Pre-workout supplements are a relatively new phenomenon, so there is not a lot of understanding about what is safe and what has lasting effects.
If you have been taking pre-workouts for a long time, you may have noticed some pretty dramatic effects. For example, you may have had very gym sessions, to begin with, but then found that the ergogenic effects faded over time.
The most common cause of this is from building a tolerance to one or more of the ingredients in the pre-workout that you are taking.
The following article discusses how long to cycle off pre-workout supplements in more detail.
Supplements For Performance
Pre-workout supplements can offer athletic performance benefits in several ways. These sports supplements contain an assortment of ingredients such as stimulants, fat-burning components, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
The majority of pre-workouts have some sort of caffeine content. Cellucor C4 contains 150mg per serving and most will contain anywhere from about 100mg to about 300mg. Caffeine can help give you a boost in energy for working out, and this is something that a lot of people like.
Be Aware Of The Ingredients
Your decision to cycle on and off pre-workout supplements is going to be largely based on the ingredients in them. Most supplements don’t have extensive long-term studies related to health issues. But they are generally considered safe for use in healthy adults.
The ingredient that you want to be paying attention to is caffeine. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and it helps with mental focus and a general feeling of energy that you get from pre-workout supplements. It can also assist with fat burning.
Some supplements might contain caffeine alternatives such as guarana. They may also contain Yohimbe or even ephedra.
Again, cycling off these supplements can have its benefits. It is always good to look at the amounts of ingredients that are in a product and to be aware of what effects a certain ingredient has.
Caffeine can start an adrenaline rush which can cause a sudden increase in strength, focus, and endurance. This can be a great thing if you are lifting heavy weights at first, but long-term use can lead to an increase in your tolerance to it.
With long-term consumption, the adrenal glands and nervous system will become resistant to its effects, and you may have to consume more of it to get the same effects. Long-term excessive caffeine intake can also cause an increase in blood pressure.
To achieve the same effect that you had when you started using your supplement, it is recommended that you take time off to lower your tolerance. Cycling is just a fancy word for taking a break. You can use this as an opportunity to give your body a chance to recover and build up your tolerance again.
The suggested time to cycle off a pre-workout is around 2 weeks. Research shows that this is a safe amount of time to cut out pre-workout supplements for reducing your tolerance and feeling the effects again. If you do happen to feel the need for a caffeine boost, you can drink a cup of black coffee.
A caffeine-free pre-workout can be useful here, as these supplements will have other ingredients that are beneficial for a training session. This can be a good way to cut back without removing them completely and making it harder to start taking them again.
When To Cycle Off Pre-Workouts?
It is normal for users of supplements to use and take time off or switch between different types. For example, you may use one pre-workout for a few weeks, and then try another one for a while.
The right time is when you feel like you are not getting the same effects that you had when you first started using your supplement.
Or maybe you have to take more to feel the same effects, it might be a good idea to come back off your pre-workout supplement for a while. If you are taking 3 scoops of pre-workout, it might be time to consider taking a break.
Some people also take a break from creatine supplementation which has been shown to improve muscle mass, strength, and power. But this is down to personal preference and the phosphocreatine stores in the muscles will reduce during the time off. Eventually, they will need to be built up during a loading phase.
How Long To Take Off?
The answer can be somewhat subjective and is based on how you feel. There is no agreed-upon time frame for the break between cycles, but the research suggests that it is a good idea to take at least 2 weeks off from your pre-workout supplement to reduce tolerance.
For the best results, you should reduce or stop your daily caffeine consumption also. This means that if you drink coffee, energy drinks, or more pre-workout during a normal day, you should stop drinking them or reduce your intake.
The recommendation is to take two weeks off from cups of coffee and other caffeine sources, and then start using your pre-workout again.
After this period, you can test your tolerance by drinking a small caffeinated beverage such as coffee or an energy drink. If you feel some stronger effects than you did in the past, your tolerance has successfully dropped.
From this point, you can try another group of sessions with the supplement until you feel your tolerance has risen and the effects diminish again. You may need to take more than one cycle before you find the right amount of time to go without pre-workout supplements.
How To Cycle Your Supplement
Don’t go cold turkey! Gradually reduce your caffeine intake over a period of 2 to 3 weeks. Then stop consuming your pre-workout or any caffeine for 14 days. This should greatly reduce your tolerance to caffeine. If you feel that your gym sessions are suffering, you can try one of the many caffeine-free pre-workout supplements.
During this time, be aware of any withdrawal effects. Caffeine and even beta-alanine withdrawal effects are often noticed by people taking time off.
After the 14 days, you can test with a caffeinated drink or try your first pre-workout session again to see if it is still working as well as when you started.
What supplements don’t need cycling off
Your body could use a break from most supplements you take regularly. Some supplements need cycling off more than others, but many of them do to give the body the chance to reset itself.
Whey protein and multivitamins are some supplements that you don’t need to cycle off from.
Taking some supplements for an extended period can be counterproductive. Even natural substances, when abused, can cause problems. By cycling off supplements, your body can cleanse and rebalance itself. There are no negative consequences to taking a break from supplements.
You may feel better, and when you resume taking a supplement. So you will experience its full range of benefits. Thus, it is advisable to cycle off most supplements, allowing your body to reset, and avoiding any adverse effects.
A pre-workout supplement can be a great way to get an extra boost in energy levels. For some people though, may start to lose the effects over time. This may be because tolerance has developed and you need to cycle off.
If you feel that the effects of your pre-workout are fading, you may want to try cycling off the supplement for a while, and then start to start back on. Cycling is one of the best ways to get your body ready for a great workout.