If you’ve been frequenting the gym for a while now, then you already know just how hard it is to work through strength plateaus and achieve the body of your dreams.
You’ve heard all about the benefits of anabolic steroids, but the long and dangerous list of side effects doesn’t seem worth the risk. Perhaps you’ve heard about SARMs.
If you’ve been wondering ‘what are SARMs?’ then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at how these alternatives to anabolic steroids can help you to reach your training and physical goals.
What are SARMs?
‘SARMs’ stands for selective androgen receptor modulators. They work in much the same way as anabolic steroids, but they specifically bind to the androgen receptors in the body.
Bodybuilders and athletes have been using them as PEDs for years now. They were created to help muscle wasting in cancer patients. There are limited studies as to the safety and efficacy of SARMs, but the studies that have been conducted suggest that they are both effective and well-tolerated by humans.
SARMs share very similar benefits to anabolic steroids. They are considered less potent than steroids and therefore you shouldn’t expect as dramatic results as you would with anabolic steroids. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that SARMs can help take your training to the next level.
Some of the most common benefits associated with SARMs include:
Increased lean muscle mass
Improved endurance and stamina
Better fat loss
Increased sex drive
Most of these benefits come with an increase in testosterone levels, which the vast majority of SARMs offer. But if you’re worried about testosterone suppression there are a few SARMs that don’t affect testosterone levels in any way.
One of the biggest benefits of SARMs is that they only bind with the androgen receptors in the body. Anabolic steroids can be incredibly toxic to the liver and other internal organs. This is because they are not selective. The fact that SARMs selectively bind with the androgen receptors means that they have less of a detrimental impact on your internal organs.
Are SARMs Safe?
With that said, SARMs do still come with potential side effects. One of the biggest risks when using SARMs is the difficulty in obtaining high-quality products when you buy SARMs.
SARMs are sold as research drugs, and not as intended for human use. This means that they’re not monitored by the FDA or any other governing bodies. Anyone considering SARMs must their research before buying and taking SARMs.
One study on the quality of SARMs products revealed some worrying results. The study tested 44 different products being sold on the internet as SARMs. Of these 44 products, only 52% contained any selective androgen receptor modulators at all. A quarter of the products contained substances that weren’t even listed on the label.
SARMs Side Effects
While the side effects of SARMs are much lesser than you’d expect with anabolic steroids, the potential side effects are still similar. Many of these side effects can be negated by adhering to recommended dosages and cycle lengths. Some SARMs require on-cycle support and PCT to help reduce potential side effects.
Some of the most common side-effects associated with SARMs include:
High blood pressure
The higher the dose and the longer the cycle, the more likely users are to experience negative side effects.
SARMs Cycle Lengths and Dosages
SARMs have a relatively short half-life in comparison to anabolic steroids. When you’re looking at using SARMs it’s important to use a dosage that maintains a steady level of the drug over some time.
SARMs should be taken at the same time every day. SARMs should only be used for a certain amount of time. This is known as a SARMs cycle. Adhering to SARMs cycles is a must for reducing any more serious side effects such as testosterone suppression.
One of the biggest issues with taking SARMs is that users attempt to mimic the effects of anabolic steroids. To do this they have to take much higher doses than recommended. This can quickly lead to SARMs becoming riskier than using steroids. Be aware that SARMs will help improve your performance, but they will not be as effective as anabolic steroids.
Once you’ve completed a SARMs cycle you must refrain from using any SARMs for as long as your cycle lasted. We will take a look at the specific cycle lengths and dosages for each SARM a little later.
On-Cycle Support and PCT
Yes, the side effects of SARMs are much less than anabolic steroids, but they are still potentially toxic to your liver and suppressive of natural testosterone production.
On-cycle support is used when taking SARMs to help protect your liver against toxicity. Many users just use regular liver supplements such as milk thistle.
Post cycle therapy (PCT) is used at the end of a SARMs cycle. PCT drugs are used to help your natural testosterone levels recover after a cycle. Two of the most common PCT drugs are Clovid and Nolvadex. Not all SARMs suppress testosterone production, so it’s important to research each SARM first.
One of the best ways to establish whether or not you will need on-cycle support or PCT is to have blood work done before your SARMs cycle and at the end of your cycle. This way you’ll be able to monitor the effects on your liver enzymes and testosterone levels.
Are SARMs Legal?
There’s no black and white answer to this. SARMs are legal to purchase and own, but only when they are sold as research chemicals. It is illegal to sell SARMs specifically for human consumption.
If you’re a competitive athlete it’s also worth noting that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has prohibited all SARMs.
The Best SARMs Out There
No matter what your fitness goals are, there will be a specific SARM that answers your calling. There are SARMs specifically for burning fat, others for getting massive, and a few all-around SARMs. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular SARMs and their benefits.
Ostarine is the first SARM to hit the market. It’s the most researched SARM, and one of the only SARMs to have been subject to human clinical trials. When people are looking at SARMs for the first time, Ostarine is usually where they start.
Ostarine is a great all-round SARM due to its long list of benefits:
Increased lean muscle mass
Improved fat burning
Increased insulin resistance
Improved bone density
Ostarine has minimal side effects when used at moderate-low doses. Ostarine can induce liver toxicity when used in higher doses, so it’s always worth running on-cycle support alongside it. In higher doses Ostarine can also suppress testosterone production, so PCT might be necessary depending on your dose.
Users should start with a dose between 10-20mg a day of Ostarine. More experienced users should take no more than 30mg daily. Ostarine’s half-life is 24 hours so you’ll only need to take a single dose at the same time each day.
A typical Ostarine cycle will last between 8-12 weeks. If it’s your first cycle then stick to eight weeks. If you’re looking at using Ostarine at higher doses and for a longer cycle, then PCT will be a must at the end of your cycle.
Ligandrol is one of the more potent SARMs on the market and is used for bulking and strength. Where most SARMs need to be taken for a while before reaping the benefits, Ligandrol can be felt almost straight away. Like Ostarine, it’s one of the few SARMs to undergo human clinical trials.
New users should start with a 4-6 week cycle and a dose of around 5mg a day. More experienced users can run up to 10mg a day for a maximum cycle of 8 weeks.
Ligandrol can be heavily suppressive on testosterone production so PCT is an absolute must for a Ligandrol cycle.
Many users have found that taking Ligandrol for four weeks and then taking four weeks off is a great way to minimize testosterone suppression.
As the name suggests, Testolone works by increasing your testosterone levels. This means that it’s also suppressive of your natural testosterone levels and PCT will be required after a cycle.
Testolone is predominantly used for size and strength gains. Some of the benefits include:
Increase in lean muscle mass
Improved strength and power
Improved vascularity and definition
The increased aggression is great for your training sessions, but it’s worth noting that this can be taxing on your day-to-day interactions. Some users report frequent mood swings.
The half-life of Testolone is 20 hours, so you’ll only need to take one dose each day. Beginners should start with 10mg a day and work up to no more than 20mg daily.
A typical cycle lasts between 6-8 weeks. Users should be cautious about running a cycle for any longer due to the suppressive nature of testolone.
YK-11 is considered the strongest SARM on the market. As a result, it’s not recommended for new users. YK-11 is something between regular SARMs and anabolic steroids.
YK-11 has several benefits including:
Increased muscle mass
Improved fat loss
Increased bone strength
YK-11 has a short half-life so it’s important to split your dose into two to maintain a steady concentration of the drug.
If you’re new to YK-11 then a dose as small as 5mg a day is taken for 4 weeks. This will give you a good opportunity to test how your body reacts with minimal side effects before considering a larger dose and longer cycle.
YK-11 should be used for no longer than 8 weeks at a maximum dose of 10mg a day. PCT and on-cycle support are crucial for all YK-11 cycles.
Andarine is mainly used for cutting cycles. It improves performance as well as aiding fat loss. It’s popular for those preparing for competitions as it helps to maintain lean muscle gains while in a calorific deficit.
Andarine causes minimal suppression of testosterone levels. It might not be noticeable at all when used at lower doses for shorter cycles.
Beginners should look to cycle 25mg a day for 4-6 weeks. More experienced users take 50-75mg a day for 8 weeks. Andarine can be highly effective at 25mg a day so it is better to stick to a lower dose and minimize potential side effects.
Cardarine is technically not a SARM. It works in a slightly different way via the PPAR pathway. This is a great SARM for anyone worried about testosterone suppression, as it does not affect testosterone levels in any way.
Cardarine is mainly used as a performance enhancer. You can expect to have more energy and endurance when on a cardarine cycle.
Cardarine can be safely used between 10-20mg for a cycle of up to 12 weeks. Many users take Cardarine 2-3 hours before their workouts due to its positive effects on endurance.
Cardarine can be used on its own but is more commonly stacked with other SARMs.
Ibutamoren is something a bit different. It increases the amount of growth hormone our bodies produce. You can think of it as the nootropic of SARMs.
Ibutamoren has several benefits including:
Increased bone health
It is most often stacked with other SARMs as part of a bulking cycle. For those using it as part of a bulking cycle, the most common dose is 25mg a day for 12 weeks.
Ibutamoren takes around 4 weeks to kick in. Some users run lower doses of around 10mg a day for up to 6 months due to its general benefits.
The Ultimate SARMs Stacks
Now you know what are SARMs and what SARMs do you can decide whether or not they’re right for you. SARMs are considered much safer than anabolic steroids, but only when used responsibly. Always start with shorter cycles and lower doses for your first few SARMs cycles.
As you become more experienced with using different SARMs on their own you can start to stack different SARMs to increase the benefits. If you’re using multiple SARMs at once, remember to adhere to on-cycle support and PCT guidelines to minimize side effects.
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