What is the best way to take creatine to get the best results?
Daily? Just lifting days? Pre-workout? Post workout? Am or Pm?
What is the best way to take creatine to get the best results?
2 general methods, loading or building up slow
The idea is saturate your muscles with creatine, you either fill them quick & maintain from there or gradually build up.
Loading: Basically take 4-5 x 5 gr doses through out the day for 4-7 days and from there reduce to 1x 5 gr a day, daily.
Gradual: Just take 1x5 gr, daily.
You'll see the effects more immediate with the loading, but once muscles are full with creatine, there is no difference. I prefer to load, maintain for a few weeks and then stop completely. Once depleted (1-3 weeks) i load back again if i want to. Just try both and see which one you'll like.
Pre/ post wont matter since it takes time reach muscles & see the effects, just take it with your biggest insulin eliciting meal, usually happens to be post workout meal for most. Insulin helps the uptake of creatine towards muscles.
So you cycle creatine? Interesting... what happens if you don't cycle creatine and just take it as usual for an extended period of time?
Daily. I chose not to do a loading phase, but I take 5 g per day post-workout. As I recall, Lyle McDonald recommends that athletes who are trying to make weight for a competition may want to go off creatine at least a month prior because it can make you retain 1-2 kg water weight.
For more information on how to use creatine, I recommend Lyle McDonald Supplements Part 2, which covers the basics for performance supplements. His Supplements Part 1 is also good for general information about vitamins and minerals. Lyle McDonald doesn't talk about a need to cycle off creatine in that acticle, other than to make weight, but I did come across this which makes me think it might not be a bad idea to cycle off for 1-3 weeks like Outlaw mentioned above - "....there is concern that the body may become codependent and cease to produce and store creatine on its own with continued use of the supplement." - Not sure if that's a real concern or not, but I did come across that which makes me think cycling off every couple of months? Just thinking out loud here.
"...It is a naturally occurring combination of amino acids found in meat or fish or produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. The body can build or synthesize creatine using amino acids from the plant or animal protein in foods we eat....creatine is one of few nutritional supplements scientifically proven to increase muscle mass and endurance on a consistent basis, provided that users participate in a regular weightlifting regimen."
"Experts agree that the best animal source of creatine is wild game, including venison, elk, buffalo, and bison. Game meats also tend to have fewer calories, less saturated fat, and more lean tissue than domestic meats. The next best source is lean, free-range meats which include turkey breast, chicken breast, Cornish hens, lamb and veal. Last is wild-caught fish, which has an average of 1-2 grams of creatine per three-ounce serving. Farm-raised fish and animals fed a poor diet have lower levels of creatine."
Hope this is helpful.
When i was playing football, i was a big fan of Joe Defranco and his WS4SB. It was something he said, cycling creatine with his athletes, that i took from.
Not sure about continuos use for extended periods. What Powerpuff said might makes sense. Anyway i'm always skeptic about using something that's not totally natural, even its documented 1000 times to be safe.
Unless you're worried about water weight for a weigh in, you absolutely do not need to cycle creatine. Loading is up to you like has been mentioned but after that its 5g/ day, everyday. Creatine is one of the most researched and well backed supplements on the market. Most recent studies have found that timing ( pre, during, post workout) really doesn't matter as long as you take it everyday.
+1 to not cycling creatine unless you need to make weight. No reason to. Either the muscles are saturated, on their way to be saturated, or they aren't. No lost efficacy after being on it for a long time. Load it or just take it daily until the muscles become saturated then 3-5g a day. Heck, I take 10g a day, the stuff is so darn cheap and there are no side effects.
Check out Jim Stoppani and his videos about it, he really seems to know what he's talking about.
Ok, that's what I was thinking.
I can see going off to make weight or even if you're doing a bodybuilding competition shedding water-weight.
That's why I asked, I've been reading the articles here and other places since my early-mid 20s and never saw anything saying you should cycle creatine so I was curious about the reasoning why one would do that.
I can understand the logic that your body might lose the ability to produce creatine on its own, but if it's been researched so much and this topic has not been a common theme, then I feel pretty confident that it wouldn't be a problem.
thanks for the info
I've been researching it a little bit more since this thread and I think you - and the other people who said "no need to cycle off" are right on all counts. I'm not planning to cycle off. That one quote I found was from a natural health blog and I think it's an outlier, and probably overly cautious speculation, given all the research and reputable people writing about creatine use.
Basically what happens with supplementation, is you keep your creatine levels fully saturated. Anything extra the body just pees out. Naturally you produce around 1-2 grams per day, and yes this may stop occuring when you continue to supplement. Once you stop taking the supplement your body will slowly begin to create the supply again, it will never just stop and never do it again.
Your body takes around a month to start making it at normal levels though. So by cycling off for a month, you're just going to feel weak for the month and hate working out because your numbers all drop.
This sounds highly unlikely, can you link the reference for that?
I disagree with this as well. Production starts almost immediately as far as I am aware. The reason someone might feel weaker coming off creatine is because their body is holding less, not none.
I read somewhere, will go to try and find the link, that it takes the month to replace at the same rate as before. Its not that it shuts off for that month but rather that it gradually increased after supplementing for a long time
Edit: Can't find the link, other pages say the say rebound is almost instantaneous. Based on this, ignore my other post. However there is still no reason to cycle off because of this instant rebound.
I always like to take creatine before and after a workout. Mixing with Orange Juice has been said to increase the effects not sure how true that is though. I like to load up on the product but you got to be careful drinking alcohol on creatine. The kidneys can only filter so much.
What are your thoughts on taking creatine every second day? It's a compromise between cycling and using every day.
I don't think there's any point to that. It's not actually a compromise. It's just using it less.
You cycle off a product to re-acclimate your body to not have an outside source of said product for a given duration. You do not achieve this by using it every other day. There's not enough time.
And as others have said, creatine should not be cycled. There's absolutely no science behind this thought.
I have never noticed a large weight gain or loss associated with creatine use. I have gone 'off' (usually when I run out of creatine) but never noticed a drop in weight, how long is it supposed to take for the weight loss to kick in?
From Lyle McDonald -
"I should mention that some percentage of athletes are creatine non-responders. For various reasons, they receive no benefits from creatine, no performance improvement and no weight gain. If an athlete uses creatine in one of the above dosing patterns and no weight gain occurs, they are a non-responder and can discontinue use.
As noted above, after loading, creatine levels will drop gradually over a period of about a month if no more is consumed."
I guess the question is, do you notice performance benefits? Is it possible that you are already eating a diet rich in foods containing creatine, so you're already saturated?