Pre-workout supplements have claims to be effective in boosting energy levels. Athletes and workout buffs feel encouraged to take pre-workout supplements, which promise athletic performance benefits.
Many pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that the health and fitness industry experts believe could cause health risks. That’s the reason why you need a pre-workout break.
What is a Pre-workout Cycle?
A pre-workout cycle is taking breaks from taking the supplements. As mentioned earlier, there is a concern about pre-workout supplements’ side effects. Cycling pre-workouts are recommended to ensure the effectiveness of the pre-workout supplement.
When you feel that your pre-workouts don’t provide you with the same effect compared to the first time you took them, it’s a sign that you need to cycle.
Checking Pre-Workout Supplements Ingredients
Pre-workout supplements consist of various ingredients that can be beneficial to your performance. Pre-workouts usually come in powder form that can be mixed with water or any beverage as pre-workout drinks.
Most pre-workout supplements contain caffeine, amino acids, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, and artificial sweeteners.
Let’s explore the ingredients used in pre-workouts and how it affects your body’s vital functions during and after training sessions.
Caffeine is known to boost energy levels whether it’s from your usual coffee, green tea extract, energy drinks, or in this case, pre-workouts. Caffeine is an adrenaline rush trigger that causes the contraction of the muscles. It also helps improve mental alertness during a high-intensity workout.
While caffeine intake has benefits, too much caffeine will cause your body’s usual response to dull. One should stop consuming caffeine when the adrenal glands begin to burn out, and your central nervous system begins changing.
Caffeine tolerance diminishes the supposed effect of the ingredient on your system. When that happens, caffeine cycling is recommended for your system to recover. However, most often than not, people who abruptly stop consuming this ingredient, experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
When you’re in your caffeine cycle, you may experience various side effects such as mood swings, headaches, concentration difficulty, fatigue, and constipation. A study reveals that gradually minimizing your caffeine intake will lessen the side effects of withdrawal symptoms.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
BCAAs are essential amino acids, but their chain structure is different from the other EAAs. BCAA ingredient in pre-workout supplements is responsible for increasing muscle mass. There are also claims that BCAA relieves muscle soreness and fatigue.
Essential amino acids such as BCAAs can be found in protein-rich food and pre-workouts.
When you take pre-workout supplements with beta-alanine, it enhances exercise endurance by reducing muscle fatigue. Aside from boosting performance, this ingredient also has anti-oxidant properties to improve immunity.
Creatine is one of the most popular pre-workout supplements because of its benefits, especially improved muscle recovery. This pre-workout ingredient can also be accounted for muscle building, energy boost, and muscle power.
Although creatine is the most sought pre-workout ingredient, a precaution needs to be taken when drinking it. It is recommended to keep hydrated when taking creatine.
How Often Should I Cycle Off Pre-Workout Supplements?
Not all supplements need to be cycled off. But that pre-workout that needs to be cycled off should be gradually taken out of your system from two to four weeks. As mentioned earlier, pre-workout cycling is necessary to keep its effect intact.
The frequency and schedule of cycling off will depend on the pre-workout you are taking. Nevertheless, you’ll know when to cycle off when you feel that the pre-workout is no longer effective and you have built a tolerance.
Benefits of Pre-workout Cycling
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to become the athlete you want to be when you don’t take pre-workout, don’t be.
Pre-workout cycling has benefits that your body will appreciate. Caffeine cycling will provide you with a good night’s sleep.
Cycling also allows your body to recover and build new muscle mass. Days without taking a pre-workout may change the dynamics of your training, but it will help you regain your balance and energy even without taking any pre-workout.
Supplements You Should Consider Cycling
Not all supplements are created equal. They have different focuses and benefits. Taking a break from stimulants reaped benefits for your body. Check the ingredients of the supplements you are taking to identify if they need to be cycled. Chronic consumption of supplements may lead to health problems.
Most pre-workout may contain caffeine that alters your sleeping, especially when you take the pre-workout for late-night workout sessions. Cycling pre-workout is not as simple as just stopping the supplement.
During cycling off, you should take the opportunity to get proper sleep. While you’re at it, continue with your workout routine to maintain muscle mass even when you don’t take pre-workout.
It would be best to keep a balanced diet for optimum nutrition during the off-cycle.
When one of your fitness goals is burning fat, you probably have taken fat burners supplements to help you with weight loss. But this type of supplement should be taken with precaution as it causes high blood pressure.
Testosterone Boosters are often taken by men with testosterone level problems and experiencing troublesome symptoms. If you’re taking these, you would want to check with your doctor first if they can interact with other medications or supplements you are taking.
Sleeping is an essential part of wellness. It can be accounted for healthier skin. If you need to sleep properly but you’re in off cycling, you can use natural sleep aids.
Supplements You Don't Need Cycling
Creatine can be naturally found in some food like red meat and fish. It is relatively safe as long as it is taken with a proper dose of 2 to 3 grams per day. If you have health conditions consult your doctor before taking supplements.
Beta-alanine helps reduce fatigue when you exercise. It is also safe to take with the right dosage. Too much beta-alanine could lead to skin tingling.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 supplements offer various health benefits for optimum nutrition. For gym-goers and body-builders, Omega-3 helps in reducing inflammation and improves range of motion, especially in the joint areas.
BCAAs are taken to reduce fatigue and improve concentration. This supplement helps the trainee during higher intensity workouts focused on difficult routine. Although relatively safe, it should be taken with the right amount per day.
There’s a good reason why athletes, especially weightlifters, take protein powders. This supplement has numerous benefits that are not exclusive to workout buffs.
- Helps with weight loss
- Reduces bad cholesterol
- Make you feel less hungry
- Source of anti-oxidant
- Reduces inflammation
- Good for the digestive tract preventing Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Lowers blood pressure
- Source of high-quality protein
- Promotes muscle growth
How to Cycle Pre-Workout Supplements
Many vital functions of your body react when you take pre-workout. Undoubtedly, it enhances your performance, improves your endurance, and, most importantly, keeps your health in check. But as mentioned, some supplements need to be cycled to maintain effectiveness.
Once you have identified and understood the supplements you’re taking, you can now plan the schedule of your cycling off. Some suggest cycling all supplements all at once, but it could cause much discomfort during the off-cycle.
Gradually Lay-off the Supplements
If you’re having bad withdrawal, you don’t have to power through the symptoms and just find ways to minimize the bad effects of cycling off.
You can reduce the portion of what you’re taking until you can manage not having them at all.
In case of caffeine withdrawal, you can try drinking black coffee or energy drink as an alternative while taking a break from the pre-workout.
Keep a Healthy Habit
It will help if you continue your workout routine and healthy diet even when you’re not taking a pre-workout from six to eight weeks. This way, you will be still on top of your game regardless of whether you’re taking the pre-workout.
What Happens If You Don't Cycle Off Pre-Workout
Skipping the pre-workout cycle diminishes the effect of the supplement. Therefore, it’s impractical to waste taking it while not getting the benefits you hope it would do for your training.
Also, taking too much amount of supplements will not supply additional energy, yet it will only give you side effects.