We feel rather attached to our pre workout, it's a regular part of our routine. Have you ever wondered if you should take a break from your pre workout? It's not a bad idea at all. There are some supplements that are designed to be cycled. This means that is rather than taking them all the time, you take regular breaks. But what is the benefit of supplement cycling, and should you be cycling your pre workout?
What is supplement cycling?
As we mentioned above, supplement cycling is the process of taking regular breaks from certain substances. It could involve a very short break, like only taking a pre workout during the week and stopping on the weekend, or it could mean taking something for several months , then taking a break for a few weeks before starting again. Either way, supplement cycling means taking intentional breaks.
Why is supplement cycling important?
There are a few reasons why supplement cycling is a good idea. The main reason for this is tolerance. Some supplements get less effective over time as you take them. This is because your body adjusts to them. The best example we can think of for this is caffeine! Ever wonder why you now need 4 coffees during the day to stay awake, when before one would keep you up all night. The answer, my friend, is tolerance. Taking a break is the best way to reset this.
Another reason is suppression. This is when your body realizes that it has way too much of something and stops making it for itself. This can happen with something your body makes on its own, like a fat metaboliser. If you are taking one for a long time, your body can feel the need to relax and stop making it, and it can take a while for it to start making it on its own again.
The third reason is threshold. Once you have got all of a supplement that your body needs, the rest gets flushed away. This occurs for things like creatine and protein.
So in summary, the reasons that supplement cycling is important are:
Should you cycle pre workout?
That is the million dollar question, and it really depends on what kind of pre workout you take. If you take a high caffeine pre workout, and you take it every day, then chances are you need to take a bit of time off it every now and then.
Why cycle pre workout?
By cycling pre workout, you make sure you get the best effect possible when using it. This especially applies to caffeine. Any coffee lover knows that the more caffeine you have, the less effect it has. Giving your body a break from pre workout can help you reset so it can go back to full efficacy. That doesn’t mean that you should go back to training without any supplements though. You might find opting for a caffeine free pre workout a good option.
What supplements should I cycle?
The best supplements to cycle are ones to which you develop a tolerance. This includes caffeine and L-Carnitine. As these are common ingredients in pre workout, it is a good idea to cycle on and off that. If the idea of going to the gym without your favourite pre workout hurts, try using a non stimulant version for a month. When you go back to the stimulant version, sparks will fly, we promise.
We also suggest you cycle your fat burner. As they are usually high in caffeine, continuous use of a fat burner will increase your cortisol levels. High cortisol levels encourage fat retention, blocking out the thermogenic effect. We suggest you take a week break from your fat burner every 2 to 3 weeks.
Finally, you should cycle off testosterone boosters too. You should be careful when taking supplements that will affect your bodies’ hormone balance. If you take testosterone boosters for too long your body can stop making as much testosterone, making it harder to maintain your physique in the long run. We recommend taking test boosters for 8 weeks, then cycling off for 4. A supplement such as PCT can help restore your hormonal balance during those off weeks.
How long should you cycle off pre workout?
If you are feeling upset about going without your beloved pre workout - don’t be. We recommend you take a 2 week break around every 6 to 8 weeks. That’s not so bad is it? Taking a little bit of time off your pre workout will reset your tolerance, meaning you don’t have to consistently escalate to stronger formulas.
There is an exception to this rule. Supplements like creatine and beta alanine actually build in your system and should be taken daily. So when cycling off your pre workout, you can continue to take these separately, or in a non stimulant pre workout formula.
How to cycle pre workout
To cycle your pre workout effectively, take it as normal for 6 to 8 weeks. Then take a break for 2 weeks, either taking no pre workout supplements or a non stim version. Now remember, what you are trying to do here is reset your caffeine tolerance. So during this time, take a break from coffee too.
If you still feel you need a push in the gym during these two weeks, try a pump formula. These are designed to get blood flowing to your muscles and increase your performance without the need for caffeine. You should also consider continuing with your creatine and beta alanine supplements for continued performance.
What happens if you don’t cycle pre workout?
If you don’t cycle your pre workout you will develop a tolerance to some of the ingredients. This means they will be less effective unless you take a higher dose. You may also risk keeping your body in a constantly high state of stress. This can hinder your goals rather than help them, so cycling your pre workout is super important!
So if you enjoy taking a hard hitting pre workout like Disorder, it is worth taking a break every few months, just to reset your body and make sure that your pre workout is still working as hard as you are.