SARMs: Pros, Cons, & Stacking w/AAS
TL:DR flexible, adaptable and stackable with AAS.
SARM use has been a focus in recent years. But why, and what benefits can they possibly have over established compounds? Are SARMs only for a certain kind of lifter?
I’m providing an analysis here on their benefits and drawbacks considering:
- The person
- Performance level
- And their goal
In various corners of the internet, including Reddit, I see major variation in opinion on SARMs. Some have their reasons for hyping what SARMs can do (i.e. shills), and others seem annoyed by it. I understand the latter sentiment (though I disagree with it) from the old school bb’s who have a problem with so many new lifters jumping on a SARM only cycle. Often with unrealistic expectations and little to no prep. There also seems to be an element of gatekeeping: I had to learn the hard way and jump straight to pinning and taking orals, so you should too.
Data shows that in untrained populations, SARMs are effective in increasing lbm% and doing so that is not dependent on other factors such as level of activity. The flip side is that SARMs are only effective up to a certain point, if you think in terms of a linear progression. Evidence of this is a lack of evidence: we don’t have the anecdotes that show a SARM only user could exceed their natty limit in the same we do for AAS users (Ryan Casey, a fake natty who recently admitted to using SARMs in his transformation, might be an example).
So why bother with SARMs at all? I thought long and hard about the reasons someone might run a cycle that includes SARMs. I’m sure I have missed some, and am happy to add to what we have here:
Who Are SARMs Suitable For?
From the points above, it’s easy to see why first time PED users might choose to start with a SARM, and you might think that SARMs are not suitable for advanced weight lifters. If you are seeking that almost linear progression I mention above, SARMs are not going to be the best PED for you forever, at least not by themselves. SARMs are not an all or nothing proposition, and SARMs and AAS are not at odds.
- Newer PED users
- Endurance athletes: prefer not to haul 250lbs around a 10k course if I don’t have to
- Combat athletes: e.g. boxers, fighters, wrestlers, or folks who otherwise need to increase strength without large increases in mass. Note, this is absolutely possible with AAS as well.
- General use / stacking: folks running a cycle, not wanting to inject more compound and not able or willing to use alkylated orals will see SARMs as an attractive addition.
- Bridging: it should be said that bridging is a bad idea - the point of being off-cycle is allow health markers to return to baseline. But that said, if you do choose to bridge a cruise test dose + SARM is, in my opinion, better than bridging with above TRT levels of AAS.
- TRT users: Stockpiling TRT doses and then choosing to run a ‘low dose’ blast, such as 15mg of Ostarine daily + 300mg of Testosterone weekly. This will produce better results than 300mg of Testosterone by itself.
PPAR & GH Agonists
While not SARMs, they sometimes get lumped in here and derided equally, so let me address cardarine and MK677 real quick.
MK677 is often compared unfavorably to HGH: HGH is King, and MK677 is a deuce. In refuting this, I will first say that the most common reason that folks use HGH is to support muscle growth, and it has been shown conclusively that supraphysiological levels of growth hormone does not cause hypertrophy and does cause acromegaly. Certainly there are other benefits to HGH, increasing muscle ain’t one of ‘em.
As with any injectable, levels remain relatively steady throughout the day. This in my opinion is the most important difference between HGH and MK677 as the latter amplifies the natural spikes of GH (I can’t seem to find the exact graphs since my PubMed links have been broken but here’s my beautiful artists rendition of what I remember seeing). Whatever long term side effects GH may have - sustained high IGF1 levels are associated with cancer, and HGH use increases the mortality of cancer - MK677 likely does not have the same issues.
As for cardarine - it works and is highly effective. Pure and simple.
Examples of Cycles Incorporating SARMs
So all that said, what are ways to use SARMs depending on your experience level? Here are several cycle ideas.
The combinations are endless, but I think you get the picture.
In my personal experience, I find SARMs to be highly flexible and adaptable compounds. They are not AAS, but can compliment most any cycle depending on your need. Hard stances on compounds (i.e. philosophically believing one is better than the other) is counterproductive - when evaluating your next cycle, consider all available options.