There is a time in which you will start getting interested in supplementing your body with all kinds of compounds and one of them is the good old creatine.
One of the most frequent questions that you can find around the internet and also in gyms would be: “do I need to cycle creatine ?”.
Let’s see the exact facts that will give us the final answer:
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most well researched supplement in the history of this supplement industry which is full of fluff, compounds and formulas that usually don’t work.
With creatine, there’s a different story because the majority of the studies demonstrate that it creatine works and approximately 70% of them are pro creatine as they show benefit to high intensity training with no negative effect and the remaining 30% found no effect at all (this is mostly in the case of the non responder groups).
The exact gains that were reported are approximately up to 5% increase in sprint performance, up to 5% work done during repeated sprint performance and average gain in repetitions to failure and strength of 5-15% (if you ask me, 5- 15% is quite a big number which will get more important as you progress to your intermediate level. I don’t even want to put the advanced level here as there are very few who ever reach that level)
Digging Into Loading
Whether you, as an athlete or a simple enthusiast, chose the normal loading phase of 20 grams/day for 5 days, 10 grams/day for 10 days or even 3-5 grams/day for a month, it doesn’t really matter because in the grand scheme of things, all that is important is for you to get saturated and maintain that levels saturated with 3-5 grams/day (research showing that if we drop the supplementation completely, creatine levels are well above baseline up to a month or so)
NOTE: if you chose the 20 grams/day or 10 grams/day approach, you should consider spliting it into 5 grams at a time with one 5 grams after the workout.
The final answer to the question “ Should I Cycle Creatine ?”
The answer is NO and YES depending on the situation:
The only suggestions that are found when referring to cycling creatine is because of a possible correlation between creatine supplementation and creatine transporter (or on normal synthesis).
Even if you look closely to the studies and it appears that creatine downregulates in animals the creatine transporter, this can’t be found happening in the case of regular people.
Even if we were to say that our body’s natural production would be downregulated by creatine supplementation, that shouldn’t be an issue if we keep maintaining our daily dose of 3-5 grams per day which will maintain a higher concentration of creatine phosphate in the muscles.
Most people that are haunted by the question “ should you need to cycle creatine “ don’t need to worry anymore because using it continuously offers performance benefits and no side effects.
The only situation in which you might consider cycling creatine is if you are for example a fighter and you need to get to a certain weight at the weight-in time so getting off creatine a few weeks before a fight would be a smart choice because creatine helps your cells to retain some water.
Getting off creatine means you will lose some water weight.
Question: When should I take creatine ?
Answer: Pre or post workout is fine, it doesn’t really matter as long as you take it
Question: Is the loading phase required ?
Answer: The creatine loading phase is not required, you can get your 3 grams/day intake for approximately 1 month and you will have the same levels as when you are using the loading phase or 10 grams/day for approximately 2 weeks
That being said, sharing is caring and getting NO BS information out there is what we should always strive to do.