One of the most recent popular uses of SARMs has been during the critical PCT period following a cycle of anabolic steroids or pro hormones.
To see why, lets look at what happens after a cylcle and suring the PCT period:
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When taking an anabolic androgenic compund, whether it be steroids or prohormones, the bodies own natural produciton of hormones are affected.
The bodies detects an abundance of androgens, hence signals the hypothalamus to decrease GnRH excretion. This in turn results in the pituatary gland to lower LH and FSH production which in turn signals the leydig cells in the testes to stop producing testosterone.
This negative feedback loop is the reason why testicular atrophy or shrinkage of the testes occurs on cycle.
The Role of PCT – Post Cycle Therapy
The objective of a PCT (Post Cycle Therapy) is to quickly get the body to normalize its prodcution of the above hormones, and hence signal your body to resume testosterone production.
The most common and effective compounds used to accomplish this are the SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators) Nolva (tamoxifen citrate) and Clomid (Clomiphene citrate).
Nolva and Clomid are used immediately following a cycle to get the body back to homeostasis (normal hormone levels) at a faster rate.
However even with Nolva/Clomid use, there is still a delay period for hormone levels to rach their normal levels. It is in this delay period where the loss of muscle and loss of strength gains occurs in PCT.
Ostarine in PCT
This is where an anabolic SARM like Ostarine offers it benefits. As Ostarine selectivley binds to the androgen receptor in muscle and bone, it continues activation of the androgen receptor while Nolva and Clomid are bringing the natural testosterone production back to normal.
As a result of this continued activation in the muscle, the loss of muscle mass and strength in PCT is minimized and most users even report an increase in strength from the numbers they were pushing on cycle!!
Another very important factor in PCT is CALORIES. As mentioned previously, the endocrine system is not at optimal function following a cycle.
The body strives for homeostasis and after a cycle is in a state quite often where it has gained an amount of mass that it is not used to.
In order to keep hold of this (particulraly when in a less than optimal hormonal enviroment), the Calorie consumption must be at or greater than was present whilst on cycle.
Even knowing this, users can be hesitant to consume so many calories due to no longer being on cycle and the resultant fat gain that may come with the high calories.
The anabolic and nutrient partioning effects of Ostarine allows the user to keep up their calories during PCT without the resultant fat gain.
Anecdotal confirmation of this can be found from the following user accounts:
I am currently on 25mg of Ostarine PCT and consuming 500 cals more than I was on cycle, yet I am still struggling to keep the weight on. Strength is the same as on cycle and even up in some lifts!
At the end of my third week of ostarine now during PCT (with clomid and nolva). Started at 12.5mg then upped it to 25mg start of week 3. First 2 weeks I found I maintained weight but still lost a little bit of size from cycle, 3rd week strength has increased from cycle and majority of muscle mass appears to be holding. Am going to try 37.5mg in week 4 and see if I can actually put on a tad of lean size.
I am able to eat way more than on cycle and still not gain fat, and have seen progression in strength every session even on weak lifts – not kick ass like on cycle, but adding 2kg onto bench and completing all sets with the feel of immaculate form and satisfaction typething.
Several points can be ascertained from these accounts:
- Although weight was difficult to keep on (as there will always be a loss of water and glycogen following a cycle), the fact that calories are high gives the body additional time to become accustomed to its new muscle.
- Strength has either been maintained or increased indicating that there is both no loss of muscle and even a slight gain during PCT!
But isnt Ostarine Suppresive?
Ostarine was designed to illicit minimal suppression to the body’s own testosterone levels. However bloodwork from a few users has shown that at higher doses of 25mg+ Ostarine can cause some slight suppression.
Therefore it wouldn’t be wise to use Ostarine at these doses as your SOLE form of PCT.
However when using Ostarine in conjuction with a SERM like Nolva (tamoxifen) or Clomid (Clomiphene), the theory is that the agonism of the pituitary and hypothalamus from Nolva/Clomid would offset any possible suppression from the Ostarine.
Hence Nolva and Clomid will help to get your endogenous testosterone levels back to mornal, whilst the Ostarine will still offer the benefits of androgen receptor activity.
Dosing protocol for PCT
The most common dosing protocol seems to be front load followed by a lower dose for the remainder of the PCT period. A typical dosing protocol is as follows:
25mg for the first 1-2 weeks of PCT followed by 12.5-15mg for the reminder of your PCT (4-5 weeks).
As the half life of Ostarine is circa 24 hours, the dose only needs to be taken once a day.
The frontload at a higher dose for the first 1-2 weeks is recommended as blood levels of Nolva/Clomid and their resultant actions are not immediate. Whilst natural hormone levels are still low at the begining of the PCT period, the higher dose of Ostarine will offer greater muscle tissue androgen receptor activation in the absence of endogenous hormones.
Of course, if you are still concerned about possible suppression even whilst taking a SERM, a 10-12.5mg throughout your PCT period will offer the benefits of androgen receptor agonism whilst having almost no suppressive effects.
Some users advocate extending this even further whist tapering the dose, so tapering the does down to 5mg from weeks 5-8.
Therefore in conclusion, although SARMs at higher doses may cause slight suppression, the concurrent use of selective estrogen receptor modulators such as Nolva/Clomid offsets this. Hence SARM use, in particular Ostarine with its lack of Androgenic effects is a great option for maintenance and even increase in gains and performance following a cycle of anabolic steroids/pro hormones.