creatine

Which Supplements Should You Cycle

You need to cycle supplements to maintain their efficacy. The rule is start-stop-start and it helps you get the best outcome of the supplements. 

Whether you’re working out to sculpt muscles, lose weight or build endurance, the concept of cycling is not alien to you. When you diet, you cycle carbs and during High-Intensity Interval Training, you cycle fast paced cardio with moderate to get better results. By the same logic cycling supplements, particularly those containing stimulants is useful to maintain its efficacy.

WHICH SUPPLEMENTS TO CYCLE

As a rule, of thumb any supplement that contains stimulants needs to be cycled. Therefore, it makes sense to cycle pre-workouts and fat burners to keep their efficiency active. However, creatine is subject to conditional cycling.

PRE WORKOUT

Formulated primarily with caffeine, green tea and Yohimbe, pre-workout is the key to transforming your average session in a gym to an extraordinary one. Caffeine, the star ingredient in pre-workout supplements are extremely effective in enhancing the performance if taken before a workout. Caffeine boosts energy and mental focus by enhancing the adrenaline levels in the body. By improving your body’s metabolic rate, caffeine in a pre-workout will help increase the body’s metabolic rate and stimulates the central nervous system. At a dose of 3.3 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, caffeine has been shown to increase cortisol levels for up to three hours.

Cortisol is a stress hormone and elevated levels can make you jittery in the long run. Moreover, if you’re nibbling chocolates, having expresso shots during the day, then the additional caffeine can spell bad news for your adrenaline. Also, as your body acclimatizes to the effect of caffeine, you may not get the earlier rush of pre-workout.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO

After using pre-workout for 2-3 weeks, you should take a break for 2-3 weeks.

FAT BURNER

Fat burner is an intelligent mix of herbs that work to suppress your appetite, interfere with the absorption of carbohydrates to help you build lean muscle mass. Usually, fat burners contain stimulants, like caffeine, Yohimbe, green tea, Garcinia Cambogia, epinephrine and hoodia. These ingredients when introduced in your system increase your heart rate, respiration, blood pressure. The cumulative effect of the fat burner on your body is to spike your metabolism and boost thermogenesis of your body to burn fat faster, in the short run. However, the effects do not last in the long run as the body adapts to the stimulants in the fat burner and works to establish homeostasis. This offsets the effect of the fat burner. Moreover, stimulants like caffeine can spell bad news for your cortisol level.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO

It makes sense to give fat burners a break for 2-3 weeks, after using it for similar duration. You can even switch to a stimulant free fat burner during the rest period.

CREATINE

Creatine is one of the most researched supplements. It gives your muscles greater pumps for that explosive lifts and sprints. To get the full benefit of creatine, you must saturate your muscle cells with creatine.

In the Loading phase, you need to supplement with 20g of creatine for 5 days. However, if you have a sensitive stomach, reduce the dose and increase the duration, like you can supplement 10g for 10-12 days. 

During the maintenance phase, you should supplement creatine around 5g per day. For most individuals, 2-3g each day will be sufficient.

Ideally, creatine will improve your performance if you lift heavy (5-6 reps). If your reps are more than 10 or 11, you are not lifting heavy enough. Hence, supplementing with creatine will not be required.

Go off creatine when you revert to moderate lifts with higher reps. However, do remember that muscle anabolism happens when you push beyond the limit.

Exercise caution with supplements containing stimulants and cycle them. It will improve the efficiency of the supplement and will be kind to your wallet.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO

For that explosive blast of energy, you should take creatine in two cycles. The cycle should be continued with two weeks gap.

  • Loading phase (5-7 days)

You can take one serving of 5g with200ml of water or non-acidic beverage of your choice four times a day for 5 days.

  • Maintenance phase (21 days)

One serving of 5g with 200ml of water or non-acidic beverage of your choice once a day, preferably post workout would give you good results.

It is also recommended that athletes should take creatine with a high carbohydrate drink like juice or concentrated carbohydrate solution or with a carbohydrate/protein supplement (like MuscleBlaze Mass Gainer) in order to increase creatine uptake.

 

5 Supplements You Should Never Miss

5 scientifically researched must have supplements that you should never miss to maximize performance and overcome muscle building plateaus.

Bodybuilding is a serious business. And the right fuel makes all the difference along with proper nutrition and dedicated training sessions. However, the walk down the supplement aisle is not that simple. Confusions abound as multiple products stare back at you. Choosing the right supplement is a crucial aspect of fat loss, muscle building, and performance. Know the must have supplements.

1.   WHEY PROTEIN

Whey will help you transform from scrawny to brawny. It’s the near perfect fuel that has blazed workout sessions of the next-door guy to the bodybuilders. Putting it simply, whey is the remnant of the cheese making process and forms 20 percent of the cow’s milk. The remainder 80 percent is casein. Whey is a quick acting protein, which means it fuels muscle cells quickly, whereas casein is slow to respond, but its effects last longer than the whey.

Early studies have linked whey protein supplements with a stronger immune system and athletic endurance and are touted as a way to increase energy, fight stress and improve mental focus. Whey Protein is a rich source of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) leucine, isoleucine, and valine that comprises around one-third of the muscle protein and helps the body to build and regrow muscle fibers and reduces the loss of other amino acids to form muscle during exercise.

WHEN TO SUPPLEMENT

It makes sense to drink whey before and after a workout to receive wholesome benefits.

2.   BCAAS

To get the full spectrum of BCAA advantage, you need to supplement it, in addition to whey to build those muscles. Fueling your workout sessions with BCAA supercharges your immune health, because intense training sessions can stress your body. Moreover, BCAA as a supplement quickens the process of protein synthesis. This makes BCAA particularly invaluable for bodybuilders.

WHEN TO SUPPLEMENT

10-15g with a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine can be had safely as 20 minutes before workout. You can even have it in between your training sessions to reduce protein breakdown and for continuous flow of energy. Have it post workout to provide optimum nutrition to your muscles.

3.   CREATINE

Creatine is one of the most researched supplements. A lot of flesh foods like chicken and fish have it. Your body also processes creatine. In the liver, three amino acids arginine, glycine (non-essential) and methionine (essential) combine to form creatine. Skeletal muscles contain 95 percent of all creatine. Creatine is involved in the processing of the energy required by muscles. Naturally, energy demands multiply during training. The acceptable way to supplement creatine is through loading and maintenance phase. Creatine causes muscles to draw water from the rest of your body. Be sure to drink extra water to compensate for the water loss. Research shows that creatine is most effective in high-intensity training and explosive activities, which makes it a mandatory supplement when you are weight training. Creatine is allowed by the International Olympic Committee, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and professional sports because it improves muscular endurance and increases anaerobic power and performance required in jump squats, knee extensions and repeated sprints.

WHEN TO SUPPLEMENT

Creatine in powder form can be easily mixed with other powder supplements, as a pre or post-workout beverage. In order to increase absorption, you should have creatine with a sugary beverage to enhance absorption, since it increases insulin levels.

4.   HIGH-QUALITY MULTIVITAMIN

Supplementing your workout regime with a high-quality multivitamin helps ensure the presence of essential nutrients required for multiple metabolic reactions. Multivitamins enhance the growth of your lean muscle mass. Further, it helps in speedy recovery of your ruptured muscles while helping you overcome fatigue. A high-quality multivitamin can also help you maintain a perfect body metabolism. Further, multivitamins boost your physical performance by providing you the necessary energy and stamina required during your training session. Antioxidants in a potent multivitamin help maintain a healthier immune health and also optimize digestion.

WHEN TO SUPPLEMENT

Have the recommended dose along with meals

5.   FISH OIL

Enriched with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, namely eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, fish oil may also impact your muscles’ ability to grow. A study published in the journal “Clinical Science” in 2012 found that a specific type of omega-3 fatty acid, found in fish oil, optimized muscle growth in healthy people when their insulin and amino acid concentrations spiked. A typical post-workout protein shake with carbohydrates in the form of fruit or juice will raise your insulin levels and flood your system with amino acids so you can experience muscle growth.

WHEN TO SUPPLEMENT

Taking fish oil within 30 minutes before or after eating is just as good as taking it with a meal.

Recruit supplements along with nutrition and workouts to supercharge your muscle growth and spell the difference between an average and awesome workout.