Should you cycle your supplements? They say that variety is the spice of life, and it turns out, that it's also the secret to effective supplementation for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders and those who want to lose weight.
When you take the same supplements day-in and day-out, your body can begin to develop a tolerance for them that cuts down on their effectiveness.
By mixing up your supplement routine, you can continue to keep your body responding optimally, so that you can get the most possible benefits out of each product that you use. This idea is called cycling.
Cycling your supplements is really no different than changing up activities at the gym. When you work out, you choose different focus areas to target, so that you can strengthen one area and allow it to recover before you exercise it again.
You can think of cycling supplements as doing the same thing for your metabolism and your body systems - it allows your body to benefit from certain nutrients and use them fully before receiving them again.
Yes you should Cycle your Supplements
While cycling can be very beneficial in helping you achieve your fitness goals, not all supplements need to be cycled. This guide will help you determine which supplements you should be rotating and how best to do it.
Pre-Workout Supplement Cycling
Pre-workout supplements are used to ready the body for exercise. Their ingredients supply fuel that can be burned during a workout, and typically, they include stimulants that activate the nervous system and rev your metabolism to give you more energy to power through challenging exercise and training.
Some of the most common stimulants in pre-workout supplements include green tea extract and caffeine. Studies have found that the body can lose sensitivity to these types of ingredients over time, particularly if you consume foods and drinks with caffeine during the day. In fact, science has shown that too much caffeine can actually produce the opposite effect than what you desire and cause fatigue rather than fight it.
Another problem with continuous use of caffeine is that the natural compound increases cortisol levels. An ordinary dose can increase cortisol for up to three full hours. A stress hormone, cortisol is associated with body fat formation and suppresses the immune system, so too much caffeine could end up making you more at risk for weight loss or impede weight loss.
This doesn't mean that you have to stop using pre-workout supplements with stimulants if you want to have a cup of coffee or tea every day, but it is wise to limit your consumption of extra caffeine when you're using pre-workout supplements.
Cycling your pre-workout supplement with 6 to 8 weeks of use followed by 2 weeks without it can also help to reduce the risk of unwanted effects.
Fat burners are supplements used to support the metabolism in order to help fat burning take place at the fastest possible rate. Often, this is done with the same types of stimulant ingredients found in pre-workout supplements. As a result, fat burners can pose the same risk for increased cortisol levels that end up undermining weight loss results if they are used for long periods of time or taken along with large amounts of additional caffeine from foods and beverages.
There are two ways that you can cycle fat burners to keep them effective. One way is to take a stimulant fat burner for 2 to 3 weeks and then take a break for 2 to 3 weeks. Another is to alternate between stimulant fat burners and non-stimulant fat burners, using each product for 2 to 3 weeks before switching off to another.
Testosterone boosters are supplements that support the production of the male sex hormone testosterone, which is needed to produce new muscle fibers. Men experience a natural decline in testosterone production with age, and testosterone booster can help to counteract this in order to help men get the results they desire from their workouts.
While testosterone boosters can be effective for short-term use, studies have found that over time, they can have unwanted effects. Namely, these supplements can actually cause the body to produce less natural testosterone.
To minimize the risk of this occurring, experts generally recommend taking a testosterone booster for a cycle of no more than eight weeks with a break of at least 4 weeks in between each on cycle. Also, it's worth noting that testosterone boosters are banned in some sports and bodybuilding competitions. Be sure to consult your league or association before you take test boosters.
Sleep aids are supplements that promote restful sleep. The products help to calm the body to allow you to fall asleep more quickly and to stay asleep for longer periods of time. Often, people who use fat burners or pre-workout supplements that contain stimulants take sleep aids to help them relax at the end of the day.
Many herbal and natural sleep aids are highly effective at improving sleep, but only when taken for short periods of time. Extended use of sleep aids has been found to actually interfere with the body's natural clock.
As a result, experts recommend using natural sleep aids for no longer than 2 weeks at a time.
No Cycling Required
Supplements You Can Stay On
As mentioned before, some supplements are fine to use continuously with no interruptions, including:
Now that you understand how to cycle your supplements, go ahead and put it in to practice. Have questions about which supplements you should be using to support your workout efforts or how best to use them? Sportsfuel is here to help. Contact us to speak with a customer service representative for answers to your questions about choosing and utilising supplements. We'll be glad to assist you with putting together the right supplement program.
Written by Sportsfuel