It’s fair to say that anyone who regularly steps foot in a gym is looking to better themselves. Maybe you’re looking for improved strength, a better body, or increased athletic ability. Whatever it might be, the quest for the holy grail of fitness doesn’t have to end at the squat rack. The worldwide sports nutrition market is currently estimated at over 60 billion dollars.
Protein supplements, creatine, BCAAs, fat burners, the list goes on, and then it goes on some more. But have you ever heard of a SARMs supplement? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t? If SARMs sound familiar, but you’re looking to learn more then you’ve come to the right place.
In this SARMs 101, we’re going to take a closer look at exactly what SARMs are and why you should consider them. Then we’ll delve deeper into the different SARMs available. So flex your thinking muscles and let’s begin.
What Are SARMs
SARMs came about by accident in the early 90s when Professor James T Dalton was busy working on treatments for prostate cancer. Dalton identified a molecule known as Andarine which, despite being of little use in regards to treating prostate cancer, had quite an astounding effect on muscle growth.
SARMs work by enhancing the levels of androgens or male hormones in the body. They do this by binding to androgen receptors much in the same way as anabolic steroids work. There is, however, a key difference: SARMs (selective androgen receptor modulators) are selective!
Most of the health risks associated with anabolic steroids are present because steroids interact with other parts of the body, whereas SARMs only interact with androgen receptors. As a result, SARMs offer similar results to anabolic steroids with less of the unwanted side-effects.
SARMs can also be taken orally as they are not hepatoxic like anabolic steroids, which is a great relief for any needle-phobic gym-goers, but the good news doesn’t end there.
The Benefits of a SARMs Supplement
If you’re wondering whether or not SARMs are right for you, then its time to take a look at the benefits of SARMS. One of the main reasons people choose to take SARMs is because they are interested in the positive effects of anabolic steroids, but they’re not willing to take the associated risks. SARMs can offer similar benefits to anabolic steroids without as many adverse side effects.
A SARMs cycle is considerably cheaper than a steroid cycle, and due to the fact that they’re not toxic for the liver, you don’t need to worry about cycle support supplements with most of them. Post cycle therapy is still recommended when using some SARMs, but to a much lesser extent than with anabolic steroids.
SARMs can be stacked to maximize their effects without incurring too much in the way of side effects. Most experienced users will take more than one SARM at a time to enhance their results, which include:
- Increased strength and endurance
- Increase in lean muscle mass
- Improved metabolic rate (better fat burning)
- Can increase appetite to aid in bulking
- Can increase testosterone levels
- Increase in vascularity
- Increase in muscle hardness
- Can improve immune system function
- Accelerated muscle recovery
- Increased bone density
Different SARMs are chosen for their effects depending on the user’s goal. SARMs are generally split into categories: those for cutting and those for bulking.
SARMs for Cutting
There is an ever-increasing number of SARMs available, so let’s take a look a closer look at the three most popular SARMs for cutting. These SARMs are designed to help promote lean muscle mass while helping the body burn unwanted fat.
Ostarine appeared back in 1997. Like all other SARMs, it’s yet to be FDA approved, but its been around the longest and has been subject to the most testing. Its widely considered the safest SARM on the market. Ostarine is less potent than other SARMs, making it a great choice for first-time users.
Ostarine works similarly to testosterone and can help to improve muscle strength, increase lean muscle mass, boost fat burning, improve recovery, and even increase libido.
Ostarine can be safely used for anywhere between 8 and 12 weeks. We recommend a starting dose of 10mg a day, and then working up to a maximum of 25mg a day. Once your cycle is complete it’s highly recommended taking a break for as long as your cycle lasted before using Ostarine again.
Higher doses of Ostarine can suppress natural testosterone production so post cycle therapy is recommended. Ostarine is commonly stacked with other SARMs to enhance results. It can be added to both bulking and cutting stacks, but it is most commonly paired with Cardarine for cutting.
Cardarine technically isn’t a SARM, but for all intent and purposes it behaves like one, and its sold as one, so its on the list. Cardarine is most commonly used by athletes to enhance their physical performance. When using Cardarine, users report huge boosts in endurance and stamina at the same time as accelerated fat loss. If you can work harder, then you can burn more fat.
A typical Cardarine cycle lasts between 6 and 8 weeks. We recommend starting with a dose of 10mg a day and working up to 20mg once you’ve assessed your tolerance. Cardarine doesn’t interfere with the body’s hormones, so if you are taking it on its own there’s no need for any post cycle therapy following your Cardarine cycle.
Andarine may have been the first-ever SARM, but it’s far from outdated. It is one of the most potent SARMs on the market and the results can become apparent after just a few days.
Andarine has a half-life of about 6 hours, so its best to split a daily dose of 25-50mg up into three doses throughout the day. It’s also recommended that if you’re looking to use it for a longer cycle (10-12) weeks you should consider taking it for 5 days and then taking 2 days off. This can help to reduce any side effects.
Andarine’s ability to help the body to build lean muscle means that its actually possible to build muscle while you’re in a calorie deficit, which makes it a great choice for those who are cutting. Post cycle therapy is recommended when using Andarine.
Andarine is frequently stacked with Ostarine and Cardarine as a holy grail of cutting stacks known as ‘the triple stack.’
SARMs for Bulking
Even if you have a steady calorie surplus and your training is on point, packing on muscle mass can be hard. It comes as no surprise that those who have been training for a long time start to look for a boost in the ‘getting big’ department. If you’re looking to get bigger quicker then the following SARMs could be just what you’re looking for.
Testolone is one of the most potent SARMs, and possibly the most effective when it comes to packing on muscle mass. It’s one of the newer SARMs to appear on the market, and as a result, is yet to be put through any human testing.
The most mentionable benefits of using Testolone are:
- Increased strength – After about one week of your Testolone cycle, your strength will sky-rocket. We are talking ‘hitting new PRs every single training session’ kind of strength gains.
- Lean muscle – If you’re looking to put on size then Testolone could well be king of the SARMs. There are reports of some users gaining up to 15lbs during an 8-week cycle.
- Better recovery – Recovery is essential if you want your muscles to grow. The faster you recover, the faster your body is ready for more punishment. Speedier recovery allows you to work out more frequently, building more muscle mass in the process.
A typical cycle of Testolone runs for 8 weeks. You want to start with 10mg a day and consider working up to 20mg. Testolone has a half-life of about 12 hours so ideally, you would split the dose up into morning and evening.
Because of the potency of Testolone, it requires on-cycle and post-cycle support to reduce the chance of any unwanted side effects
Ligandrol is probably the safest SARM for bulking. Studies have found it to be well-tolerated and you shouldn’t experience any side effects while you’re on a cycle. It promises lean muscle gains, without the water retention you might associate with anabolic steroids.
A typical cycle lasts between 6 to 8 weeks. Its half-life is in excess of 24 hours so you only need to take it once a day. We recommend doses between 5 and 10mg each day.
Ligandrol can be stacked with other SARMs, such as the other bulking SARMs in this list, but we would only recommend doing so if you’re already an experienced SARMs user.
Ibutamoren is an interesting one. It works a little differently to the other SARMs on this list. It works by raising HGH and IGF-1 levels in the body. It doesn’t directly build muscle as such. The increase in HGH and IGF-1 levels mean better recovery, better rest, improved immune system function, and increased calcium retention.
This makes it great for athletes as the benefits of your performance are huge! It’s like the Wolverine of SARMs. Because of the way it works, it’s usually stacked with other SARMs. It’s most commonly stacked with bulking SARMs such as Ligandrol and Testolone, but it can also be used in a cutting stack.
Generally speaking, the longer you use Ibutamoren for, the better the results are going to be. Ibutamoren cycles often last longer than most other SARM cycles, typically around 12-16 weeks. We recommend a dose of between 20 and 30mg per day. It has a half-life of between 4 to 6 hours so we recommend splitting the dose up into three doses throughout the day.
But Are SARMs Safe to Use?
Here’s the tricky part. On paper, SARMs sound great, and lots of people have used them with positive results, but we don’t actually know that much about them. You’ll probably notice that on most SARM packaging and vials you’ll read the words ‘for research purposes only.’
SARMs are yet to be FDA approved, which means it can be difficult to know what you’re buying. Sure, they’re some great companies out there selling quality products, but they are few and far between. If you are looking to buy SARMs then be sure to take the time to do your research on the SARMs for sale to make sure you get what you’re paying for.
A 2017 report found that over half the products tested didn’t contain any SARMs at all, and almost 60% contained substance amounts that differed from what was stated on the label.
So yes, SARMs are generally a lot safer than anabolic steroids, but only if you can be sure you’re getting what it says on the label. Side effects are minimal and tend to increase as the dosage increases. Some potential side effects associated with larger doses of SARMs include:
- Mood disturbances
- Liver Damage (usually only experienced with more potent SARMs when used in large doses without on-cycle support)
- Decreased libido
Always be sure to start with a low dose and assess your tolerance from there, this will help minimize side effects.
SARMs: The Take-Home
If you’re looking for an extra boost to add to your training, and you’re not willing to dive into the murky depths of anabolic steroids then a SARMs supplement could be for you. They are potentially a great product that can help improve athletic performance as well as help you to build muscle and burn fat. Many would just consider them legal steroids!
It is important to be mindful that research is limited and there is no governing body watching over the quality of SARMs products, so if you are considering taking SARMs be sure to do your research and find a reputable source.
For more on health, fitness and more be sure to check out the rest of our site for more.