T Nation

Questions About Creatine

Hey guys I used creatine (monohydrate) for a few months previously but I don’t think that I got the most out of it. I’ve been off it for 3-4 weeks and I want to start using it again, since I can feel that I’m losing a few reps, and because I am trying to lean out, so I need any boost I can get with lifting. I have some questions.

Would you recommend loading or not? Last time I just started taking 1/2 a teaspoon daily and that eventually increased to a full teaspoon. Should I load this time? Last time I didn’t load because I was worried that something bad would happen with all that creatine, but now I think that it is a safe supplement.

When’s the best time to take it? Before, I either took it in the morning or after training on training days (with the post workout shake). It seemed to me that the time you take it doesn’t make much difference. But one problem I had was some trouble sleeping. It felt like my brain was always “on” and I couldn’t get to sleep. Sometimes I would get to sleep but wake up after a few hours with this “on” feeling. This was beneficial at first (studying when tired etc.) but soon got tiresome. What’s the best time to take it so that I can avoid his problem?

Thanks for any help.

Well, you’re better off taking the creatine 5 grams a day. Take it WITHOUT you’re protein shake, the creatine tends to have a fewer absorption rate when combined with the shakes. Creatine doesn;t get you lean… it gets you stronger. Creatines job is to refuel the creatine phosphate atoms in you’re muscle fibers. Thus refuels your energy. Hence why is says increases STRENGTH,ENDURANCE plus you’ll gain water weight. Take the creatine with amino pills and a carb filled drink. Gatorade? Works perfect. Hope I helped.

Many thanks. I won’t combine it with my protein shakes, but take it separately.

I checked my log and I have not used creatine for 4 weeks now. I can definitely feel that I need longer rest periods and that I am not as good with high rep sets. But I read that when one comes off creatine, they lose water weight and stop getting so thirsty. When is this going to happen to me? I haven’t lost any weight yet and I still get pretty thirsty (though not as thirsty as when I was using creatine). I want to completely flush out the remnants of creatine before starting again.

[quote]Jaycuts wrote:
Take it WITHOUT you’re protein shake.
[/quote]
Doesn’t matter.

[quote]Jaycuts wrote:
Take the creatine with amino pills and a carb filled drink. Gatorade? Works perfect. Hope I helped.[/quote]
Also doesn’t matter.

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
When’s the best time to take it?[/quote]
This doesn’t matter either.

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
But one problem I had was some trouble sleeping.[/quote]
Creatine does not cause this.

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
I read that when one comes off creatine, they lose water weight and stop getting so thirsty. When is this going to happen to me? I haven’t lost any weight yet and I still get pretty thirsty[/quote]
That’s because creatine doesn’t actually bloat you up like people claim unless you are taking way too much.

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
I want to completely flush out the remnants of creatine before starting again.[/quote]
Pointless.

Creatine is an extremely well studied and blessedly simple yet effective supplement. Just take 3-5 grams (a teaspoon basically) with some water every day until you die.

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
But one problem I had was some trouble sleeping.[/quote]
Creatine does not cause this.

[/quote]

Creatine did cause this. I’m sure of it. Creatine helps your brain to always be super-charged and ready to concentrate (and it helped me a bit with studying). In fact, there exist studies that demonstrate how sleep-deprived individuals on creatine outperformed sleep-deprived individuals without creatine, in mental tasks. A drawback is that it feels like you can’t turn off at night.

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
I read that when one comes off creatine, they lose water weight and stop getting so thirsty. When is this going to happen to me? I haven’t lost any weight yet and I still get pretty thirsty[/quote]
That’s because creatine doesn’t actually bloat you up like people claim unless you are taking way too much.

[/quote]

So are you saying that the weight I gained using creatine was solid weight (including actual muscle, not just water in the muscles) and I’m stuck with it?

The reason I want to get rid of the remnants of creatine is because I remember that when I started it, I very quickly gained some muscle all over (and it was solid muscle, not water, since I haven’t lost it yet). So I want all the remnants to be gone so that I can get some more free muscle when I start using it again.

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
But one problem I had was some trouble sleeping.[/quote]
Creatine does not cause this.

[/quote]

Creatine did cause this. I’m sure of it. Creatine helps your brain to always be super-charged and ready to concentrate (and it helped me a bit with studying). In fact, there exist studies that demonstrate how sleep-deprived individuals on creatine outperformed sleep-deprived individuals without creatine, in mental tasks. A drawback is that it feels like you can’t turn off at night.
[/quote]

Both groups were sleep deprived and the group with creatine could perform mental tasks better than the non-creatine group.

This study therefore shows that sleepy people can perform mental tasks better with creatine than without.

It does not show that creatine keeps you up at night. To show that, they would need to test people’s ability to sleep with and without creatine.

Sleep deprivation causes creatine stores in the brain to plummet which leads to severe mental fatigue. So it makes sense that creatine supplementation would help you to function given that you are sleep deprived. It does not however, cause the sleep deprivation.

Creatine is the most studied supplement ever. None of these studies show that creatine causes insomnia and neither is this listed as a side effect according to scientists and fucking medical doctors.

You may be experiencing trouble sleeping from creatine, but if so, then you are a special snowflake and there is not a scientific study to back up what you are saying. Sorry.

Were you taking a pre-workout? Were you possibly overtrained?

Also, how much weight did you gain?

[quote]Jaycuts wrote:
Well, you’re better off taking the creatine 5 grams a day. Take it WITHOUT you’re protein shake, the creatine tends to have a fewer absorption rate when combined with the shakes. Creatine doesn;t get you lean… it gets you stronger. Creatines job is to refuel the creatine phosphate atoms in you’re muscle fibers. Thus refuels your energy. Hence why is says increases STRENGTH,ENDURANCE plus you’ll gain water weight. Take the creatine with amino pills and a carb filled drink. Gatorade? Works perfect. Hope I helped.[/quote]
I loled every five words.

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
But one problem I had was some trouble sleeping.[/quote]
Creatine does not cause this.

[/quote]

Creatine did cause this. I’m sure of it. Creatine helps your brain to always be super-charged and ready to concentrate (and it helped me a bit with studying). In fact, there exist studies that demonstrate how sleep-deprived individuals on creatine outperformed sleep-deprived individuals without creatine, in mental tasks. A drawback is that it feels like you can’t turn off at night.
[/quote]

Both groups were sleep deprived and the group with creatine could perform mental tasks better than the non-creatine group.

This study therefore shows that sleepy people can perform mental tasks better with creatine than without.

It does not show that creatine keeps you up at night. To show that, they would need to test people’s ability to sleep with and without creatine.

Sleep deprivation causes creatine stores in the brain to plummet which leads to severe mental fatigue. So it makes sense that creatine supplementation would help you to function given that you are sleep deprived. It does not however, cause the sleep deprivation.

Creatine is the most studied supplement ever. None of these studies show that creatine causes insomnia and neither is this listed as a side effect according to scientists and fucking medical doctors.

You may be experiencing trouble sleeping from creatine, but if so, then you are a special snowflake and there is not a scientific study to back up what you are saying. Sorry.

Were you taking a pre-workout? Were you possibly overtrained?

Also, how much weight did you gain?[/quote]

How about this?
http://www.cbass.com/CREATINE.HTM

So there is a link between sleep and creatine. I wasn’t taking any pre-workout supps, just coffee (though this wasn’t affecting sleep, since I always took the coffee in the AM). I wasn’t overtrained, since I was following a program made by a coach who writes for this website, and there were programmed deloads every 4 weeks. I even had these sleep issues when I took a bit of time off from lifting, and was using creatine to help me with studying.

I gained about 5kg in 4 weeks. I was surprised that there was quite a bit of lean mass there, since the last time I gained bw that fast it wasn’t good. It must have been due to the creatine.

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
How about this?
http://www.cbass.com/CREATINE.HTM

So there is a link between sleep and creatine. I wasn’t taking any pre-workout supps, just coffee (though this wasn’t affecting sleep, since I always took the coffee in the AM). I wasn’t overtrained, since I was following a program made by a coach who writes for this website, and there were programmed deloads every 4 weeks. I even had these sleep issues when I took a bit of time off from lifting, and was using creatine to help me with studying.

I gained about 5kg in 4 weeks. I was surprised that there was quite a bit of lean mass there, since the last time I gained bw that fast it wasn’t good. It must have been due to the creatine.[/quote]
Oh, so you do know how to use a search engine?

I was under the impression when I started reading the eleventy-billionth creatine thread on T-Nation that you couldn’t.

“The researchers didn’t attempt to explain how creatine might cause soreness, but my speculation is that muscle fibers packed with creatine may be more subject to damage as a result of heavy weight training. It also seems logical to assume that muscle soreness might cause restless sleep. Personally, I don’t sleep as well when I’m sore after a hard training session.” (not me talking, this is from the study)

This was also not a study linking creatine to insomnia. Please refrain from trying to use science unless you learn how studies work and the kind of conclusions you can and cannot draw from a given study.

I need to make a separate post just to be sure you understand.

Correlation
Causation

They should have gone over this with you in high school.

[quote]csulli wrote:
“The researchers didn’t attempt to explain how creatine might cause soreness, but my speculation is that muscle fibers packed with creatine may be more subject to damage as a result of heavy weight training. It also seems logical to assume that muscle soreness might cause restless sleep. Personally, I don’t sleep as well when I’m sore after a hard training session.”

This was also not a study linking creatine to insomnia. Please refrain from trying to use science unless you learn how studies work and the kind of conclusions you can and cannot draw from a given study.[/quote]

But what I described wasn’t complete insomnia. It was closer to sleep irregularity (trouble getting to sleep, and waking up in the middle of the night). From the study, we can perhaps conclude that creatine has an effect on sleep disturbance. This “soreness” argument isn’t sufficient at all, in my opinion. Firstly, soreness shouldn’t affect sleep much. Secondly, soreness won’t really set in much until the next day (after sleeping).

[quote]csulli wrote:
I need to make a separate post just to be sure you understand.

Correlation
Causation

They should have gone over this with you in high school.[/quote]

Don’t let’s be silly now. In strict logical terms, no number of studies is sufficient to completely conclude causation in a deductive manner. But, in practical terms, if there exists a study with a positive result (correlation), we can sometimes infer certain things (causation). I don’t like how you keep asking for me to provide studies and are now just saying that studies don’t allow you to conclude anything. If no study is good enough to convince you of anything, why do you even consider them at all?

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]Jaycuts wrote:
Well, you’re better off taking the creatine 5 grams a day. Take it WITHOUT you’re protein shake, the creatine tends to have a fewer absorption rate when combined with the shakes. Creatine doesn;t get you lean… it gets you stronger. Creatines job is to refuel the creatine phosphate atoms in you’re muscle fibers. Thus refuels your energy. Hence why is says increases STRENGTH,ENDURANCE plus you’ll gain water weight. Take the creatine with amino pills and a carb filled drink. Gatorade? Works perfect. Hope I helped.[/quote]
I loled every five words.[/quote]

x2

I take 5 grams of creapure before and after…overkill?

[quote]chobbs wrote:
I take 5 grams of creapure before and after…overkill?[/quote]

Meh, you’ll just pee out what you don’t use. Your choice. I’d take the 5 grams after and just save the rest for another workout.

[quote]wiggles wrote:

[quote]chobbs wrote:
I take 5 grams of creapure before and after…overkill?[/quote]

Meh, you’ll just pee out what you don’t use. Your choice. I’d take the 5 grams after and just save the rest for another workout.[/quote]

Arent creatine and beta alanine good combos pre workout though?

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
Don’t let’s be silly now. In strict logical terms, no number of studies is sufficient to completely conclude causation in a deductive manner. But, in practical terms, if there exists a study with a positive result (correlation), we can sometimes infer certain things (causation). I don’t like how you keep asking for me to provide studies and are now just saying that studies don’t allow you to conclude anything. If no study is good enough to convince you of anything, why do you even consider them at all?[/quote]

You establish causation via an experiment. That is the only scenario in which you conclude causation. There’s no such study yet for creatine and sleep that I have found. When you find a correlation between variables that were not the focus of the experiment (like in the study we looked at) then the scientist can say “hey let’s run an experiment to test this thing next”. So yes it is possible to establish causation and no you’re not supposed to “sometimes infer causation” from a correlation. I have a degree in statistics and design of experiments.

If you really believe creatine was the thing messing up your sleep then I’ll take your word for it. I am skeptical though because that is not the norm.

[quote]deadman1206 wrote:
This “soreness” argument isn’t sufficient at all, in my opinion. Firstly, soreness shouldn’t affect sleep much. Secondly, soreness won’t really set in much until the next day (after sleeping).[/quote]

I agree; I was just quoting that from the website you linked. It was the sentence after the one you quoted.

Thanks for your input, csulli. I appreciate it because, judging by your degree, you know what you are talking about.

I’ll start using it again and see if the sleep issues come back. Would you just recommend the standard 3-5 grams per day for anybody regardless of training frequency/style and size? I found that the book “Creatine: Natures Muscle Builder” has detailed information about how much creatine to take. Has anybody here read it? Would there be any extra ergogenic effects from taking a crazy dose for a while or would it just be excreted out? I’m still considering whether I should load or not. I know that if I load, the boost will be almost instant, whereas if I do not load it will take some time.

I really hope the creatine isn’t fucking up your sleep, because I am a huge creatine fanboy (as you can probably tell by how defensive I get) and it would suck a lot if such an effective supplement hurt your sleep (which you need for recovery!). If it is, hopefully there is an equally effective workaround.

I would say 3-5 grams is good for like 99% of everyone doing anything so yeah. I don’t really think loading helps (you’ll probably pee most of it out), but creatine isn’t too expensive so if you want to do some loading just in case more power to ya.