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Introduction:

Putting on muscle is already a tough task for many.  It’s sometimes hard to follow a very consistent diet and programming the perfect routine for muscle growth.  Let alone your body recovering properly between each training session.  So much is involved when seriously trying to gain some mass but even having everything perfected can lead to plateauing.  This is when you’d ideally want to start looking at supplements to help aid the muscle building process.

Two types of muscle builders have been discussed for years of being the perfect legal supplements for improving muscle gains, getting a leaner physique, increasing strength and recovery.  They are known for providing significant results in a short period of time.  The safe alternatives to venturing out into illegal substances that can really screw up your body function and hormones (steroids).  These two types of popular muscle builders are known as SARMs and prohormones.  But which one is worth your money and which will yield the better results?

What are Prohormones?

Prohormones are chemicals that act as a precursor of a particular hormone.  Meaning when that chemical is consumed, it will be converted into the hormone through the utilization of specific enzymes that it’s a precursor of in our bodies.  Using prohormones in the purpose of bodybuilding, prohormones are designed to be converted into anabolic hormones.  These are a much safer alternative because the prohormones on the market today are not damaging on the body like prohormones of the past.

Common Types of Prohormones:

  • Androsta-1-ene-3b-ol,17-one – this compound is known as 1-Andro and one of the most popular on the market
  • 2,17a-dimethyl-5a-androsta-1-en-17b-ol-3-one – This prohormone is methystenbolone and is very androgenic
  • 2a, 3a epithio-17a-methyl-5a-androstan-17b-ol – known as Epistane and is one of the safest on the market that delivers quality results

Benefits:

Different types of prohormones will mimic that of testosterone, trenbolone, nandrolone decanoate, and other popular illegal steroids and have similar results as they do convert to those drugs.  Depending on the conversion, you can experience several benefits:

  • Lean mass gain
  • Reduction in body fat
  • Increase in strength and recovery
  • Improved sleep
  • Better pumps and nutrient partitioning
  • Increased aggression in the gym
  • Increased appetite
  • Increase calories for greater muscle gains with little fat gain
  • Not as harmful as anabolic steroids

Side Effects:

It’s important that a PCT supplement is used after a prohormone cycle because some prohormones will cause a suppression of natural testosterone levels.  Low testosterone paired with higher estrogen can have some undesirable effects and the PCT helps elevate your natural levels back to normal and suppress estrogen.

Prohormones can be stacked for even better results but the more you stack, the more side effects you may experience.

  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Acne
  • Water retention (dependent on the type you take and quality of your diet)
  • Reduction in sex drive
  • Mood swings
  • Development of gynecomastia (proper PCT should combat this)

Are Prohormones legal?

Yes prohormones are legal however not all prohormone compounds are legal.  Many different types of prohormones are available on the market and most sold by general retails are the legal versions.  In 2014, a lot of the top popular prohormones were banned by the FDA, causing most companies selling prohormones to alter formulations to meet legal standards.  It’s highly likely if you purchase a prohormone from a reputable retailer, you are purchasing a legal prohormone.

Popular and effective Prohormones:

What are SARMs?

SARM stands for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator and is a type of drug similar to anabolic steroids.  Your body carefully regulates androgen production and these SARMs are signalers that send powerful messages to muscle cells which in turn can grow rapidly, cause your body to shed more body fat, or even elevate growth hormones.  SARMs are said to be especially helpful for cutting body fat because they don’t increase water retention and are great at retaining muscle.  However, SARMs are not as potent muscle builders as prohormones.

Similar to steroids and prohormones, there are several different types of SARMs that produce different effects.  The names have different characters and numbers in them because they have not been approved for medical use, so pharmaceutical marketers haven’t bothered naming them.

Common Types of SARMs:

  • MK-677
  • LGD-4033 – Ligandrol
  • MK-2866 – Ostarine
  • GSX-007 – Andarine
  • GW-501516 – Cardaine

Benefits:

  • Lean mass gain
  • Reduction in body fat
  • Increase in strength and recovery
  • Does not suppress natural testosterone levels
  • Doesn’t aromatize to estrogen
  • Not as harmful as anabolic steroids

Side Effects:

Nonsteroidal SARMs have been around for only a couple of decades and human research is lacking on showing any long-term health defects.  The only correct answer currently is that we don’t know enough which can warrant concern.

Similar to prohormones, SARMs can be stacked.  The more you stack, the higher the risk of side effects will be.

  • Testicular atrophy (shrinking)
  • Acne
  • Cysts
  • Oily hair and skin
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased “bad” cholesterol levels
  • Lowered sperm count

Are SARMs legal?

SARMs are legal to purchase but this is only because they are being sold as “experimental chemicals” that aren’t meant for human consumption.  SARMs aren’t permitted in most sports and the World Anti-Doping Agency has already banned them.  It’s likely only a matter of time until SARMs are banned altogether.  For those reasons, you will not find many supplement companies or supplement retailers selling SARMs.  It’s a grey area.

So which should I take?

Both Prohormones and SARMs have numerous positives and negatives that come with them.  Based off of ease of access, muscle building potential, recoverability, and price, prohormones are the best of the two options when wanting to take that next step in improving your gains.  Prohormones have been around longer and have been more widely used with big-time supplement companies producing them and more research into user’s health after use.  SARMs just don’t have the research backing to feel they are safe to use.