This has nothing to do with good supplements for bike riding, so if you’re after that you might need to look at one of our other articles. It’s about taking supplements, but you may notice that after a while, they’re not working as well as they used to. It might be that you need to cycle off it for a while.
What is supplement cycling?
Supplement cycling is where you take a supplement for a set time, then have another set time off. It might be a short time, like only taking something on weekdays and not on weekends, or it could be several months on followed by a few weeks off, before starting all over again.
Why should I do it?
There are a few reasons why cycling is a good idea. The main one is Tolerance
. With some supplements, your body can get used to them, and they stop having the same effect. Like Caffeine, if you’re taking it every day, eventually you’ll need to take more to get the same effect.
Another reason is Suppression
, this is where your body realises you’ve got WAY more of something than it usually has, so your body decides that it doesn’t need to make any more of it’s own. An example would be if you’re smashing down something that your body naturally makes, like a fat metaboliser
. If you’re taking loads of it for a long time, your body thinks it can just relax and not worry about making that any more, so even when you stop taking it, it can take a long time for your body to make the amount that it used to.
The third reason is Threshold.
Once you’ve got all of a supplement your body can use, any extra is just flushed away. Think of creatine, once you hit the maximum amount your body can use, the rest just gets flushed out of your system.
The last reason is burnout. This is when you’re prompting your body to do something too often, and it just throws down it’s tools and goes home. Like if you’re having pre-workout every few hours, eventually your adrenaline glands just don’t have any more adrenaline to give you, so they just fall in a heap and weep quietly while you keep yelling at them to get up. Give them a break once in a while!
What will it do for me?
Cycling your supplements will help you get the most out of your supplements and your body. As you can see from the last part, cycling can get you better results, keep you in good shape and also save you some money. It’s smart on every level!
What supplements do I not need to cycle
In a way, you’re already cycling every supplement. You’re not taking them constantly, every moment of the day. Some supplements don’t really need a break period.
These are usually the supplements designed to help your nutrition. Multi-vitamins
, mineral and protein supplements
are like that. You need them in your diet, and you use them all the time.
The only thing to remember is that once you go over the recommended amount, you’re probably not doing any better than if you were taking the recommended dose.
Plus, it’s a bit of a waste of money.
What supplements should I cycle?
If it’s not designed to supplement your diet, you should cycle it.
Pre-workouts, fat burners
and testosterone boosters
especially need to be cycled.
The length of the cycle depends on a lot of things. Generally, if you’re taking a pre-workout and finding that it’s having no effect, take a couple of weeks off. No cheating either, you can’t just drink more coffee or throw down a few energy drinks. You need to purge your system and get it back to normal.
There are a few different opinions on cycling stuff like creatine
. Because it is something that you’d normally eat, and it builds up in your muscles over time, you don’t really need to cycle off it. You might need to “load up” on it at the start to get more in your reserves, but after that you just need enough to maintain your creatine levels.
You might want to cycle it though if you’re trying to save a bit of money though, or if you want to drop the extra fluid that creatine will store in your muscles.
How often should I cycle my supplement?
There are many different opinions on this. Let’s use pre-workouts
as an example: some people recommend taking them for four days, then having three off. Others say to use them for a month, then take a month off. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If you feel like it isn’t having the effect that it used to, and you’re reaching for extra scoops, think about stopping them for a while.
Should women cycle supplements too?
Absolutely. Women are just as likely to need to cycle supplements as men are, and for exactly the same reasons.
Cycling supplements will help you get the most out of them -and yourself- for the long term, and you might save a few bucks along the way too.