T Nation

ZMA question

Is ZMA best utilized during a bulking or cutting cycle?

Think of it as a daily multivitamin that supports proper hormone levels, like “T”. You take it all the time. If money is an issue, and this stuff is cheap so it’s really not, I’d use it when really hitting it hard in the gym, regardless of whether you’re bulking or cutting. Most people who use it use it year around. You don’t have to cycle it like MAG-10 or other prohormones. See the “Supplement Round-up” article at T-mag for better info.

It says that it should be taken on an empty stomach or without calcium for best results. I always have a cassienete based shake right before bed. How much does this affect the ZMA?

You do not have to take it right before you go to bed. I always take mine with a mid-day whole food meal that does not contain calcium. The before-bed recommendation is because some individuals have reported that ZMA helps them sleep better; I have never noticed this however, even when I did take it before hitting the sheets.

I also had trouble with this concept with ZMA. I’m not sure what is more effective, throwing out your before bedtime shake or having the ZMA? I mean everyone agrees diet is number one and people have been praising the effects of protein shakes right before bed for years so I’m not sure you would be better off taking the ZMA instead. Anyone with any interesting idea’s please respond. I mean you can’t do both. The whole reason you don’t get enough zinc from your multi is that it is canceled out by the calcium. i don’t like throwing my money away so if you had to pick one which would it be? What’s everyone’s opinion?

You take the ZMA about half an hour to an hour before you drink your shake, assuming that you drink the shake just before turning in.


There’s a lot of ZMA info in the T-Mag archives. Try a search and you’ll find lots of helpful stuff.

I take my ZMA about 45 minutes to an hour before I go to bed. Then I have my protein shake right before I go to bed. I think I read somewhere that provides enough time in between the two so the calcium won’t reduce the effectiveness of the ZMA.

I am pretty sure I have read that 20-30 mins is usually sufficient time between ZMA and a meal containing calcium. By the way, just to reconfirm what I have felt in the past as far as ZMA aiding sleep, I went off of it for 6 weeks and just started it back up this past Monday…haven’t slept this well or felt so refreshed upon waking in a long time.

The recommendation of taking ZMA before bed comes because magnesium is a natural inhibitor of the sympathetic nervous system so it tends to relax heart rate, energy level etc. Calcium actually does just the opposite so it is probably best to eat high calcium foods earlier in the day and take your magnesium at night.

And to answer your question on whether to use it bulking or cutting ideally you’d probably take it all the time unless you eat a whole lot of foods such as brewers yeast and oysters but if you were to choose one I’d say cutting as your calorie intake and nutrient intake will be lower.