07 Jun 2019

What Are SARMS According to a Personal Trainer?

What are SARMS, according to a Personal Trainer?

Everybody wants the perfect body, whether it’s to boost muscle growth, or less body fat to look leaner and slender and a good percentage of people spend plenty of money on supplements to either obtain their results quicker or for performance enhancement.

The idea of SARMS is that they mimic the effects of testosterone in the body, but unlike using synthetic testosterone or anabolic steroids, they are directly targeted at skeletal muscle. It is fairly common knowledge that of the chemicals sold online as SARMS, about half of them don't contain the ingredients that they are marketing that they have. Or they do not contain the correct amount, or they include unapproved drugs that are banned. So how do Personal Trainers fit in?

The question that should always be asked in the life of a Personal Trainer when the subject of supplementation arises with their client is, ‘can I make suggestions to my clients, which dietary supplements to purchase and is it in my ‘scope of practice.’

To quickly answer that question, let’s look at the Unit of Competency (UOC), a Certificate IV level fitness course is provided for a personal trainer.

SISFFIT025 - Recognise the dangers of providing nutrition advice to clients

SISFFIT026 - Support healthy eating through the Eat for Health Program

The overview of a Certificate IV in Fitness scope of practice is working with low-risk clients. With this in mind, the titles of the UOC provide a snapshot of the scope of practice when dealing with nutrition and dietary supplementation. If you want to know more about the scope, please see the links provided.

To further add to my point of scope of practice as the climate is changing quickly with an increase of the population possessing intolerances to food and disease rates in general increasing across the board, I am concerned when I hear personal trainers providing services that are out of their scope of practice. Suggesting supplementation and specific macronutrients style diets, increase the risk of legality if a client has a negative experience or reaction is a risk I am not willing to take. With the number of legal cases increasing over the last decade against personal trainers, this trend is alarming in the fact that a good percentage of cases personal trainers are offering advice, services and products that are out of their scope of practice. On the other hand, I believe it is vital for a personal trainer to be aware of the supplements on the market. Having a general understanding of the benefits or harm, especially in the case of their clients taking dietary supplement(s).

With this in mind, SARMS (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) has been a product sold online in recent years, as an alternative to steroids that claims no negative side effects. According to the Australian Government Department of Health, Therapeutic Goods Administration website lists SARMs as ‘a group of experimental, prescription-only medicines sometimes used illegally by bodybuilders’.

World anti-doping agency (WADA) lists SARMS as a banned substance and provides the list of variants in which SARMs are packaged. According to a study published in 2017, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, research of the ingredients of 44 products sold online, found that 52% of the products actually contained SARMs, and 25% of the products contained unlisted ingredients in different dosages. To make things even more interesting, some products had no active ingredients at all.

Effects of SARMS research on humans is limited at this stage, so logically establishing the possible long term impact on health cannot be confirmed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning in 2017, stating ‘the use of SARMs was linked to liver failure and increased risk of heart attack or stroke.’

So from this standpoint, I think it is safe to say unless a medical prescription is given by a General Practitioner stay clear away from SARMs products or providing advice of any kind around dietary supplements to clients if you are a personal trainer.  

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