased levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol, increased levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and serious liver toxicity within 12 weeks, according to a study that measured the effects of anabolic steroids on men with HIV wasting disease.”

- Carl Grunfeld, MD, PhD,

Related Articles:

Does The Dose Impact How Long You Take Them?

About to inject a syringe on arm muscle

Yes, the dose of steroids can impact how long you can take them.

But there is no magic formula that you can use to input your age, height, weight, and fitness level to get an exact recommendation.

Determining the dose of steroids requires a lot of medical experience, and even then, doctors have to often adjust the dosage [5].

More importantly, once the right dose is prescribed, there’s no specific time frame you can say is safe to take that dose.

This is entirely dependent on how your body reacts to the specific steroid.

The problem is that some early signs of liver damage might not be obvious to a patient, but doctors know what to look out for and measure on blood tests.

Related Articles:


Can You Be on Steroids for Life?

Yes, some people can be on steroids for life when they are dealing with serious health conditions.

But such situations require careful monitoring by doctors to make sure that the side effects of the steroids don’t outweigh the benefits they provide.

Do Steroids Stop Working After a While?

Yes, steroids can stop working after a while.

The human body produces steroids naturally, but when you take steroid medication, it’s possible that the body produces less, meaning you get less of an overall effect.

Taking The Sensible Approach To Steroids

For steroid users, it is crucial to wait between cycles to allow for proper recovery and enhance muscle growth while maintaining lean muscle and controlling body fat through optimal protein synthesis.

Steroids are not a type of drug that you want to self-administer. There are serious health conditions that can go unnoticed for long enough resulting in long-term damage.

There is also no exact science that can tell you how long a steroid cycle should last, as this all depends on how your body negatively reacts to the drugs over time.

The much safer option to speed up your fitness journey is to buy a legal steroid based on natural ingredients. These trigger an increased testosterone production that can speed up your muscle-building journey significantly.

Try them out for yourself and see how much of a difference they can make in the long term.


Was this article helpful?

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *