Clenbuterol. Do we need to cycle on and off for best results?
Clenbuterol is a household favourite within the physique enhancement community. Long story short, clenbuterol aids in fat loss and does the trick much better than any over the counter fat burner. Clenbuterol also possesses mild anabolic properties, so this makes clenbuterol a great choice for anyone seeking to lose fat and maintain muscle mass. The sought after mechanisms of action of clenbuterol are well known, but what is less known is the right dosing schedule for humans.
How much does one take?
How best to take it?
When to take it?
Do you have to cycle on and off?
I have my take on the answers to all of these questions, but first, let’s take a step back and recap on some clenbuterol pharmacology. You may hear the word pharmacology pop up from time to time in my writings. Pharmacology can be defined as the science of drugs, including their origin, composition, pharmacokinetics, therapeutic use, and toxicology. All drug dosing recommendations are formed based on what is known about the pharmacology of a drug.
Science Direct has provided us with this accurate definition of Clenbuterol’s mechanisms of actions involved in the fat loss and anabolic process. Clenbuterol is an agonist at the beta-2 adrenergic receptor, which is a member of the 7-transmembrane receptor superfamily and activates adenylate cyclase, the end result of which is a relaxation of smooth bronchial muscle and a decrease in airway obstruction (Johnson, 1998). Its activation of beta-2 adrenergic receptors on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue is thought to be responsible for the anabolic and lipolytic properties of clenbuterol, respectively (Mauriege et al., 1988; Robinson, 2000). Although the stimulation of lipolysis is the classic cyclic AMP-dependent pathway, exactly how beta 2- adrenergic receptor agonism increases skeletal muscle size is not entirely clear.
Unfortunately, the activation of beta-2 adrenergic receptors in human tissues can exhibit some classic side effects too. The most common side effects clenbuterol may exhibit at the start of use or at higher doses are rapid heart rate, nervousness, muscle tremors, cramping, shakes, high blood pressure, anxiety and other cardiovascular events. I am sure we can all agree that none of these side effects sound like much fun. The catch 22 in all this is that it seems the higher doses are significantly more effective for fat loss than the lower doses. It seems that experiencing some side effects comes with the territory of experiencing the magic of clenbuterol. That may be true for some, but in my learned opinion, most users will find a happy medium whereby the effective dose is accompanied by fewer side effects at the beginning of use, then often minimal or no side effects shortly thereafter. This finding of side effects dissipating shortly after the beginning of use is where I believe the “cycle on/cycle off” clenbuterol recommendation may have been hypothesised. Now, before I begin to “debunk” another bro recommendation, I am by no means discouraging anyone who knows for their clenbuterol schedule to work best for them. If you have used clenbuterol as a daily dose and as a cycle on/cycle off, and the later works best for you, then stick to it. I am merely providing the community with my recommendations based on my experiences as a coach and based on the known pharmacology of clenbuterol. There has been no research (that I am aware of) to compare the effectiveness of clenbuterol on fat loss with daily dosing vs intermittent dosing, but at the same time, the absence of evidence does not necessarily confirm evidence of absence either. I dare say though, that the moment people stop experiencing the classic side effects of clenbuterol, is when they may believe the drug may not be working to aid in fat loss either. This may be true, but I doubt it is. Subjectively speaking, I find that if a user sticks to a daily dosing schedule with clenbuterol, he/she will gradually experience less and less side effects, but maintain the fat loss benefits. Without getting into a debate about down regulation and receptology, the best way to discover whether or not you can experience the best of both worlds with clenbuterol, is to try it for yourself.
If you are open to trying a way of dosing clenbuterol that challenges conventional bro-wisdom, you may be wondering what the right dose for you is? This is probably the most dangerous question to answer, but I will try my best to provide what I believe to be a sensible place for users to begin experimentation. A user’s tolerance for clenbuterol may vary significantly, similarly to all stimulants. We all know someone who wings out after drinking a standard cappuccino and conversely, we know someone who can drink a double espresso right before bed and sleep like a baby. Clenbuterol sensitivity is no different, so we all need to be mindful of the heterogeneity here. There is another word that may often pop up in my writings. Heterogeneity is a way of saying that we can all react differently to the same dose of the same substance. Now, seeing as how an overdose of clenbuterol can be unforgiving, it is best to take things slow, with the consideration that the more you take, the better your results are likely to be. Of course, there are what I believe reasonable starting doses to begin with. For a male, a starting dose of 60-80 mcg daily and for a female, 20-60 mcg daily. If otherwise healthy, both males and females can work their way up to a dose of 120 mcg daily if they are tolerating the drug well. Some users have ingested much more than this with little added adverse effects, but for most people I do not recommend exceeding 120 mcg daily for most individuals. There have been instances where I have allowed a large male bodybuilder under my care to use upwards of 200 mcg daily, but this is a specific subject of who I knew a lot about before recommending such a dose. After you reach a dose that you find is both effective and tolerable, I suggest staying on this dose for the remainder of your fat loss journey, provided you do not exceed 12 weeks of use and you are otherwise healthy throughout the cycle. As mentioned above, what many will notice is that the unwanted side effects of clenbuterol will slowly dissipate as the days/weeks progress into the cycle, but steady fat loss should remain ongoing. Of course, to objectively measure such a claim would be difficult without a very controlled research paper because the confounding factors involved in fat loss such as caloric intake, thyroid function, training output, stress, sleep; the list goes on. Subjectively, I think many if you will find for this dosing schedule to work a charm. The time of day you take clenbuterol is less important than many believe because clenbuterol has a half life of approximately 26 hours. What this means is that although you may take a dose of clenbuterol in the morning, the drug is essentially remaining stable within your blood 24/7. Some prefer to dose the drug in the morning to allow for at least some metabolism later in the day. I tend to agree with this recommendation. In the morning is likely best, but do not worry too much about when you take it in the day, as long as you take it at least once per day at around the same time each day.
As far as toxicity is concerned with clenbuterol, cardiovascular markers are the most important ones to check. If at any point during your clenbuterol cycle you are concerned on whether or not clenbuterol is having a serious impact on your health, I suggest measuring resting hear rate and blood pressure. Resting heart rate should be less than 100 bpm and blood pressure should be less than 140/90, but preferably less than 135/80. If these markers fall within normal limits and you are still experiencing unwanted side effects, then you should reduce your dose or cease use. Sometimes, clenbuterol is known for cramping. Taurine use and some extra salt on your foods should do the trick. For most users, reasonable doses should not cause any cramping unless you have a nutrient deficiency. I find many dieting individuals to mainly concern themselves with macros, but micros are equally as important. Nutrition is a discussion for another day though. If you have had any experiences with clenbuterol, especially with a daily dosing schedule like I have outlined in this text, I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.