Bodybuilding and SARMs: A Boon or a Bane?

What Is A SARM?

A SARM, also known as a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator, is used to help treat conditions like obesity and muscle wasting diseases. They are chemical compounds that interact with the brain and helps the body in various ways. They are generally used by amateur bodybuilders, gym goers and athletes to maintain fitness levels and keep their body in perfect shape. They tend to have the same effects as androgenic drugs but have slight to no side effects.

a male fitness competitor who uses SARMs

How Do SARMs Work?

SARMs are chemicals that modulate specifically selected sites that are responsible for the development of muscles in our body. A typical SARM will speed up the process of muscle building. There are various types of SARMs available in the market that are used for different purposes ranging from muscle building to weight loss and more. The exact way how they speed up the process is still unknown and research is being conducted on it.

SARMs or Steroids?

Steroids are powerful drugs that mostly help to increase muscle density, muscle weight, etc. Unlike SARMs, steroids are powerful drugs that are required in very small quantities and they also tend to have side effects. Although SARMs too have side effects, the side effects they cause are nothing as compared to the side effects caused by steroids.

Earlier, there was another group of chemicals known as pro-hormones that are responsible for similar effects as SARMs and Steroids. Pro-hormones are substances that change the concentration of certain important hormones in our body, thereby causing faster rates of muscle growth.

Pro-hormones are also not as dangerous as steroids because like SARMs they also have lesser known and moderate side effects. So it might be fit to think that pro-hormones can replace SARMs or can be used alternatively but that is not the case.

Although pro-hormones and SARMs have similar side effects, in case of pro-hormones, they generally convert to estrogen after completion of their work cycle. Accumulation of estrogen in the male body can cause female characteristics to develop, such as gynecomastia. In females, excess of estrogen can cause joint pains, irregular ovulation, etc.

So, as far as bodybuilding results are considered SARMs, Steroids and  Prohormones have similar effects but in varying intensities. The amount of steroid needed for the same increase in muscle weight is less as compared to SARMs.

a picture of a gym goer doing the plank ab exercise

Talking about general gym goers, SARMs are way better than steroids because they have milder side effects.

For bodybuilders, though, SARMs can act as a starter mechanism for them. They will need regular doses of steroids and they can use SARMs in between as a bridge between steroid cycles as a way to retain the steroid muscle gains.

Side Effects of SARMs

SARMs have mild to no side effects. Unlike steroids and pro-hormones, they are safer and also deliver what they are used for. Following are a few of the side effects of using SARMs-

  • Nausea, Vomiting, Headache (Mild)
  • Muscle Pain, Muscle Stiffness (Severe)
  • Partial Paralysis if SARM is taken in high quantity with unregulated timings. (Extreme)

Who Uses SARMs?

SARMs and bodybuilding generally go hand in hand, i.e. Bodybuilders use SARM as an intermediate between their regular steroid cycles. Although these chemical Androgen Modulators are less harmful than steroids, they do not produce as good results as steroids and thus bodybuilders use them only as intermediates.

Following are a few other professions where SARMs are used:

Gym Goers

Regular gym goers who do not need a lot of muscle to show, generally use these supplements to enhance their effect on the body. It is important to note that gym goers can and should only stick to SARMs and not use steroids.  This is because steroids do have some nasty potential side effects that lightweight people will not be able to handle.

Thus SARMS are the best choice for people who use gyms only to stay fit and build some muscle.

a picture of a man doing the cable fly chest exercise who is running a Ostarine cycle

Athletes

Those who require endurance and speed boosts use specially modified androgen modulators that help them in the cause.

SARMs have mild side effects and are very effective. One added benefit that comes with using SARMs for athletes is that, since these chemicals bind with the cytoplasm and stay there for a long time, they are generally very hard to detect in blood tests which are conducted before competition (sports at the highest levels will have better drug testing protocols which will detect SARMs).

Cyclists

One other use of these supplements is by professional cyclists. Pro-cyclists have been known to use SARMs to help boost endurance.

Other Sports

SARMs are also banned in various sports like Football, Cricket, Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, etc for increasing general efficiency, endurance and robustness.

It is important to note that in most of the above cases, using SARMs or any other such chemicals that help to build muscle, boost endurance or in any way change the chemical nature of the body is forbidden. Yet these chemicals find a lot of use in these events and sports.

Be aware!

SARMs are mostly still being researched and hence there is no government body responsible for actual control and elimination of such chemicals.

Since these are still research drugs, there are a lot of companies that sell adulterated drugs that are more dangerous than genuine ones. This is why it is important to buy and use SARMs from a trusted vendor and not from the first shop that you see. Do some research before buying.

There are a lot of companies that sell food supplements adulterated with such androgen modulating compounds and thus sometimes they work better than expected.

These adulterated supplements are very hard to detect because in most cases the ingredients column do not show the presence of any such chemical that can resemble a SARM.

The reviews that they get are better initially, which drives the market for a little time. You do at times read about a professional sports person claiming the failed a drugs test due to a tainted supplement. This is someonthing that does actually happen because of the reason above.

What Are The Best SARMs?

As already stated above, SARMs are used for various purposes. Some of the best SARMs in the market that come with mild to no side-effects are-

  • Cardarine – is a very strong drug that helps in reducing fat while retaining muscle density and muscle weight. The recommended dosage pattern is 15-20 mg per day with meals once a day and 30-45 minutes before an intense workout. This cycle should continue for 8-12 weeks. Learn more here.
  • Andarine (S4) – is probably the most popular and sought after androgen modulating supplement in the current market. S4 is a widely used SARM that has very slight side effects and helps not only in cutting down of fat but also helps in the building of muscle. The recommended dosage is 50mg per day split into two doses of 25mg each during the morning and evening hours with at least a 12-hour gap between them. The cycle should continue for 8 -12 weeks.
  • A stack of LGD–4033 and RAD140 help in bulking of muscle mass and density. This mixture is one of the most used SARM combos by gym goers. An equal dosage of 10mg a day for about 8 weeks will help in gaining muscle mass and muscle density. Find out more about RAF140 here www.simplyanabolics.com/sarms/rad140-testolone/.

As stated earlier, SARMs are still in the research phase and none of them guarantees to deliver the intended results without the slight risk of side effects.

It is best to stick to natural supplements, a good diet and lifting weights for building muscle.  But for anyone who must use SARMs to help them on this road, do so by buying from reputed stores and respected vendors.

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