Summer of Sarms
by Anthony Roberts
This past Summer, I’d let my weight balloon up to about 100kg (220 pounds) or so…emphasis on the “or so” part because I probably weighed a bit more. I kind of ate right for a few weeks and lost a few pounds, but really only a few…I was always within a big meal of being as heavy as I’d ever been. This post will likely appeal to the more training-oriented readers that I have, but will also give people a pretty good idea of how I used Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators as both PCT and for a stand alone cutting cycle, with training and diet included. So I made the decision to shelve my prescription and stop taking anabolic steroids -I also made the decision to get serious with my conditioning. I’m almost 32 years old, and 20 minutes of cardio 5x a week doesn’t do it for me any longer…especially since I’m not overly committed to dieting…I eat enough healthy food, but I eat a bit of garbage too.
I also enjoy a pint or two after a hard day’s work…and I work twice as hard and twice as long as most people…hence, I enjoy a pint or six at the end of a day.
The only thing I used for the entire Summer, and up until right now, was a SARM- selective androgen receptor modulator – colloquially known as S4. The original literature I’d read about it several years ago said that it had an anabolic rating roughly equal to testosterone on a mg for mg basis. That’s basically true…if I were to take 100mgs of testosterone (*suspension or maybe propionate) per day, I’d get pretty similar results to what I’d experienced with S-4. People will talk about this study or that study, or this dose or that dose, but honestly 100mgs is the sweet spot for me (perhaps because it worked out to an almost exact 1mg/kg/day). Since I’d used S-4 (a SARM) before and knew what to expect…100mgs/day after a workout was the dose I felt most comfortable with. At that dose, even though the medical studies will say otherwise, I felt like I was using about half as much testosterone propionate. In other words, for me, 100mgs/ED of S4 = 100mgs/EOD of test prop, in terms of gains. After awhile, because I get some vision problems, I drop the S4 to workout days only, meaning I take 1-2 days off of it per week.
Aaron Singerman, a friend of mine, had used a similar dose and didn’t feel much…but he’s much bigger than me (50 lbs and 6 inches) and his own hormone replacement strategy is quite different than mine; his cruising dose is about double what I take at the upper end with my prescription. Another friend of mine, Carl, found his experience with S-4 to be midway between Aaron’s and mine…meaning he got a boost from them, but nothing compared to heavy androgen use. Johnny, another friend of mine, used that same dose of 100mgs/day after his first cycle, along with a reasonable PCT and was able to keep much of what he’d gained. People will quibble with my ideas on dosing S-4, but it’s doubtful that they have as much experience or feedback. Suffice it to say, 100mgs/day, on workout days, is the way I think the stuff is best used.
So, with my 100mgs/day of S4, I jumped into my workouts…
My workouts are broken up into blocks (listed in descending importance):
Strength (self explanatory)
GPP (General Physical Preparedness, aka Metabolic Conditioning, aka sprint work, interval training, etc…)
Mobility and Stretching (self explanatory)
Cardio (difficult, but mostly steady state cardio done at 150 -190 bpm…this is between 80 and 100% of my max heart rate. No, that’s not a typo.)
A strength block would have one exercise, with the reps and sets consistent with Prilepin’s Table. If I’m doing sets of 3 reps, then I’m doing 5 sets total. That exercise is one block (i.e. those 5 sets = one block). Mondays I might do lower body, Tuesdays upper, etc…you get the idea. I don’t do a bodypart split because that’s for D-bags. Sometimes I do dynamic stuff (in depth jumps, box jumps, etc..), but I file that under strength, because I’m lazy, and it’s dynamic strength in the end. I think this is where the S4 really helps me out…I’m trying to increase strength while losing weight, and that’s not easy. My ultimate goal is to get down to middleweight, which is 185lbs.
A GPP block is four minutes long, nonstop. A good example would be doing 5x 100m sprints at level 10 on the C2 Rowing machine, with 30-35 seconds of rest between sets. I aim for 15 seconds per sprint, and I usually come pretty close for all 5 sets. Another example of a MetCon block would be rowing 1k meters in under 3m 30s. If you’ve never tried this, give it a shot next time you’re in the gym…it’s harder than it sounds.
When I do two MetCon blocks in a row, they usually take the form of a nonstop circut…ten deadlifts with 135 lbs + 10 burpees, in descending sets (10 of each, 9 of each, etc…), or maybe sets of Kettlebell burpees (you do burpees with kettlebells in your hands…i.e. it’s a burpee with a KB clean & Jerk at the end), or an 8 minute Kettlebell + bodyweight circut. The main thing here is that I’m gasses…in other words, I can’t talk, I’m having difficulty counting reps, etc…the point is to get in some GPP conditioning work that transfers to athletics. Try the deadlift/burpee one…that’s my Monday morning.
My stretching and mobility work is pretty standard. I’m getting older, at least for an athlete who isn’t Brett Farve, and I’ve had multiple surgeries. Dynamic Stretching, Static Stretching, foam rolling, etc…all help me keep up with my training and not get too battered. A block is 4 minutes.
My Cardio is done on machines for the most part. Either the treadmill, stepmill, etc…I do a lot of running because 90% of all sports involve running. One block is 20 minutes.
So here’s how my workouts look on most days, 5x a week (I do a bit of just cardio on weekends, and sometimes a day of just body weight work):
Strength Block x1
GPP Block x1
Strength Block x2
Mobility and Stretching Block x 1-2
GPP Block x 2
Cardio Block x1
I’m getting about 10 sets of strength work, 12 minutes of GPP, 4 minutes of stretching and mobility, and 20 minutes of cardio. That’s how I did it all Summer, and that’s how I do it now.This is all done in the A.M. before 9.
In the afternoon, at lunch (1PM), I do another 10-20 minutes of bodyweight stuff and kettlebell work. That’s a hybrid cardio/GPP block, and I do between 2 and 7 total blocks. Once the Summer was over, I dropped the PM workout.
My diet was 50% on target, and what I mean by that is that I plan the first three meals of the day, and I don’t deviate. I get a PWO Protein shake, some eggwhites + a yolk, and Salmon, in that order (usually) for my first three meals. The last three are a clusterf*ck. When you’re working out 2x a day, you can get away with a diet that’s not spot on. My first workout is done before I eat, because I hate eating in the morning…what I enjoy eating is caffeine and ephedrine, and that’s what I have as soon as I wake up. The PWO workout shake is what I wash the S4 down with.
In the end, I’m sitting at just under 200lbs right now, and my strength is very similar to what it was at 220-225. I can hit double my body weight in all three lifts, totally raw – no belt, no wraps, no nothing, and run a pretty good 5k time also. Again, my goals are athletically oriented, and I get a lot of questions about how I train, so right now, this is the best example.
And, I’m totally AAS-free…I’m not using anything except S4, and getting stronger and in better shape. If you’re looking for a great PCT product, I can’t recommend S4 enough, and if you’re looking to get off AAS for awhile (for whatever reason), I think it’s a must-have supplement. If you’re just looking to cut weight and keep your strength up, it’s awesome. As long as I stay consistent, I’m expecting to roll into this next Summer walking around at 190 or so, in much better condition, but with the same strength I had at 220-225.