Cycling pre workout is one of the best practices if you are looking to get consistent results from your stim-based supplements.
After we get through these main points, we will also answer a couple of commonly asked questions and with that, our pre-workout microguide will be complete.
Now let's get to it by first understanding how stimulants actually work in the body.
HOW DO STIMULANTS WORK?
As you should already know, stimulants are psychoactive ingredients which affect the individual's mental and physical output.
They can help you train at a higher intensity levels for more prolonged periods of time, which in turn results in greater overall gains, due to the bigger overload placed on the body.
One of the most powerful and best-researched active ingredients that is at the core of most pre-workout supplements, is namely caffeine.
This one ingredient has been scientifically proven to improve all physical properties - From strength and strength endurance, to cardio endurance, focus and energy.
However, sooner or later, the stimulant-based product may start to feel less effective.
If you are on that same boat, keep reading because we will explain to you why that happens and how you can deal with it.
Adenosine & the adrenal glands
The effects of stimulants start with the compound called "Adenosine", which slowly builds up throughout the day.
Adenosine is a compound that builds up in the brain and causes drowsiness.
The first action of stimulants is to buffer the receptors of adenosine and hence, delay tiredness.
Secondly, stimulants trigger your adrenal glands, which are responsible for the release of hormones that make the body go into sort of a fight or flight mode.
Now, that doesn't necessarily have to mean it's a bad thing so think of it as becoming more alert of the outer environment, more focused and overall, more physical.
Stim-based supplements simply put the body into a mode where it performs better physically - Quicker, more powerful and better muscle contractions, more blood pumped and higher neural activity.
HOW THE BODY BUILDS TOLERANCE
Now, though the effects of stimulants are WONDERFUL when it comes to increasing physical and mental output, there is also the flipside of the coin.
If you use pre-workout supplements often or are a regular coffee drinker, you might have noticed that over time, these stimulants become less and less effective and you need more of it to get the same effect.
That happens because the body tries to maintain inner balance and builds tolerance to stimulants.
The more stimulants you take in, the more adenosine receptors the brain will create and hence, the more of the active ingredients you will need to buffer the bigger number of receptors.
Additionally, with chronic consumption of stimulants, your adrenal glands get burned out and reduce the production of the hormones that give you those desired effects.
Combine that with a flurry of physiological reactions and at one point, you just won't feel any effects, even from the strongest pre-workout supplement.
But how do you deal with that?
Let's find out.
HOW TO RESET STIMULANT TOLERANCE
Cycling your pre-workout supplements is the best way to reset stimulant tolerance. Period.
What "Cycling" means is switching up between periods of stimulant intake, followed by the so-called "tolerance breaks" during which no stimulants (including coffee) are consumed.
The body is a complex biological machine which interestingly enough, works with simple principles.
If the organism is predominantly in a stimulant-rich chemical environment, tolerance builds up.
On the other hand, if no stimulants are present in your system, the adenosine receptors, nervous system and adrenal glands will become more sensitive over time and you will once again be able to reap all the benefits of a pre.
Cycling your pre
Now, we need to get one thing clear - The body doesn't like sudden changes.
Chances are that if you stop your stimulants cold turkey, you will experience headaches and tiredness for the first couple days.
To avoid this, you can combine a more gradual decrease and also, use a non-stim pre-workout if need be.
Below, we will give you a couple of options to help you reset your stimulant sensitivity, based on the level of tolerance you have developed.
Beginner stim cycle
Alright, if you have never used a pre-workout and rarely drink coffee you have a BIG time advantage.
If you have never used stimulants or rarely drink coffee, you are lucky!
In that case, you probably won't need a full scoop to get good effects from your pre-workout.
Here are our recommendations for all beginners so they can extend the time of effectiveness indefinitely.
From then on, you can either:
- 1Keep on using the pre-workout 3-4 times a week and see when you will develop tolerance. When you develop tolerance, take 10-14 days off of pre-workouts and other stim-based drinks, then get back to it
- 2Mini-cycle the pre-workout - take it 3-4 times for one week, then take a week off (During that time you can use a non-stim Pre like "Komodo Pump".
We'd personally recommend option number two for beginners, as you won't be conditioning your body to stimulants and you will reap all the benefits, without having to take long breaks.
Intermediate stim cycle
Now, if you are not exactly a newbie with stimulants and use coffee every now and then to lift yourself up (pun intended), you need to pay more attention to how you use pre-workout supplements.
Odds are that if you have been using stimulants regularly but not daily, you will have some stim tolerance developed.
This is how we recommend cycling your pre, as someone who uses coffee, pre-workout supps and energy drinks somewhat frequently:
If you use your pre-workout in that way and use no coffee/energy drinks outside of the gym, your tolerance will more than likely remain intact.
Nevertheless, it is possible that your body will develop tolerance, so just like for the beginners, if you ever feel the pre-workout supplement or coffee become less effective, take a break of 10-14 days.
Alternatively, you can use the same dose for 4-5 times a week and go for 1 week on, 1 week off.
Stim junkie cycle
If you have been abusing stimulants for a while and barely get any effect from triple-scooping the strongest pre on the market, there is something inherently wrong.
That is, your body's tolerance to stimulants, which has been developed due to excessive use of coffee, pre-workouts and energy drinks.
Worry not however, this is not the end of your omega-pumped days.
Below, you will find our recommendations for stim junkies who are looking to reset their tolerance and get the best out of a pre.
Step 1 - Take 2-4 weeks off of ALL stimulants!
First and foremost, you have to resensitize your body to stimulants.
Your adenosine receptors will begin to be more sensitive, your adrenal glands will be less fatigued and overall, you will be priming the body for sustainable boost from stimulant-based products.
A period of 2 weeks with no coffee, energy drinks and pre-workouts should allow you to properly resensitize your body.
In some cases, that period may go up to 4 weeks.
Step 2 - Assess tolerance
After the 2-4 week period, take a full scoop of your pre-workout supplement to assess how your tolerance has lowered.
If it is still not satisfying enough, take another ~10 days off and do it again.
Once you feel like your tolerance has been properly reset, find the amount that does the best job.
Step 3 - Don't go OVERBOARD
If you became immune to pre-workouts, it is because you were abusing them.
To avoid that and be able to use pre-workout supplements effectively on a regular basis, you have to go smart with the use.
That means, avoiding daily intake.
Just like intermediates, you can go for 2-4 times per week with at least a day off between each use.
Use the pre on your hardest workouts or days when you feel down.
Ultimately, refrain from coffee and energy drinks outside of the gym, in order to avoid a quicker tolerance development.
If you ever feel like stimulants become less effective, don't be afraid to take 1-2 weeks off!
KOMODO PUMP - NON-STIM PRE
If you are looking for something that won't interfere with your stim tolerance but will still give you massive pumps and better workouts, a non-stim pre-workout supplement is your best choice.
The Komodo Pump Pre-Workout is a revolutionary supplement, scientifically engineered to give you the best muscle pumps possible, with NO stimulants.
Komodo's matrix contains a max-dosed formula, stacked with these pump primers:
- 18000 mg of L-Citrulline malate - Boosts the natural energy cycles in the body
- 2150 mg of S7™ (Green coffee bean extract, Green tea extract, turmeric extract, tart cherry, blue berry, broccoli, kale) - This is Alpha Lion's patented ingredient that helps you maximize anabolic pumps by acting as a vasodilator.
- 33500 mg of GlycerPump - This ingredient is based on glycerol, which is a compound that improves hydration and is useful in high-intensity endurance bouts, like weight lifting.
- 43500 mg of Beta-Alanine - This ingredients massively improves muscle endurance
- 5350 mg of pink sea salt - Sodium (salt) is an important electrolyte that helps conduct brain-to-muscle signals better.
- 6600 mg of Organic Lion's Mane - Lion's mane is a mushroom that contains bioactive substances which optimize the work of the heart, brain and gut.
- 7300 mg of AlphaSize® - Notably promotes focus during a workout.
- 850 mg of Astragin™ - Astragin is a compound that promotes the absorption of viable macro and micronutrients.
Though a bit more mild than a full-on hardcore pre-workout supplement, Komodo will still give you the pumps of a lifetime with no crash afterwards.
The best part? You will be able to sleep like a baby, even if you take it in the hours before bed
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you are supplementing with stim-based products, then you have probably asked yourself some of these questions, so allow us to give you the answers!
#1 When To Cycle Off ?
As we already mentioned, tolerance breaks are needed the most, when you just don't feel the effects of the product anymore.
Think about it - If you are supplementing with something that has 5 cups of coffee worth of caffeine, but you are not feeling its effect... It is not the product to blame, is it?
The best time to cycle off of your pre and get a good 14-day tolerance break, is when the effects start wearing off.
For some people, that may be once every 3 months, while others may develop tolerance quicker.
The best practice is to use it in moderation - 3-4 times a week on your heaviest workouts or days when you feel down.
This way, you will ensure that tolerance will build up slower, if at all.
#2 How To Take Pre workout?
Well, this one might be obvious as the name suggests, but there are some factors to consider.
That is namely the fact that hardcore preworkout supplements contain aggressive ingredients, which in some people can cause stomach aches.
To avoid this, you must make sure that you are not consuming the powder in a fasted state.
Additionally, the stimulants' peak blood concentrations are at about the 60 minute mark, so it would be a good idea to take it 30-40 minutes prior to your workout and surf the peak mid-workout.
#3 Is pre-workout bad for you?
This is one of the commonly asked questions about pre-workout supplement.
The answer is, well, it can be bad if used incorrectly.
After all, a pre-workout boosts the work of your heart, nervous system and overall primes the body into an adrenaline-rush state.
Just like anything else (including water), irresponsible use of high-stimulant products may lead to unwanted side effects, such as headaches, sleeplessness or arrhythmia.
Use pre-workouts responsibly - Stay within the recommended dose listed on the tub and refrain from using it every single day for weeks on end.
#4 How long does pre-workout last?
Have you ever had an amazing workout session fueled by stimulants, only to realize later on that you can't fall asleep?
Well, though the peak effects of most pre-workout supplements last for ~3 hours, there is one thing to consider - Caffeine retention.
As you should already know, the body takes time to metabolize and flush out any nutrients or ingredients you put into it.
Being the strongest stimulant in most pre-workouts, a big amount of the caffeine you take in, will stay in the body for hours to come.
And so, if you consume 300 mg of caffeine at 6:00 PM, odds are that you will have at least 100 mg left in your bloodstream 4 hours later.
The end result? Sleeplessness.
To avoid this, refrain from consuming high-stim drinks ~4-5 hours before bedtime.
I’m Troy and I’m the creator of SuperHuman You and Co-Founder of Alpha Lion.
I created SuperHuman You to give you access to the most cutting edge information so you can reach your body goals as fast as humanly possible.
I’ve been obsessed with training since 2005 when I attended IMG Academy and got to train alongside NBA, NFL and Olympic Gold Medal winning athletes.
Now I’m on a mission to transform as many lives as possible and I’m so excited you found us!
I’ve been fortunate enough to train alongside and pick the brain of some of the best pro athletes, bodybuilders and trainers in the world – and this site represents over 15+ years of insights from the world’s best.
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