Winstrol vs Anavar: Which One is Better?

Dr George TouliatosDisclaimer: The following article is for educational purposes only and does not promote the use of illegal steroids. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Touliatos is currently available for consultation.

Winstrol (Stanozolol) and Anavar (Oxandrolone) are two popular anabolic steroids, predominantly used by bodybuilders for cutting purposes, enabling them to burn fat and gain lean muscle tissue.

Beginners can wonder how these two compounds differ, often asking: Which one is better?

Below is everything you need to know regarding the pros and cons of these two compounds, how they compare, and which you will prefer based on your goals.

Similar Chemical Structure

The chemical structures of Winstrol and Anavar are similar, with both compounds being modified forms of dihydrotestosterone. They also possess a methyl group at the carbon 17-alpha position, helping to preserve biological availability upon administration.

A distinct structural difference between the two is how they are effectively anabolic (causing significant muscle-building) while maintaining low androgenicity.

Winstrol’s impressive anabolism is due to a pyrazole attachment group to the A-ring, whereas Anavar’s is due to a substitution in the A-ring—specifically, carbon-2 being replaced by an oxygen atom.

In terms of administration, Anavar comes as an oral tablet like Winstrol. However, Winstrol is sometimes used as an injectable.

Which is the more powerful steroid?

When it comes to the Winstrol vs. Anavar debate, some bodybuilders prefer Anavar and others Winstrol (for various reasons that we will cover). However, when it comes to the benefits of each compound, most of our patients agree that Winstrol is more potent.

We have found that Winstrol builds more lean muscle and burns more fat than Anavar, simply because it is a more powerful compound. On paper, Anavar should produce greater changes in body composition due to its anabolic rating being 630 vs. 320 (for Winstrol).

However, in real-life terms, Winstrol has the edge. The difference is not huge; however, such results are mildly noticeable for most bodybuilders.

Disclosure: We do not accept any form of advertising on Inside Bodybuilding. We monetize our practice via doctor consultations and carefully chosen pharmaceutical recommendations, which have given our patients excellent results.

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Fat Loss (Subcutaneous and Visceral)

Users taking Winstrol or Anavar aren’t just going to notice a reduction in subcutaneous fat but also visceral fat (which is a unique characteristic among anabolic steroids).

Most anabolic steroids cause a reduction in subcutaneous fat (resulting in more visible six-pack abs) but simultaneously increase visceral fat, producing a bloated-looking midsection (often referred to as a steroid gut in the bodybuilding community).

However, Anavar and Winstrol do not cause such a protruding effect, keeping the waistline as tiny as possible. This makes both compounds ideal for bodybuilders who prioritize aesthetics over mass.

The reason why Anavar and Winstrol do not increase visceral fat can be attributed to their weak estrogenic effects (lack of aromatization).

This lack of conversion into estrogen can also cause a drying effect on the muscles, as high estrogen levels cause water retention and low levels produce a diuretic effect. Thus, Winstrol and Anavar will maximize muscle definition and vascularity, unlike other anabolic steroids, due to less extracellular fluid volume.

Measuring fat loss via scales may not be wise due to simultaneous muscle gain. Thus, although users may observe a notable reduction in body fat in the mirror, the scales can still go up instead of down on both of these steroids.

Muscle Gains

In our experience, Anavar users typically gain 10 pounds of lean muscle from a conservatively dosed first cycle.

However, Winstrol users are likely to gain a few pounds more in comparison, being closer to 15 lbs.

We do not find Winstrol and Anavar’s muscle-building power rivaling powerful bulking steroids, such as Dianabol or Anadrol; however, their effects are still visually dramatic, particularly due to their synchronous muscle-building and fat-burning properties.

The lean muscle gains associated with Anavar/Winstrol are why competitive bodybuilders run them in cutting cycles close to a competition, as they know water and fat retention won’t be an issue.

We have also found these two steroids commonly taken by athletes that want to level the playing field in their drug-rife sports via increases in muscular strength, power, and endurance (without their weight fluctuating dramatically).

Muscle Fullness and Pumps

This is possibly the only area where Anavar beats Winstrol in regards to the benefits of each steroid.

One disadvantage we find with Winstrol is that it can cause excessive intracellular water depletion, causing the muscles to appear flat.

However, fluid distribution with Anavar is dissimilar, with the extracellular fluid being flushed out and intracellular fluid increasing (shuttling inside the muscle cell).

This creates a ripped and full look on Anavar, whereas on Winstrol, a ripped appearance is common, but with less of a pump to the muscles.

Full muscles can help you appear bigger than you are in and out of the gym, while also encouraging further growth due to stretching of the muscle fascia.

Fuller muscles are also advantageous in competitions where size is rewarded. Muscle pumps on Anavar can be extreme, particularly in the lower back, with some of our patients describing this painful sensation when performing deadlifts.

This can disrupt workouts, in which case we have seen taurine supplementation (due to its diuretic attributes) effective in reducing muscle fullness and ATP levels in the muscle cell.

However, it is worth noting that the muscles won’t significantly deflate on Winstrol, despite a reduction in water volume, due to it simultaneously adding muscle hypertrophy (size) during a cycle.

After someone comes off Winstrol, their muscles may look slightly bigger due to normal levels of muscle fullness returning and an increase in overall water retention.

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Side Effects: Which is the Safer Compound?

Although we observe Winstrol being more powerful in terms of results, Anavar is the more suitable choice when it comes to harm reduction.

Generally, with anabolic steroids, the better the results, the worse the side effects.

This is also true with Winstrol and Anavar, with Winstrol having more devastating effects on cholesterol values, liver toxicity, and testosterone suppression (based on our tests).

Anavar only has mild side effects, hence why it has been used successfully in medicine to treat men, women, and children. However, with megadoses or excessively long cycles, we have experienced Anavar causing extensive damage to the liver, heart, and kidneys.

Anavar on the Liver

Anavar’s weak hepatoxicity in regards to the liver is unique, with it being an oral c-17 alpha-alkylated steroid. Such oral compounds are typically notorious for causing jaundice, peliosis hepatis, or liver failure. However, Anavar’s mild toxicity is due to the liver only partly metabolizing the drug.

Instead, we see the kidneys sharing the workload, as evidenced by over 1/3 of oxandrolone still being present in urine (1).

Thus, we do not find ALT and AST markers, symbolizing potential liver stress or damage, rising excessively high on Anavar. However, they should be checked regularly on Winstrol (due to stronger hepatotoxicity).

Research has also shown that Anavar does not worsen liver values at a dose of 20 mg/day for 8 weeks (2). However, the same research concluded that high dosages of 40 mg and 80 mg/day will cause liver stress. This correlates with our findings.

If we detect ALT/AST levels rising notably, bodybuilders at our clinic have had success taking TUDCA, which is a bile acid that has been shown to minimize stress on the liver (3). It is strongly advised not to stack Winstrol with any other oral steroids, to prevent excessive hepatic damage.

Winstrol on the Liver

In contrast to Anavar, less research has been conducted on Winstrol with regard to the liver. However, we do know that very small dosages (12.5 mg/day) have little effect on ALT and AST enzymes (4). Whereas we see high dosages of Winstrol having the power to cause severe hepatotoxicity, even in healthy bodybuilders (5).

It is important to note that such adverse hepatic effects also occur with injectable Winstrol.

Anavar on the Heart

In the previous reference cited (2), Anavar’s effects on LDL and HDL cholesterol levels are seen to be moderate, causing approximately a 30% reduction in HDL and a 30% rise in LDL when taken 20 mg/day for 12 weeks. This correlates with our patients’ lab results. Thus, Anavar will cause a notable increase in blood pressure while on-cycle when taking a moderate dose.

According to this same study, the difference in cardiovascular strain on Anavar when taking 20 mg/day and 40 mg/day is very slight, with only 3% further deterioration in cholesterol for double the dose.

However, on a megadose of 80 mg/day, HDL cholesterol levels can drop by 50%.

Winstrol on the Heart

We have found Winstrol’s effects on the heart to be significantly worse than Anavar’s, with research also showing that a tiny dose of Winstrol at 6 mg/day for 6 weeks can cause a 33% drop in HDL cholesterol (6), the equivalent of taking 20 mg/day of Anavar.

However, bodybuilders typically take 25 mg/day of Winstrol; thus, we conclude that a moderate dose of Winstrol has a far more devastating effect versus a moderate dose of Anavar.

To combat the spike in blood pressure, bodybuilders on Winstrol can increase the frequency of cardiovascular workouts or supplement with 4 g/day of fish oil. Both of these methodologies have improved cholesterol ratios in research (7) and in our tests.

Also, eating a diet high in unsaturated fat while restricting saturated fat can help reduce cardiovascular strain on Winstrol.

Anavar and Testosterone Suppression

In trials, Anavar dosed at 20 mg/day and 40 mg/day has provoked a 45% decline in testosterone levels (in HIV patients). This is a relatively mild effect, compared to other AAS, that completely shuts down the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis (HPTA).

It is also important to note that this daily dosage was administered for 12 weeks, which is excessive for an Anavar cycle, which only typically lasts for 6–8 weeks (and even less for women, being 4-5 weeks).

Thus, when Anavar is taken in moderate dosages in a reasonable cycle, we record a mild reduction in testosterone. Therefore, some bodybuilders do not experience a severe ‘crash’, causing decreased energy, motivation, and libido, and can consequently recover their endogenous testosterone levels in a matter of weeks (without even utilizing a PCT).

Winstrol and Testosterone Suppression

Research has shown that just 10 mg/day of Winstrol, when taken for 14 days, can suppress endogenous testosterone levels by 55% (8).

Thus, it is no surprise that we see typical cycles (25 mg/day of Winstrol for 6 weeks) shutting down the HPTA, taking several weeks or months for testosterone levels to recover back to normal levels (depending on the person’s PCT protocol).

Winstrol and Anavar will not cause gynecomastia as they do not aromatize or directly stimulate the estrogen receptors in the mammary glands. In terms of hair loss and oily skin, these are possible side effects of Anavar and Winstrol, albeit less severe in our experience compared to highly androgenic compounds such as Testosterone or Trenbolone

As Winstrol is destructive to the heart and liver (9,10), such side effects can be exacerbated when stacking it with other AAS, thus making Anavar a safer choice when running multiple compounds together.

Price Difference

anavar pills
Anavar is significantly higher priced than Winstrol due to it previously being monopolized by Bio-Technology General Corp., which led to a 1,200% increase in market price.

100 x 20mg Anavar tablets cost around $230 on the black market.

Whereas, 100 x 25 mg tablets of Winstrol can cost just $90.

There is a risk when purchasing any anabolic steroid on the black market; however, it could be argued that Anavar is particularly risky due to its high market price.

Consequently, a common scam we have seen is for sellers to dilute or substitute Oxandrolone for Methandrostenolone (Dianabol), the most popular oral, which can be manufactured at a fraction of the price.

Thus, bodybuilders should be wary of cheap Anavar vendors while also testing the products to see if the active substance is actually oxandrolone.

Suitability for Women

We have found that many anabolic steroids cause virilization-related side effects in women, with Winstrol also falling into this category.

Some female bodybuilders take Winstrol for greater muscle definition, fat loss, and muscle retention while cutting; however, they often experience the following side effects:

  • Deeper voice
  • Breast reduction
  • Enlarged clitoris
  • Hair loss (on the scalp)
  • Hair growth (on body)
  • Laryngeal prominence (Adam’s apple) growth

Thus, Winstrol is not a suitable choice for women wanting to avoid masculinization.

However, Anavar is a popular choice among women, hence its nickname, ‘the girl steroid’. That is not to say men don’t take it, as we have found many do, including elite bodybuilders and powerlifters.

Anavar has a low risk of causing virilization in women when taken in sensible cycles. 

10 mg/day of Anavar, in cycles lasting 4-5 weeks, is very unlikely to cause any issues with regard to masculinization (11).

A more common side effect in our experience when taking Anavar is menstrual irregularities or amenorrhea (cessation of the monthly period).

If a woman is intent on using Winstrol but does not want to experience virilization, we have seen cautious doses of 5 mg/day for up to 8 weeks, leaving female patients unscathed.


Winstrol vs. Anavar: which one is better? The answer depends on your personal objectives.

If you only have $100 and you’re willing to risk your health to get in the best shape possible, Winstrol may be more appealing (and the only affordable option).

Whereas if you’re concerned about liver values shooting up and want to make gains in the safest way possible, Anavar is the superior steroid.

Equally, if you are preparing for a contest and you are prone to losing muscle fullness onstage, Anavar may be the better choice, giving you bigger pumps and fuller muscles.

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