SARMs for Bodybuilding

By: Juice

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

Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) have become a buzzword in recent years among a wide range of people, from bodybuilders to professional athletes, but are SARMs really a safer and healthier alternative to anabolic steroids?

SARMs for Bodybuilding
SARMs for Bodybuilding

SARMs look to be an attractive option with legitimate benefits over anabolic steroids with the way SARMs have been developed to target only specific androgen receptors. Hence, we get effects that are much more selective without the associated bad effects of having non-targeted receptors involved, which can cause issues like prostate enlargement.

However, research in SARMs hasn’t quite gotten there yet, and many have come and gone in the research and development process at pharmaceutical companies. This makes SARMs a gray area, but it has not dampened their popularity, which is growing year by year.

Author’s Note: This guide is based on personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of SARMs.

What are SARMs?

SARMs have become increasingly popular as a potentially safer and less risky alternative to anabolic steroids amongst performance athletes and bodybuilders.

There are two types of SARMs: steroidal and non-steroidal. Steroidal SARMs have existed for more than 70 years, and non-steroidal SARMs are relatively new. Non-steroidal SARMs are able to bind to androgen receptors in the muscle and bone, where they can have anabolic effects.

Remember: with SARMs, we are dealing with experimental and investigative compounds whose benefits and adverse effects are still being determined both in the lab and unofficially by those who use them to enhance performance.

Types of SARMs and Their Benefits

All SARMs are selective androgen receptor modulators. Keep in mind that other compounds that don’t fall into this category but are sometimes lumped together with SARMs (such as Cardarine) are also covered in this guide.

This is because they are so often considered for use in performance enhancement in the same way that SARMs are – simply for one main reason: SARMs and similar compounds provide a real alternative to anabolic steroids.

Author’s Note: Below are some of the most common SARMs and similar compounds you will come across with their half-lives:

  • Ostarine (Enobosarm, MK2866, S22) – 24 hours – The primary areas where Ostarine excels are for muscle building, fat loss, and enhanced performance.
  • LGD-4033 (Ligandrol) – 24-36 hours – enhances muscle mass and strength.
  • RAD-140 (Testolone) – 20-24 hours – one of the most potent SARMs. It binds to the androgen receptors and stimulates muscle and protein cells, increasing lean muscle mass.
  • S23 – 12 hours – a powerful SARM that has been shown to increase energy, improve athletic performance, and increase muscle growth.
  • Andarine (S4) – 3-4 hours – mainly known for accelerating muscle growth and fat loss and increasing strength.
  • Ibutamoren (MK-677, Nutrabol) – 24 hours – an effective growth hormone secretagogue. It works by mimicking the ghrelin receptor, which stimulates GH and IGF-1, leading to accelerated recovery and muscle growth.
  • GW-501516 (GW1516, Cardarine, Endurobol) – 16-24 hours – a PPAR agonist said to enhance endurance, stamina, metabolism, and fat loss.
  • YK-11 – 6-8 hours – a Myostatin inhibitor. YK11 attaches to the androgen receptor to help inhibit the production of myostatin in the muscle, thus increasing muscle growth.
  • SR9009 (Stenabolic) – 4 hours – a Rev-ErbA agonist that is said to function as a metabolic modulator, having great benefits for boosting endurance, stamina, and exercise capacity.

Now, let’s look into them in more detail so you can make the best-informed decisions about which direction you want to go in.

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SARMs stack

Testolone (RAD-140)

Testolone is currently considered to be the most powerful SARM of all the ones available, even at low doses. Its benefits are in the main areas of importance to bodybuilders: strength and muscle gains.


Testolone is still in development by the company Radius Health as a treatment for breast cancer muscle wasting and as a safer alternative to testosterone replacement therapy.

Studies have shown that RAD-140 increases lean muscle mass exceptionally well by targeting skeletal tissue androgen receptors. RAD-140 is believed to be the most androgenic SARM, but despite this, its androgenic activity is only around 10% of that of testosterone.

Related: Testolone (RAD-140) Cycle Guide

Ostarine (MK-2866)

You might see Ostarine being called several names: Enobosarm, Ostabolic, or just MK2866, which is simply the name of the research chemical. Like most SARMs, Ostarine is currently in development for its potential in treating conditions like osteoporosis and muscle wasting, among other conditions.

Ostarine SARM
Ostarine SARM

The goals of Ostarine that interest athletes and those interested in physique enhancement are strength and muscle gains and promoting an anti-catabolic state in the body – where the muscle is not lost. Ostarine potentially has one of, if not the greatest anabolic properties of all currently available SARMs.

Like all SARMs, Ostarine binds to androgen receptors and only selective receptor sites in muscle and bone tissue. It is a SARM that is useful for fat loss as well as for gaining mass. While gains are unlikely to exceed those you can make with the most powerful anabolic steroids, Ostarine provides an alternative that reduces the amount and severity of side effects compared with steroids.

Related: Ostarine (MK-2866) Cycle Guide

Ibutamoren (MK-677)

Ibutamoren is not a SARM but instead is a ghrelin receptor non-peptide agonist. Like a SARM, it is still a selective agonist, so it only targets specific areas of the body.

Ibutamoren GH Secretagogue
Ibutamoren GH Secretagogue

It can replicate the growth hormone stimulation, resulting in an increase in human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), making this compound very useful for people looking to gain mass.

MK-677 stimulates Human Growth Hormone and IGF-1 production, so this is a SARM made for growth that suits bodybuilders very well. It has successfully been shown to result in lean mass gains without raising the level of fat mass, meaning all gains are quality muscle. Not only have studies on humans found that MK-677 can increase muscle mass, but it also improves bone mineral density.

Related: Ibutamoren (MK-677) Cycle Guide

Ligandrol (LGD-4033)

LGD-4033 continues to be one of the most popular SARMs for people looking to bulk with quality muscle gains.


Ligandrol has a history of human clinical trials which showed that it succeeded in increasing muscle mass and doing so without gaining fat. This makes it one of the few SARMs that has a very clear human clinical history of doing what we expect it to do and having those effects work positively in the human body.

The main medical research surrounding Ligandrol focuses on its potential use for aging-related muscle wasting, osteoporosis, and cancer, so we can expect this SARM to have excellent anabolic and muscle-building effects.

Related: Ligandrol (LGD-4033) Cycle Guide

Cardarine (GW-501516)

Cardarine is a class of drugs designed to treat cardiovascular conditions, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, among other syndromes. It has been shown to be able to impressively reduce cholesterol levels. It is also valued by performance athletes for some specific reasons, as we will see.

Cardarine PPAR Agonist
Cardarine PPAR Agonist

Cardarine is not technically a SARM but instead is a Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Agonist (PPAR). PPARs differ from SARMs in several ways: they are not androgen receptor binding, and they are not anabolic.

There is no effect on testosterone from PPARs like Cardarine. Their main medical use is for treating metabolic syndromes, mainly targeting blood sugar and triglycerides.

So, without the beneficial anabolic properties compared with a SARM, what appeal does Cardarine have for bodybuilders and athletes? This is a compound for people looking for something a little different to an alternative to muscle-building steroids. Exceptionally improved physical performance is where Cardarine shines.

Related: Cardarine (GW-501516) Cycle Guide

Stenabolic (SR-9009)

This research drug has shown positive effects on mice in lab trials, including increased endurance and decreases in cholesterol, anxiety, inflammation, and weight. These properties, if translated to humans, appeal to athletes, particularly those focused on endurance activity.

Stenabolic REV-Erba Agonist
Stenabolic REV-Erba Agonist

The main purpose of this drug being developed was to study the circadian rhythm, which is how our body functions throughout a 24-hour cycle of day and night.

For athletes, the benefits of Stenabolic translate to more endurance, strength, and more effective use of glucose and fats, ultimately boosting performance so you can train for longer and, if desired, burn fat if your diet supports that goal.

Related: Stenabolic (SR-9009) Cycle Guide

Andarine (S4)

S4 is a SARM that has seen a wide take-up by athletes in a variety of disciplines.

Andarine SARM
Andarine SARM

I could say that this is a SARM that is both loved and hated for a number of reasons, including that it is not as powerful in either anabolic or androgenic effects compared with many other SARMs, but the fact is that it is not under research anymore. Many trials were not published, making this SARM more of a mystery than some others.

S4 is only a partial androgen receptor agonist rather than a full agonist, like many other SARMs are. Its research work has been focused on the prostate, with early animal results showing a reduction in prostate weight without the loss of muscle mass. Lab studies are also focused on its potential use for osteoporosis and muscle wasting treatments.

Related: Andarine (S4) Cycle Guide


YK-11 is one of the strongest SARMs we have available now, with some people describing it as being as close as you’ll get to a steroid without it being an anabolic steroid. That’s because, like most of the other SARMs we look at, YK-11 is, in fact, a steroidal SARM and has been formed as a modification of DHT, and this makes YK-11 much closer to the steroids we are familiar with than many other common SARMs.


As with all regular SARMs, YK-11 is also banned by doping agencies and worldwide sporting bodies as a performance-enhancing drug. This tells us that YK-11 does indeed have very beneficial effects that can give athletes advantages.

YK-11 binds only to androgen receptors in muscle and bone and may be potentially good for prostate health.

Related: YK-11 Cycle Guide

SARMs Cycles

Anyone just starting with SARMs would be wise to start with a single compound at first, just like when starting out with anabolic steroids.

Taking on more than one SARM does not allow you to evaluate the precise effect each one is having. Possibly more important is the fact you wouldn’t be able to identify which SARM is causing which side effects, if any. So, while SARMs can be stacked, this is not recommended for beginners.

So, say you’ve had some experience with SARMs already and are thinking of taking it to the next level; this is where you start thinking about stacking and whether combining multiple SARMs really would provide extra benefits and, if so, which SARMs are the best to use in a stack?

Let’s look at the main compounds and stacks that SARM users would aim to use:

Just as with steroids, the formation of a SARMs stack depends mostly on your goals: are you trying to cut fat or bulk up with lean muscle gains? Pinpoint your goals before working out a SARMs stack so you can make your decision with these goals in mind.

SARM Cycles for Cutting

Because SARMs were originally researched and tested for the purpose of treating diseases that involve muscle wasting, such as after cancer treatment, it goes without saying that they could potentially be excellent for the purpose of cutting where you are going to be calorie deficient as you work to burn as much fat as possible while keeping a lean physique, and ideally not lose any of your existing lean muscle.

Some cutting stacks might also aim to build some muscle, while others are focused purely on fat burning.

A quality SARM cutting stack can be as simple as two SARMs taken for a period of 10 weeks: Cardarine (10mg daily) and Ostarine (20mg daily). While you won’t need to do PCT following this stack, a break of a minimum of four weeks is recommended for recovery.

SARM Cycles for Bulking

There are several SARM stacking options when your goal is to build mass and bulk up with lean muscle growth. All of them should result in fast gains, but keep in mind that unlike the basic cutting stack above, these stacks require you to follow up with PCT.

An extra benefit of SARMs is that you’ll usually see a big improvement in energy as well, which is going to boost your performance considerably, ultimately contributing to gaining that muscle faster with your powered-up workouts.

A quality SARM mass-building stack example is to use Testolone and Ligandrol at 15mg each daily for two months, followed by a four-week break plus PCT.

Strength is another area that you can target with a SARMs stack. YK-11 and Ligandrol will provide big benefits in this area, boosting your weight-lifting ability for faster gains; so essentially, this can also be considered a mass-building stack, but only if you put the hard yards into your gym work.

You can run this stack as a short 6-week cycle and see good results with Ligandrol at 20mg daily and YK-11 at 10mg per day. As YK-11 is particularly potent, this stack will likely require a PCT, and you should take at least a break of one month without using the compounds to aid recovery.

How Do SARMs Work?

SARMs are able to target androgen receptors in different parts of the body selectively. This makes SARMs very valuable medically where treatment can be customized or personalized to target specific conditions. This selective functioning of SARMs can also help eliminate side effects in other parts of the body that are not targeted by the SARM.

Because SARMs are designed to have similar effects to androgenic drugs without the same side effects, they are powerful in the way they can be much more specific in the tissues targeted compared with, say, testosterone-based hormone replacement therapy.

This is the ultimate goal of SARMs, but right now, they are still in development and are not yet 100% selective with zero impact on non-targeted tissue, meaning we still can’t get total anabolic effects on the muscle and bones without some androgenic side effect and this is mostly centered on side effects concerning the prostate in men.

Despite this, the truly powerful nature of some SARMs gives them a very impressive anabolic-to-androgenic ratio that can leave testosterone in the dust: for example, RAD-140 can have a ratio of up to 90:1, making it extremely anabolic. In comparison, testosterone’s anabolic to androgenic-ratio is a standard 1:1.

Bodybuilders using SARMs at higher than medical doses can certainly expect virilization side effects, and it’s these adverse effects that are so often unknown to people who are new to SARMs who assume they do not come with any of the side effects of anabolic steroids.

SARMs are not approved for human use in the USA and other countries. Even though they began to be developed in the 1990s to address medical problems like post-cancer muscle recovery, no SARMs have undergone complete clinical trials in humans. Many were stopped in development by the pharmaceutical companies.

Sellers of SARMs will usually try to slip through loopholes by labeling the supplements as “for research purposes only,” while others might not even list the ingredients at all. The research-only label does not pass legal scrutiny in most countries and will still hold the seller liable for breaking the law if they are caught selling products containing SARMs, and this can come with very heavy penalties.

Athletes who are drug tested and found to test positive for any SARMs are sanctioned and disqualified, indicating that these compounds are treated just the same in the sporting world as anabolic steroids are.

Even though SARMs are in a gray area legally, it only takes a few seconds to locate dozens of websites claiming to sell SARMs, with many claiming to offer the “highest purity.” Still, it is nearly impossible to prove the quality or even legitimacy of these unregulated and unapproved products.

Are SARMs Safe?

After all, this is one of the main reasons that athletes are choosing to use SARMs instead of (but sometimes alongside) anabolic steroids. Overall, SARMs are considered safer than steroids. Hardcore, long-term steroid use can result in very serious health problems, but that can also be the case with the over-use of any substance.

The key to retaining a higher level of safety when using SARMs is not to go crazy on the dosage and to follow up on a cycle with a period of proper recovery without the use of any compounds.

While steroids are extremely popular, especially among hardcore bodybuilders, they aren’t for everyone, and some people are looking for a milder, potentially less dangerous way of going about using performance-enhancing substances to gain an edge.

While SARMs have a reputation as being safer than steroids, this is not necessarily true. Hence, it’s critical to know exactly what you’re looking at with individual SARMs rather than considering them as all being the same.

Just as each anabolic steroid is different, so too is the case with different SARMs. Still, at their core, they all bind to androgen receptors selectively, so only specific areas of the body benefit from the effect of SARMs.

The two main categories of SARMs are steroidal and non-steroidal SARMs. When it comes to the non-steroidal SARMs that are mostly chosen for performance-enhancing use, some are excellent for muscle growth. In contrast, others are more useful for helping muscle repair and recovery.

Most SARMs will provide you with many of the same benefits as steroids:

  • Increased muscle
  • Decreased fat
  • Improved bone density and strength
  • Enhanced endurance and stamina
  • Preserving lean muscle while cutting fat

The other benefits relate to the area of side effects, or in the case of SARMs, the lack of the major negative side effects we experience with steroids, which can literally destroy your gains: water retention and gynecomastia as a result of aromatization that causes estrogen levels to rise.

The lack of these consequences is a clear benefit of SARMs, although they are not totally side-effect-free, regardless of what you might have heard on the grapevine.

One of the big reasons that more athletes are taking an interest in SARMs is because they lack the side effects that come with the use of anabolic steroids. However this can be misleading to people with little knowledge about SARMs, because they can come with their own health risks and adverse effects too.

Even though they are not anabolic steroids, SARMs are still a controlled substance under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) because of their clear performance-enhancing effects that give athletes an unnatural advantage.

Studies on mice have found that some SARMs can increase bone and muscle mass, and initial trials on humans have found that mass can be increased when using SARMs without gaining fat. Other trials have shown more concerning results, with the development of cancer leading to the halting of research in some cases.

What this shows is that the true effects of SARMs, both in the short and long term, are still far from fully understood, but that doesn’t stop thousands of people from taking them and being satisfied with the results.

Unlike anabolic steroids, which are directly injected or taken orally, most SARMs are included as ingredients in supplements, usually alongside other ingredients. This can make them difficult to detect, even for unsuspecting buyers who might not realize they are purchasing and consuming SARMs at all.

In the medical world, SARMs are being closely studied to work out just how effective they could be in treating a variety of conditions like aging-related conditions, osteoporosis, and cancer-related wasting syndromes.

A big area of interest is potentially using SARMs to help strengthen skeletal muscle mass in aging men and women to reduce the incidence of fractures, pain, and general loss of life quality, which most people expect to experience in their elderly years.

We can clearly see from this medical use of SARMs how they would be attractive to young and fit athletes and bodybuilders who have no such age-related skeletal or muscle weakness or degeneration but instead want to build upon their existing strength and muscle to boost performance.

Liquid SARMs vs. Capsules

If you’re seriously considering giving one or more SARMs a try, once you start investigating where to source your SARMs, you will likely come across your chosen compound in two forms: liquid and capsules.

Chemically, they are both exactly the same, with the liquid form obviously being the original raw form of the SARM. The capsule is a manufactured product in a form that is familiar to anyone – after all, we all know how to take a capsule without thinking twice, but what do you do with a SARM in liquid form?

There are two things to consider here: how and where you plan to purchase the SARM, the legalities involved, and your preference for how to use it.

In the US, purchasing SARMs in liquid form is technically legal for research purposes, and this is the loophole many people employ to get their hands on some SARMs. Because liquid SARMs have not been processed at all after being developed in the lab, they are clearly not designed for human use in a more commercialized form, as we see with capsules.

That’s why capsule forms of SARMs are illegal – they have very obviously been processed and manufactured into a product for people to use. Still, it contains a substance (the SARM) that is not legally approved for human use.

There is no difference when it comes to which is better, liquid or capsule SARMs. Provided the capsules have not had any other compounds added, then these two forms are identical in terms of their effects on the body. But this leads to another point that needs to be seriously considered: because SARMs are not legal to manufacture for human use in capsule form, this is not done in approved labs.

In fact, you are unlikely to know exactly where and how your SARMs capsules have been made, and this opens you up to the risk of not just a potentially low-quality product but one that could possibly be dangerous if the manufacturer has either intentionally or unintentionally contaminated the capsules in some way or not produced them to a high quality.

Suppose you want to eliminate the risk of poor quality or potentially dangerous SARM capsules manufactured underground. In that case, liquid SARMs purchased from research labs are likely to be your preferred choice.

Besides the liquid and capsule formats of SARMs, which are chemical in their original form with no addition of any other ingredients, some SARMs are, of course, included in some fitness supplements, and that is one other avenue that people may consider when contemplating which SARMs to take and how to consume them.

SARMs vs. Anabolic Steroids vs. Prohormones

With so many options now available in the world of performance-enhancing substances – covering virtually every aspect of fitness and physique goals – where do you start?

The three main categories we look at are anabolic steroids, SARMs, and prohormones.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on which is the best, but is one of these types of drugs really better than the other? Or does it totally depend on your goals?

It’s best to be educated about the basics of each performance-enhancement drug category so we can compare the most important advantages and disadvantages of each before deciding what to use. This is also wise when you’ve already made use of one type of drug and are considering trying something else but are not yet sure if it will give you better or possibly worse results and side effects.

When it comes to comparing anabolic steroids to SARMs, there are some basic points of difference.

Firstly, SARMs are very specific in how they target muscle and bone tissue and so come with reduced prostatic effects in males and, for females, less virilization side effects compared with anabolic steroids, mostly derivatives of the male sex hormone testosterone.

The major benefit of SARMs compared with steroids is that SARMs do not convert to DHT or estrogen, even though they also bind to the androgen receptor. This means we don’t get the severe androgenic side effects seen with anabolic steroids, like breast tissue enlargement in men and water retention.

SARMs will also not suppress natural testosterone production anywhere near the level that most anabolic steroids do, meaning your hormonal system is taking less of a hit each cycle.

Many people will state that SARMs are safer to use than steroids, mainly for the above reasons. This has an element of truth, but overall, because SARMs are still experimental drugs, with many not even having any human clinical trials to speak of, the long-term effects are still unknown and could well be as potentially dangerous steroids; after all, utilizing any drug at high doses for performance-enhancing purposes will always pose a risk of both short and long term health implications.

Prohormones are precursors to anabolic steroids. Prohormones of testosterone and nandrolone are commonly used by some athletes, and these are detectable in drug testing. Like SARMs and steroids, prohormones are also prohibited by world doping organizations. After a prohormone is administered, the body is able to turn it into an anabolic steroid.

The main types of prohormones or anabolic steroid precursors used include Androstenedione, Androstenediol, Norandrostenedione, Norandrostenediol, and Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

The only prohormone available in the U.S. without a prescription is DHEA, but this is also banned by many professional sports bodies as a performance-enhancing substance, despite the fact that DHEA is a naturally occurring hormone in the body (as is testosterone, which is the basis for most anabolic steroids).

DHEA can indirectly increase the levels of steroid hormones like testosterone, so when taken in high dosages, it can certainly have a performance-enhancing effect; hence, it is also banned.

Prohormones have the same effects on the body as anabolic steroids when it comes to the benefits and side effects because they are converted to steroids in the body. This makes these two types of compounds essentially the same, while SARMs are in their own category.

All are powerful substances in their own right. A decision to use any one of these categories of compounds should be well thought through, with not just the benefits considered but the side effects as well – and that is where SARMs are becoming more of a first choice for many people who want to avoid the most serious side effects of anabolic steroids.

SARMs Side Effects

Despite popular belief that SARMs are not as harmful as anabolic steroids or that they don’t come with similar or other side effects, these compounds do have more risks than most people think.

For starters, we can think of SARMs as essentially being research chemicals. Many have been developed and then halted by pharmaceutical companies for a range of reasons in their research and development process. That means that most SARMs are largely untested and remain mostly a mystery regarding not only their short-term effects but also their impacts on long-term health.

Most SARMs have not even undergone animal studies, so when it comes to their use in humans, we are essentially looking at unapproved and untested substances that have never undergone the rigorous testing and trials that other drugs have in the past – including even steroids.

This means that the possible side effects of SARMs, while many are now becoming more apparent as more people give these compounds a try, are still not fully understood, and it could take many years or even decades to gain an insight into the long term effects caused by SARMs by people who are heavily using them today.

Let’s look at the potential side effects of a SARM cycle that are known about:

Increased risk of heart attack and stroke

This is a risk factor often listed by regulatory authorities, even though there is little real-world evidence in humans to really back this up.

We know these are risk factors for heavy steroid users, and that may also be the case for heavy SARM use in the long term – once again, maintaining sensible dosages of your chosen SARM compounds is key to reducing all side effect risks and minimizing long-term health effects.

Vision problems

Blind spots and reduced low light vision have shown to be a problem with some SARMs, with Andarine S4 clinical trials in humans resulting in visual changes being one of the biggest concerns. So, while this is not a side effect with all SARMs, it is one to watch out for and another area where research is not adequate yet for us to know whether other SARMs are a risk to eye health.


Some SARMs are thought to potentially worsen your cholesterol health by reducing the good cholesterol type, HDL. This can bring about the potential risk of cardiovascular disease.

The true effects of SARMs on cholesterol are still not fully understood, with no long-term data being available, especially with the off-label use of these compounds among bodybuilders and athletes, and some trials have even found that one SARM in Ostarine resulted in decreased cholesterol levels in trial subjects. In any case, it’s wise to maintain a cholesterol-friendly diet low in saturated fats and high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids while you’re using SARMs and taking a break.


While not yet known whether SARMs can directly lead to cancer formation in humans, at least one SARM (Cardarine) was terminated from development by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline because of severe toxicities, including the development of multiple types of cancers in mice, was established during long term studies.

Liver damage

SARMs are thought to pose a high risk to the liver due to toxicity. An FDA notice in 2017 listed liver damage as one of its primary concerns about the use of SARMs in bodybuilding products.

There is still a lot of debate among enthusiasts about whether SARMs are liver toxic since the makeup of their chemical structure theoretically suggests they are not. Still, the FDA warning and other evidence suggest that liver damage is indeed a risk of SARM use, even if not as prominent as that which comes with some oral anabolic steroids, which can be severely toxic to the liver.

So we can see that SARMs are certainly not without their side effects risks. When used at higher dosages that are more likely by performance athletes, it’s even possible to experience similar or the same side effects as anabolic steroids.

While there is still so much not known about SARMs, it’s almost certain that the more SARMs you take, the higher the dosage, and the longer you take them, the inevitability of side effects is virtually impossible to avoid.

Because the very few human studies done so far with SARMs have been completed using medical doses far lower than athletes use, the side effects at higher doses will not be understood fully for some time.

SARMs Results

Just as with anabolic steroids, different results can be expected with the use of different SARMs. We know some are more useful for cutting and burning fat, while others excel at helping you bulk up and gain strength.

Users of some SARMs at performance-enhancing dosages can expect noticeable muscle mass and strength increases. These will be quality muscle gains because SARMs and the other similar compounds described in this guide don’t cause water retention, which can mask so much of your gains on steroids; for users of SARMs, this is one of the biggest benefits and most appealing advantages over anabolic steroids.

Losing fat is another result you can expect with many SARMs, especially the ones that have been developed to address obesity, where they are able to promote the metabolism and burning of stored fat without putting the body in a catabolic state where you lose muscle tissue.

Other SARMs will boost your endurance and your ability to fight off fatigue and muscle soreness, and these are the SARMs that are especially valued by endurance athletes.

Using one SARM alone will generally give you some results you can expect after having heard about other people’s experiences using the compound. But it’s the stacking of SARMs and other compounds together that can really supercharge your results in the areas of muscle gains and performance. For advanced users, this is often the strategy to take – just as steroid users will stack multiple compounds to take advantage of their different properties during a cycle.

During a well-planned SARM stack cycle, expect to see excellent muscle definition develop as your muscles harden and grow while being able to more efficiently burn fat and see a noticeable boost to your strength, stamina, and overall ability to perform harder for longer and with less down time in between workouts thanks to better muscle recovery and reduced risk of injury.

SARMs Post Cycle Therapy

We know that all anabolic steroid cycles need to be followed up with some form of post-cycle therapy (PCT) because of the usually severe suppression of normal testosterone function that steroids cause. When it comes to SARMs, we often read about how they don’t cause any side effects, including that they don’t bring about testosterone suppression, but this is not entirely true.

While low doses of most SARMs are unlikely to affect testosterone, at the higher doses that athletes and bodybuilders want to use SARMs for performance enhancement results, suppression is a real possibility. It is, in fact, very likely with some SARMs in particular, especially RAD-140, Ligandrol, and YK11.

Taking higher dosages of Ostarine will also put you in the position where PCT will be beneficial and even necessary, as higher doses of this SARM, say about 25mg daily, can result in real testosterone suppression. They won’t suppress you as much as steroids do, which can shut testosterone production down completely, but the suppression is often enough for you to require PCT after the SARMs cycle.

Females who use SARMs will be pleased to know that there is no need for you to do PCT when using SARMs; just make sure you’re taking a break of at least four weeks between SARM cycles.


Is SARM a steroid?

There are two types of SARMs; the first developed SARMs were steroidal, but the ones developed only in the past two to three decades are known as non-steroidal SARMs.

Even though most modern SARMs are not steroidal, they still bring about anabolic activity in the muscle and bone, and this is why they are so highly valued by fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders, and even professional athletes who want an alternative to anabolic steroids with lower risk of testosterone suppression, no estrogenic side effects and less risk of other side effects that come with steroid use.

Can SARMs come in capsules?

Some SARMs are made in capsule form, although this is not legal because SARMs are not approved for use by humans by authorities in the USA and other countries.

While capsule SARMs provide an easy way to take your dose, there is a risk of low quality, under-dosing, overdosing, or contamination if the SARMs capsules have been manufactured in an unprofessional environment. This is why most people will buy SARMs in liquid form from research labs, so you know you’re getting the real deal.

Sometimes, SARMs are included in supplements, but these should be taken with caution as, once again, you can rarely tell the origin of the SARM in these cases.

Will SARMs cause hair loss?

We know that one of the most dreaded side effects of anabolic and androgenic steroids is hair loss or male pattern baldness in men who are genetically predisposed to it. One of the most appealing things about SARMs for many guys is that if we listen to the marketers who sell them, SARMs do not pose a risk for hair loss.

But the fact is that SARMs can indeed cause hair loss in some people, just like steroids can. This side effect is mostly a concern when taking SARMs at high doses – just as most performance athletes will. It’s not considered much of a risk at lower doses.

If you experience hair loss when taking SARMs, the bad news is that it will be permanent unless you have some effective hair restoration plan.

Can SARMs cause heart attacks?

The long-term effects of SARMs are still unknown when it comes to their use by humans. We know that cancer had an effect when SARMs were given to mice over a relatively long term.

Another very serious concern many people have about people using SARMs is whether they affect cardiovascular health and if they can potentially even lead to heart attacks. In 2017, the US FDA issued a warning about SARMs and stated that they can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Are SARMs banned by WADA?

All SARMs are prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and have been since 2008. It is listed in the category of banned substances under Anabolic Agents, which is the same category that steroids are listed in.

This means that SARMs are never permitted, and any drug tests that come back positive for any SARM will be dealt with according to the rules of your particular sport.

Since becoming a banned substance, dozens of professional athletes have tested positive for SARMs over the years and have been banned or penalized.

Can SARMs be found in dietary supplements?

Even though it’s not legal to include SARMs in bodybuilding supplements, this is a widespread practice, with some supplement makers blatantly advertising their use of SARMs and others not even listing a SARM as an ingredient.

The latter can put athletes at risk who undergo regular doping tests if they have consumed a supplement that unknowingly contained SARMs. This is why only taking supplements from reputable companies where 100% of the ingredients are certain is a must for anyone exposed to drug testing, as well as if you want to avoid SARMs altogether.

How long does it take for SARMs to kick in?

New SARM users can make the error of believing that results will be noticed as quickly as they are when using anabolic steroids, but this is not actually the case with SARMs. They don’t work as fast as steroids do.

Steroids are synthetic hormones, mostly testosterone, so they have a potent effect on the body and do so quickly after administration.

Non-steroidal SARMs, on the other hand, are not giving you the effects of a powerful hormone-like anabolic steroids do, and you will need to use SARMs for longer before you start seeing results, and this takes patience.

Some SARM compounds can deliver noticeable changes within about four weeks, while others can take as long as eight weeks to really kick in and have you noticing the benefits.

SARMs, therefore, require a longer-term approach to their use, but on the upside, they don’t come with the same drastic negative effect on your hormonal system and overall health that steroids do.

How long should you cycle SARMs?

Keeping in mind the slower effects of SARMS on the body, the minimum cycle length for most SARMs should be eight weeks. But most people will choose to go longer, with 12 weeks being standard for experienced users. A simple beginner cycle should consist of just one or two SARMs for 8 to 12 weeks.

It’s important not to worry about not seeing immediate results and to focus on the longer-term benefits where consistency is going to be key to getting those quality muscle gains, whether you are comfortable doing 8-week cycles, 12-week cycles, or anything in between being consistent over the long term is what will get you the results.

Which SARMs should women use?

Women can use most SARMs, and most females will want to use the compounds that enhance endurance and fat loss rather than muscle gain. Ligandrol and Andarine are commonly used by women to help with muscle toning and cutting fat, and this can be achieved at low doses as small as 5mg daily.

What is the best SARM that would pair well with Clen for weight loss and muscle gains?

I don’t recommend pairing Clenbuterol with SARMs. If you want a working cutting stack, then go with this one:

  • Week 1-12 – 30mg/day SR9009 (Stenabolic)
  • Week 1-12 – 50mg/day S4 (Andarine) 25mg in the morning and 25mg 4-6 hours later
  • Week 1-12 – 20mg/day GW-501516 (Cardarine) 30 minutes before workout
  • Week 1-12 – 25mg/day MK-2866 (Ostarine)
  • Week 13-15 – Mini Clomid PCT with 50mg/day and 20mg/day GW-501516

What cycle or stack do you recommend for females looking to increase endurance, build muscle, and lose fat?

If you are looking for a particular SARM, I’d say 10-20mg/day Cardarine for eight weeks. Another option is to do an Anavar cycle at 10mg/day (split Anavar into two doses a day at 5mg/each, once with breakfast and again before bedtime) for a period of 8 weeks. With both options, get off as much fat as you can naturally, hit the cardio hard, and then use one of them.

Final Thoughts

SARMs have become popular with bodybuilders who might want to avoid anabolic steroids because of the known side effects and who believe that SARMs don’t come with these same risks while still providing excellent performance benefits.

SARMs are useful for building and preserving muscle since one of their main aims is to prevent catabolism. When used with a suitable diet, SARMs reduce the risk of losing your hard-earned muscle gains as a bodybuilder.

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.