Cardarine is one of the more popular SARM-like substances that is especially appealing to those wanting a serious performance boost, with this compound showing great ability to enhance endurance.
This can open doors to results in multiple areas from fat burning and muscle growth by taking advantage of your ability to push harder, to improved athletic performance.
Cardarine also works extremely well when used to support anabolic steroids, making it an excellent addition to a steroid cycle thanks to the way Cardarine is able to reduce or even prevent some of most worrying side effects many steroids introduce concerning cardiovascular health.
Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of SARMs. I am currently using this legal Cardarine alternative.
In this guide, you'll learn:
- What is Cardarine (GW-501516)?
- Cardarine Benefits (Cardarine Effects)
- Cardarine Dosage
- Typical Cardarine Cycles
- Cardarine Post Cycle Therapy
- Cardarine vs Other SARMs vs Steroids
- What Results Can I Expect Using Cardarine?
- Side Effects from Cardarine Cycle
- Common Q&A Related to Cardarine
- My Conclusion and Recommendation
What is Cardarine (GW-501516)?
Cardarine also goes by the name of Endurobol or by its original chemical research name of GW-501516. All of these names refer to the exact same compound which has great benefits when used alone, but also some surprising and welcome benefits when combined with certain steroids.
- Supports athletic performance, fat loss & endurance
- Improves nitric oxide levels
- Shown to increase vascularity
Cardarine is not technically a SARM but is often thought of as one and used in a similar way as true SARMs. Specifically it is a PPAR receptor agonist which was originally developed in the 1990s as a potential treatment for various cardiovascular and metabolic diseases like diabetes, dyslipidemia and obesity. However due to serious concerns about the potential to cause cancer, Cardarine stopped being developed and tested over a decade ago.
The reason Cardarine became of interest to athletes is because of its effects on physical performance and its ability to offset cholesterol and blood pressure related changes that occur with the use of many steroids. Whether you’re a steroid user or not though, Cardarine offers multiple benefits and this is what has made it such a popular compound, despite the fact it’s not always one of the easiest to find and purchase in pure form.
Cardarine is well known for its ability to promote improved endurance and more efficient fat burning, but early studies showed other benefits too like reducing cholesterol and preventing oxidative stress on the blood vessels, reducing inflammation on the kidneys and potentially other anti-inflammatory properties. The cessation of research on Cardarine unfortunately prevented any more specific findings in these areas but early results looked promising.
The uptake of Cardarine by athletes got the attention of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and in 2009 it was added to the list of prohibited substances. Because it is not manufactured by any pharmaceutical labs, there is no official product so Cardarine can only be bought online through research labs or the black market. It’s even one of the very few performance compounds that is occasionally being sold on eBay, but buyers must be vigilant about both the seller and the quality of the product.
SARMs are known to be included in some authorized supplement as just one of many ingredients, and this can be a risk with Cardarine as well – but users wanting to get the best from this compound will always want to ensure you’re buying the pure form with the highest potency.
Cardarine is not a hormone and has no impact on hormones and his makes it equally useful for both females and males, with women able to utilize the compound at the exact same dosage as men.
Cardarine Benefits (Cardarine Effects)
Exceptionally improved physical performance is where Cardarine shines. Without the anabolic activity of true SARMs and steroids, Cardarine is not a muscle growth compound. Instead it has found popularity with athletes wanting incredible improvements in performance with a 2017 study showing Cardarine was capable of delivering in this area. Expect to see some remarkable improvements in your cardio exercise performance with this compound.
Cardarine is also useful for fat burning as it was also developed to help treat obesity. Although this is to be expected when your endurance is boosted and you’re ultimately training much harder and for longer, Cardarine can potentially act to burn fat for energy by changing the metabolism to increase the uptake of glucose in skeletal muscle tissue and to stimulate fatty acid oxidation.
If your diet supports the goal of losing fat, Cardarine can only make it easier and comes with the benefit of reducing catabolism or loss of muscle when losing fat. Cardarine is often referred to as primarily a fat loss compound.
Another great benefit of Cardarine is that it does not interfere or have anything to do with hormones, so you don’t get testosterone suppression or require PCT afterwards to recover hormonal function.
The benefits of Cardarine are multiple, but they mostly revolve around this compound’s ability to significantly enhance endurance or stamina. This boosts your performance, in any physical activity, by holding off fatigue for longer so you’re able to workout, train, or perform for a longer duration than you normally could. This brings with it faster results in just about any pursuit whether that be cutting or bulking.
An exceptional benefit that we see with Cardarine and one that might be unexpected, is the way it can work so well with certain anabolic steroids to mitigate their often serious side effects concerning the cardiovascular system.
Because GW501516 was designed to possibly treat some cardiovascular conditions, it’s not a surprise that we can benefit from this. One such steroid that pairs very well with Cardarine for this purpose is Trenbolone. Tren is a steroid that brings with it some pretty concerning side effects for some people where they can develop flu type symptoms and difficulty breathing.
Users who have combined Tren with Cardarine have noticed how this compound is able to reduce or even eliminate the cardio related issues that occur with Tren, making it easier to do cardio exercises. For some steroid users, Cardarine’s effects in this area are enough to include it as a staple in steroid cycles which use Trenbolone specifically for this reason alone and not necessarily for Cardarine’s more direct performance benefits.
One of the aims of Cardarine development was as a treatment for obesity so it’s not unexpected that it is exceptionally useful for fat loss, even in those who have not yet reached a high level of leanness. Just as importantly, Cardarine will help preserve existing muscle as it encourages the body to make much more efficient use of fat as an energy source.
Although trials on humans were run for 12 weeks, most athletes using Cardarine will normally stick to an 8 week cycle at a dose of between 10mg and 15mg daily.
The optimal cycle length for you should be evaluated over time, and it’s possible that you might benefit by extending your cycle to 12 weeks but this is recommended as the maximum, while the maximum dosage should not exceed 20mg for more advanced users.
The common dosage range is from 10mg at the low end up to 20mg per day. It is not recommended that anyone exceed 20mg daily of Cardarine and this is more than enough to provide significant benefits particularly when it comes to endurance.
New users will most likely want to start at the lower, yet still effective dose of 10mg daily. Many users will not wish to exceed 15mg daily and only the most advanced users will progress to 20mg per day.
Make no mistake: 10mg per day of Cardarine will provide an exceptional performance boost. Many users won’t even need to exceed that dose. New users will want to evaluate the effects of 10mg and if all is going well, the dosage can be increased to 15mg during the same cycle.
For those using Cardarine mainly to support the negative effects of some steroids like Trenbolone, a 10mg daily dose of Cardarine is usually sufficient to greatly assist in the management of cholesterol and cardiovascular function.
Both men and women can make use of the same doses of Cardarine because there are no virilization effects that female users will experience, unlike with steroids which bring about very serious masculine traits in females.
Likewise for men, the dose is not going to have any effect on your testosterone function because Cardarine has no impact at all on hormonal function. This makes it possible to select your Cardarine dose purely on the beneficial aspects of the compound, rather than having to balance out side effects as we need to do when using steroids.
Typical Cardarine Cycles
The standard safe and effective cycle length for Cardarine is between 8 and 12 weeks. How long you use Cardarine will greatly depend on whether you’re relying on it as a primary compound, or if its being used alongside a steroid like Trenbolone as a supportive compound mostly to mitigate the cardiovascular related side effects.
The short half life of Cardarine lasting anywhere from 12 to 24 hours makes it best to break your daily dose into a twice daily administration so you’re maintaining the most optimal blood levels. Many will choose to take Cardarine two to three hours before a workout to maximize its endurance related benefits.
Cardarine only cycle
Cardarine is still useful when used alone in a cycle and for beginners this can be the ideal option to get a good idea of what this compound does for you. Dosed anywhere from 10mg daily to 20mg daily you will see significant improvements to stamina and endurance, and more efficient fat loss.
The cycle should run for 8 to 10 weeks and you can expect to see no side effects during this time. New users will benefit from starting the cycle at 10mg per day, dosed twice daily, and increasing this to 15mg two to three weeks into the cycle. If even greater effects are desired, a maximum of 20mg per day can be safely taken but there is no real benefit to increasing the dose past that level regardless of your experience level. If you want more powerful benefits then your next cycle should be a stack so you can compliment Cardarine with other compounds.
Cardarine bulking cycle
Cardarine is not one of the first compounds people will choose to use in a bulking cycle since its main benefits relate to fat loss and endurance enhancement. But improving performance is still of great benefit for those doing a bulking cycle, as the more and heavier you can lift, the quicker your gains will come on.
Those wanting to give Cardarine a go in a bulking cycle are likely to be stacking it with a powerful bulking steroid like Nandrolone (Deca-Durabolin). Cardarine can serve multiple benefits here: to enhance cardiovascular strength and help power your workout endurance, while offsetting some of the cholesterol impacts that Deca is well known for.
Depending on your steroid experience, using Deca at anywhere from 300mg to 600mg weekly combined with 10-20mg daily of Cardarine is going to result in a powerful bulking result with a 10 week cycle. PCT will be required due to Deca’s extreme testosterone suppression activity.
Cardarine cutting cycle
A great SARM to stack with Cardarine for cutting or fat loss cycles is Testolone which gives a great strength boost. 20mg of Cardarine and 10mg of Testolone each day for an 8 week cycle will make for impressive fat loss and toning. This stack may require PCT following the cycle due to the addition of Testolone.
Advanced users who want an even greater boost to stamina during this cycle may concerning adding Stenabolic at 20mg daily, administered twice daily as that compound has a very short half life of 5 hours or less. The increased endurance, stamina and strength brought upon in this cycle is going to greatly boost your performance, encouraging faster fat loss both directly through Cardarine’s impact on energy and calorie use, and indirectly as you are able to work out more intensively for longer.
Cardarine is commonly stacked with other compounds and works well with a number of them. A common stack is using Ostarine and Cardarine, which boosts the effects of both compounds particularly when it comes to fat loss where Cardarine can compliment Ostarine’s excellent fat loss properties very well with its powerful endurance enhancing attributes.
It’s not only other SARMs and similar compounds that can be stacked with Cardarine; some people use it alongside steroids. One example is to pair Cardarine with the powerful steroid Trenbolone where Cardarine can potentially reduce the severity of some of the serious side effects caused by that steroid – in particular relating to blood pressure and cholesterol as well as breathing difficulties relating to the cardiovascular system.
Cardarine Post Cycle Therapy
Cardarine, unlike anabolic steroids, does not cause suppression of your natural testosterone function.
When using GW501516 on its own you won’t need to implement any post cycle therapy because your normal hormone production hasn’t been impacted.
The only time PCT will be required after the use of Cardarine is if you’ve been using it stacked with one more steroids that do cause testosterone suppression. In such cases, your PCT plan should follow standard procedure which normally includes drugs like Clomid and Nolvadex, and depending on the severity of suppression, sometimes HCG is also used.
None of these drugs will be required for users who are solely using GW501516 without the addition of steroids.
Cardarine vs Other SARMs vs Steroids
Cardarine is not a SARM or a steroid; it sits in a separate class of drugs. Despite this it is still often thought of as a SARM and used similarly. SARMs and other compounds like Cardarine do not have similarities to steroids besides their performance benefits, with the advantage that they often come with little to no side effects.
Compared with steroids that usually come with very serious side effects, SARMs and GW501516 itself are much more mild, well tolerated but still deliver excellent performance and physique building benefits.
The best way of using Cardarine for ultimate results is to take advantage of the way it works as an excellent support compound in a cycle that also includes either SARMs or anabolic steroids.
Cardarine will contribute greatly to these cycles by promoting fat brining while also reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and triglycerides; offsetting some of the serious cholesterol impacts that steroids can cause. This sort of supportive use of Cardarine only requires low doses which is still very efficient at maintaining healthy lipids – a must do when using steroids.
Other SARMs will have varying effects that can sometimes overlap with those of Cardarine, while others are completely different. For example Ostarine is another excellent fat loss and muscle preservation SARM, while Testolone is powerful for mass building. The wide variety of SARMs is what makes it so appealing to stack two or more together with Cardarine to achieve a more specific result.
What Results Can I Expect Using Cardarine?
Your results with Cardarine are going to be heavily focused on the benefits of enhanced endurance as this is where the compound truly shines.
Cardarine starts working very quickly and you should start noticing significant endurance improvements within just the first few days of a cycle. So whether you’re a weight lifter or endurance athlete, this boost in stamina is going to allow you to workout or compete for longer and at a higher intensity.
The flow on results from this will be whatever your specific goals are: to beat a time record, to lift heavier weights with more sets and reps resulting in faster muscle growth, or just to boost your overall fitness and performance.
This is a very versatile compound that will suit anyone from bodybuilders to physique competitors, and especially anyone undertaking endurance exercise like running and CrossFit where you want to be able to push on as long and hard as possible by staving off fatigue.
Runners will see faster times and much improved cardio performance and this will start taking effect quickly, as Cardarine starts working fast so you will be seeing positive changes within the first week or so, with improvements continuing to ramp up for the duration of your cycle. Athletes should be able to kick through previous personal best times when using Cardarine.
The big benefit is that these results can be achieved with virtually zero side effects. There’s no common steroid type negative effects to worry about like gyno or bloating, nor any androgenic effects so any fat loss or toning you achieve as a result of the enhanced endurance you experience is going to be high quality and easily maintained provided you continue with a proper diet and fitness routine.
Side Effects from Cardarine Cycle
If you’ve used steroids in the past then there are certain side effects that you are probably familiar with, and you might be wondering whether Cardarine brings about these same side effects.
The good news is that the vast majority of side effects that we see with most steroids are not an issue with Cardarine. These are the main areas of consideration:
- Estrogenic and androgenic: unlike some anabolic steroids, Cardarine does not have any aromatizing activity so there are no estrogen related side effects like gynecomastia, water retention or high blood pressure. Cardarine also has no androgenic properties so you won’t have to worry about hair loss or acne, and women have no need to be concerned about developing masculine features.
- Cardiovascular: Cardarine was originally developed with the intention of treating some cardiovascular related conditions, so it comes as no surprise that negative effects on the cardiovascular system are not to be expected when using this compound.
- Cancer: early research showed that Cardarine could increase the chances of some cancers developing. However this testing was done with significantly higher doses than any person would consider taking. So whether a cancer risk exists from the doses that are used for performance enhancement is still unknown; after all, cancer can take many years to begin forming. This potential issue is therefore one that very much puts Cardarine in the “use at your own risk” category.
- Testosterone: Cardarine does not impact on your testosterone function so men don’t need to worry about suppression as you do with steroids. But if you are going to combine Cardarine with one or more anabolic steroids then you will still need to follow normal PCT afterwards.
- Liver: no liver toxicity is known to be caused by Cardarine. Despite this, doses should still remain in the low to moderate range.
As we can see, the side effect profile of Cardarine is minimal. Most people will be able to use this compound without negative effects, and this is what makes it so appealing compared with anabolic steroids which come with extensive side effects.
Trials on animals showed toxicity was an issue with Cardarine, but trials on humans at lower doses of about 10mg daily for no longer than 12 weeks did not report any significant side effects at all.
We still do not know the potential long term effects of Cardarine as data is lacking and until there are more clinical trials, Cardarine use for performance enhancement especially at higher doses or for long periods of time is mostly trial and error for athletes but the good news is that there are no estrogenic side effects that we see with steroids.
No suppression of testosterone should occur with this compound either. Unfortunately there is no new research on the horizon for Cardarine due to the cancer link, and it’s possible that research will not again be undertaken on this compound so the only word on side effects and possible long term effects we are likely to get are from first hand user experience by athletes.
Why was Cardarine discontinued?
The main reason that Cardarine is thought to have been suddenly discontinued is because of the development of cancer that was occurring in rodent studies. It should be noted that the dosages used in these studies was significantly higher than any human could ever use of this substance, however it was still enough to halt development and research. This means Cardarine’s full potential has never been scientifically tested and any long term effects on humans are still mostly unknown.
Is Cardarine safe?
Compared with anabolic steroids and their multiple serious side effects, Cardarine is a much safer compound to use. Like any substance, to minimize risk you still need to maintain a sensible dose and not use it for extensive periods of time. But with moderate doses and limited cycle lengths, Cardarine presents very little risk of side effects and experienced steroids users will simply find it to be a much gentler compound to use.
Does Cardarine reduce weight?
Cardarine showed during research that it could help reduce obesity and help balance cholesterol levels. Whether or not Cardarine directly contributes to fat burning still remains to be fully understood, but there is no doubt that with the big boost to endurance that this compound gives you, those on a cutting or general weight loss plan are going to see a greater capacity to burn fat simply because you’re able to undertake intensive cardio activity for longer periods of time – thus burning up more calories.
Will Cardarine give me cancer?
It’s understandable to be concerned about the past research history of GW501516 where cancerous tumors were found to commonly develop in studies on rats at extremely high doses and over long periods of time. The doses used were potentially up to 1000 times higher than a human would use Cardarine at relative to body weight. So the risk of cancer at the much lower doses Cardarine is used for performance enhancement, while still not fully known due to the lack of scientific studies, is not thought to be significant at all. It is still considered one of the safest compounds to use.
Does Cardarine raise blood pressure?
No, in fact it has shown to do the opposite. Some studies have discovered that Cardarine can possibly reduce existing high blood pressure. This tell us that Cardarine does not work in a way that promotes a rise of blood pressure. Additionally Cardarine can reduce heart disease risk by raising good levels of cholesterol and decreasing bad cholesterol levels.
Do you need PCT for Cardarine?
Cardarine does not cause any suppression of testosterone function so you won’t require any PCT. However if you are stacking Cardarine with an anabolic steroid that does cause suppression then you will need to do post cycle therapy in that case.
Is Cardarine liver toxic?
Cardarine has no known toxicity to the liver. Once again, this is a serious effect that often comes with anabolic steroids (especially oral steroids). Not only does Cardarine not have a toxic effect on the liver but it may potentially help offset the liver damage caused by steroids. This can be another reason to include Cardarine in a steroid stack where you want to reduce liver inflammation brought upon by steroid use.
What are the side effects of Cardarine?
Cardarine is one of the very few performance enhancing compounds that comes with near zero risk of side effects.
Liver, cholesterol and blood pressure are not negatively affected, there are no estrogenic or androgenic effects, and it does not suppress hormone production. This makes Cardarine much more tolerable and easier to use than anabolic steroids.
The main reason anyone will hesitate to use Cardarine is because of its past history with cancer development, but once again there is simply no evidence either way that cancer is a risk for short term use at low doses.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
Most people use Cardarine to help boost endurance and stamina during exercise. This makes Cardarine excellent for any experience level as we can all benefit greatly from this type of performance enhancement, whether you are primarily weight lifting or doing mostly cardio work.
- Supports athletic performance, fat loss & endurance
- Improves nitric oxide levels
- Shown to increase vascularity
A bonus effect of Cardarine is its ability to help with fat burning thanks to the way Cardarine helps the body more efficiently use calories for energy. Finally, Cardarine can support your steroid use by helping minimize the negative impact that steroids have on cholesterol, blood pressure and cardio health.
The studies that showed an increased risk of cancer are definitely going to be a concern for many people thinking of using this compound.
Even though dosages in the study that brought about that result were much higher than we’d ever consider taking, this unknown factor when it comes to lower doses could make or break your decision to use Cardarine – the fact is that we simply don’t know the entire risk profile yet.
Despite this possible risk, for those who do use Cardarine it provides incredible results and many consider it one of the best non-steroid options out there.
The boost to endurance and heightened efficiency of nutrition are great benefits but whether they worth the risk of some serious negative health impacts will be a decision for you to make as you weigh up Cardarine against SARMs and other compounds.