There are a lot of theories circulating the community when it comes to SARM cycles, especially regarding PCT, Aromatase Inhibitors (AI’s), and what is necessary vs. unnecessary in regards to them.
This article will delve into PCT and AI’s, and what you need to know about them relative to SARM cycles specifically.
First, let’s get AI’s out of the way.
Aromatase Inhibitors On A SARM Cycle
SARMs are non-steroidal and do not convert into Estrogen.
However, you will still hear once and a while of a rare case of some guy getting gyno flareup while on a SARM only cycle, or a variety of other high Estrogen side effects.
As you probably already know, SARMs are suppressive.
This means they will suppress your natural testosterone levels.
To what extent they will do this is dependent on which compound you are using, the dose, the length of your cycle, and your individual propensity to suppression.
One thing is for certain though, there are guys out there still experiencing high Estrogen side effects on SARMs.
The reason for this is because your previous level of hormonal homeostasis (what your Test and Estrogen levels were prior to your cycle) is now compromised.
Your Testosterone is now suppressed, but your Estrogen has remained, and now your body is in an unfortunate situation where your Estrogen could now be substantially out of whack in terms of its’ level relative to your now suppressed Testosterone levels.
In other words, your Estrogen could be too high compared to your Testosterone, which is low now (if you are prone to a high degree of suppression).
Now your body is in a state of Estrogen dominance, where you are vulnerable to high Estrogen side effects to start occurring (erectile dysfunction, gyno, etc.).
So, to avoid putting yourself in this vulnerable position where your hormonal ratio is unfavourable, you could take an AI to even things back out.
Now, let’s be clear here, an Aromatase Inhibitor isn't mandatory while on SARMs, and especially not a blanket statement like that where any AI would suffice.
They do serve a purpose though, let me elaborate for you.
The only application an AI serves during a SARM cycle is to offset the high estrogen related side effects that could take place due to your natural Testosterone being suppressed relative to your Estrogen levels.
When that ratio is thrown out of whack and Estrogen now is higher relative to testosterone than it should be, high Estrogen side effects can kick in, and that's where a mild AI like Arimistane could be beneficial to offset those effects.
Not just any AI can be used though, Arimistane is ideal, or Aromasin (at most) would be necessary at a low dose.
Arimidex or Letrozole would be way overkill on a SARM cycle and would actually just cause more issues rather than help.
Low Estrogen side effects are just as bad as high Estrogen side effects.
This is why you will commonly hear individuals using 25mg of Arimistane alongside their SARMs, as this essentially puts your body’s hormonal profile in a more optimal state during your cycle where you can avoid the potential for any Estrogen related side effects.
Obviously the dose of your AI will be dependent on your Estrogen levels, but typically 25-75mg of Arimistane is sufficient for any SARM user, and it is a very mild and forgiving AI so it will be difficult to overdo it and tank your Estrogen if you stay in that range.
The only way to 100% accurately figure out what dose works best for you is via blood work (ideally you want your Estrogen between 20-30 pg/mL, at least that’s where I feel best).
Once I start getting too low below that, low Estrogen side effects kick in, and when I get too far above that, high Estrogen side effects kick in.
When using something like Aromasin, and especially Arimidex, and even more so Letrozole, they are increasingly difficult to hit the nail on the head in terms of bringing your Estrogen into the sweet spot.
Not to mention Arimidex and Letrozole are horrible for your lipid profile, so Arimistane is always the ideal AI of choice during a SARM cycle.
Unless you also have an abnormally high level of aromatization naturally in your body, then and only then would something like Aromasin be necessary in my opinion.
Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)
PCT is something that should be started the day after your last dose of any SARM cycle.
For AAS cycles where there is a long clearance time due to the compound having an ester chain on it that slows down the processing of a particular drug, the timing of PCT will differ, however, for SARMs in particular, they all more or less have a half life of 24 hours or less, thus making the start of your PCT the day after your last dose a necessity.
There are theories as to why you should or shouldn’t PCT after a SARM cycle, and realistically nobody is correct or incorrect, but I do firmly believe there is a more intelligent approach which is the safest of all, would have the highest likelihood of the retention of your hard earned gains, and would return your endocrine system back to full healthy functioning within the shortest span of time.
That approach is the “better safe than sorry” approach, where you do a full PCT regardless of how suppressed you may or may not be.
Unless you are literally getting blood work to see where your Testosterone levels lie in the last week of your cycle, you are just playing a guessing game for the most part when you are assessing your own body, and if you need a PCT or not based on how you feel.
Ultimately, what you do or do not do for PCT is your own decision, but I always took the full board PCT route as that will always result in the quickest recovery time, as well as put my body in a hormonal environment most conducive to retaining my gains.
Basically, when you finish a cycle of suppressive compounds, your hormonal profile is left in a vulnerable state where you are extremely catabolic (prone to muscle loss and fat gain), and your physiological functions are likely impaired to a degree relative to your level of suppression (erection quality, mood, recovery rate, fatigue level, etc.).
The point of PCT is to get your hormones back to normal much faster than your body would normally be capable of on its’ own.
The longer your body is left in a state with suppressed/shutdown Testosterone, the more time your body has to essentially deteriorate, and the longer you have to experience the crappy side effects that can occur from having abysmally low levels of Testosterone.
So, the goal is to recover ASAP.
And that is achieved with PCT.
How To Know What Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) To Use
This is ultimately a personal choice, as PCT is essentially just a combination of different recovery drugs that bodybuilders started incorporating into a regimen over the years, and some of them have essentially become well known staples in the bodybuilding community as the top compounds for recovery.
The most common being Tamoxifen Citrate (Nolvadex), and Clomifene (Clomid).
HCG is also quite popular, but I believe that should be reserved more for on cycle use, and I don’t think it plays an essential role in most SARM cycles.
In my opinion, PCT is an absolute necessity.
Regardless of what you’ve been told, if you are using something that will suppress your endocrine system you will need to use PCT in some capacity unless you don’t mind prolonging your recovery.
While some individuals could likely get away with no PCT at all and recover just fine, this is absolutely not the case for some others, and it would be far safer for everyone to just do a proper PCT regimen after any cycle.
For mild single compound cycles like Ostarine, typically a simple 4 week PCT of 75mg Arimistane per day is typically sufficient.
However, this does not mean this is always the best choice, as this may not suffice for some individuals.
The reason that Arimistane is commonly advised as a PCT often makes little sense to most, as it is still just an AI after all.
Basically, what Arimistane does is it will lower the amount of Estrogen in your system.
What this does, is it mitigates the chance of high Estrogen side effects occurring from the poor hormonal profile you may be in after a SARM cycle (low Testosterone : high Estrogen).
In addition, high Estrogen in men will lower LH (Luteinizing Hormone), which in turn results in lower Testosterone levels, and in the case of PCT, inhibits your recovery.
By lowering your body’s Estrogen to a more favourable zone, you are allowing your body to increase LH, and consequently Testosterone at a greater rate, and at a greater capacity.
Arimistane in PCT is popular not only because it is completely legal and over the counter, but it is sufficient for those who can bounce back quickly from mildly suppressive compounds like Ostarine.
In the event that one experiences substantial Testosterone suppression as a result of running a longer, higher dosed, or multiple SARM compound cycle, or they just have a higher propensity to suppression than the average guy, it is likely that delving into a PCT comprised of Nolvadex (Tamoxifen Citrate) and Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate) will be necessary instead.
Whenever I run a Nolvadex and Clomid PCT it typically breaks down as follows:
Week 1-4 (the four weeks immediately following my last SARM dose):
Week 1: Nolvadex – 40mg per day, Clomid – 50mg per day
Week 2: Nolvadex – 40mg per day, Clomid – 50mg per day
Week 3: Nolvadex – 20mg per day, Clomid – 25mg per day
Week 4: Nolvadex – 20mg per day, Clomid – 25mg per day
So, as you can see, it isn’t as cut and dry as you need to use such and such compound at this dose and you are guaranteed to recover in a specific span of time, it varies individual to individual.
Choice of PCT essentially boils down to how conservative you want to be, and what you are comfortable with putting in your own body.
The quickest and smoothest recovery will always be guaranteed by using the traditional PCT SERMs (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators) as opposed to over the counter products that are marketed as equivalent recovery agents, or turnkey all in one PCT products.
However, this doesn’t mean that every one requires these SERMs to recover adequately or quickly, or perhaps they may just not be comfortable using compounds that are only available by prescription or for research purposes only.
While one guy might be able to take a boatload of SARMs and recover completely without even touching PCT compounds, another guy might be suppressed for half a year or longer post-cycle if he doesn’t follow a strict Nolvadex + Clomid protocol immediately following the cessation of his SARM cycle.
It is all individually dependent, and I like the better safe than sorry approach personally.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Prior to buying anything, check that it is compliant where you live with your current government laws.