As better and more powerful dietary supplements were brought to market years later, many unscrupulous brands would make claims about their own products working as well as those old PEDs – and to build believability for those wild claims they’d advocate “cycles” of their products even if they were completely ineffective.
“4 weeks on, 2 weeks off” soon became a practice stuck around with supplements leading many people to believe that cycling creatine, aminos and even protein would make them work even better once regular use was started back up.
The good news is, creatine, BCAAs, EAAs, nitric oxide/pump products, omega-3s, HMB and nearly any other supplement doesn’t need to be cycled. Yes, you can take your Clear Muscle and your Cell-Tech every day without any disruption in how well it works for you.
And while many of the best supplement won’t need to be cycled but there are a few that legitimately do. To determine what needs to be cycled ask yourself this:
1. Am I using something that I’ll develop a tolerance too?
2. Am I using something that has an effect on my hormones?
If the answer is to either of these questions is yes, then cycling could be necessary depending on the product. Here are a few that you should consider using for a period of time and then stopping for a short time.
- Pre-Workouts/Thermogenics – try switching periodically to a non-stim pre-workout or one without caffeine – especially if you’re taking caffeine from multiple sources like coffee and energy drinks outside of your pre-workout. From an athletic perspective there is a relative reduction in the ergogenic performance benefits of caffeine when a moderate dose is taken daily.1 And while caffeine was still better than the placebo in that study, the progressive decline in performance suggested a gradual but partial tolerance to it.
Another drawback with caffeine use is that it can affect the release of cortisol and interfere with sleep that is vitally important for optimal results. A good mantra for caffeine should be “thrive on it, but don’t survive on it”.
To keep feel it’s full benefits, a short period of cycling off caffeine or at he very least, cutting out non-supplement sources of caffeine could be beneficial to reset the optimal benefits it delivers in the gym.
- Sleep Aids – nighttime products with high levels of melatonin in particular should be cycled to avoid mild adverse effects.2
- Testosterone Boosters – there’s a dizzying number ingredients in testosterone boosters on the market. Some, like Alpha Test are designed to support optimal natural testosterone production within the normal healthy range – allowing you to avoid cycling or utilizing any other post cycle therapy – which is great for daily support. However, depending on other testosterone boosters you’re using, different methods of cycling may be appropriate depending on the ingredients used. Always follow the directions on the labels of any supplement you’re using and if you’re unsure about ingredients in any products, consult your doctor.