SERMs / PCT
If you are looking to enhance your performance while training with SarmNation SARMs you may have questions relating to Post Cycle Therapy (PCT). We have put together a comprehensive guide for you to use as a resource when mapping out your fitness regime...
Many athletes understand that to achieve incredible fitness and physique results takes not only an enormous amount of work in the gym, but also a dedicated effort when it comes to the strategy behind it.
SARMs are commonly used to supplement workouts and further expedite the process of building lean muscle and gaining mass. SARMs are taken in cycles and this is where PCT Post Cycle Therapy comes into play to aid in the healing of the body after their use. SERMs are used to balance and restore hormones once a SARMs cycle has been completed.
Whilst we don’t advocate the use of SARMs or SERMs for non-medical purposes, we share information to educate and inform athletes to enable safe decision making and mitigate risk.
Want to know learn more? Check out our ultimate guide section below.
POST CYCLE THERAPY (PCT)
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE
What are SARMs?
Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator
Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) are a class of therapeutic compounds that have similar anabolic properties to anabolic steroids, but with reduced androgenic (producing male characteristics) properties. As an example, the androgen receptor is activated by binding androgens, such as testosterone.
What are SERMs?
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator
SERMs are medications that can both mimic and block estrogen’s effects in different tissues. They do this by interacting with estrogen receptors in different cells.
What are PCT?
When taking SARMs (i.e. exogenous testosterone) the natural hormone production of testosterone in the body is suppressed due to an oversupply. In order to rebalance the hormones a Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) method is required to reboot your body’s natural hormone production.
WHY PCT IS REQUIRED
High levels of oestrogen can cause:
- Gynecomastia (man boobs)
- Becoming overly emotional
- Fat gain
- Muscle loss and water retention.
Low levels of testosterone can cause:
- Muscle loss
- Decreased confidence
- Decreased sex drive.
THE COST OF NOT DOING A PCT
A common reason PCT is skipped is often due to cost, however, the cost of not doing a PCT is even greater as the investment in SARMs cycles is lost along with muscle gained.
WOMEN AND PCT?
Women are not commonly advised to carry out a PCT protocol if left untroubled by side effects following a cycle. If there are side effects a medical practitioner should be consulted.
WHEN TO START PCT
Once a cycle of SARMs (i.e. exogenous testosterone) is started, the natural supply of endogenous testosterone is suppressed because the body is receiving an oversupply. The body’s natural ability to start producing testosterone again once a cycle has ended is compromised due to a fluctuation in hormones which often become imbalanced.
Cycles are common practice in the bodybuilding industry when utilising SARMs, this is to prevent building a tolerance but also to allow the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPTA) – aka. the system that regulates hormone production – time to increase testosterone production again after use. The body is incredibly slow at naturally producing testosterone once all SARMs have been cleared and users often find muscle is lost in recovery post cycle. This is where PCT comes into play to assist the body with boosting testosterone rapidly whilst also mitigating side effects.
Post cycle therapy can commence immediately after use of SARMs and it is recommended to be carried out under the guidance of a qualified and experienced medical professional. The desired outcome of a PCT is to achieve reduced oestrogen levels and a natural level of endogenous testosterone once again. PCT is essentially a regulated healing of the hormone system and works effectively to restore hormone levels and decrease the risk of losing muscle while recovering.
HOW LONG DOES PCT LAST?
Starting from when the body is free from SARMs, the PCT programme usually last for about one month to six weeks. This is heavily dependent on individual circumstances, dosages and any specific health-related / underlying issues.
WHAT’S IN PCT?
There are a wide range of over-the-counter supplements to carry out the post cycle therapy protocol, with testosterone boosters and oestrogen blockers available. However, these products are not commonly used by serious bodybuilders / athletes as the formulations are not strong enough.
The most common PCT options are:
Clomid and Nolvadex are SERMs (selective oestrogen receptor modulators) — not to be confused with SARMs — which regulate post-cycle oestrogen production and block the negative effects that it has on the body. After stopping SARMs, oestrogen levels can skyrocket and cause hormonal mayhem hence the need for the regulatory SERMs.
Clomid influences the oestrogen receptors in the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which assists in the release of luteinising hormones (LH) along with follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH), both of which are crucial to fertility. A normal hormone balance is essential for healthy sperm production.
Nolvadex on the other hand, while similar, stimulates high rates of LH increase and prevents oestrogen surges. Nolvadex is highly regarded when it comes to reducing oestrogen levels, helping to bring that precious endogenous testosterone back to a stable, healthy level.
Post cycle therapy is not just an effective way to return endogenous testosterone to its peak natural levels but is also an essential part of post cycle healing. To not have a recognised PCT after stopping SARMs use is not recommended.
CLOMID VS NOLVADEX FOR PCT
Experienced body builders / athletes will use both Clomid and Nolvadex in PCT whilst often also combining these with HCG to kickstart the natural testosterone production process.
The debate on whether Clomid or Nolvadex is the better option has been going for years and is solely dependent on your unique, personal circumstances and body type.
Clomid is often thought of as a more effective testosterone booster, whilst Nolvadex is seen as a better oestrogen blocker. Due to them both being anti-oestrogens, they both stimulate the release of GnRH which increases the output of luteinizing hormone by the pituitary gland which then leads to an increase in testosterone levels.
The most effective use of these SERMs is when combined with the guidance of a medical practitioner.
CAN I TRAIN DURING PCT?
Whilst training needn’t be avoided completely during recovery in PCT, it should be limited and carefully carried out. It is understandable that the bulk and muscle gained throughout the SARMs cycle is precious, however allowing your body to fully recover is equally as important as maintaining gains and proper recalibration of the body is incredibly beneficial in the long-term. Consider cutting back on reps or lifting lighter weights while recovering – aiming to find the right balance in the gym is key.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT PCT?
It is normal to feel the side effects when utilising performance enhancing supplements and also whilst in PCT. Usually the first few weeks of PCT are the most difficult due to testosterone levels being at their lowest – this can lead to fatigue and a decreased libido. As hormone levels balance out and return to normal the effects will subside.
Nutrition is another key part of the fitness journey and should not be overlooked. Eating nutrient rich, high-fibre food and staying hydrated is incredibly beneficial not only for day-to-day training but also in recovery times. In conclusion, PCT is a common practice within the bodybuilding industry and has been proven to be beneficial in balancing hormones, speeding up recovery times and ultimately expediting the success of the athlete. A medical doctor overseeing the PCT process is always recommended.