Anavar (Oxandrolone)

Last Updated: is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of professional medical advice.

Anavar is one of those oral steroids that I knew I’d be fairly comfortable taking back when I began all this. It didn’t come with any of the horror stories that we’re now so familiar with for other much more powerful steroids like Trenbolone, oh and the fact that Anavar is an oral steroid just makes it so much more accessible for the needle-phobic among us.

Anavar (Oxandrolone)
Anavar (Oxandrolone)

But there is no getting around the fact that Anavar is still a steroid. No steroid can truly be considered a mild substance when used at doses for bodybuilding, it’s just that Anavar is considered “pretty mild” compared to the really heavy stuff.

I knew that definitely didn’t mean it comes with no risks! Anavar has a ton of benefits, and it’s a compound that’s worked well for me in the past. It may or may not be right for you, and you’ll find out more about that in the guide below.

Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the use of illegal steroids (PEDs).

Anavar History and Overview

Anavar is the famous brand name of the steroid compound Oxandrolone. Oxandrolone was created in the 1960’s to help people gain weight following surgery or other health issues, as well as having benefits for treating osteoporosis thanks to Oxandrolone’s positive impact on improving bone density.

Anavar History and Effects
Anavar History and Effects

When we compare Anavar to other steroids, it’s thought of as mild, but in reality it can still have substantial effects (both positive and negative) at higher doses.

One of the main goals when creating Anavar was to have a steroid that was mild enough at low medical doses that females and even children could use it without side effects. It’s this relative mildness that has made Anavar an appealing steroid for performance enhancement use by both men and women.

Anavar is one of very few anabolic steroids that still has FDA approval today: but not for bodybuilding or sports performance use; it is still a banned substance for anything other than medical use. Anavar has FDA approval for treating osteoporosis related bone pain, assisting in weight gain, reversing effects of the long term use of corticosteroids, and as a burns treatment among other uses.

Anavar is certainly one of the oldest and most well understood steroids. The wealth of Anavar results we can read about makes it possible to get a comprehensive understanding of what this steroid can and can’t do – but even then, your own personal experience is unlikely to mirror anyone else’s so you should always step carefully into the world of steroids.

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Chemical Characteristics and Properties

Anavar is based on the DHT (dihydrotestosterone) hormone, with some small modifications that make a big difference to its effects.

Oxandrolone (Anavar) Structure
Oxandrolone (Anavar) Structure

It’s an oral steroid which comes with its own pros and cons. Anavar comes with many benefits and potential uses, but without a doubt is it most famous for its use as a fat burning steroid, and it has very specific and unique effects in that area which we’ll see below.

Most importantly, Anavar has strong anabolic properties (in fact, three times that of testosterone), and weak androgenic effects – which is what makes it potentially suitable for use by women, unlike most other steroids which are far too androgenic for females.

Anavar is known as a C-17 alpha alkylated steroid, and this allows it to be taken as an oral steroid. There are no Anavar injections – it is purely an oral compound.

The seemingly very insignificant single atom swap of oxygen in place of its second carbon atom gives Anavar the substantial increase in anabolic strength compared with regular DHT. At the least, Anavar is three times more anabolic than testosterone. It has an androgenic rating of just 24, compared to 100 for testosterone.

This tells us automatically that we’re unlikely to be dealing with many of those androgenic related side effects that are so prevalent with a lot of other compounds.

Effects of Anavar (Anavar Benefits)

Most people will want to use Anavar in a cutting cycle, and this is where its benefits are most well known.

In fact, it’s known as possibly one of the best cutting steroids out of all the options we have. And this is for two main reasons:

  • Anavar can directly promote fat burning
  • Anavar is a powerful preserver of existing muscle tissue

So while these are two critical benefits of Anavar, they definitely aren’t the only ones. Even if cutting is your number one reason for wanting to use Anavar, you’ll get a host of other positive effects that will only add to your gains and overall results.

Strength, endurance, stamina and recovery are all enhanced with Anavar. So no matter what type of workouts you’re doing, you are going to see a noticeable difference in your performance and your capacity to workout beyond your normal level; whether that be endurance cardio work or lifting weights (or both).

With Anavar’s ability to enhance recovery, you will notice an ability to increase the frequency of your workouts, while the intensity and duration of your training is substantially improved because your body is recovering more efficiently. In the end, all this means better, faster results thanks to the wide ranging effects of Anavar.

At the most basic level, you can expect to see some nice fat loss and some moderate muscle gains when you use Anavar. Obviously the type of your workouts is going to steer the direction of your results, so whether that includes mostly cardio and only moderate resistance training, this is really going to be the biggest factor in how much fat you’ll be able to burn.

In any case, the hardness and dryness of Anavar gains and fat loss is one of its strongest and most desirable benefits. Not having to deal with water retention is a relief for anyone wanting to achieve a shredded, hard and vascular physique.

One of the less spoken about benefits of Anavar is a possible boost to your overall mood. Not everyone will notice this, but some guys definitely notice a positive change to mood and mental energy, translating into a more positive mindset and even better sleep – all of this is going to contribute to better workouts and better recovery. The same can’t be said for a lot of other steroids which can potentially cause anxiety and increased anger instead.

Let’s sum up the most important and attractive benefits of Anavar, especially when you’re wanting to compare it to other steroids:

  • Anavar won’t produce estrogenic side effects when used on its own.
  • Anavar is superb for retaining muscle when you’re on a cutting cycle and eating a diet that’s calorie deficient.
  • Promotes muscle hardness and dryness, with no water retention.
  • Improves pumps and vascularity, especially if you’re nice and lean already.
  • Boosts endurance and stamina, and speeds up your recovery time. Your muscles should feel less fatigued during workouts.
  • Anavar poses less risk to your liver health than many other oral compounds, so you can usually comfortably use it for an 8 or 12 week cycle with reduced risk of liver toxicity.
  • It’s an oral steroid but you can easily and effectively stack it with injectable steroids.

Anavar really is one of the few compounds I can confidently say is suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced users.

Some of the most powerful steroids should never be touched by a new user, but Anavar isn’t one. And even the most advanced users can find a place for Anavar in their cycle when cutting.

This makes it a really versatile steroid and one that I have certainly felt more confident using than a host of other compounds that might have much stronger effects, but way too many side effect risks that require constant monitoring and mitigation throughout your cycle – for the most part, Anavar doesn’t have you focused on side effect prevention and allows us to fully focus on our results.

Anavar Cycles and Stacks

Anavar is very often stacked with one or more other steroids. If Anavar is the main steroid you want to use, you’re still almost certainly going to stack it with at least a form of testosterone as a testosterone replacement during your cycle.

Many more advanced users will go further than this though, making use of one or more other compounds at performance enhancing doses alongside Anavar. This is a useful strategy particularly for cutting and shredding (which is where Anavar excels), although it is not likely to be used in pure bulking cycles because there’s a limit of just how high your dose of Anavar should be before health risks kick in.

Below I will reveal some of the best examples of beginner, intermediate and advanced Anavar cycles and stacks.

Beginner Anavar Cycle

Anavar is a great choice for your first steroid cycle, and at a low dose you’ll still get excellent results and might even be able to avoid side effect completely.

Starting as low as 15mg daily for 6-8 weeks will give powerful results, but you can consider raising this to 30mg or even 40mg daily depending on your reaction to the steroid. Anavar can either be the main compound in your beginner cycle, or you can stack it with a testosterone steroid if you want a more powerful anabolic effect.

If your primary goal is cutting, testosterone can be included at a replacement dose only as it’s possible that Anavar can still suppress your natural testosterone at this lower dosage. The addition of 100mg weekly of Testosterone Enanthate will provide that hormone replacement to stop you falling into a low testosterone state.

Intermediate Anavar Cycle

Once you’ve already done a few cycles of Anavar and Test and are comfortable with the experience, it’s time to increase the dosage to a level that is much more likely to bring about side effects, but will also substantially improve your results and performance.

Intermediate users will often push Anavar to around the 70mg daily level, and you will almost certainly want to split this higher dose into two administrations throughout the day.

Unless bulking is a main goal, we are still only including Testosterone here for hormone replacement purposes and Testosterone Enanthate is a great choice at 100mg weekly. Your Anavar cycle should end at 8 weeks, but many users will choose to continue the testosterone for another 4 weeks. This cycle should still result in nice dry gains and excellent fat loss, as your testosterone dose is not high enough to cause any notable amount of estrogen conversion.

Advanced Anavar Cycle

Once you’re comfortable enough to consider yourself an advanced steroid user, your goals are most likely going to be pretty extreme when it comes to cutting, as well as putting on lean mass if that’s part of your requirement for this cycle.

With this comes the addition of more steroids into the cycle, with Anavar just being one compound that works in synergy with the others, rather than it being the main workhorse as it is with a beginner and even intermediate cycle.

Adding a compound like Trenbolone Acetate at a low dose will provide a very powerful kick to this cycle, and it will be a fast acting cycle full of compounds that start working quickly.

Like Anavar, Trenbolone doesn’t cause any estrogenic side effects so it’s the perfect combination for dry gains and shredding. In fact this is a cycle that can be used for a variety of goals, and it’s your workouts and diet that will steer it in the direction you want to go.

For an 8 week advanced Anavar cycle:

  • Anavar 80-100mg daily
  • Trenbolone Acetate 400mg weekly
  • Testosterone Propionate 100mg weekly

Again I use testosterone for hormone replacement purposes at a low dose, with the chosen ester being the faster acting Testosterone Propionate.

Stacking Anavar

Stacking Anavar with other steroids is the ultimate way to combine the benefits of multiple compounds to maximize your results.

You can add other powerful cutting steroids like Winstrol if your ultimate goal is a shredded physique, or you can go the other way and ramp up your testosterone dosage or add other bulking steroids if gaining mass is your main aim. The great thing about Anavar is that it can be tailored for multiple purposes, and is not just strictly a cutting steroid.

An important thing for you to consider when planning your Anavar stack is the big benefit of its lack of water retention because it doesn’t convert to estrogen. You can take advantage of this by stacking it with other compounds that also don’t aromatize like Trenbolone and Masteron.

Such a stack can effectively have you not having to think about fluid retention at all unless you decide to take a higher dose of testosterone in the stack. When stacking Anavar primarily for cutting purposes, your best options are:

  • Masteron
  • Trenbolone
  • Primobolan
  • Equipoise
  • Winstrol

For hardcore bulking cycles, men are very unlikely to want to include Anavar in a stack because it would need to be used at unsustainably high doses, and there are simply much more powerful compounds to use instead. It is however useful as a moderate lean mass gainer for men, and one that is effective for women when stacked with Primobolan or Winstrol.

Regardless of what you’re stacking Anavar with, the cycle length of this steroid should still be no longer than 8 weeks.

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Anavar Dosages and Administration

Your goals, experience, health status, age, gender and body type are all considerations when planning your Anavar dosage.

Anavar has a short half life and leaves the body fairly quickly, so if you experience adverse effects from a dose that’s too high, you should overcome the symptoms within a short time and you can adjust your dosage lower for the remainder of the cycle.

Medical Anavar Dosage

When used medically, Anavar doses have always been at the very low end compared to performance enhancement and bodybuilding use. Usually this is between 5mg and 10mg per day, though it can be as low as 2.5mg daily – depending on the patient and their condition.

Importantly, the length of time that Anavar is usually taken medically is much shorter than when used for bodybuilding or, with a 2 to 4 week period being the most common, and only in rare circumstances will Anavar be used for several months at a time for medical purposes.

Bodybuilding Anavar Dosage

Considering that you’re likely to be stacking Anavar with one or more other steroids, this will influence what your bodybuilding Anavar dosage will be. Your particular goals and your past experience with steroids are also important factors.

Thankfully Anavar is a pretty simple steroid to determine dosages for, and having a short half life means that if you think you’ve got it wrong, it quickly exits the body and you can adjust your dose up or down accordingly.

Most guys will find a nice balance at 50mg of Anavar daily, split into two doses. You can even get away with no or just very mild side effects at that dose.

Even beginners can start at 50mg, but don’t discount taking just 30mg daily if it’s your first cycle so you can gauge your body’s response. If muscle gains are your main priority rather than fat loss, it’s not too uncommon for 80mg to 100mg to be used – but beware of your lipid profile at doses that high as well as a much higher risk of other side effects rearing their head.

Female Anavar Dosage

Anavar is one of the very few anabolic steroids that can be considered “female friendly”. That is, at lower doses many women use Anavar without any side effects at all. Higher doses are certain to bring on the development of masculine features though, but these will disappear once you stop using Anavar.

Women should use no more than 10mg of Anavar daily, but 5mg is often more than enough. To avoid the onset of androgenic effects, female steroid users should limit an Anavar cycle to 4 weeks, and no longer than 6 weeks at the maximum.

Proper Administration and Timing

Compared to injectable steroids, Anavar’s half life is short at between 9 and 10 hours. This puts you in the position of choosing between administering your chosen dosage either once or twice each day.

Some factors to consider here are how long the days are where you live, and what time of day you work out. The goal is to keep your blood levels of Anavar at the optimal level as much as possible.

A twice daily administration is as simple as cutting your total dose into two equal amounts. A common schedule is to take half the dose in the morning at breakfast, and the second half about an hour before your workout (if you workout later in the day).

Anavar Risks and Side Effects

All steroids come with great risks, both during the time you’re using them and on your longer term health. Everyone who uses steroids knows there are risks, and most of us have seen some tragic stories of people who’ve taken steroid use to extremes and severely damaged their health or even lost their lives.

Anavar certainly comes with risks and side effects, although it’s considered to be one of the more mild steroids in this regard. Some people can even use Anavar and experience no immediate side effects, but your individual reaction and your dosage (as well as cycle length and the effects of any other steroids being used) will determine your own unique experience when it comes to possible Anavar side effects.

Here are the main side effect possibilities to look out for during your Anavar cycle:

  • Androgenic: Anavar comes with a low androgenic rating, but it can still cause some of those familiar androgenic side effects, especially if you’re genetically prone to these things already. Acne is one issue some Anavar uses have to deal with (while others won’t have any acne at all). Some users note that acne appears immediately after starting Anavar – these are people who have very likely suffered with acne during the teenage years. Possible growth of body hair, and loss of hair on the head are also very individualistic side effects. If you don’t have the genes for male pattern baldness (check if your father or grandfathers went bald), you are very unlikely to see any issues in that department.
  • Estrogenic: One of the big benefits of Anavar is that it doesn’t aromatize, so you won’t be dealing with those well known estrogenic effects like gyno, water retention or high blood pressure (of course, if you’re stacking Anavar with an aromatizing steroid, these things will become an issue during your cycle). The lack of fluid retention is one of the main aspects that makes Anavar so appealing for cutting, improving body composition and physique shaping as well as you’ll more easily be able to achieve that highly desirable dry appearance.
  • Testosterone suppression: Anavar will cause some suppression of your normal testosterone production, but it won’t be anywhere near as severe as some other steroids. It’s still highly recommended that you include exogenous testosterone in your Anavar cycle to combat any suppression and avoid low testosterone symptoms. You will almost certainly want to do PCT after using Anavar to get your testosterone back to normal.
  • Cholesterol: If you’re healthy, Anavar is not likely to pose a risk to your cholesterol levels. But if you already have cholesterol problems, you will as always want to take extra precaution with Anavar or any steroids. Anavar can certainly, for any user, cause a decrease in good cholesterol levels (HDL) while raising bad cholesterol (LDL). This particular side effect is always very individualistic and dose/cycle length dependent. It can never hurt to monitor your cholesterol levels while using Anavar.
  • Liver toxicity: Oral steroids are well known for their risks to your liver, otherwise known as hepatotoxic. Anavar is considered a milder risk of causing liver damage compared to other oral steroids, but the possibility is still there. This is a main reason why you should limit your use of Anavar to no more than 8 weeks per cycle, with a suitable gap in between cycle to allow the liver to recover. Anavar is still going to be harder on the liver than any injectable steroid so it’s critical that you don’t get complacent about the risks here. Some users will want to use a liver support supplement during an Anavar cycle.
  • Female Anavar side effects: This is one of the few steroids that women can use without the severe masculinizing effects of most steroids. At low doses of Anavar, most females can avoid side effects completely, but at higher doses virilization effects like hair growth and deepening of the voice can develop. Some females will report severe acne while using Anavar, as well as other issues like reduced libido.

Most guys using Anavar at 50mg or less daily will see minimal or even no side effects at all. Many worry that they’ll have a loss of appetite (you still want SOME appetite if you’re cutting, and some users do want some muscle gains on Anavar as well).

Other concerns like changes in lipid profiles concerning cholesterol levels, and liver toxicity, are often unfounded at moderate doses. With that said, if you’ve got existing high cholesterol, you MUST keep track of your cholesterol health throughout an Anavar cycle.

How to Buy Anavar?

Anavar and all forms of Oxandrolone is an illegal and prohibited substance in most parts of the world, and is also prohibited by all major sporting bodies as a performance enhancing drug. Buying Anavar therefore comes with a great set of risks.

After all, this isn’t something that you can just walk into a store and buy off the shelf with confidence that you’re purchasing a high quality, pure, regulated product. You also won’t be able to legally get pharmaceutical grade Anavar sold for medical use unless you have a prescription.

Most users will source their Oxandrolone on the underground market, or through personal contacts at the local gym; and these people themselves would have purchased Anavar on the black market, so there’s still no guarantee you’ll be getting a safe, quality product no matter how much you trust your gym buddies.

This is simply one of the risks we face when choosing to use steroids and there’s no way around it. It’s one of the big reasons many of us go looking for legal Anavar alternatives.

What Alternatives Are Available?

So we know that Anavar is insanely effective at delivering outstanding results, but at the end of the day steroids simply aren’t for everyone. Sure, we all want the results but a lot of guys still won’t take the plunge into actually using a steroid like Anavar.

There are many good reasons to avoid using steroids, and the good news is that we now have legitimate alternative options that are both safe and legal while still providing most (if not all!) the benefits of Anavar itself.

Personally I’ve stopped believing it’s worth taking the risk with steroids.

There are a great number of risks to long term health, some of which we might not notice until much later in life. I’m not willing to take that risk anymore, and that’s how I came across what I believe is the number one legal substitute for Anavar – Anvarol.

The benefits and effects of Anvarol essentially mirror Anavar:

  • You can lose fat fast
  • Gain and retain lean muscle
  • Increase energy and endurance
  • Boosts strength

Of course, there is no water retention to worry about with Anvarol either, because there’s no hormones in the formula. It’s a totally natural formula of safe ingredients that are proven to be effects, especially in the process of regenerating ATP to boosts your energy and pumps while working out. It also won’t shut down your testosterone, not even a little bit so you won’t be wasting any money or time on PCT.

Anvarol comes with no side effects, can be bought over the counter, and is completely legal to purchase and use. You’ll know exactly what you’re getting in the bottle, and no chance of contamination or low quality product as is a high risk with steroids bought on the black market.

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Anavar FAQs

Does Oxandrolone increase strength?

Anavar can definitely give you a boost in strength thanks to its high anabolic rating. One of its original medical uses was to increase muscle strength in patients with muscular wasting conditions, so at higher bodybuilding doses it is likely to give you a fairly significant strength improvement.

Anavar is not widely known as a strength enhancing steroid, but it actually excels in this regard and one reason is because of the ATP uptake in muscle cells is increased. You’re likely to see a great improvement in the amount of weight you can lift when using Anavar.

How long should I cycle Anavar?

A standard Anavar cycle will run for 6-8 weeks only. You might choose to add another compound to extend the cycle for several more weeks after stopping Anavar, depending on your goals.

It’s strongly recommended that Anavar not be used for longer than 8 weeks due to its potential for causing stress to the liver as an oral steroid.

Even though it’s not as potent in this area compared with other orals, you will still want to exercise caution when using Anavar when it comes to liver health and the main way to do that is through limiting your Anavar cycle length to 8 weeks or less.

What does Anavar do to your body?

Anavar is about three times more powerful than testosterone when it comes to anabolic effects so it’s possible to see significant gains in strength, as well as some lean muscle gains.

Anavar will help you lose fat, without gaining any water because it does not convert to estrogen. It has powerful anabolic effects on the body, but it has much reduced androgenic effects when compared to testosterone.

Does Anavar convert to DHT?

Anavar itself is derived from DHT (dihydrotestosterone), with some slight alterations to the structure of the hormone. This means that Anavar can not convert to DHT, because it essentially already is DHT. Because it is a DHT steroid, it can bring about head hair loss in male users who are already genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness.

What’s the half life of Anavar?

Anavar’s half life is around 9 to 10 hours. This makes it a fast acting steroid which is to be expected for an oral steroid. It also means you’ll most likely want to split your daily dosage into two administrations to maintain optimal blood levels, although it is possible to maintain a once daily dosage schedule with no negative issues.

How much Anavar should I take a day?

Your Anavar dosage will depend on many things: mostly, your personal goals, and what other steroids you plan to stack it with. Beginners often start with up to 50mg daily, and the most experienced users can often take up to 100mg per day – but such a high dose is not recommended for the novice.

Does Anavar cause kidney problems?

Using any anabolic steroids can put the kidneys at risk of damage. Your kidneys can become stressed when using Anavar. If you have no existing kidney problems, using low doses and short cycles of Anavar is unlikely to cause kidney damage, but if you use excessive doses and long cycles you will be putting your kidneys – and other organs – at great risk of harm.

Does Anavar give you anxiety?

Some users have reported experiencing anxiety type symptoms when using Anavar. This is likely to be an individual response to the steroid, and not something that impacts everyone.

Any steroids can possibly cause a change in moods, after all you’re putting hormones into your body so it’s more than possible that fluctuations occur which can cause symptoms like anxiety – especially if you’re someone who is already to anxiety and other mood disorders.

What happens when you stop taking Anavar?

There are two main things to watch out for when you stop taking Anavar: one is withdrawal symptoms, although these are not known to be common with performance use where cycles are short. The second is much more likely: a suppression of your natural testosterone.

Anavar is not the most suppressive steroid, but your natural testosterone production is likely to have taken a hit. This can cause symptoms of low testosterone when your cycle ends, including loss of muscle and fat gain. You can avoid this by doing PCT after your Anavar cycle.

How do you eat on Anavar?

You’re most likely using Anavar for cutting, so your diet is going to contain less calories than you’d normally eat, because you want to burn fat. This will greatly depend on your goals and body type, and how extreme you want your cutting cycle to be. But it’s a good start to measure your personal BMR by using an online calculator.

This will provide you with a recommended daily caloric intake; when using Anavar for cutting, reduce your intake by about 500 calories under the recommended amount and this should consist of high quality protein and carbs (not refined or white carbohydrates).

My Conclusion and Recommendation

I’m not going to deny that Anavar works amazingly well. It might be “mild” as a steroid – but it’s still a steroid.

We know that steroids can cause long term health issues, especially if you want to maintain your physique for many years and want to use steroids regularly.

Anavar’s pros and cons are clear:

  • Superb muscle retention while burning fat
  • Fantastic energy and strength
  • Enhanced mood and recovery
  • Can still cause problems with cholesterol
  • Can be liver toxic and is not suitable for using for long periods

I’m very happy that there are now legitimate Anavar alternatives out there that are total substitutes and come without side effects and health risks. For me, it’s a no brainer to make the switch and do away with the high risks of Anavar.

About the Author
Juice Lewis, Author of
Juice Lewis

Real-life Experience, not Theory

I don't claim to know everything, what I talk about here is something I've done. From anabolic steroids to HGH, to peptides, insulin, and supplements, I've done it at some point in my life and I can relate.