Let’s face it – you’re scared to take steroids because the side effects are horrifying and they are very clearly illegal! However, there might be a safer and much simpler solution to getting you through the next WOD; SARMs. SARMs have been a safer alternative to athletes with great results, but not all SARMs will give you the results you require.
All SARMs are equal, but some are more equal than others. In the following 5-10 minutes, I’m going to break down which SARMs are going to be the best for your Crossfit journey and will yield the best results.
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Key Takeaways: What are the best SARMs for Crossfit?
- The Best SARMs for Crossfit are Cardarine, Ostarine, and YK-11
- The Best SARM for Female Crossfitters is Andarine
- The Worst SARM for Crossfit MK 677, if used incorrectly
SARMs for Crossfitters
SARMs or Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators are highly particular compounds used to achieve similar results to their steroidal cousins, without many of the drawbacks. Steroids often have a great effect on strength and power levels but at the expense of cardiovascular capabilities.
High blood pressure, cholesterol, and high estrogen levels won’t really help when you’ve got a 400m sprint to do. SARMs act as a nice medium per se, granting you some of the benefits with quite a lot fewer side effects.
By mimicking the effects of the male hormone testosterone, SARMs can aid in muscular growth, increase strength and perhaps even increase endurance. By having these benefits, SARMs could be a great alternative to steroids as they do not have the same effect on the cardiovascular system.
In fact, some current knowledge suggests that SARMs could have positive effects on subjects such as insulin sensitivity, triglycerides, and even cardiovascular capabilities
What are SARMs?
SARMs are compounds that were developed to have the benefits of steroids, without having the harsh side effects of steroids – particularly having less of the androgenic side effects. Taking a steroid, such as testosterone will result in the new androgens binding with all the tissue in the body.
As the name suggests, SARMs are Selective in where the Androgens are effective and because of that reason, they tend to have quite a lot fewer side effects than steroids. Individual SARMs have individual actions and original purposes such as fighting cancer or battling the effects of muscle loss due to HIV.
Since their development in the 1990s, SARMs have been found to have specific effects when used at specific doses, something athletes began to notice and benefit from.
How do SARMs work?
Your body has something called Androgen Receptors. These receptors, when activated by a SARM, can signal and trigger changes in your biology and DNA to enable you to build more muscle, lose more fat, or build more strength. SARMs can boost protein synthesis – a fancy way of saying “Ability to build muscle” and can increase Nitrogen retention, meaning you retain muscle easier when in a caloric deficit.
SARMs activate Androgen Receptors in a much safer fashion than steroids do. SARMs were engineered to mimic testosterone (and testosterone derivatives) in the body without the massive side effects. SARMs can even increase bone density, improve cardiovascular readings and perhaps even fight cholesterol. Of course, these are just some of their uses for you and me, they were really engineered for medical use.
Benefits of SARMs
Depending on which SARM you go for, the benefits can vary greatly. Various SARMs have great effects on Muscle Building such as Testostolone, and will be extremely beneficial when combined with a caloric surplus and a resistance training plan.
Other SARMs are greatly beneficial for Fat Loss such as Cardarine, which can not only aid in increasing lipid mobilization but can also relieve the poor feelings accompanying a deep cut. Other benefits include muscle retention when in a caloric deficit, increased protein synthesis, and perhaps increased cardiovascular capabilities.
Are SARMs Legal?
Obviously, your location will be the main determining factor about the legality of something and I urge you not to break the law in your own country. If you are looking to compete in a Sport that is regulated by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) then you must know that all SARMs are on their prohibited list at all times.
Since SARMs can give you an extra edge compared to your peers, it is not legal for athletes to use these compounds. Since SARMs have not been tested and cleared for human consumption, it is illegal to buy or sell these compounds labeled as dietary supplements or for human consumption. It is thus only legal to sell or buy them as research chemicals.
Who should use SARMs?
Obviously, I cannot instruct you to use something, however, I can identify the type of person who should NOT use SARMs. SARMs are not some type of magic bullet, they are not a magic pill or winning formula that will magically get you a 600lbs deadlift, a one-arm pullup, or a better 400m sprint.
If you are not already sticking to a strict diet and training regime, then SARMs are not for you. SARMs should act as the icing on an already very moist cake, and will not make as big of a difference as your gym pro says. SARMs are not as strong as steroids, and I know plenty of guys who are on the juice and are still weak and do not look any better than they did 3 months ago.
How to use SARMs?
As with most things in life, it is better to start small and move your way up to a bigger dose and a larger cycle. The reason is, humans tend to think “More is Better” which might be true, but along with more usage comes more Side Effects. Thus, something I often preach is “As much as necessary, but as little as possible”.
SARM cycles should be between 8 – 12 Weeks long, with beginners airing towards 8 weeks, intermediates at 10 weeks, and more experienced users trying 12-week long cycles. It is also a good idea to make sure you can run a certain compound for a cycle before combining it with another compound, for if the unfortunate happens and you react badly to a compound and you’re using two new ones – how do you know which is causing you grief?
Lastly, often people forget the usage of a 3 Week PCT (Post Cycle Treatment) which is crucial depending on which SARMs you were taking, which dosage, and for how long.
Forms of SARMs?
As with most medications, SARMs do not only come in one form. Various mediums exist, all with their drawbacks and benefits.
The big benefit to injecting a compound using the oral medium is of course the increased bioavailability. Injecting the compound intramuscularly will allow the body to use more of it, as surviving the gastric system lowers the bioavailability of the said compound.
Intramuscular injections are apparently also not as impactful on the HDL Cholesterol readings. The side effects remain pretty similar compared to the oral SARM, however since you are piercing the skin in order to reach the muscle, there is an obvious risk of infection and great care needs to be taken for hygiene.
Some injectable SARMs include Ostalone, a modified version of Ostarine called Follitonic, and a modified version of YK – 11 called Cardiolone.
SARM Capsules or Tablets
Oral SARM Capsules or Tablets have the great benefit of being convenient. They do not possess the danger of an infection due to an injection, and you have the benefit that the capsule or tablet has been dosed perfectly by someone else already.
That, however, is also the problem. Some SARMs are not produced ethically, and you run the risk of not taking the dose you believe you are taking in the first place. Another drawback is that any SARM you take orally will have to go through the first pass in the gut, lowering the bioavailability, and effectively giving you less bang for your buck.
Liquid SARMs are the most popular medium for the compound, and will also be one of the easier methods of dosing. Bottles will come with a dropper for precise dosing. A big drawback is that SARMs taste awful – swing it down with juice or some soda. You’ll need it.
Cardarine or GW-501516 is technically not a SARM at all. Since Cardarine is actually Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor or PPAR it is not known as a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator or SARM. Created in the early 90s, its main goal was to be a treatment for various cancers and perhaps even lower LDL cholesterol in the body.
Cardarine has been shown to aid in fat loss not only by accelerating the fat loss itself but also providing energy and a feeling to combat the normal feeling of lethargy when in a deep caloric deficit. By targeting androgen receptors which help to stimulate glucose metabolization in the muscle tissues, Cardarine ensures that glucose does not get stored as fat.
This could be a useful SARM to use as a Crossfitter due to the fact that having less body fat and better cholesterol levels will be beneficial to cardio and bodyweight-based movements.
Ostarine works as a normal SARM, by targeting the androgen receptors in the body and binding to them. These bound receptors will communicate to become bigger, and that is exactly what you want. Ostarine can not only increase muscle mass but can also help in fat loss.
Therefore, it could be a good SARM to use as a Crossfitter, as having a better power-to-weight ratio is going to help in every event. Ostarine also has the added benefit of acting like steroids in providing muscle growth potential, however, it does not have the stereotypical sides such as androgenic sides, or liver toxicity.
3) Yk 11 Myostine
YK-11, also known as Myostine, has the ability to inhibit the activity of myostatin which is a protein that prevents muscle growth. This makes it an extremely powerful muscle and strength enhancer.
YK-11 has a geometric structure that is very similar to anabolic steroids. Some people actually believe that it is a synthetic steroid that has been mislabeled as a SARM.
It was first studied by a Japanese researcher by the name of Yuichiro Kanno in 2011.
the stereotypical sides such as androgenic sides, or liver toxicity.
4) Best SARM for Female Crossfitters: Andarine
Andarine was originally developed as a method to manage muscle loss due to disease. Its action is much like that of Testosterone, just without the negative side effects. Andarine can increase muscle mass and bone density; and as a nice bonus induces fat loss by decreasing lipoprotein lipase (LPL) levels in the body.
Andarine is thus a good SARM by not only limiting use to muscle-building phases but can also be used to aid a fat loss phase by helping the retention of muscle and increasing fat loss capabilities.
5) LGD 4033
Ligandrol 4033 (LGD 4033) is an extremely common SARM, especially among beginners. Ligandrol is known to have benefits in regards the normal muscle gain and fat loss which both will aid in endurance and high-intensity cardiovascular activities. However, Ligandrol has a little secret up its sleeve.
Ligandrol has been shown to increase endurance. It can increase recovery. It can increase sex drive. It can increase your credit score. Ok maybe it can’t do that last one but it can do all the rest.
Originally formulated by Ligand Pharmaceuticals, it has now found popularity amongst men and women who rave about the muscle building, fat loss, and endurance effects.
Do SARMs cause Roid Rage?
Roid rage is a common phenomenon among people who take anabolic steroids, and even amongst men who suffer from low testosterone. The reason for this is unclear, but small studies have found that steroid users tend to be more irritable and more aggressive; however, this is not true for all users.
Certain compounds such as Halo are notorious for aggression (and that is exactly what it’s used for), while Trenbolone is known to make users much more anti-social. Much like the Captain America juice, steroids multiply what is. If you’re a jerk before you use, well now you’re a bigger jerk.
Since SARMs are not testosterone based, with non of the stereotypical side effects of testosterone, it is safe to assume that SARMs won’t cause roid rage. However, certain SARMs such as YK-11 have been known to increase aggression.
Are SARMs banned in Crossfit?
Yes. In 2017 an individual was tested for SARMs and stripped from his podium finish, and banned.
Which SARM is good for Cardio?
More often than not, using a testosterone or testosterone-derived compound will result in an increase of cholesterol and blood pressure and a definitive decrease in cardiovascular ability. However, SARMs such as Cardarine have been shown to improve your cholesterol reading. Ostarine has some anecdotal evidence to support the notion that it can improve your endurance.
Do you need to PCT for a SARM cycle?
A PCT or Post Cycle Treatment is a protocol of certain compounds to deal with the hormonal impact of using the SARM or Steroid. More often than not, dealing with the likelihood of increased estrogen and decreased testosterone production. Certain SARM cycles will indeed require a PCT protocol, especially more potent SARMs like Ostarine. For more information on PCT, read this article.
Best SARM Vendors?
We’ve reviewed the most popular places to purchase SARMS.