There probably isn’t a bodybuilder out there who hasn’t spent some time researching the range of anabolic steroids that exist. If they can help you to retain muscle whilst you’re cutting, you want to know about it.
Well Anavar (or its more commonly known name Oxandrolone) is one such anabolic steroid. One of the tamer steroids on the market, it is also one of the priciest. So what Anavar? Is it just another steroid pill immersed in nasty side effects? Or can Anavar pills offer real results to both men AND for once women?
We have managed to get the inside scoop from an ex Anavar user, who was willing to dish the dirt on their experience with Anavar cycles, dosage and yes, its side effects.
What is Anavar? What are Anavar pills?
What is funny about this mild oral anabolic steroid, is not the fact that most bodybuilders consider it to be weak. No, what is amusing is that Anavar pills technically no longer exist. They were actually taken off the market in 1989. It is its chemical name Oxandrolone – which was reintroduced in 1995 – that you are probably most familiar with.
So what is Anavar?
It is a synthetic androgen and anabolic steroid, whose strong anabolic effects (320-630 rating) have made it a popular performance enhancer for bodybuilders looking to improve their physique, stamina and performance.
Able to prevent metabolic breakdown; increase your testosterone ratio (by binding with SHBG); boost nitrogen retention (making it easier for you to build lean muscle mass and not lose it afterwards), and raise your anabolic activity; this can all help you to build muscle of 10-15lbs (over a 4 week cycle).
Looks, pretty good on the surface, right? Truth is, there is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding this pill and the Anavar results it produces.
YES, it can help you to retain muscle whilst you’re cutting (in fact, it is one of the better steroids for this job due to its ability to decrease cortisol). YES, it can increase your red blood cell count, instantly maximizing your energy, stamina and performance (as you’ll be benefiting from increased oxygen levels). YES, its low androgenic rating means women can use it (yay). And YES, its ability to raise anabolism means it can help speed up protein synthesis and make you stronger.
However, despite these many written benefits – and the fact you don’t have to inject it into your butt, thank god for that – its low androgenic rating of 24 has earned it the reputation of being weak.
Guys in particular don’t like this rating as they think it is too low to produce results fast. But this interpretation of being weak is not necessarily true.
Think about it…
If you can prevent muscle loss when dieting hard i.e. cutting – how can this be a bad thing? If anything it is a perk you want. Similarly, this low androgenic rating means there is less chance of common steroid side effects from occurring (baldness, acne… you get the idea).
And the word here is LESS.
Yes, the chances of them happening may be lower, but they do still exist. So before you run off and buy it, remember – like all anabolic steroids with a 17-aa profile, it is toxic to your liver and can trigger many physical and often unpleasant side effects.
To really know the effects of Anavar, we had to look for somebody who used the product and who could give us an honest Anavar review; no bullshit, no placating, just cold hard facts!
So, meet Charlotte, a 31 year old gym enthusiast. Together with her boyfriend Scott she loves to hit the gym several times a week to stay fit and – if you ask me – to look hot as hell! We had a chat with her about Anavar to get an honest review of the product. She’ll give us loads of insider info, such as the pros and cons, or the “Anavar before and after” you can expect. Let’s go!
How long have you been bodybuilding?
I wouldn’t call what I do is ‘bodybuilding’ per say. As a woman, you’ve got to be careful as there is a fine line between toning up lean muscle, gaining definition and looking ripped, and basically losing all your femininity.
Now, I don’t mean this harshly. I respect all women who pursue bodybuilding professionally. But the one time I really went for it 4 years ago, and did the whole shebang of bulking and cutting – I dropped 3 cup sizes and lost my curves. It was a shock to the system, and for me was a deal breaker. So I instantly revamped regime and have since only stuck to cutting.
I still workout, lift weights and stuff, but I focus more on cutting to help build up lean muscle mass. Is this still bodybuilding? I like to think so. But I suppose I am not as regimented as some people who hit my local gym.
What does your average week of workouts look like?
This is a hard one as I like I said, I don’t do bulking as such, but when necessary will cut to get rid of excess fat/weight.
This means the only advice I can give is on cutting (sorry).
A typical week for me looks like this:
Day 1: Legs
- Dumbbell squat 3 set, 8 reps (heavy)
- Plie dumbbell squat 3 sets, 8 reps (heavy)
- Freehand jump squat 3 sets, 15 reps (heavy)
- Stiff-legged barbell deadlift 3 sets, 8 reps
- Leg press 3 sets, 15 reps
- Barbell walking lunge 3 sets, 30 steps
- Barbell lunge 3 sets, 15 reps (stationary)
- Lying leg curls 3 sets, 10 reps
- Seated leg curl 3 sets, 10 reps
- Leg extensions 3 sets, 10 reps
- Dumbbell squat 1 set, 100 reps
Day 2: My upper body
- Pullups 3 sets, 15 reps (take a short rest between sets)
- Bent over barbell row 3 sets, 15 reps (take a short rest between sets)
- Straight-arm pulldown 3 sets, 15 reps (again take a short rest between sets)
- Reverse grip triceps pushdown 3 sets, 15 reps
- One-arm dumbbell row 3 sets, 15 reps
- Seated cable row 3 sets, 15 reps
- Dumbbell shoulder press 3 sets, 15 reps
- Standing dumbbell upright row 3 sets, 15 reps
- Side lateral raise 3 sets, 10 reps
- Seated bent-over rear delt raise 3 sets, 15 reps
- Seated triceps press 3 sets, 15 reps
- Dumbbell bicep curl 3 sets, 15 reps
Day 3: Plyometric
- Dumbbell squat 3 sets, 30 reps (make sure to touch the floor with the dumbbells)
- Split squats 3 sets, 15 reps
- Barbell walking lunge 3 sets, 40 steps
- Freehand jump squat 3 sets, 15 reps
- Box jump 3 sets, 20 reps
- Bodyweight walking lunge 3 sets, 50 steps
Day 4: Upper Body
- Seated Cable rows 4 sets, 15 reps
- Bent over two-dumbbell row 4 sets, 15 reps
- Dumbbell shoulder press 4 sets, 15 reps
- Standing dumbbell upright row 4 sets, 15 reps
- Hyperextensions (back extensions) 3 sets, 15 reps
- Exercise ball crunch 3 sets, 20 reps
- Dumbbell alternate bicep curl 3 sets, 12 reps
- Preacher curl 3 sets, 12 reps
- Seated triceps press 3 sets, 15 reps
- Triceps pushdown 3 sets, 15 reps
Day 5: Lower body
- Smith machine squat 1 set, 100 reps
- Lying leg curls 3 sets, 30 steps
- Pile Dumbbell squat 3 sets, 8 reps (heavy)
- Stiff-legged barbell deadlift 3 sets, 10 reps
- Leg press 3 sets, 15 reps
- Barbell squat 3 sets, 15 reps
- Barbell walking lunge 3 sets, 12 steps
- Barbell squat 3 sets, 12 reps
- Leg press 1 set, 100 reps
Day 6: I either do 30 minutes of cardio or ‘active rest’
Day 7: I completely rest on day 7 (mostly because I am exhausted by this point lol)
I can’t take complete credit for this cutting workout though. I experimented a lot before I found this routine online, but it has really done the trick of helping me to cut the fat and get lean quick.
When did you decide to first take Anavar?
I completed my first Anavar cycle two years ago.
As a woman it is incredibly hard to find a product that can support us, as most steroids have an androgenic effect that is too risky for us ladies. I have been fortunate in that I have never experienced some of the negative side effects that can come with taking steroids with a high androgenic rating. But I do know a girl who tried Anabol and bless her, she got the beginnings of a moustache. As you can guess, she was pretty distraught and it took a while to get her testosterone levels back to normal.
But that is the problem though. The risk of virilization – facial hair and deeper voices – is really discouraging, and in a way can put you off bodybuilding.
This is why I took a risk with Anavar, as its reputation for having a low androgenic rate took the edge off this risk and made it feel safer to use.
Why is Anavar preferred by women?
Ooops, I think I might have answered this already with your last question, but okay haha. Ummm… Like I mentioned before, most anabolic steroids have got too high an androgenic rating which can cause some nasty side effects for us ladies. Anavar for women isn’t as dangerous.
Basically what happens with most anabolic steroids that have got a high androgenic rating, is that you start on taking on male characteristics, such as facial hair, chest hair, stronger jaw bones and deeper voices. It can also impact on things such as your period as it imbalances your estrogen and testosterone levels.
Anavar is different to others, as its androgenic levels are low enough to prevent virilization in women and aromatization in men (converts to estrogen leading to moobs). You could say it is more manageable/preventable than other anabolic steroids on the market.
Now, this is not to say that Anavar for women is perfect. There is still the same risk of virilization, but it’s a lot lower, especially if you are careful with your Anavar dosage.
Personally I kept my Anavar cycle to 4-5 weeks, and only took 5-10mg of Oxandrolone a day. I know this is low compared to a lot of recommended steroid dosages, but this stopped me from getting hairy in all the wrong places lol.
I’ve got some friends who risked taking 20mg a day, and all that happened to them was a few extra hairs on their chin which they happily plucked off.
This dose I imagine is a lot less than what guys take, but the Anavar results are still the same. Anavar for women can still help us to become stronger; increase stamina/performance; get more toned; pack more muscle, and shred more fat when we are cutting.
The difference is, our lower dosage probably makes our results smaller and longer to achieve.
Did you stack it with anything else?
Yeah I did. I took 10mg of SARMS (selective androgen receptor modulators) a day, although you can take anywhere between 5 to 15mg of this.
You can also stack Anavar with 10mgs of LGD (anabolicum/ligandrol) and/or 20mgs of Cardarine. These are all meant to be good at helping you to get clean muscle gains alongside fat loss, which is always my goal when I hit the gym.
I know some of the more serious powerlifters at my local gym take 50mgs of Anavar a day with 250mgs of Trenbolene a week. Whilst those recomping, take 40-60mgs a day with 150mgs of Testosterone (a day) and 500mgs of Primobolan a week (as this helps them to get lean muscle mass gains and lose body fat whilst in a deficit). Similarly, if you’re bodybuilding you can take 40-60mgs of Anavar a day, but you can stack it with anything of your choosing.
I have never tried these stacking methods personally as they are better suited to guys.
Can you tell me about your Anavar cycle and dosage?
My Anavar cycle and dosage was a lot less than some gym goers. I only used it for cutting, so my cycle typically lasted 4-5 weeks and I only took 5-10mg of Oxandrolone a day. I think this Anavar dosage is considered more therapeutic than a real bodybuilding cycle, but it worked for me.
I’ve got some friends who do 5-10mg a day cycles for three weeks before taking a week off and restarting, and I know others who take 20mg a day. In either case, as Anavar has got a half-life of 8-10 hours, you should split your Anavar dosage across the day. When I used it, I took it twice a day, as the tablet sizes come in dosages of 5 or 10mg.
For ‘performance enhancing’ purposes you are meant to take more, but these kind of levels I feel are only good for men. For instance, novice users should take 30 to 40mg of Anavar a day over 6 weeks. Now, as a woman this is a bit more risky, as the higher the Anavar dosage, the greater the risk of virilization.
Guys as usual don’t have this problem, so can easily take 30-60mgs of Anavar a day. For instance, to improve their athletic performance they can take 10-30mg a day; for cutting they can take 20-80mg per day, and for bulking they can take 40-100mg a day.
The one limitation that applies to everyone is the length of your cycle. You shouldn’t use Anavar for more than 6 weeks because it is toxic to your liver.
PCT is also a must because of this. I used Clomid, but you can use Nolvadex too to help restore your testosterone levels to normal.
With Clomid you should take 150mg on day one, 100mg on days 2-10, 50mg on days 11-21 and none on days 22-28. Nolvadex is a little different as you should take 60mg on day one, 40mg on days 2-10, 20mg on days 11-21 and 20mg on days 22-28.
Is Anavar being a pill rather than injection part of why you took it?
God yes!!! There are so many horror stories about how painful steroid injections are, and how they can irritate your muscle tissues – as well as leave them feeling itchy – that I knew from the off that I would never use an injection.
I have watched others use it, and their arms, upper thighs and bums would ache for days. Why do that to yourself?
I have only ever used oral options, so Anavar was instantly more attractive because of its Anavar pills.
How much did it cost you?
More than I care to admit. I knew going in that Anavar cycles cost more than most, but still spending nearly $100 on a 5 week cycle seemed quite steep.
The problem is 60 tablets of Anavar 10mg costs on average $150. Now I only used 10mg a day for 5 weeks, so I spent $87.50. But this was on its own and before I added SARMS and Clomid to the basket. It got even more expensive after that.
Yet, this is a lot cheaper than it is for guys. Every guy I know takes at least 40mg a day, which over a full 6 week Anavar cycle is $525. Ouch!
What were your Anavar results at the end of your cycle?
One of the things I liked about Anavar was the lack of water retention. This is because it doesn’t aromatize into estrogen, meaning your muscles don’t fill up with water.
This is useful as the biggest complaint I hear from my friends is how bloated they feel during the cycle, and how they always lose a good 6lbs in water once they finish.
Anavar for men and for women doesn’t create such illusions as what you see is what you get.
Now my gains were pretty low, on average 5-8lbs per cycle, as I only took 10mg of Anavar a day. And I was okay with this, as I preferred to use it for cutting. But I know of others who gained 10-15lbs during their cycle.
Yeah, this is not as big as some anabolic steroids, but they suffered from less side effects at the time, so that helped them to deal with its mild gains.
Did you see any side effects from using Anavar?
I don’t know whether I was lucky the few times I used Anavar or if my low Anavar dosage helped me to minimize them, but its side effects were few and far between. The worst I had was acne and occasional bouts of nausea (although as soon as I felt this one I stopped using Anavar immediately in case it was my liver).
I know Anavar isn’t a saint though. So whilst I experienced little to no damaging side effects; I am fully aware of the impact Anavar can have on the body.
These are the ones I know about, but I’m sure there are others:
- Liver and kidney damage (otherwise known as hepatoxicity) – this is caused when Anavar – which is toxic – is taken in too high a dosage for more than 6 weeks. It forces your liver to go into overdrive releasing enzymes to help break it down. N2Guard can help by offering your liver support, but you need to avoid alcohol and other drugs whilst using it. You should also do PCT.
- Suppresses natural testosterone levels by up to 40% – SERM and HCG (during PCT) can help to limit this, but it’s not perfect.
- Hair loss/balding
- Suppresses production of HDL cholesterol whilst increasing bad cholesterol (this can cause heart problems).
- Change of voice – usually deeper.
- Increases DHT which can lead to enlarged prostates, hair loss and dry joints.
- Can cause muscle pumps – these are not the worst thing, but can be annoying if you’re doing cardio or anything highly repetitive. Back pumps are especially brutal. Supposedly, Taurine and N2Guard can help limit this.
Did you have to make any other diet or workout changes to get results?
I feel all workouts require a dietary change. You shouldn’t just expect tablets to make things happen as that is just limiting yourself and your Anavar results.
Whenever I choose to cut, I switch up my workout to the routine I mentioned earlier. I don’t bulk so much, but I do tend to do more weightlifting in the run up to a cutting cycle to help achieve more definition.
I suppose then the biggest change I make is in what I eat during a cutting cycle. Typically I do the following plan:
- Meal one: I have 4 egg whites and 1 yolk; 1/3 cup of oatmeal and 1/3 of one banana.
- Meal two: I have one scoop of protein powder and a tbsp. of peanut butter.
- Meal three: I have 4oz of either chicken, turkey or white fish; 3oz of sweet potato and a cup of asparagus.
- Meal four: I have one scoop of protein powder and 1tbsp of peanut butter.
- Meal five: I have 4oz of chicken, turkey, white fish, red meat or salmon and 4oz of green salad with a light dressing (I keep this light).
- Meal six: 3 egg whites
I try to mix these up (well the order I have them in anyway), but it’s pretty effective. The key is making sure you drink a gallon of water daily, and that you don’t have any cheats.
If I was bulking, I would probably have more meat and proteins, and would make sure to incorporate healthy fats into my meals (in limited amounts). I’m not an expert on bulking though, sorry).
Do you still use it and would you recommend it?
I used Anavar a total of 4 times, and during those cycles it did appear to do the trick. I experienced 5-8lb muscle gains; I lost body fat; I didn’t suffer from water retention, and I felt feel more energetic. But long term I don’t think I would recommend it.
For women it is a good kick-starter, but for men looking for massive gains, there are many safer and more legal alternatives you can use. For instance, I use CrazyBulk and not only does it come in a pill form, but there are no risks and it is FDA approved.
Anavar isn’t completely innocent. I was lucky during my cycles to experience so few side effects, but I have seen and read my fair share of horror stories. From nausea, acne and hair loss to oily skin and long term liver damage – why risk that when you don’t have to?
Summary – the pros and cons of Anavar
- As a DHT derivative this means it won’t convert to estrogen and cause moobs, water retention, bloating, high blood pressure or other estrogenic problems.
- Better for cutting than bulking as it can build leaner muscle mass.
- Can alleviate bone pain caused by osteoporosis.
- Prevents muscle loss (even when you’re in a deficit).
- Can build 10-15lbs muscle mass.
- Increases strength (without mass), speed, power, energy and performance.
- Improves muscle recovery from exercise by speeding up protein synthesis.
- Speeds up your metabolism (great for controlling fat burn) by preventing metabolic breakdown.
- Can increase your testosterone ratio by binding with SHBG.
- Boosts nitrogen retention.
- Raises your anabolic activity.
- Can help athletes to control weight gain.
- Helps carry more oxygen to your muscles by increasing your red blood cell count.
- It is toxic.
- Increases DHT which can cause prostate enlargement, hair loss and dry joints.
- Liver damage (because its 17-aa profile stops your liver from destroying it).
- It can’t actually burn fat – this is an illusion caused by it not aromatizing (so your gains are dry) and because it can speed up your thyroid.
- Can only be used safely for 4-6 weeks.
- It is only detectable in your blood for up to 3 weeks (others last more than 3 months).
- Whilst it is 3-6 times more powerful than testosterone, it is slow at building muscle mass.
- Gains are limited to 10-15lbs max.
- Reduces natural testosterone production by up to 40%.
- Consequences of testosterone suppression: depression, muscle loss, fat gain and aging.
- Very expensive.
- Must be done with PCT.
- Needs to be stacked with something else to maximize results e.g. Dianabol.
- It is only available by prescription (anything else is black market and will need to be tested, making it even more expensive).
Star Rating: 3.9 out of 5
So, what’s the verdict?
Okay, let’s step back and be honest for a moment. Given all the ‘amazing benefits’ this steroid can supposedly create – as well as its messy side effects – is Anavar actually worth it?
On surface, you could say it is.
1) It is one of the few anabolic steroids out there that is safe for women to use (which for many women would make it a ‘hell yes’) and 2) its low androgenic rating prevents aromatizing, meaning you don’t have to worry about moobs, water retention, high blood pressure or bloating, etc.
But here is the thing…
- You can only use it for 4-6 weeks. No more. Any longer and you risk damaging your liver – no thanks, I quite like my liver.
- Its results are mild at best. Sure the 10-15lb muscle gains you’ll experience during a 6 week cycle are free of water retention– so what you see is what you get – but this is small compared to many other popular anabolic steroids.
- It is better used for cutting. Like we just mentioned, any muscle gains will be minimal AND temporary if you don’t put in the effort to maintain it.
- It is only detectable in your bloodstream for 3 weeks. Others can last anywhere from 3 months to 18 months. And shorter the time, the more temporary the effects.
- It is not free from risk. Sure, its androgenic rating is lower than most. But it can STILL cause an array of messy side effects which you can’t ignore: hair loss, acne, liver damage – and the real kicker – testosterone suppression. It can suppress up to 40% of your natural testosterone production, meaning all those lovely gains you’ve just made will go poof! So unless you embark on some PCT, Anavar could end up doing the EXACT opposite of what you want – supporting lean muscle gain and fat loss.
More important than all of this is the fact it isn’t even legal! That’s right!
Unless you can get a prescription, what you’ll actually get is something concocted in an underground lab which you’ll have to test to verify its legitimacy. Yep, another unwanted cost for your basket. Brill!
And oh yes – for all its minimal gains, the cost is extortionate! On its own Anavar is expensive. However, in order to maximize your Anavar results (and minimize its side effects) you will need to do PCT AND you will need to stack it with other testosterones. Add all this together and what you have got is a massive bill. No. Thank. You.
Basically, when you scrape away all the glitz and glamour, Anavar is like every other anabolic steroid. Sure, it can build some muscle mass; speed up recovery and help you maintain lean muscle tissue – but is all that really worth the risk and the epic costs? Especially, when there are so many other legal and genuine alternatives you can choose from?
It doesn’t matter how you sell it: Anavar’s results are mild; its costs are too high, and the risks are too great (even if it is one of the few steroids around that is safe enough for women to use).
For that reason, we strongly recommend taking a step back; doing your research and remembering – no muscle gain is worth endangering your body.
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Legal alternatives to Anavar
If like us you don’t fancy the idea of dealing with nasty side effects every cycle, then it is good to know that there are legal – and more importantly – safer alternatives to choose from.
Anvarol is really one of the best of all the bodybuilding supplements I’ve come across. For starters, it is 100% legal and can produce rapid results in less than 2 weeks!
There are no needles or prescriptions involved! Instead by taking just 3 capsules a day, you can retain lean muscle and give your body a super lean and cut look. You shred fat without water retention and you have the energy to keep going!
And the result is 100% natural, safe and legal muscle gains, without a steroid or injection in sight.
NOTE: this supplement should be stacked alongside a workout period of 2 months on and 1 ½ weeks off.