If you’re no stranger to the gym or you’re an athlete, then you’ll be all too familiar with plateaus. Plateaus in strength or athletic ability can take the fun out of training. We’ve all heard about the use of anabolic steroids to bust through plateaus, but not everyone wants to risk the long list of adverse side effects.
Instead, you might be considering a SARMs cycle, but it can be difficult knowing where to start. In this comprehensive SARMs guide we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about SARMs so you can decide whether or not SARMs are the next step forward in your training regimen.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs stands for selective androgen receptor modulators and they work in a very similar way to anabolic steroids. But there is one key difference that makes them a preferable choice over steroids for most people.
SARMs only target the androgen receptors in the body. These receptors are how hormones such as testosterone interact with our skeletal muscle. By targeting these receptors SARMs help boost our athletic performance.
The reason anabolic steroids are viewed as dangerous because they also impact other parts of the body such as the internal organs. While SARMs affect other parts of the body, it is minimal in comparison to steroids.
The Benefits of SARMs
Different SARMs do different things, so it’s important to know more about each SARM so that you can see which fits best with your training goals. We’ll look at each SARM a bit later.
Some of the general benefits of using SARMs include:
- Increase in lean muscle mass
- Strength gains
- Decrease in fat
- Increased recovery time
- More energy
- Increased endurance and stamina
- Better sleep
- Increased appetite
- Improved libido
As you can see, these are very similar benefits to what you would expect with taking anabolic steroids. It’s important to realize that most SARMs will not be as effective as taking steroids or testosterone. However, they can still make a huge difference to your training, and with much less of the negative side-effects.
Are SARMs Safe?
SARMs are widely considered much safer than anabolic steroids, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t come with a list of potential side effects. While injectable SARMs are an option, a lot of people turn to SARMs because of their oral availability. The simple fact that SARMs can be taken orally and don’t need to be injected makes them a safer bet for most people.
Some of the most common side-effects of SARMs include:
- Liver toxicity
- Changes in mood
- Sleep disturbances
- Increase in blood pressure
- Testosterone suppression
Most SARMs are hormonal, which means they affect the amount of testosterone in the body. This means that when you stop using SARMs your natural testosterone production can be suppressed. This is why most SARMs users run PCT after a SARMs cycle.
One of the biggest issues regarding safety when it comes to SARMs is the quality of the SARMs in the first place. SARMs are sold for research purposes and aren’t governed by any official bodies such as the FDA. As a result, it can be difficult to guarantee the quality of SARMs products.
When used correctly, SARMs are considered much safer than anabolic steroids. However, when looking for SARMs for sale it is important to be vigilant and do plenty of research.
One study tested 44 different products sold online as SARMs. Of the products tested, only 52% of them contained any selective androgen receptors at all! A quarter of the products contained substances that weren’t even on the label.
Are SARMs Legal?
The legality of SARMs is a bit of a grey area. In short, yes SARMs are legal, but they have to be sold under the guise of ‘for research purposes.’ It is not legal to sell SARMs that are advertised for human consumption.
The biggest issue comes to those who are competing in any sports that are monitored by the USADA. All SARMs are banned by the USADA whether they are used in or out of competition.
When people talk about SARMs they talk about cycles. A SARMs cycle is the duration someone will take the SARM for and quite often the amount of time they won’t use them for too.
What Is a SARMs Cycle?
Cycle lengths vary for each SARM, but most cycles tend to be between 8-12 weeks. Cycles tend to be longer for more experienced users and shorter for first-time users. This is so they can assess how their body reacts to the substance.
Once you’ve finished a SARMs cycle it is important to have as much time as not taking any SARMs or any other PEDs. This allows your body to fully recover and helps you get the most out of your next cycle.
Must read: Why Diet Is as Important as Fitness?
On-Cycle Support and Post-Cycle Therapy (PCT)
When using SARMs it’s crucial to make sure you adhere to the guidelines regarding on-cycle support and post-cycle therapy. Not all SARMs require PCT, so you must know what you are taking.
On-cycle support is designed to help reduce the chances of liver toxicity during your SARMs cycle. While SARMs don’t affect the liver as much as anabolic steroids they still put the liver under stress. This can be negated by using liver support supplements such as milk thistle and NAC.
When on a SARMs cycle it’s important to refrain from drinking alcohol. One or two drinks a week probably won’t hurt you, but if you’re serious about using SARMs to enhance your performance then you shouldn’t be drinking.
PCT is designed to help your testosterone levels return to normal after you finish a SARMs cycle. You only need to run PCT for hormonal SARMs such as Ligandrol and Testolone. SARMs such as Cardarine and Ibutamoren don’t affect your testosterone levels, so it isn’t necessary.
The more potent the SARM, the higher the dose, and the longer the cycle, the more your natural testosterone production will be suppressed. Some SARMs only have a slight effect on testosterone levels so you can use an OTC testosterone booster as a PCT.
When using stronger SARMs it is important to run stronger PCT drugs such as Nolvadex or Clomid. This is because some stronger SARMs, such as Testolone, can impact your testosterone production just as much as anabolic steroids.
Before starting any SARMs cycle it’s paramount that you make sure you have adequate on-cycle support and PCT. Taking SARMs with the right support can put your body at risk and you run the chance of losing all your gains once your cycle has finished.
If you’re unsure about whether or not you need PCT then the best thing you can do is get your blood work done. A doctor can check your testosterone levels before your cycle and at the end of the cycle. This will let you know whether or not you need PCT.
Do You Really Need SARMs?
Before we look at the best SARMs for beginners there is one last question that needs to be answered: “Do you really need SARMs?”
As SARMs grow in popularity among bodybuilders and athletes many newcomers are under the impression that they are a miracle drug. They imagine that they can take them from their gym induction period to Mount Olympia in one cycle. This is not true.
If you’ve only just started training and you’re yet to finely-tune your diet and lifestyle around your training then SARMs aren’t for you. As with any performance-enhancing drug, they are designed to take your training to the next level. This should only be done once you have completely maxed out your natural ability.
Taking performance-enhancing drugs comes with as many risks as it does benefits. In no way should be taken as a shortcut in the place of hard work.
The Best SARMs for Beginners
With all that said and done let’s take a look at 3 of the best SARMs for people considering taking SARMs for the first time. We’ll also look at a SARMs dosage guide for each one. There are other SARMs out there, and you can stack different SARMs, but if this is your first time trying SARMs here is where to start.
Ostarine was created in 1998 to help treat muscle and bone wasting in cancer patients. Of all the SARMs it has the most amount of research and is one of only two that has been tested on humans.
Ostarine is the SARM that most people start with because it’s a great all-rounder. Ostarine can help you to:
- Build lean muscle
- Increase strength
- Improve recovery
- Burn fat
- Increase bone density
The side effects of Ostarine, when used at low doses, are minimal. However, it is slightly suppressive so depending on the dose and the length of the cycle you may or may not need to use PCT.
A typical beginner’s cycle for Ostarine is 15mg a day for 8 weeks. You shouldn’t need to run PCT after this cycle. More advanced users will run up to 25mg a day for 8-12 weeks. This cycle would require PCT.
Ostarine is well-tolerated and side effects are minimal. We still recommend that you run on-cycle support to protect your liver. The most common side effects are backache, joint pain, and increased appetite.
As with any of the SARMs on this list, if you experience any negative side-effects then lower the dose. If the side effects persist then end your cycle and speak with your doctor.
Ligandrol is more potent than Ostarine. It is the other SARM on this list to have undergone human clinical trials and it was well tolerated.
The three main benefits of Ligandrol are:
- Increased strength
- Increased muscle mass
- Better recovery
As a result, Ligandrol is mostly used by people looking to bulk up and get stronger. Some users report that they can feel the effects after taking it for just a few days.
Ligandrol is highly suppressive so you must use PCT after your cycle. Finding the ideal dosage and cycle of Ligandrol can be tricky, but here are the two most popular options for beginners:
The first option is to run 10mg a day for 8 weeks. This is the most common cycle for beginners. But, as mentioned, LGD is potent and it is highly suppressive. If you’re new to SARMs this cycle could be too much, especially if you’re of slighter build.
The alternative is to run 5mg a day for 4 weeks and then take a 4-week break. Many people claim that this cancels out testosterone suppression. The shortness of the cycle followed by the four-week break allows your body to recover naturally.
If you are considering Ligandrol it is strongly advised that you have blood work done so that you can monitor the effects it has on your testosterone levels.
Testolone is the closest thing you’ll get to using exogenous testosterone. As you can imagine, it is heavily suppressive so PCT is a must. Testolone will boost your testosterone levels much in the same way as anabolic steroids. You can expect:
- Strength gains
- Improved recovery
- Enhanced libido
- Fat loss
- Increase in muscle mass
Testolone is one of the strongest SARMs available, and it could be argued that it is somewhere between the other SARMs and taking anabolic steroids. New users should start with 10mg a day and run a cycle for 4-6 weeks. After this, you will need just as long on PCT.
Ramping up your test levels will come with some negative side effects. Many users report an increase in aggression, acne, and hair loss. These side effects will disappear after your testosterone levels have returned to normal following your PCT.
Use This SARMs Guide to Decide Which SARMs Are Best for You.
This SARMs guide is not a definitive list of SARMs, but it is everything you need to know about SARMs before you get started.
If you are considering SARMs then make sure you do plenty of research about each SARM as well as the potential retailers. Finding a reliable supplier is just as important as adhering to the guidelines we’ve laid out for you.
For more health & fitness articles, be sure to take a look at our other blogs.