Do you know some health supplements that lose their effectiveness over time? Yes, there are various supplements for which the body makes a tolerance & their effectiveness on the body reduces.
In this article, you will learn about the concept of strategic supplement cycling, the reason behind losing effectiveness, and the essential health supplements to be cycled.
Concept of Strategic Supplement Cycling
Strategic Cycling of your health supplements is crucial in sustaining their effect on the body. Supplement cycling is not an alien concept for the people who are working out, building muscles or losing weight.
For maintaining the effectiveness of high-intensity training exercises or cardio exercises, trainers advise you to cycle fast pace with moderate ones or slow pace with fast ones. This way, you would not be straining your body & get optimum results.
Similarly, the supplements which have stimulants present in them should be cycled strategically. Following the cycling process, take these health supplements for a week or month, take a break from them for a week or month, and resume your routine again.
Why Do You Need Supplement Cycling?
Imagine you are one of those people who loves to drink coffee every day for your fresh start. But after a while, you need to drink more cups of coffee for the same kind of effect. The same thing happens for your health supplements. Your body builds up the tolerance for stimulants present in the health supplement, making it less effective.
The reason behind the body tolerance is receptor adaption. When you start taking the supplements, your body receptors take nutrients from them & use them for strengthening your body & muscles. But when you start taking these supplements regularly, receptors’ response slows down due to the regular presence of the same nutrients.
So, when you take a break from these supplements, there will be a break from the similar type of stimulus your body receptors are getting. This way, you can restore the effectiveness of supplements in your body over a long period.
Till now, you know about the critical reason for supplement cycling. Now, let’s learn about various health supplements that need the cycling process.
Which Supplements Should You Consider Cycling?
Let’s start the list with pre-workout supplements & their cycling period.
1. Pre-Workout Supplements
Pre-workout supplements are the most common supplements used while working out. These supplements contain caffeine, green tea extracts, yohimbine (medicinal plant species), etc.
Ingredients present in these supplements activate the nervous system & increases metabolism, which provides a boost for challenging exercises & convert ordinary to extraordinary training sessions. Caffeine in one serve may not cause any tolerances, but continuous use throughout the day may increase your body tolerance & does not affect you the same way as the earlier doses.
Caffeine becomes an ineffective supplement over time because caffeine stimulates the natural compound catecholamine from adrenal glands. Catecholamines are released into the blood in response to cortisol (stress hormones). This way, caffeine increases cortisol levels up to 3 hours.
How to Do Cycling of Pre-Workout Supplements?
Take pre-workout supplements for continuous 6 to 8 weeks, then stay off for two weeks. While staying off, you can go for stimulant-free pre-workout supplements or black coffee before a workout. If going with a black coffee, do limit the intake of caffeine-filled beverages throughout the day.
Now, let’s begin with the second supplement, fat burners, for cycling consideration
2. Fat Burners
Fat Burners are a mix of herbs that boost thermogenesis (burning of calories) at the fastest possible rate. These burners suppress your appetite, store less energy as fat. After some time, the response rate of your body to the fat burners decreases as the body gets adapted.
Fat Burners have similar ingredients as pre-workout supplements. So, the mixture of metabolism supporting elements, like caffeine, green tea extracts, cayenne pepper extracts, etc., increases your heartbeat & blood pressure.
Due to the presence of caffeine, fat burners pose the same risk of increased stress hormones(cortisol) as with pre-workout supplements. If taken for an extended period, you can have unwanted muscle breakdown & fat storage, which undermine the weight loss effects of the fat burners.
How to Do Cycling of Fat Burners?
Start fat burners first with half a dose & then start with a recommended dose, so that you can first observe the effect on your body. You can take fat burners for 2-3 weeks, then stay off for the next 2-3 weeks. In the stage of staying off, you can practice a balanced amount of calorie intake.
You can also take stimulate-free fat burners in your 2-3 weeks of the taking-off stage. Make sure to buy caffeinated free fat burners.
Now, let’s begin with the third supplement, creatine, for cycling consideration.
Creatine is a natural chemical, which the liver & kidney makes from amino acids for muscle building. It helps in protein synthesis by drawing water into our muscles & stimulates insulin-like growth factor (IGF) compounds.
Make sure to take creatine as a supplement when strength & muscles building is your targets. Creatine also helps your body in lifting higher weights & sprints. But taking creatine for a prolonged period makes a body tolerant & reduce its optimum effects. Therefore, cycling of creatin is a must.
How to Do Cycling of Creatine?
You can do cycling of creatine into three phases. In the first two phases, the quantity intake of creatine will be the same, and the only difference is the frequency of doses per day.
Loading Phase (5-7 days)
Start with one serve of 5 grams creatine with 200 millimetres of water or a non-acidic beverage of your choice. Take this one serve four times a day for 5-7 days.
Maintenance Phase (21 days)
Now for 21 days, take the same quantity of creatine (1 serve of 5 grams), mixed with 200 millimetres of water or a non-acidic beverage of your choice. Take this supplement, preferably post-workout.
Wash Out Period (4-5 weeks)
After the maintenance period, you can take off the creatine supplement for 4-5 weeks.
Make sure to drink at least 1.5 to 3 kilograms of water when taking creatine, as it helps you retain some water in the body.
Now, let’s begin with the fourth health supplement, HMB, for cycling consideration.
4. Hydroxy-beta methyl butyrate (HMB)
HMB is regarded as an effective supplement for untrained athletes but less effective for experienced ones. Due to the non-responsiveness of body receptors to stimulants present in HMB over time, you need to cycle their dosage so that their effectiveness can be maintained.
HMB is often advised to take along with creatin supplement. So, it would be best to make sure that the cycling of both these health supplements does not coincide.
How to Do Cycling of HMB?
You can take 3 grams of HMB for eight weeks per day, then take 3-4 weeks off without HMB. So, it’s best to recycle HMB, especially when your goals are of gaining endurance & shredding.
Now, let’s start with the fifth supplement, sleep aids.
5. Sleep Aids (Melatonin)
Sleep Aids are the supplements that help you with good sleep. These supplements relax the body to make you fall asleep quickly & for a more extended period. Usually, people using fat burners or pre-workout supplements take sleep aids to calm their bodies at the end of the day.
Melatonin is a natural hormone naturally secreted in the body, which helps maintain the sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm). Same hormones are present in various sleeping pills.
So, it is a possibility that sleeping aids may interfere in the natural secretion of melatonin. Having these supplements regularly may make it impossible to sleep without having them.
How to Do Cycling of Sleep Aids?
Consider sleeping aids as temporary sleeping supplements. Take sleep aids only for two weeks at a time.
6. Testosterone Boosters
Testosterone boosters are a group of supplements, which increases the production of male sex hormones, testosterone. These boosters can build muscle fibres & strength more quickly than with resistance training alone. An increase in the age of males can decrease testosterone production, which further interferes with not getting desired results during workouts.
When you regularly take supplements that affect your body’s natural hormonal pattern, the natural secretion of those hormones may get disrupted. So, if you are taking testosterone boosters for too long, your body may depend on them for your natural hormone production.
How to Do Cycling of Testosterone Boosters?
You can take boosters for eight weeks and then can take four weeks off.
Supplements That Require No Cycling
Some health supplements do not require the cycling process. Some examples are protein branched amino acids, protein powders, glutamine, beta-alanine, omega-3 fatty acids, etc. The reason behind the no cycling requirement is that none of these supplements interferes with the body’s natural pattern
Now, you have learned about the supplements which require cycling. Cycle the supplements at regular intervals to get the maximum benefits from them. While cycling, you can also save money & time too.
Taking gaps in between will ensure that you don’t build up a tolerance or become too dependent on these health supplements. And if you think you need to extend or shorten the breaks between the supplements, listen to your body & do what’s right for you.
I hope you find the article helpful.
Do you have any more questions regarding the supplements cycling? Please comment in the section below.