After taking supplements for an extended period, you might notice that they are not as effective as they were in the beginning. Such a time is the best to start supplement cycling.
Supplement cycling is the practice of taking a product for a specified period, followed by a period of abstaining from using it. The cycling schedule is dependent on the user. For example, you might use a supplement for three weeks followed by a one-week break, or use it on weekdays and avoid it on weekends. You may want to look into creating your own supplements yourself and adjusting the potency when and if you can. There are additional resources that can be looked at to facilitate this, but it is important that you discuss this with a healthcare professional first to make sure you are not harming your body and you are using certified supplements.
Types of Supplements that Require Cycling
The following are the types of supplements that need cycling to optimise health and performance benefits.
If you are a gym enthusiast, you probably use pre-workout supplements to keep you energised while you train. These might be for energy or perhaps even supplements for muscle cramps that you might get during exercise. Standard ingredients found in such products include caffeine and green leaf extract. Although they are useful in improving training endurance, these ingredients become less effective after an extended period of use. In simple terms, the body becomes tolerant to the active substances, making the effects of the supplements less noticeable.
Experts recommend taking a break from pre-workout supplements after six to eight weeks of use. This allows you to reset your body and optimise the effectiveness of the products.
Thermogenic Fat Burners
Fat burners have a similar composition with pre-workout supplements. They work by increasing body metabolism and suppressing your appetite. Thermogenics are mostly used by people who want to lose weight quickly. However, if used excessively, they become ineffective.
Because they contain caffeine in high concentrations, thermogenics can increase the production of cortisol. Cortisol breaks down fat tissues and increases the ability of your body to store fat. This means that prolonged use of these supplements can counter the primary reason for buying them, which is weight loss.
The best way of regulating cortisol production is by taking a two-week break after every three weeks if using thermogenic fat burners. Alternatively, you can purchase fat burners that do not contain stimulants.
Testosterone boosters help in strength development and muscle growth by stimulating the natural production of testosterone. It would be best if you were cautious when taking such because the side effects can hurt your hormonal production patterns.
For instance, excessive use of boosters can make your body dependent on them such that it lowers testosterone production when you stop using them. The recommended cycling schedule is taking a month-long break after using the supplement for eight weeks.
Sleep aids are supplements used to cure insomnia. Like thermogenic fat burners, most sleeping drugs are stimulant-based. The active ingredient that induced sleep is melatonin, a hormone that the body produces naturally.
Excessive intake of melatonin makes you reliant on the substance such that you cannot sleep without taking sleep aids. It can also cause hangovers and interfere with your blood pressure. For this reason, you should not use sleeping drugs for more than two weeks.
As long as a supplement does not interfere with natural processes in the body, it is not mandatory to cycle it off. A widespread misconception is that creatine needs cycling, even though this claim does not have scientific backing. Other supplements that fall under this category include branched-chain amino acids, glutamine, multivitamins, and protein powders.
Taking supplements for healthy life in cycles is a good practice that helps you get the most out of your investment. By ensuring that your body does not become tolerant to a particular substance, you increase the effectiveness of the supplement. Lastly, cycling makes sure that you take the supplements in optimal amounts. Keep in mind that the body only absorbs a specific threshold and gets rid of the excess.