When it comes to choosing between SARMs and steroids for cutting and fat loss, you would not be alone in asking whether you can get just as good results using SARMs, but without the very nasty side effects that steroids are notorious for?
I’ve asked the very same question myself over many years! Lots of people are using SARMs for cutting and performance benefits, so I knew there was plenty of merit in following this up to see how I could benefit from these compounds.
While SARMs are definitely not free of risks – remember that they are compounds which are mostly in the very early stages of research with hardly any hard data about their short or long term effects – for the most part we can consider them much less risky than steroids.
There’s no doubt the side effects don’t come close to anabolic steroids, but that doesn’t mean the benefits are weak. As you will see in this guide, some SARMs pack a massive punch when used for cutting.
I’ve chosen the very best SARMs to feature here with everything you need to know about using SARMs for cutting, maintaining lean muscle, SARMs cutting cycles and the ultimate SARMs cutting stacks.
Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of SARMs.
- SARMs for Cutting
- SARM Stacks for Cutting
- My conclusion & Recommendation
SARMs for Cutting
Just as some anabolic steroids are most effective for bulking up or for cutting than others, the same applies to SARMs. Some SARMs excel at helping preserve lean muscle and even directly assisting in burning fat, while others are much more suited for building muscle.
Below you will find the four very best SARMs or SARM-like compounds that provide direct benefits in a cutting cycle, where you want to drop fat, maintain muscle, increase energy and performance, and come out of the cycle with a lean, hard physique.
These SARMs can often be stacked so you can gain a wider range of benefits from multiple different compounds in a single cycle.
Cardarine technically is not a SARM, but it is often treated and used as a SARM despite the fact it’s actually a Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor agonist. We can still think of it as similar to SARMS in that it has performance enhancing properties and it’s not a legal compound to use.
Cardarine binds to different receptors to real SARMs which bind to androgen receptors. GW501516 instead focuses on receptors that are in muscles and fatty acids. These receptors can increase capacity of fatty acid oxidation, which is the process of breaking down fatty acids. This makes Cardarine attractive particularly for fat loss uses.
- Promotes fat burning and enhances the metabolism
- Increases stamina and endurance
- Possibly reduces cholesterol
- Improves wound healing
- Has anti-inflammatory effects
DOSAGE: Human studies included doses of only up to 10mg daily, with no serious side effects noted. It’s not uncommon for performance users to take 20mg daily of Cardarine, usually split into two doses because of the short half life. A cycle length of 8-12 weeks is considered the most effective.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: To date very few studies have been done with humans using Cardarine, and most of those have been small doses and short studies, so much still remains unknown. In these studies there were no serious GW-501516 adverse effects reported. There is often talk about the potential for Cardarine to cause cancer, but this has been far from proven scientifically.
Unlike a lot of fat loss drugs, Cardarine is a not a stimulant which gives it an edge over some other substances that stimulate the nervous system, causing many adverse effects. However it’s critical be aware that the lack of extensive research and data means we have no idea what possible long term complications using Cardarine can cause, especially at higher doses.
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Stenabolic is another compound usually thought of like a SARM, but is technically also not one. It is a ReV-Erba agonist and this makes it a metabolic modulator that alters the way fat is used in the body.
The main appeal of Stenabolic for performance enhancement is in the areas of fat loss and athletic performance, especially when it comes to endurance. Because the receptors that are targeted by Stenabolic are important for regulating the body’s natural clock, or circadian rhythm, this can affect critical areas like the metabolism and sleep.
- Promotes fat loss
- Increases endurance
- May improve cholesterol levels
- Better recovery
- Little to no known side effects currently
DOSAGE: Stenabolic has a tiny half life of just a few hours, so for best results you will need to take it several times each day. Stenabolic is made in both capsule and liquid forms. In either form, the most common dose is 20mg daily, with some people increasing to 30mg daily – broken up into multiple small doses throughout the day.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: There have hardly been any human tests on Stenabolic, and there are no reported side effects known as yet. This of course doesn’t mean that you won’t experience any side effects.
With such little information about adverse effects available, every individual must take their own risk in using Stenabolic and to stop use if you notice any concerning signs.
Stenabolic is still a little known compound that shows many signs that it has great potential to be a relatively safe, but highly effective product to use for cutting purposes in place of dangerous steroids.
As always though, the sheer lack of research and data on Stenabolic’s short and long term health impacts means this is a compound that should be used with great caution.
MK-2866 is a SARM so it binds to only selected androgen receptors, and the receptors it binds to are mostly the ones influencing muscle growth.
This SARM has been studied on humans more than many others, with some positive results at very low doses on older people suffering with muscle wastage, including increasing body mass and muscle strength. Ostarine is available in both capsule form and liquid solution. The latter is commonly taken directly into the mouth, while capsules are normally 10mg each.
- Muscle growth and muscle retention when cutting
- Minimal or no water retention with a dry physique
- Increases strength of bones
- Increased strength
DOSAGE: When used for cutting, 15mg daily can strike the right balance between promoting preservation of lean muscle while in a calorie deficit, while not getting you to a level where you’ll be bulking up, which can require a dose of double that amount. A dose of 15mg is unlikely to cause testosterone suppression but any dose can still put you at unknown risks of other side effects.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: Ostarine might bring about a small suppression in testosterone levels in some users, especially those taking higher doses. Most of this information is anecdotal though, with no clear cut data about how much Ostarine might impact on testosterone at different doses.
The most concerning possible Ostarine adverse effects is the way it has impacted liver health even at small doses, so this oral SARM may have a considerable liver toxicity risk that is yet to be fully established.
Another serous risk is a reduction of good cholesterol levels that some users have seen even at very low doses. Some hair loss can also occur because levels of DHT can be elevated.
Ostarine can be thought of as one of the more high risk SARMs, given its notable list of potentially very serious side effects. At the same time, it’s also one of the more studied SARMs and the results are often positive.
However, the fact that users are seeing some or all of the above effects at low doses is cause for concern, and means considerable caution should be taken if you’re thinking about using Ostarine, as many people will find that the risk to benefit ratio is not as appealing as some other SARMs.
Andarine is one of the better known SARMs and it’s main purpose for development is to possibly treat people with diseases that cause muscle wasting. As you would expect, this then makes it a pretty desirable compound for bodybuilders who want to avoid losing muscle, especially when cutting.
Like all SARMs, Andarine works by selectively binding to androgen receptors – specifically the ones that influence muscle and bone growth in the body.
- Promotes muscle growth and increased bone density
- Improves athletic performance and strength
- Boosts anabolic activity
- Decreases body fat
DOSAGE: Like almost everything to do with Andarine, an ideal dose isn’t scientifically known and dosing is mostly trial and error. Most males find that no more than 50mg daily is effective, while splitting this into two each day (half a dose at a time) is the best strategy because of the short half life. Ideally Andarine shouldn’t be used for any longer than 12 weeks at a time, but a cycle as short as 8 weeks can still deliver good results.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: We don’t know the full of extent of potential side effects with Andarine, but some side effects have been reported by some users and can include:
- Vision problems: this is the most serious potential side effect, involving changes to your vision such as seeing a yellowish tinge, and with long term use a possible loss of low light vision.
- Suppression of testosterone: Because Andarine binds to androgen receptors, this can will suppress your natural testosterone levels meaning you’ll likely need to do PCT like we have to with steroids.
Andarine is one of the most widely used SARMs because it is so effective at targeting the androgen receptors that lead to desirable muscle growth and bone density.
The potential side effects relating to vision disturbances will understandably make a lot of people hesitant to try Andarine, and you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons before deciding to use this SARM.
SARM Stacks for Cutting
With such an awesome selection of very effective SARMs and similar compounds available, how do you choose which ones to use? More importantly, how do you know which ones stack well together?
Some SARMs just naturally fit perfectly into a stack, with their individual benefits allowing you to easily cover everything you need for cutting by using as little as two compounds in a cycle. Below are 5 of my most recommended SARM stacks for cutting and fat loss!
Cardarine is a prime compound to use for cutting, with its direct action on the way the body uses fat.
Combined with Stenabolic which is a proven endurance booster this stack can actually give you amazing results with little change to your diet – but to get the BEST results, you should obviously get on to your best cutting diet and get those workouts ready.
You really can’t beat this stack for its simplicity and the way the two compounds compliment each other perfectly. The potential lack of any side effects at all makes this stack my best cutting stack ever!
BENEFITS: Both these compounds have individual benefits which when combined make a powerhouse combo. Cardarine is going to help reduce inflammation as well as stress so nothing is holding back your progress. Most importantly for cutting, Cardarine will encourage fat burning directly, plus give you a big performance boost. Stenabolic also boosts performance and you will notice better muscle strength. All these things provide a massive boost to your workouts, speeding up the fat burning process. Cardarine will ensure you are only burning fat, and not muscle!
DOSING: Take Cardarine once daily at between 10mg and 20mg daily. Stenabolic with its very short half life needs to be taken up to three times everyday to maintain its effects. 20mg daily of Stenabolic is an effective dose. You can run this stack for up to 12 weeks, but don’t discount even short cycles of just 4 weeks being able to deliver great results.
RESULTS: There’s no reason why you can’t lose four or five pounds of fat (not muscle) within your first week on this stack. Even with little change to an already decent diet, this is more than possible unless you’re extremely lean already.
With a much stricter cutting diet and intensive workouts, this number can increase rapidly throughout the cycle. And if you have an existing high cholesterol problem, you might even notice your cholesterol improving on this stack due to Cardarine’s ability to raise good cholesterol levels.
PCT: This stack won’t shut down your testosterone, so you won’t even need to do PCT afterwards like you would with steroids. You can just stop the cycle without further concerns.
This is a very solid cutting stack that covers your fat burning and lean muscle needs, with some added extras. This stack will ensure you aren’t losing muscle while you lose fat, and you might even gain some lean muscle as well.
BENEFITS: You’ll get a boost to the metabolism thanks to Cardarine which speeds up fat burning, and you’ll notice increased energy and endurance. This benefits your workouts substantially; you will quickly notice how much harder you can push, and how much longer you can workout without tiring. Much of this is due to Cardarine’s ability to get more blood flow to your muscles. Andarine provides an extra boost to performance and increases bone mineral density so you reduce injury risk.
DOSING: A standard Cardarine dose of 10mg daily is usually more than enough although it’s possible to increase this to 20mg. Andarine comes with some side effect risks at higher doses, so starting at 25mg daily is a safe bet. If you’re comfortable, you can increase to 50mg daily. The cycle length should be 8 weeks to minimize risk of adverse effects and testosterone suppression.
RESULTS: It might sound extreme, but it’s more than possible to have some substantial fat loss on this stacked cycle, while also gaining a nice amount of muscle. We’re talking in the area of 10 or even 15 pounds of fat loss by the end of the cycle, and 5 or more pounds of gained muscle.
The determining factor of course is going to be how strict and well planned your cutting diet is and the type and intensity of workouts. You might not want to gain a whole lot of muscle here, so instead gear your workouts totally to fat loss to shape your results accordingly.
PCT: Cardarine won’t shut down your testosterone, but Andarine can be suppressive so it’s important to have a PCT plan ready for the end of this cycle. Ideally a PCT cycle of at least 2 weeks is needed, in rarer cases you might need up to 4-6 weeks. Nolvadex is the best SERM to use for a SARMs PCT and 20mg daily will be enough in most cases.
You might not find a more complimentary pair than these two: Ostarine is there to maintain your muscle while you’re on cutting diet that should be calorie deficient, while Cardarine is going to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to actually burning fat while increasing your endurance and stamina and getting you back to the next workout faster with better recovery.
BENEFITS: Cardarine is going to make your body use fats as fuel, resulting in potentially very fast fat burning soon after starting this cycle. You’ll notice that your ability to retain muscle is considerably easier, and that’s thanks to Ostarine. You can see an improvement in cholesterol levels plus get the benefit of Cardarine’s anti-inflammatory properties that should provide a noticeable improvement in recovery.
DOSING: Cardarine at 20mg daily and Ostarine at 20mg daily is a common strategy, but many people will find that a lower dose provides substantial benefit while reducing unwanted side effect risks – and this dose can be Ostarine at 15mg daily and Cardarine at 10mg daily. An 8 week cycle is ideal regardless of your dosage.
RESULTS: You can see some substantial fat loss by the end of this cycle if you put the work in. In the realm of 10% loss of body fat is not impossible with this stack. Expect some noticeable vascularity improvements as you progress through the cycle and burn more fat. There’s no reason why you won’t keep near 100% of your existing muscle with this stack. Some users will find excellent vascularity and pumps with Ostarine, while others will see minimal results in that area.
PCT: Cardarine won’t cause suppression, but Ostarine will and for some guys, it can be quite a lot. So you’ll need PCT on hand at the end of this cycle. Nolvadex is the standard SERM to use at 20mg daily. You might need it for as little as two weeks, but if you’re more suppressed this can extend PCT to 4 or even 6 weeks.
Two very useful compounds stacked together into an almost unbeatable combo here, you get one of the best cutting SARMs currently available in Ostarine with its superb muscle retaining ability, and Stenabolic’s direct effects on fat burning is hard to beat. Combine them and what do you get? Basically everything you need for a successful cutting cycle – just add diet and exercise and you will struggle NOT to get amazing results with this stack.
BENEFITS: The biggest benefit of having Ostarine in this stack is that it will stop your existing muscle from being lost while you’re on a calorie deficit diet and undergoing serious cardio workouts. Stenabolic is going to take care of the endurance and performance side, providing massive benefits for your workouts where – if you want to lose an impressive amount of fat – you’ll need all the help you can get to go well beyond your normal level of endurance and stamina. Because Stenabolic is boosting your base metabolic rate, you will be burning fat even when you’re not exercising.
DOSING: There’s a little room to move either way with your dosage in this stack, but starting with 30mg of Stenabolic daily and 10mg of Ostarine will get you off on the right foot. Stenabolic will need to be taken at least twice daily, but three times is even better. This is because of its very short half life, so you need a regular dosage to maintain optimal levels. An 8 week cycle is going to be more than sufficient for the majority of people.
RESULTS: You won’t be disappointed with your results as you can easily lose close to 10 pounds of body fat with the right diet. Ostarine is going to ensure your existing muscle doesn’t disappear as it won’t be used for energy. You might even notice some lean mass gains, but it won’t be a lot. You will quickly notice an impressive increase in exercise capacity thanks to Stenabolic; your workouts will become more intense and longer if you want them to be. Ostarine steps in here and reduces joint and muscle pain from those more intensive workouts.
PCT: There should be no suppression in this cycle with the low dose of Ostarine, so you’re unlikely to need any PCT.
You might call this the ultimate SARMs cutting stack for advanced users. Making use of three SARMs, this is a stack that covers all the important areas and leaves no stone unturned in your cutting cycle. This is definitely a cycle for those who already have some experience using SARMs, so don’t try this one if you’re a beginner.
BENEFITS: Supercharged fat burning is the primary benefit of this stack. Ostarine ensures that joint and muscle pain is reduced or eliminated and Ostarine can help reduce inflammation. Endurance will be noticeably enhanced so your workouts will be going for longer and at higher intensity. You might find you can push yourself hard and not want to stop working out after several hours – injuries can still occur so it’s important to set a limit.
DOSING: 8 weeks is the ideal cycle length for this stack. Both Ostarine and Cardarine should be taken at 10mg per day, and Stenabolic at 30mg per day. For best results, split Stenabolic into 3x 10mg doses throughout the day.
RESULTS: You can expect to lose a significant amount of fat during this cycle. How much you lose will ultimately depend on your diet and workouts, but it’s not impossible to lose 10% or more body fat. This stack lets you cut without water retention, and Ostarine will promote a hard physique. Depending on your diet, some muscle gains are possible, but mostly this stack is going to help you retain your existing muscle while in a calorie deficit, and this is a critical outcome of any successful cutting cycle.
PCT: Not everyone will need to do PCT after this cycle, thanks to the modest dosage, but it doesn’t hurt to have some Nolvadex ready just in case because your individual experience can be very different from the next guy. Ostarine particularly is known for suppression but again this depends on your individual reaction.
Are SARMs androgenic?
Unlike anabolic steroids, SARMs are very selective in which androgen receptors they bind to. So SARMs are androgenic, but this selective ability means they are much more targeted in their actions on the body. SARMs can be made to target muscle growth only for example, while not causing the extensive androgenic side effects of many anabolic steroids.
Are SARMs safe?
The true safety of any SARM has never been determined – at least not yet. SARMs are basically experimental or investigative compounds which do not have approval for use in humans. For many, only the most basic research has been done and no SARM has been put through a rigorous process required for an approved drug. This means SARMs can potentially be harmful and you are using them at your own risk.
Does SARMs cause hair loss?
No scientific evidence exists that any SARMs can cause hair loss, in the way that many steroids do. However you will find many anecdotal experiences from some SARMs users that they experienced some hair loss with certain SARMs. This is likely to be a cause of some individuals being particularly sensitive or predisposed. Interestingly, some SARMs users note that they noticed their hair thickening while on a SARMs cycle.
Are SARMs legal to buy?
SARMs are not legal to buy and are also banned substances by world sporting authorities. Some nutritional supplements have been known to include SARMs in their ingredients, but this is also illegal as they are not an approved dietary supplement. Essentially, SARMs will be treated the same way as anabolic steroids in most countries.
How long do SARMs take to work?
SARMs start working quickly because their half life is short – usually around 24 hours but this varies between SARMs. This means most SARMs also exit the body quickly. This fast action means a SARM user can begin noticing the effects within just a couple of days, but full effects can take a couple of weeks to kick in.
Can you stack SARMs with steroids?
It is common for advanced users to stack SARMs with anabolic steroids to get maximum fat burning benefits, with considerably less side effect risk and suppression of testosterone that comes with many of the best cutting steroids.
My conclusion & Recommendation
If you want to dive straight into SARMs and similar compounds for your next cutting cycle, and want to use the lowest risk (that’s not no risk – remember we still have much to learn about SARMs) then you really shouldn’t look past the simple but powerful Cardarine and Stenabolic stack for massive cutting benefits with little to no side effects.
There’s a good reason I call it my best cutting stack ever – it simply works and does what we want it to do, and it does it quickly and with minimal impact on your health for most people.
But whichever SARMs option you choose, all of the above compounds are very effective at either directly or indirectly helping you burn fat, retain muscle and seeing a substantial boost in performance and endurance – all the ingredients you need in a cutting cycle!