Note: This publication does not condemn or condone the use of SARMS or any other performance enhancing drug. Please note, SARMS are yet to be formally approved for human consumption and the long-term side effects are still not fully ascertained.
SARMs — Immensely Popular PEDs
SARMS have blown up across various fitness pages across the internet.
Promises of unparalleled muscle and strength gains, “legal steroids,” less side effects, no need for a post-cycle therapy, and everything you could ever dream of sometimes follow this newish “legal steroid.”
Just become something is legal, it doesn’t mean it’s safe.
Think of the recent opioid crisis or the number of celebrities who have died over the years from overdosing on legal substances.
And due to the present legality of SARMS, far too many people can throw caution to the wind.
Alcohol and tobacco are legal, but they’re abused on a daily basis.
A recent look into London’s “Fatberg” found that SARMS were more present than MDMA or Cocaine in oils and natural matter found in the capital city’s sewers [R].
So, despite the new(ish) supplement’s crescent popularity, what do they actually do?
What are SARMS?
Not to be confused with SERMS, SARMS stand for “selective androgen receptor modulators” and work similarly to steroids by binding to the body’s receptors and recoding DNA to become more efficient — or “tissue selective — at packing on muscle.
Unlike anabolic steroids, which bind to androgen receptors in many tissues all over the body, individual SARMs selectively bind to androgen receptors in certain tissues, but not in others [R].
Although originally developed as “steroidal SARMS” for a viable cure for osteoporosis, cancer, and other diseases in the 1940’s by Ligand Pharmaceuticals, “non-steroidal” SARMS were pioneered in the 90s by GTx Inc giving us the SARMS we use today.
The performance enhancing drug (PED) has presented itself as an attractive alternative to androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS) in recent years due to boasting less side effects and its current legal status.
SARMs have significantly risen in popularity for this very reason. And as SARMs are more “tissue-selective” while boasting far less androgenic side effects — hair loss, acne, prostate enlargement, clitoral enlargement, unwanted hair growth, etc. — due to binding to skeletal muscle receptors. SARMs have begun to even overshoot anabolic steroids in some parts of the globe.
Bodybuilders and powerlifters alike run SARMs and even stack them with steroids to yield their desired results. This is because SARMs can yield keepable muscle and strength gains without drastic hormonal shifts.
As AAS are illegal and carry heavy punishments in many countries, SARMs are able to circumvent legal parameters due to its liquid form, thus putting them in a legal grey area.
As a result, SARMS have filled a massive consumer demand for the PED as lifters strive to attain superhuman physiques.
Another attractive benefit of SARMs is its user-friendly oral consumption. Lifters might be deterred at the prospect of intramuscular injections in pinning certain steroids — as oral-only steroid cycles are mostly ill-advised for their liver toxicity and other side-effects.
Do They Work?
This is the grand question.
Yes, SARMS absolutely DO work and various lifters have reported stellar results after a cycle of SARMS.
Some people have claimed to have gained several pounds in “muscle” while taking SARMS.
This does, however, have to be taken with a pinch of salt as there are various factors at play. Water retention, bloat, and other determining factors may skew the results — especially considering how some SARMS may increase appetite.
“SARMs have been shown in early clinical studies to build lean mass and muscle strength,” James Dalton, PhD, dean of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Michigan, told Healthline.
“They differ from commonly used androgenic steroids by their ability to stimulate muscle and bone growth with lesser prostatic effects in males and virilizing effects in females.” [R]
On a sidenote, the illegality of AAS’s in many countries as also seen a nascent rise in doctor-prescribed Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) offering superphysiological — but smaller — doses of testosterone to lifters looking to improve their physique, well-being, and avoid breaking the law.
SARMS come in a powdered form, but are sold diluted in liquid form — not capsules for legal reasons — to be consumed orally — NOT INJECTED. They are not to be sold for human consumption in capsule form, but as liquids for “research purposes.”
Despite these warnings, some have recorded eye-opening anecdotes concerning their experiences documented on our article on Ligandrol:
In fact, anecdotal evidence is in many ways the gold standard in such contexts, and should not be treated as inferior.
Here are two testimonies, taken from Reddit, from users of Ligandrol.
‘I finally gained 3 pounds after only 2 weeks! Solid mass! All of my max weights have been upped by at least 20 to 30 pounds. I’m hitting weight I’ve never even touched before. My wife straight asked me if I was on roids and I said no but close, sarms.’
Another user wrote:
‘I am now a week into a cycle and have the gains of a month straight of me working my ass off… I’ve got my 6 pack back in a week and all the fat on my stomach that was my original problem is now almost non existent. I will post before after pictures so I may prove the effectiveness of this SARM but damn I’m… elated right now. I’ve recommended it to my skinny brothers as well as I know they will gain and bulk up with just 4 weeks of this supplement. Guys, I’ve taken oral gear before and had gyno [gynecomastia – growth of breast tissue] issues almost immediately. So far no side effects’
A user from the Anabolic Minds forum, who was almost certainly taking a higher dose than the usual dose most users of Ligandrol take, reported the following increases over a period of just a single month.
- 12lbs increase in body weight
- 60lbs increase in squat
- 45lbs increase in bench press
- 60lbs increase in deadlift
- 35lbs increase in standing press
Cycles, PCT, and Doping
SARMs cycles typically last between 2-3 months depending on the compound or stack, but this may vary according to several factors such as stack, user experience, dosage, etc.
SARMs are banned from most drug-tested competitions for their supraphysiological effects on the body. Heck, caffeine was once banned from certain sporting competitions. It’s worth noting that, because of its anabolic and performance-enhancing properties, most SARMs are a prohibited substance and are listed as an S1 Anabolic Agent on WADA’s prohibited list.
Types of SARMS
Cardarine – GW501516
Not quite a SARM, but Cardarine, while technically a PPAR-Gamma receptor agonist that binds to the PPAR-Delta receptor, is often lumped in with other SARMs when it is marketed — given its similar legal status, short duration in the system, and usage.
Many lifters and fitness enthusiasts use Cardarine to either help lose weight or prevent weight gain during a bulk. Unlike other fat-burning products, Cardarine does not affect the nervous system.
Cardarine was primarily developed to treat obesity, diabetes, lipid strain, and heart health problems. Cardarine activates AMP-activated protein kinase, glucose uptake and fatty acid oxidation in skeletal muscle (see Figure 1.2.1). Cardarine may reverse metabolic abnormalities in obese and pre-diabetic individuals by stimulating fatty acid oxidation, burning fat and increasing glucose uptake in skeletal muscle tissue, which changes the body’s metabolism to burn fat for energy instead of muscle or carbohydrates.[R]
Cardarine was initially developed in 1992 by Ligand Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as a metabolic agent with potential anti-cancer, anti-obesity and cardiovascular applications. Phase I trials of cardarine for the treatment of hyperlipidaemia began in 2000 followed by phase I/II in 2002. Further development of cardarine was abandoned in 2007 for safety reasons when preclinical toxicology showed that it caused various cancers [R].
Cardarine is highly sought after by many fitness enthusiasts either to assist them with fat loss or to prevent fat gain while packing on size. It is also selected for its effect in increasing HDL (good) cholesterol that is sometimes decreased by other anabolic compounds. Cardarine has also proven remarkably popular for its ability to significantly improve cardiovascular fitness in middle-long distance athletes through the creation of new blood vessels and development of Type I (slow twitch) muscle fibers.
Unlike Ostarine, Ligandrol, RAD 140 and Andarine, Cardarine is not an anabolic SARM. Cardarine is not used to build muscle, although it is often used during a muscle building regime or bulking phase as part of a stack. Rather, what Cardarine provides is enhanced metabolic properties:
- Enhanced fat loss
- Reduced or minimal fat gain during bulking
- Increased HDL cholesterol
- Improved cardiovascular performance
“CARDARINE PREVENTS FAT GAIN DURING PCT
After you’ve dealt with your cortisol levels, you’ll find that the excess testosterone binds with it, rendering it inactive. To prevent fat gain yet keeping your calories up requires a PPAR modulator such as Cardarine (GW-50156). This will regulate the rate at which you burn fat. It does this in a number of ways but essentially it promotes glycogen retention in muscle tissue. This allows the body to alter its metabolism and increase the amount of fat burned instead of using carbs or protein as fuel.
“This is a true win/win and means your body retains muscles and yet fat retention is reduced. This, in turn, will give you more stamina (through a process of “angiogenesis” or the creation of new blood vessels stemming from preexisting ones) and can have the added bonus of reducing cravings.” [R].
Some users have reported an increased base metabolic rate making it easier to enter a calorie deficit [R], a boost in energy — something which makes testosterone an attractive performance-enhancing drug — and a drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol yet a rise in HDL (good) cholesterol [R].
Ostarine – MK-2866
Ostarine is a SARM that is often favored by strength athletes. Some lifters report making consistent strength gains each training session while consuming Ostarine.
Although there is no certified research on the use of this SARM for bodybuilding purposes, research in other contexts indicates that ostarine can significantly enhance lean muscle mass for both men and women [R].
Even with a dose as low as one milligram, ostarine can have significant effects.
A study on muscle-wasting in cancer patients showed that a one-milligram dose of ostarine led to a substantial increase in power climbing stairs, and those administered higher doses saw even greater effects [R].
Again, this is strong evidence for ostarine’s muscle-building effects.
Animal trials have also indicated that Ostarine can increase bone density and prevent bone loss, which should be of interest to weightlifters in general, but especially to those who lift heavy weights and are therefore at increased risk of bone injuries including fractures [R].
Of course, it would be strange for athletes and competitors to be taking ostarine, and running the risk of being caught, if it didn’t have the desired effect.
Besides the clinical evidence, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for the muscle-building effects of Ostarine.
Ostarine is often referred to as the ‘most anabolic’ SARM, and it’s for this reason that bodybuilders, strength athletes (powerlifters, Olympic lifters, strongmen), practitioners of contact sports, martial artists and gymbros are the ones you’ll find taking it.
All of these groups seek the following benefits:
- Loss of unwanted body fat
- Increased lean muscle mass (even in a caloric deficit)
- Increased energy levels
It is important to note that anecdotal evidence is often the gold-standard, or the closest to it, that we can achieve in the world of fitness.
As Mark Rippetoe notes, there are no clinical peer-reviewed studies on the effectiveness of a particular dose of the steroid dianabol, but there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence that will tell you what you need to know.
Users report gains of around 5-7lbs of lean mass over a period of six weeks (you should cycle ostarine, see below), as well as increased strength and endurance. One experienced powerlifter on Reddit describes his experience with ostarine thus.
“The first week, I immediately noticed the effects of the drug. At first I thought it was a placebo effect. However, the effect continued- I was not getting sore after my training sessions and I was able to perform significantly more volume work during the training sessions.
“As an experienced lifter, I am not often “de-trained,” so I am seldom “sore” after lifting.
“However, the type of pain I usually feel is fatigue and deep soreness of your body being wrecked from very heavy weight. Sets of 5 at 85% of your 1RM will wreck you.
“With Ostarine, they didn’t wreck me. I really didn’t feel wrecked. I felt like I lifted the next day, sure, but I didn’t have the “hit by a truck” feeling. It was crazy. I couldn’t believe it.”
Although he only took ostarine for a short period, he noticed serious changes within a week.
Ligandrol – LGW-4033
Ligandrol is another anabolic SARM, like ostarine, and is generally sought out and used by the same groups: bodybuilders, strength athletes (powerlifters, Olympic lifters, strongmen), practitioners of contact sports, martial artists and gymbros. The benefits of ligandrol are more or less the same as those of ostarine.
- Reduced body fat
- Increased lean muscle mass (even in a caloric deficit) and therefore strength
- Increased energy levels
- Increased bone strength
The anecdotal evidence seems to be that ligandrol may even help you put on more mass than ostarine, but some of that extra mass may be of a lesser quality, i.e. may be water weight due to mineral retention.
Ostarine appears to have better fat loss properties than ligandrol and can be used effectively to gain muscle during a caloric deficit.
Ligandrol may also have more potent side effects than ostarine; although, in both cases, the side effects are mild compared to steroids, unless you use the SARMs at much higher dosages than normal, and even then you won’t encounter problems like an enlarged prostate or gynecomastia.
Ligandrol, as a SARM with performance-enhancing effects, is listed as an S1 Anabolic Agent on WADA’s prohibited list.
A number of athletes have been given bans as a result of testing positive for Ligandrol, including:
- Florida Gators quarterback Will Grier (2015)
- NBA player Joakim Noah (2017)
- Australian swimmer Shayna Jack (2019)
Ligandrol binds to the androgen receptors and mimics the effects of testosterone, increasing protein synthesis and therefore muscle growth.
This is also what steroids do, but SARMs generally have an advantage over steroids, because they only bind to receptors in skeletal muscle tissue.
Steroids, by contrast, work on other tissues in the body and have, as a result, been linked to all sorts of side effects, including prostate and heart problems.
SARMs are also non-aromatising, meaning that they aren’t converted to estrogen by the body in an attempt to maintain the body’s testosterone-to-estrogen balance.
By contrast, aromatisation can occur when using steroids or testosterone injections, which upset that balance, leading to problems such as gynecomastia (formation of breast tissue).
Although there is no certified research on the use of this SARM for bodybuilding purposes, research in other contexts indicates that Ligandrol can significantly enhance lean muscle mass for both men and women.
A 21-day study on 76 healthy young men found that all the participants experienced increased lean muscle mass.
They also showed increased leg press strength and power climbing stairs.
Ligandrol, like Ostarine, has a very high potency, and doses ranging between 0.1 and 1mg yielded significant results [R].
Animal trials have shown similar results. Ligandrol may increase bone mass and strength, muscle mass and sexual function, without interfering with sensitive areas of the body like the prostate, as steroids do [R].
Total gains over the course of a cycle are generally in the same ballpark as with Ostarine. After eight weeks, you can expect to gain 5-7lbs, or perhaps even 10lbs.
Andarine – S4/S23
As an another anabolic SARM, like Ostarine, Ligandrol and RAD 140, Andarine is generally used by bodybuilders, strength athletes (powerlifters, Olympic lifters, strongmen), practitioners of contact sports, martial artists and gymbros. The benefits of Andarine are:
- Increased lean muscle mass (including during a calorie deficit) and therefore strength
- Increased energy levels
- Increased bone strength
- Decreased body fat
Andarine, as a SARM with performance-enhancing effects, is listed as an S1 Anabolic Agent on WADA’s prohibited list. In our articles on Ostarine and Ligandrol, we have used lists of athletes who have been banned for using those substances, in order to illustrate their respective properties.
In the case of S4 (Andarine), like RAD 140, it is much harder to find evidence of athletes who have been banned or received sanction for using the substance.
S4 (Andarine) and RAD 140 both seem to be less well known than Ostarine and Ligandrol; although that is not necessarily reason to assume that Ostarine and Ligandrol are the best or better SARMs than Andarine and RAD 140.
Among the cases we could readily find were those of Kayle Leogrande, a cyclist banned for testing positive for Andarine among other substances, and the Australian horse trainer Stuart Gower, who received a sanction when the horse Saturday Sorcerer tested positive for S4 (Andarine) after its win in the Darwin Cup.
There have been no clinical human trials on S4 Andarine. It is regarded as being weaker than other SARMs like Ostarine and Ligandrol and is usually stacked with other SARMs to increase its effects. We will discuss how to stack SARMs in a separate article.
In addition to its anabolic properties, S4 (Andarine) is touted as one the best SARMs for fat loss, based on clinical trials in rats, which showed a significant decrease in body fat [R].
S4 (Andarine) has a unique side effects among SARMs in that many users report altered vision.
RAD 140 is another anabolic SARM, like Ostarine and Ligandrol, and is generally sought out and used by the same groups: bodybuilders, strength athletes (powerlifters, Olympic lifters, strongmen), practitioners of contact sports, martial artists and gymbros. The benefits of RAD 140 are:
- Increased lean muscle mass (including during a calorie deficit) and therefore strength
- Increased energy levels
- Increased bone strength
RAD 140, as a SARM with performance-enhancing effects, is listed as an S1 Anabolic Agent on WADA’s prohibited list.
In our articles on Ostarine and Ligandrol, we have used lists of athletes who have been banned for using those substances, in order to illustrate their respective properties. In the case of RAD 140, which seems to be less well known than Ostarine or Ligandrol, fewer professional athletes have been banned for using it.
RAD 140 binds to the androgen receptors and mimics the effects of testosterone, increasing protein synthesis and therefore muscle growth.
RAD 140, like the other SARMs, is administered orally. There is no need to inject it, as you would steroids or other compounds like human growth hormone.
The best way to use RAD 140 is in a cycle of six to eight weeks. This will give you significant gains and then allow your body, including your body’s testosterone levels, to recover. It’s a bad idea to lengthen a cycle beyond 12 weeks, because of the hormonal side effects and because the long-term effects of taking SARMs are at this stage unknown.
While the clinical studies have reported significant effects as a result of even small doses– even below a single milligram – the more you take, the greater the effects.
The general dosage favoured seems to be 10 to 15mg a day.
However, it should be noted that the more you take, the greater the side effects will be. As is well known, this is also the case with steroids; although even at higher doses, SARMs will not have the same side effects as steroids.
So how can you tell if you have low testosterone?
The easiest and most definitive way is to have a blood test. A normal testosterone level range for men is 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl), whereas for women, it’s between 15 and 70 ng/dl. If as a man your testosterone is below 300 ng/dl, you have low testosterone.
But this is putting the cart before the horse, because before you decide to have a test you will experience some or all of the following symptoms, assuming you actually do have low testosterone.
You’ll have good reason to ask the question ‘Do I have low T?, because in some very obvious ways you’ll feel like less of a man.
The main symptoms include:
- Reduced libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fertility problems (inability to conceive)
- Fatigue/Low Energy
- Depression/Lowered Mood
- Weight Gain
- Muscle Loss
Boys with low testosterone may develop slower, with little or no body hair, under-developed muscles and smaller penises; and men with low T will have difficulty building muscle, no matter how hard they try.
In extreme cases of low testosterone, usually referred to as hypogonadism, men may also develop breast tissue (gynecomastia) and osteoporosis (reduced bone density).
Hypogonadism has a variety of causes, which include:
- Certain genetic disorders
- Pituitary disorders, including pituitary tumours and injuries
- Inflammatory diseases
- Obesity and also rapid weight loss
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Steroid use
Obesity, in particular, is an increasingly common cause of hypogonadism.
Stored fat is highly estrogenic and can wreak havoc on your testosterone levels.
In fact, losing fat is one of the quickest ways to remedy low testosterone — as well as chronic inflammation.
Assess how you feel after finishing the cycle and this should give you an idea of the degree of testosterone suppression.
This also applies after you complete your SARMs PCT to assess the indicators of a successful post cycle therapy.
Always ensure to take enough time off between cycles to ensure adequate recovery; listen to your body and if in doubt, take more time off.
If you need a PCT, you can click here to protect your endocrine system following a cycle.
Are SARMs Present in Other Supplements?
Generally, no. In large part, this is because SARMs are not approved for human consumption in the US or any other country. As a result, there are no legal medications or dietary supplements that contain SARMs, and that includes ostarine.
However, in certain cases it appears that some supplement manufacturers have put SARMs – illegally – into their supplements and labelled them as ‘legal steroids’ or chemicals for ‘research purposes only’.
Manufacturers may also omit a SARM such as Ostarine from the list of ingredients or give it a different or misleading name — Ostarine also goes by the name of enobosarm, MK-266 and GTx-024.
If you have any doubts about a supplement, first consult the label and then, if you are not convinced, check the USADA’s Supplement 411.
Where to Get SARMs?
Warning: SARMs are not meant for human consumption and the long term effects of SARMs have not be observed. Please contact a physician before deciding to purchase SARMs or other PEDs.
With the FDA clamping down on online SARMs providers, it can become increasingly challenging to buy SARMs in 2021.
Former SARMs giant Proven Peptides was recently handed a cease and desist letter, prompting them to immediately halt operations and making it difficult for lifters to buy SARMs.
Organizations such as the FDA and medical lobbying groups have pressured for the illegalization of SARMs — often suggesting that they be treated like anabolic steroids on the grounds of some questionable studies.
While the long term side effects of SARMs haven’t been observed — due to their relatively recent prevalence in fitness circles — some have raised concerns over the performance enhancing drugs.
In order to circumvent legal requirements, SARMs providers must not sell SARMs for human consumption, often labeling their products as for “research purposes.”
And, as a result, less-than-trustworthy SARMs providers have answered the demand from those looking to buy SARMs.
Some SARMS providers misrepresent the quantity, purity, concentration of the SARMS they sell which can make it difficult for the potential user to properly gauge what is being taken and whether or not they’re getting the most out of their cycle.
Several anecdotes have appeared online blasting their providers for selling them either underdosed SARMs or a liquid which contains no active ingredients.
Many lifters searching the web to buy SARMs fear being left shortchanged.
Since various providers have been shut down — or face being shut down — they have moved onto different supplements or niches to avoid full closure of business.
One provider, Rat’s Army, originally distanced their product range by offering flavored SARMs — for research purposes, of course — giving the user a novel experience.
With various exotic flavors such as “Grandma’s Pie,” “Clown Tears,” and “White Girl” — I have no idea what this one is meant to be — Rat’s Army offers a very affordable full range of SARMs, including Tamoxifen for Post Cycle Therapy, that are subject to frequent sales.
Rat’s Army are fully stocked with most SARMs often discussed on various forums or on social media by your favorite influencers and models.
SARMs such as Ostarine, Ligandrol, RAD-140, S4, among others are available for purchase on the website.
The provider also boasts bottles with pre-made stacks directed at “cutting” or “bulking” for more experienced users seeking a more tailor-made cycle.
The combo below is not for first-time users as it contains stronger compounds.
If you want to buy SARMs, Rat’s Army provide a pleasant user experience and rapid response times.
Rat’s Army also offers various methods of payment including by a wide range of cards and Bitcoin.
Disclaimer: we are not medical professionals. If you wish to consume SARMs and/or other performance enhancing drugs, we urge that you take the appropriate channels and consult your physician. Please ensure that you request comprehensive bloodwork to protect your health, under the care of your physician.
Don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com for personalized coaching and a client questionnaire if you’d like DEDICATED tailor-made personal training on strength training, building muscle, losing fat, developing athleticism, and more — all to your liking, lifestyle, habits, and taste!
Alternatively, you can pick up a FREE eBook on fundamental strength principles offering an introductory workout program.