More and more, it’s common to hear athletes talking about taking SARMS bodybuilding supplements.
SARMs are being positioned as a safer alternative to anabolic steroids and prohormones. They do a better job of targeting muscle tissue and helping it grow without many of the side-effects the two others have historically posed.
However, it’s important to do your research when shopping for SARMs. They are not technically sold for human consumption in the U.S., meaning you might get a low-quality batch if you don’t purchase from a trusted source.
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about taking SARMS for bodybuilding and muscle growth.
Table of Contents
What Are SARMs?
The term ‘SARM’ stands for selective androgen receptor modulators. They are becoming more and more common in the performance and fitness realms for improving body composition and adding lean muscle.
SARMS bind to androgenic receptors in the body. The potential benefits of this span far wider than athletics. SARMS have actually been used to treat diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s in the past.
While they are fresh on the scene in athletics, SARMS have been around the medical world for about 80 years.
*Remember, consult a health professional before taking selective androgen receptor modulators. The information below should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.
The Sport of Bodybuilding
In the sport of bodybuilding, athletes aim to bulk up by adding lean muscle while maintaining the lowest possible body-fat percentage. Athletes are judged on their physical size as well as other key attributes, such as the balance and symmetry of their musculature.
Different sanctions exist inside the world of bodybuilding. In some cases, athletes must not be on any performance-enhancing substances. On the world stage, athletes typically are drug tested before and during competition.
At the top of the sport, there are huge cash prizes available. The winner of Mr Olympia for physique wins $400,000.
In smaller factions and in underground competitions, steroids may be legal. This is true of other fitness and strength-related sports, too, like powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting.
SARMS and Bodybuilding
Naturally, athletes in bodybuilding look for any competitive advantages they can get to bring home prestige and money at the highest levels.
This is why SARMS bodybuilding is such a hot topic nowadays. Most athletes know that anabolic steroids are illegal to take for muscle growth. But since SARMS are new and not as well regulated, many amateur and professional bodybuilders are asking questions.
SARMS and Bodybuilding Fitness
Bodybuilders typically train one or two body parts per day. Their fitness regimen focuses on completing sets of exercises that range between 6 and 12 repetitions. Most days, athletes lift at weights that push them close to failure to help drive muscular gains.
This rep scheme has been shown to be effective for enhancing muscle growth and strength increases. When athletes take SARMs, they increase hypertrophy quicker. Artificial hormones send signals to the body to grow the muscles faster as you exercise.
In fact, there are selective androgen receptor modulators that can actually promote this specific outcome. If you’re in the market for taking this supplement, do good research on bulking SARMs for muscle mass and strength.
SARMS and Bodybuilding Nutrition
Exercise is only part of a bodybuilder’s world. Some could argue that it’s actually the easier component.
This is because bodybuilders must maintain a seriously low body-fat percentage to be competitive in fitness events—typically between 4 and 6 percent at the most.
As such, athletes must track calories and macronutrients to ensure they don’t add fat while they add mass. Eating is like a full-time job and can be extremely challenging, especially leading up to a competition.
Some SARMS actually target fat loss. Hormones like testosterone and human growth hormone actually promote lean muscle mass, which can promote a lower body fat percentage for athletes.
If you’re considering SARMs for fat loss, look into cutting SARMs. Bodybuilders only cut weight once or twice a year before competition, but this could be the advantage that helps (assuming you aren’t competing in an event that bans SARMS, of course).
How Are SARMS Different Than Steroids?
SARMs and anabolic steroids both help your muscles grow and help you maintain lean mass. The main difference between the two is that, due to their selective nature, SARMS are relatively safer and healthier for your body.
Anabolic steroids are forms of modern testosterone and other growth hormones that signal your muscles and body tissues to grow. While this is advantageous in a muscle-related sport like bodybuilding, it could potentially have dangerous side-effects.
People who misuse steroids could suffer liver damage, erectile dysfunction, baldness, acne, severe acne, and even be at risk for developing certain types of cancer.
One reason why: anabolic steroids don’t differentiate between body tissues. Basically, they tell everything to grow—not just your muscles.
On the other hand, SARMS are more specific. They signal to your muscle tissue to grow without causing potential side-effects to your body’s organs.
SARMS vs Prohormones
Prohormones are another type of performance-enhancing chemical that bodybuilders use to boost performance.
They are a synthetic supplement that acts as a workaround to steroids. Instead of directly growing muscle or shredding body fat, prohormones send signals to the body to make this happen.
SARMs are generally considered to be safer than prohormones. Similar to anabolic steroids, prohormones promote toxicity of the liver when used incorrectly.
And like SARMs, certain prohormones can be used to achieve specific goals. Some help with muscle and strength, while others are good for burning fat.
But like steroids and SARMs, they also aren’t well regulated. This means certain stacks and compounds may not be used appropriately and lead to side-effects.
Are SARMS Safe and Legal?
Currently, SARMS for bodybuilding are not considered legal. The World Doping Agency has banned them from all bodybuilding competitions.
However, this doesn’t mean amateur bodybuilders and those competing on the world stage can’t use them. The one caveat is that it can be hard to find SARMs for sale that are both effective and safe.
One reason why is they can’t legally be sold as supplements in America. So companies have to label them as research chemicals, and hope users educate seeking their product can read between the lines.
Many people, mostly men, use SARMs to enhance their bodybuilding performance. They are one of the most commonly used supplements today.
Are SARMs Research Chemicals?
The label says this, yes. But that doesn’t stop many athletes from using them for athletic supplements.
Here’s the deal: SARMs are banned from most major competitive outlets. That doesn’t exactly shout “marketable” to the general fitness enthusiast. It also makes some retailers hesitant to carry a supplement that could get their athletes banned from competition.
The result has been a massive black market outbreak of SARMS being labeled as research chemicals. Companies are able to sell more products this way—remember, doctors and medical facilities use them for treatments, too—and athletes in the know can decide if they are right for their goals.
Side Effects of SARMs
No supplement or athletic enhancer comes without side effects. Generally speaking, SARMS are considered safe. But there are some things to consider before taking them for muscle growth.
Like steroids and prohormones, there is a risk that SARMs could increase your risk of liver toxicity.
That said, most studies show they are safer than steroids due to their ability to target specific body tissues. They aren’t approved by government health agencies, but they still seem to be promising for some treatments.
It’s important to realize that, while SARMS have been around for a while, studies are only just beginning on the long-term effects for athletic performance. Scientists and health experts aren’t sure what long-term side effects may exist with taking SARMs.
The Food and Drug Administration also warns that SARMS could increase your risk of suffering a heart attack. But that mainly points to the people who may abuse the supplement as they seek continual gains.
*Remember, consult a health professional before taking selective androgen receptor modulators. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.
Like any anabolic supplement, SARMS must be taken in cycles if you want to stay healthy and prevent long-term damage.
Cycling is key because it allows your body to restore its own natural levels of hormones. Abuse of supplements happens when users ignore this and continue down the path using synthetic supplements all the time. This effectively destroys their endocrine system and has long-spanning consequences.
When a person abuses anabolic substances, the side effects can be quite serious. From high blood pressure to blood clots to stroke or even heart attack, the damages that can take place from abusing steroids are real.
If taken responsibly, SARMs do appear to be healthier than steroids or prohormones. Most athletes take them for two to three months at a time (8 to 12-week cycles), then cycle off for 1 to 2 months.
This means they use them two to three times a year maximum.
Stacking SARMS With Other Supplements
Some bodybuilders stack supplements. This means they combine a handful of different chemicals, vitamins, and performance enhancers with the goal of achieving maximum gains or performance.
That’s why it’s not uncommon for amateur bodybuilders to ask the question, “Can I stack SARMS with steroids or other supplements?”
To be on the safe side, stacking SARMs with any other anabolic substance is likely not a good idea. You’re already putting stress on your body and its organs by taking an anabolic supplement.
Natural supplements like vitamins, protein, and inflammation reducers like fish oil are a different case. This is usually okay as they won’t interfere with the anabolic effects of the SARMS. In fact, they could help.
Sometimes, athletes taking SARMs take supplements that specifically counter the potential negative effects of the substance. For example, taking a liver supplement like milk thistle or vitamin D is fairly common.
Should I Take SARMs for Bodybuilding?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
If you’re trying to compete on the world stage, it’s probably a good idea to avoid SARMs. They are banned from competition and would impact the integrity of the sport as well as your own professional aspirations.
However, if you’re new to bodybuilding or simply an amateur looking to get bigger, they could be an option. After all, SARMS have become so popular because people are touting their benefits online and saying they work.
No matter what, though, you should always do research before taking any supplement. The internet can be a helpful resource, but make sure you buy from a reputable source and use them responsibly.
Ultimately, it comes down to your goals. If you feel that taking SARMs would help you get where you want to go, they may be an option to consider.
SARMS bodybuilding supplements have become popular in many health and muscle-building circles.
They are relatively safe, at least compared to other anabolic supplements like steroids and prohormones. And the benefits can really help take your gains to the next level.
Speak to a doctor before starting SARMS, and do your research before ordering. Also, be sure not to take them if you’re competing at a high level, as they are banned from most competitions.
For more health and fitness tips, be sure to check out the rest of our blog. We wish you luck on your fitness journey!