So, you’ve completed your SARMs cycle. You've used the best SARMs stack or standalone and you’ve made progress in the gym and with your physique at a faster rate than ever before and you are delighted with the results! But now the anxiety kicks in. How will you maintain your gains? CAN you maintain your gains?
Fear not! In this article we are going to run you through exactly how you can not only maintain, but continue to progress while off SARMs or between cycles.
Run a full PCT with natural muscle builders
Your first check is getting hormones in a good spot. SARMs CAN cause suppression of natural testosterone production, and therefore you should always be prepared for this. Ideally, blood work will have been run pre-cycle to determine baseline values, and in the recovery period to assess if and when levels return to your own ‘normal’.
Testosterone levels for males can vary massively and will change over the lifespan due to factors such as age and bodyfat levels. Generally speaking, a result of 9-32 mmol/l is considered healthy for adult men. Being below this range for a prolonged period can cause many unwanted side effects, including:
- Increased fat and reduced muscle mass
- Decreased bone mass
- Reduced sex drive, function and even infertility
- Lowered mood and wellbeing
Having supraphysiological (unnaturally high) levels of testosterone, such as from the use of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) can come with its own negative health outcomes. From increased aggression to high red blood cell count and acne. Aromatisation (the conversion of excess testosterone to oestrogen), comes with its own list of negative outcomes!
The purpose of post-cycle therapy (PCT) is to ‘kickstart’ endogenous testosterone production and avoid excess oestrogen conversion. Following a SARMs cycle, over the counter supplements such as those stocked at Predator Nutrition should be enough to get all hormones back in check. We would advise a high-quality natural testosterone booster such as Testolyze as the basis of your PCT stack, with an aromatase inhibitor (AI), such as Alchemy, to control oestrogen.
Your basic PCT stack can be further improved with the addition of a natural muscle building supplement. This is a non-hormonal product that will put you in the best possible position to continue to get stronger and gain muscle while off cycle. There are some great options here from creatine to laxogenin and phosphatidic acid. For an all-round formula, you could use Adamantine by Hydrapharm.
Train just as hard
You might have heard it said ‘what built the muscle keeps the muscle’, this couldn’t be truer! While certain supplements such as SARMs and prohormones will boost strength, there is a huge mental component to maintaining numbers in the gym.
What we would suggest is, instead of instantly dropping the weights and letting performance suffer, focus on optimising recovery. One of the biggest advantages that assisted athletes have over natural athletes is the ability to recover. This might mean that you have to drop training volume (usually by having fewer working sets in a session) or training frequency (less days in the gym per week). INTENSITY in the gym should not go down. No matter if you are on cycle or not, give every set 100% and push as much weight as you can safely.
Training programming will be largely based on your own biofeedback. If recovery doesn’t suffer off cycle, by all means keep things the same!
The next thing you could do is incorporate supplements to support training. On top of your usual ergogenics (stimulants, nitric oxide boosters, carb powders), place extra attention on supplements that can supercharge recovery from hard training, such as Unbreakable and Arthrolyze Elite.
Don’t go into an aggressive diet
Perhaps you went pretty hard on the food and weights while on cycle… now you want to tidy things up. Hold up a second. You’ve just gone from being in the perfect position to grow and recover, to removing that tool. Slashing your calories and spending hours on the stairmaster is a recipe to lose any mass you just put on, not to mention being extremely lean can tank natural testosterone.
If you are looking a little fluffy around the edges, we’d suggest holding calories and recomping at that weight, or slowly tapering food down over the next few weeks so that you can continue to get stronger in the gym.
Once you know for sure that hormones are in a great place and you’ve solidified any muscle gained through your SARMs cycle, you can go ahead with your diet. If you’re still taking your PCT sups during this time, Lean Xtreme is an excellent addition to your stack to increase fat metabolism and lower cortisol.
Consume enough protein
In addition to consuming enough overall calories to retain muscle, make sure that enough of these calories are coming from high quality complete proteins*. These include:
- Egg whites
*Complete protein: a food source containing all 9 essential amino acids.
Protein, specifically the amino acids that make it up, are essential to build and repair muscle as we break it down through weight training. If you are on a budget and are consuming a lot of poor quality or processed meats, or are vegan and might not be getting a full spectrum of amino acids, you might also want to supplement EAAs, with the focus for vegans on getting enough leucine (3g per feeding).
While there are plenty of formulas based on bodyweight and lean body mass that claim to give the perfect protein amount, we’d simply suggest 30g of complete protein per meal for small active females, up to around 50g per meal for muscular men.
What about starting another cycle?
Don’t let the fear of losing gains rush you into starting your next cycle without having taken adequate time off. Always follow the recommendations given on the SARM you were using. For some, you might need to take as long off cycle as you were on, others might advise twice as long off as you were on.
This is where we, again, stress the value of having blood work done throughout the year. Are health markers in a good place? Is testosterone normal? Liver enzymes normal? Lipid profile good?
If health is in check, and you wish to start another cycle, go ahead. If you are still working through the post-cycle recovery process, the time isn’t quite right.
Don’t worry! If you are still training hard, consuming enough protein and getting enough overall calories in, your muscle won’t just dissolve.
When it comes to losing gains post-SARMs, the battle is largely mental. Our suggestions to continue progressing are:
- Get hormones in check
- Use a natural muscle building sup
- Train hard
- Don’t go right into an aggressive diet
- Eat enough calories
- Get enough protein
- If going back on, plan ahead smartly