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The Definitive Guide to Gaining an Edge in the Gym: SARMs, Smelling Salts, Stimulants, and More

The Definitive Guide to Gaining an Edge in the Gym: SARMs, Smelling Salts, Stimulants, and More

Guest Post by Jon Anthony from Masculine Development


So, you’ve been going to the gym for a few years now, and just can’t seem to build anymore muscle. No matter how hard you try, no matter how much protein you eat, and no matter how much you try to improve, you just can’t seem to make any progress.

Well, while you can make progress in the gym for years to come, many people often hit what’s called a “plateau.” See, most of your gains in the gym will be made during the first year or two, but after that, it’s hard to consistently get stronger every single week.

…that is, unless you have some help. Here at Proven Peptides, we’re all about offering users the best solutions to their bio-hacking problems, whether they be a desire for more focus, an intense craving for more strength, or just a way to make your brain work better.

With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of the top secrets I’ve used to gain an edge in the gym – and this is coming from a decade of fitness experience. My name is Jon Anthony, and I’ve done over $100,000 in online sales of coaching clients, selling fitness eBooks, and reviewing supplements, and here’s my definitive guide to gaining an edge in the gym.

SARMs – Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators

The first thing that people think of when trying to gain an edge in the gym is “steroids.” And while they certainly do work wonders, they aren’t the best option for an intermediate.

Steroids act on what are known as “androgen receptors,” which basically signal your body to build more muscle, hence why steroids are known for causing intense muscle growth in very short periods of time. Unfortunately, however, steroid usage comes at a cost.

When steroids bind to androgen receptors, they pick any and all that will accept them. So, while they’re binding to receptors which tell your body to build muscle, they’re also shutting down your body’s natural testosterone production, elevating your estrogen levels, shrinking your testicles, and potentially causing a whole host of other negative side effects.

With SARMs however, you can effectively gain much of the benefits of steroids, with very few of the side effects. What are SARMs, you ask? Well, SARMs is an acronym for “Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators” to put it in biological terms.

In layman’s terms however, SARMs are the fastest way to build muscle, without getting the negative effects that steroids cause. They do this by selectively targeting androgen receptors, so that they can hit the “good ones” which tell your body to build muscle, and leave the other ones alone, that if bound to could cause a whole host of problems.

There’s all manner of different SARMs, ranging from LGD-4033 (which is good for burning fat), to MK-2866 (which is great for building muscle). Regardless of what you take however, it’s always good to get bloodwork done before and after, as well as doing your own research.

A typical SARM “starter stack” might last between 8-12 weeks, where SARMs are taken daily in liquid form. The effects will kick in very quickly, as SARMs typically have a short half-life – so you’ll feel them work within a couple of days.

Here’s a good example of a SARM starter stack, that is great for beginners:
25mg Ostarine
10mg Ligandrol
10mg Cardarine
This stack works so well, because it hits three separate metrics for performance and physical aesthetics all at once. The Ostarine (otherwise known as MK-2866) is great for building strength, the Ligandrol (LGD-4033) is great for shredding fat, and the Cardarine (GW-501516) is known for drastically increasing muscular and cardiovascular endurance.

In fact, I feel so strongly about this stack, that I even uploaded SARMs before and after pictures onto my blog, to document my results. Within just three months, I had simultaneously gained 18 pounds of muscle, and lost 7 pounds of pure bodyfat. How’s that for an edge?

Stimulants – Modafinil, Adderall, Smelling Salts, and Pre-Workouts

Gaining an edge in the gym is one part “outside the gym” and one part “inside the gym.” In other words, taking supplements such as SARMs are taken outside the gym, to boost your strength and recovery 24/7 as long as you’re on them.

The other part of gaining an edge in the gym though, is what to do when you’re actually in the gym. Learning to have a great workout, by hyping yourself up, and taking supplements which give you enormous levels of energy, is absolutely key.

So, with this in mind, I’m going to discuss four separate things which have greatly aided me in blasting through plateaus. In fact, I even used these to train for my recent photoshoot:
Smelling Salts
Clinically Dosed Pre-Workouts
Each of these has their own place, and for the real stimulant junkies (such as myself), I prefer to use Modafinil, smelling salts, and pre-workouts at the same time. I do this one day per week however, in order to avoid building up too much of a tolerance. For beginners, I recommend just trying one of these at a time.


For anyone who’s a regular reader of bio-hacking websites, it’s no secret that Modafinil has been shown to boost cognitive function in all kinds of ways. And while it’s very well known that Modafinil is a great nootropic to take for studying, focusing, and all-around cognition, not many people are aware of the applications it has while in the gym.

What is Modafinil? In short, Modafinil was a drug initially created for the treatment of narcolepsy, but it has since been recognized for its benefits as a nootropic. For the purposes of this article, three major topics will be discussed:
How to Get Modafinil
The Best Modafinil Dosage
How to Take Before the Gym
When used properly, Modafinil can massively enhance your experience at the gym. Imagine the same laser focus and mental high you get when working on a project, but then combine that with the exhilarating effects of pumping some iron. That’s taking modafinil in the gym.

I personally take Modafinil before working out as a way to take a break from Adderall (which will be discussed later) and pre-workouts. Modafinil isn’t technically a stimulant, but it has many of the same effects, so it’s a great way to reduce your tolerance to caffeine, Adderall, pre-workouts, and any other stimulants you may be taking regularly.

How to Get Modafinil

To put it bluntly, the best way to get Modafinil is through prescription. I have managed to get a prescription to Modafinil, which I discuss in the article linked above. In short, the method is simple, and can be accomplished by anyone with a bit of wit and charisma.

For those of you unwilling to go through a doctor, or who would rather get Modafinil in a quicker, simpler, and easier manner, there are two primary online sources to purchase Modafinil through. Both have been reviewed extensively and are very legit:
Afinil Express
After deciding on which off brand of Modafinil you want (there are several), you can easily place an order through your payment method of choice. Bitcoin is recommended due to the anonymity of it, but it’s entirely your choice. Your package will arrive within 1-2 weeks.

Best Modafinil Dosage for The Gym
The best Modafinil dosage for beginners is, in my opinion, half a tablet. This works out to 100mg. Some people can easily handle 200mg, or even 400mg, but it’s always better to be safe since you can easily dose more later.

According to RXList’s statements, as well as my research on the best Modafinil dosage, there tends to be three main brackets that people fall into:
I personally took 200mg my first time, but as I said previously, I am a stimulant junkie and have a very high tolerance to all manner of stimulants and pseudo-stimulants (such as Modafinil). It is recommended that you only take 100mg to begin with and see how you feel for a day.

Take it early in the day, with a full glass of water. The effects will begin to hit within an hour, and the peak blood plasma levels occur after 4-5 hours. The half-life is quite long, so be sure to take it at least 10-12 hours before you need to sleep, as it can often interfere with this.

Best Modafinil Dosage for The Gym

The best dosage for Modafinil at the gym will depend entirely on your tolerance, which is why it’s recommended that you assess this before you go to the gym. As the peak plasma onset will take some time however, it is a good idea to take it 1-2 hours before the gym.

Personally, I take 200mg Modafinil upon waking, then do my morning routine. After this, I head to the gym, meaning that the Modafinil is just starting to hit me as I arrive at the gym.

Assuming a workout of 90 minutes or so, you will be peaking on the Modafinil by the time you leave the gym. This makes it perfect to start off your day by taking Modafinil, then to have a great workout, and then to get home and continue focusing on work once you’re finished.

Here is an example timeline of how to use Modafinil on your “gym days”:
8AM: Wake up, take 200mg Modafinil
8AM-9AM: Do morning routine, take other nootropics, head to the gym
9AM-11AM: Hit the gym, eat a quick snack, head home
11AM-1PM: Modafinil will begin to peak
1PM-4PM: Continue working, consider re-dosing Modafinil if needed
Again, ultimately you will have to assess your own personal dosage, but most people find that 100-200mg is adequate for an entire day.


The quintessential drug used to treat ADHD is often compared to Modafinil. So, which is better for the gym, and which is better for focus? What are the results of the Modafinil vs. Adderall competition? What are the pros and cons?

In short, Adderall is great for performing tasks which require little cognition. So, things like cleaning, cooking, writing, or organizing are great for someone on Adderall.

Modafinil, on the other hand, is best for tasks which require executive reasoning skills, such as planning, creating a strategic timeline, or launching a business. Some people prefer to take Adderall at the gym, others prefer to take Modafinil.

Ultimately it will be your decision, but whatever you do, please be careful and always consult with a general healthcare practitioner beforehand. Some people find that Adderall helps them stay focused for hours at a time, with little to no downside. Others, not so much.

Smelling Salts

Another great trick to use at the gym is smelling salts. Have you ever noticed how powerlifters take a giant whiff of something right before they go onto break a world record?

Well, guess what? That thing they’re taking a whiff of is smelling salts. Ammonia Inhalants, more colloquially known as “smelling salts,” are chemical compounds used to arouse consciousness, and create intense periods of focus.

The best thing is that they’re incredibly discreet and easy to use, as well. For just $5, you can get 10 ampules of ammonia inhalants, which are easily broken and sniffed right before trying to break a personal record in the gym.

Simply take one out of the package and carry it around with you until you’re ready to do your big lift of the day. Squeeze it, and you’ll hear a crack. Shake it up for a few seconds, and then just take a big long inhale. This will stimulate your sympathetic nervous system and give you an incredible rush of energy (which is why professional powerlifters take these before lifting).

Best Pre-Workouts

As I said previously, I’ve been an expert in the health and fitness industry for almost a decade now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this. 95% of the stuff out there is pure garbage and hype. It’s marketed quite well, but in terms of biology, it’s simply ineffective.

The best pre workout supplements contain a few key ingredients:
Creatine (5 grams)
Beta-Alanine (2-3 grams)
Caffeine (150+ milligrams)
Vinpocetine (2-5 grams)
L-Citrulline (2-4 grams)
L-Taurine (2-3 grams)
There’s some others that are also effective, such as Rhodiola, Guarana, and B-12, but for the most part caffeine, beta-alanine, L-Citrulline, and L-Taurine are the keys.

Whatever pre-workout you choose, be sure to get one that has a good lineup of ingredients. Unfortunately, far too many people in this industry fall victim to good marketing, bold claims, and shiny packaging, without any thought on whether the pre-workout actually has good ingredients in it or not.

Here’s a few of my recommendations, speaking from personal experience:
All of these pre-workouts offer incredible benefits, and each one serves a different purpose. Personally, I love Rich Piana’s 5150, because it’s got over 400mg of caffeine, sourced from a whopping 8 different sources. This is only for stimulant junkies, though.

Nitraflex is another great one, too. It’s clinically dosed and had been proven to boost your testosterone after taking it, which obviously has a ton of great benefits. Then, there’s Jack3d, which was actually banned at first, but they re-formulated it to contain only legal ingredients.

Putting it All Together

In short, these are some of the most effective ways that exist to blast through your gym personal records and gain an edge. SARMs will likely yield the most bang for your buck, so it’s recommended that you read some of Proven Peptides’ previous posts on SARMs:
LGD 4033 vs. Ostarine: Which Gives Better Results?
Ostarine and Cardarine Stack: What Are The Results?
SARMs Bodybuilding: Will You Put on Lean Muscle?
Taking SARMs is enough to give you an incredible edge in the gym, but when you combine SARMs with some of the other tips mentioned, you will gain more muscle and lose more fat than you ever thought possible.

As always, experiment for yourself, but not without a doctor’s permission and doing your due research first. Stay smart, record your results, and start off with the minimum effective dosage to always be sure your body can handle it.


Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) – A Prohibited Class of Anabolic Agents

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