In a cycle, you’ll stop taking creatine for a while. Below, I’ll go over these factors more in-depth. Here’s where creatine loading comes into play. If you take creatine and start with a 5 grams/day dose, it will take a few weeks for these stores to become saturated. A high-quality supplement will ensure that you see fast results. While loading phases aren’t necessarily needed, they can do wonders for seeing results from creatine much faster than without a loading phase. Nausea 3. 8 week Creatine Cycle. However, there is concern that creatine taken in high doses is possibly unsafe and could damage the liver, kidneys or heart.Creatine can cause: 1. After the loading phase, you do what’s called a maintenance phase. Creatine cycling is nothing but a myth pushed by supplement companies to get you to buy more creatine because if you do a cycle, you’ll need to go through another loading phase, where you’ll use four times the normal about of creatine. Dehydration 7. While there are rumors of creatine increasing testosterone, or even lowering your libido, there is no evidence proving that creatine affects you sexually in any way. whether or not you need to cycle creatine. However, many are unaware of the creatine basics, such as what creatine is, different forms of creatine and how to use it. A loading phase where you take typically 20 grams of creatine every day instead of 5, and you do this for about a week. The international society of sports nutrition studied how protein synthesis is increased while supplementing with creatine.. There are other forms of creatine out there, usually marketed as “new and revolutionary”, but they usually end up being not as effective. Does Creatine Actually Work? Creatine plays an important role in energy production in the body. If you’re only doing a maintenance dose of creatine (5g of creatine/day), your reserves will be filled in about 28 days. While long-distance runners might not be very concerned about increasing muscle mass for running, i.e. Optimal dosing still appears to be between 3-5 grams per day. Not only that, but when you take creatine orally as a supplement, it elevates your body’s creatine levels far more effectively than diet and natural production alone. If you’re taking the recommended amount of creatine, you’re most likely not going to experience any harmful side effects, assuming you’re healthy otherwise. When it comes to supplements, especially creatine, many people wonder about how long you can safely take them for. To take creatine properly, you should take about 5 grams every day. 1) You can load creatine by first taking around 20g per day for 5-7 days. Load it up then maintain your levels. Loading phases aren’t necessary at all, but they are helpful for speeding up the process. And research shows that when subjects consume the same amounts of creatine HCL and creatine monohydrate, the creatine HCL is absorbed by the intestines around 60% better than creatine monohydrate. If you’re interested in that subject, I have another article about why you don’t need to cycle creatine, so check that out too. Dizziness 5. I don't think I've ever seen a study where people took creatine for a few weeks or months and then went off it for a period of time, only to go back to it again. The idea behind creatine cycling is that it gives your body a break from supplementation, you stop being as dependent on creatine, and taking it as a supplement becomes more effective. These claims sound good, but they’re usually not true. Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor, nothing here should be taken as medical advice. Creatine is usually taken as a powder dissolved in water. This dose is typically divided into four 5-gram servings throughout the day. How Long Should You Take Creatine Before Cycling Off? Any supplement, creatine included, can cause stomach pain. The second way to take creatine is to take a single serving every day. Companies that make/sell creatine push the myth of creatine cycling in order to sell more of their supplements and make more money. So, let's take it from the top Now the great thing about creatine is that there is no need to cycle. Before taking creatine, or any other supplement, talk to your doctor and make sure you’re in a good enough of a condition. The one thing I do have to say about timing is; whatever time you pick, do it consistently. While this sounds great, almost every type of creatine has the potential to cause the same side effects. The test involved cycling at 55% VO2max in temperatures of 39°C for 40 minutes on two separate occasions, before and after five days’ treatment with either creatine (20g per day) or placebo. Can Creatine Cause Belly Fat? The world of bodybuilding has been revolutionized thanks to the Kre-Alkalyn, which is another form of creatine. For normal use, you should take around 5 grams per day of creatine. This causes you to be heavier, and for your muscles to look bigger, even if you aren’t actually any stronger. While you don’t have to do all of these steps, doing them will help you see results faster. Cycling creatine supplements for around 8 weeks at a time is common. Creatine is one of the most popular and most-researched supplements in the world. And then you ingest 3-5 grams a day after that to maintain the elevated creatine stores. Some brands of creatine might claim that their type will kick in faster, and start working right away. If you choose not to do a loading phase, you’ll start with the maintenance phase, which will take around 28 days to fill your creatine reserves. How long can you take creatine for without any harmful side effects? Choosing to cycle creatine has no proven benefits, and will only waste your supplements and make you spend more money. If you don’t know, here’s what creatine loading is. 3 Generally, creatine impacts your endurance, strength, and power. This is one of the things that bothers me about the fitness industry. You have the option of doing a loading phase, where you take more starting off, which makes creatine effective a lot more quickly but isn’t necessary. A creatinine test reveals important information about your kidneys.Creatinine is a chemical waste product that's produced by your muscle metabolism and to a smaller extent by eating meat. Despite popular belief, it doesn’t really matter what time of day you take creatine nor what you take it with. To reach a state of creatine “maintenance,” supplementation with 20 grams for 5 to 7 days is usually necessary. Creatine can help increase your performance during short duration and high intensity exercise —like heavy lifting and power exercises. Gastrointestinal pain 6. Creatine can do a lot for your workout, especially if taken at the right time. Forever. Thereafter, loaders follow up with a smaller maintenance creatine dosage each day. Some pre-workout drinks contain creatine along with other stimulants. slimmer forms are more convenient on the joints and legs, making yourself lighter and able to take more pounding on the road, short-distance runners might find creatine useful for bulking up. Because your reserves are filled up faster, in turn, you’ll see results from creatine much faster. When you take creatine, your muscles keep stores of it to use as energy when it needs it. You shouldn’t have any further confusion on the matter But if you do, just ask below. check out my article on every type of creatine. Creatine causes muscle cells to intake water. One of the best ways to see results from creatine faster is to do a loading phase. I wondered too, so I did some research. Mark McManus . To break it down further, a creatine loading phase is where you take about 20 grams of creatine every day, for about a week, before you do a maintenance phase, which is about 5 grams a day. Creatine is produced by the liver, pancreas and kidneys and it's found in many foods especially meats. How Do You Properly Use Creatine? How To Take Kre Alkalyn and When To Take Kre Alkalyn. I wrote an article about my favorite brand of creatine, so check that out if you’re interested! Click Here For The Best Kre Alkalyn Creatine. Once you find a time that works for you, take your creatine consistently at this time. The idea that cycling creatine will help you see more benefits from creatine, as well as make you healthier, is only a myth. When starting to supplement with creatine, a “loading phase” … In the morning, before bed, before a workout, after a workout, etc. Once you’re in this phase, you can continue doing it indefinitely. If you do a loading phase, your creatine reserves will be filled after this week. The simple answer is that you can take creatine safely for up to 5 years. When taking creatine, you can also experience muscle cramps. Creatine is great, and you can take it for a long time without side effects if you get the right brand. Can You Take creatine As A Beginner. With that said, if you take creatine in a normal, 5 grams/day dose, you’re much less likely to be impacted by these side effects. The point of this loading phase is to get a lot of creatine to your muscles quickly so that your body can start using it faster. According to the Mayo Clinic and other scientific journals, creatine is known to be safe to take for about 5 years. It will take approximately four to five weeks for this to happen. This being said, it’s not some magic supplement and it won’t make you muscular overnight without any work. This can happen for a variety of reasons, mainly the fact that your muscle cells are physically larger due to the increased water. Why Take Creatine? If you put in work at the gym and take creatine, it will give you some advantages with strength and muscle growth. Creatine is a molecule that is produced from amino acids in the body and can be found in some meats and fish. If you didn’t know, animal meat contains creatine, so if you eat a lot of meat, you’ll have more creatine in your system already than someone that eats less meat. There is not one piece of evidence showing that cycling creatine has any benefits at all. The reason I started this website was to combat myths like this and provide information that will save you money, and make more progress with your lifting and fitness goals. I explained this earlier, so I won’t go too in-depth here, but this is one of my biggest problems with the fitness industry. While these are some possible side effects of creatine, they’re not experienced by all users or even a lot of creatine users. This method is based on the theory that when you first begin supplementation your muscles have the lowest level of creatine and can therefore benefit from the very high creatine dosages. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Do I have to take supplements? On the contrary, creatine should be taken as part of the dilution method. If you want more info, here’s an article I wrote on whether or not you need to cycle creatine. As you learned before, creatine can be used safely for up to 5 years, without a creatine cycle. All of your muscle cells have creatine reserves, which are only ever around 60-80% full if you’re not taking creatine as a supplement. Below, I’ll go over the most common ones. Creatine won’t make you fat, but it will make you gain water weight. There’s generally 3 protocols for taking creatine. When used orally at appropriate doses, creatine is likely safe to take for up to five years. This means that you can take a much smaller dose of creatine HCL to get similar results as creatine monohydrate. Kre-Alkalyn Dosage. My first tip: get good quality creatine monohydrate. Creatine is great, and you can take it for a long time without side effects if you get the right brand. This being said, creatine is probably the most studied fitness supplement that exists, so you can rest assured that normal use of it is safe. Supplementing creatine any longer than this hasn’t been studied yet, so you can’t be sure that it’s safe. Before, I mentioned that some people cycle creatine. Instead, creatine will take optimum effect if you spread the 20 grams to 4 servings of 5grams and drink them within a day. This means that it will take a few weeks for the creatine to start making and effect on your muscles. I’ll go over the differences between the two more in-depth below, but for now, that’s all you need to know. Depending on your body composition, this water weight can either make you look more overweight, or more muscular. Many people take supplements that include creatine, so if that’s in your pre- or post- workout drink, you should receive all the benefits. However, do not take 20grams all at once. Let’s take a step back and look at what creatine is and move onto how to cycle creatine and what the benefits might be. It’s called maintenance because you aren’t adding to your creatine reserves, just “maintaining” them. If you take creatine in high doses for a long period of time, you could incur damage to your liver, kidneys, and heart. Creatine is the main energy suppy for muscles, it helps muscles grow and it fights fatigue in muscles. Put simply, it really doesn’t matter when you take creatine. In liquid form, creatine will be absorbed faster in the body than as a tablet or capsule. In fact, I have another article on how long you can safely take creatine, so check that one out next! While these are relatively minor side effects, there’s always the potential of more serious side effects from creatine. 3) After Loading, Take 5 Grams of Creatine Every Day (Maintenance Phase). If you do do a loading phase, you’ll see results much faster than if you only do a maintenance phase. You can fix this simply by drinking more water or reducing your creatine intake. Creatine is found naturally in the human body, and it’s the most studied supplement out there, and it’s one of the safest supplements available to buy, even in the long term. this means that all of your muscle cells have more water and therefore more weight. This is because you’re taking 4 times as much creatine every day, which fills up your creatine reserves very fast. If you want to learn more, check out my article on every type of creatine and what their differences are! While your reserves of creatine may be filled between a week and a month, the time it takes to actually see results varies not only person to person but based on many other factors. Diarrhea 4. The filtered waste products leave your body in your urine.If your kidneys aren't functioning properly, an increased level of creatinine may accumulate in your blood. If you don’t do a loading phase, you’ll start off in the maintenance phase. Creatine is composed of 3 amino acids including glycine, methionine and arginine. Without a loading phase, it’ll be almost a month before your reserves are filled up. While you take it, your body’s own production of creatine will slow some, but it will continue to produce it, and your natural levels will return to normal if/when you do stop taking it. Since you’re taking much less, it takes a longer to begin working. As I just mentioned, creatine causes your muscle cells to retain water. This means that you’ll look bigger than you are, without actually gaining any fat. Along with those reasons, it’s common to think that taking a break from creatine will lower your chances of harmful side effects. When you do this, your muscles are saturated with creatine much faster, meaning that creatine takes its effect on your body and muscles much faster. In reality, creatine cycles mean more loading phases, which means you’re using more creatine. Once you start taking creatine, you can take it normally, or do a loading phase, where you take a lot more than you normally would before you go down to a “maintenance dose”. In fact, I wrote about my favorite creatine and why it’s the best, so check out my recommendation next. Naturally, your body produces about 2 grams of creatine every day. After these two phases, you stop taking creatine for a few weeks, before starting over at the loading phase. Heat intolerance 10. This creatine is used up, for energy, every day before it’s restored again. If you’re only doing a maintenance dose of creatine (5g of creatine/day), your reserves will be filled in about 28 days. Should You Load Creatine? If you’re going to take creatine, talk to a doctor first. You know the doses, the cycles, and the best type of creatine to take. Should You Creatine Cycle for Endurance? There’s a chance of some stomach discomfort, so if you experience that or any other side effects, lower your dosage right away. Regular diets provide 1-2g/day of creatine (found primarily in red meat and some seafood), which leaves muscles about 60-80% at their max saturation level. Week 1: 20g creatine monohydrate loading (5g servings 4 times a day) Weeks 2 – 8: 5g creatine monohydrate daily No creatine for 1 month followed by another 6 week creatine cycle In fact, creatine has been found to be safe to take in normal doses for up to 5 years. While creatine has many possible side effects that I listed above, there are some that are much more common than others. To get results from creatine the fastest, you should follow these steps. Creatine monohydrate is tried and tested, and it’ll get you to results faster than any other form of creatine. This means that the cells draw water from other parts of your body. When you’re taking creatine or any other supplement, a common question to have is how long it’ll take to start working. Personally, I’ve taken creatine for years and haven’t experienced any negative side effects. Your muscles are going to require that creatine almost immediately, so why not take it 30 to 60 minutes before training? Weight gain 8. Supplementing creatine any longer than this hasn’t been studied yet, so you can’t be … There is no data showing that you need to cycle creatine, even when you’re taking it long term. [credit: shutterstock] As the rule of thumb, you should consume 20 grams each day in a 5-day period. Since protein synthesis is one of the main factors for building muscle, you will see more muscle growth the sooner you start using it.. If you’re short on money, I’d recommend not doing a loading phase. 2) You can take 3-5 grams of creatine everyday right from the start. While your reserves of creatine may be filled between a week and a month, the time it takes to actually see results varies not only person to person but based on many other factors. This can happen for a variety of reasons but can happen when taking any supplement your body isn’t used to. Creatine is a compound that is naturally produced by the body to supply energy to muscles. The goal of supplementing on rest days is to keep the creatine content of your muscles elevated. A combination of daily dosage and term of administration dictate whether someone is in a “loading” phase or “maintenance” phase. You can “load” for the first 5 to 7 days to help saturate your cells, but beyond that there’s no benefit to taking large amounts. A creatine cycle is when you stop taking creatine for a while, before starting the process over with the loading phase. This is because you can really take creatine for years at a time without harmful side effects. There’s not much you can do to combat this, aside from stopping creatine use altogether. Loading creatine is where you take up to 20 grams of creatine per day instead of 5, for about a week. Loading is done by taking an extremely high creatine dosage for the first 5-7 days of supplementation (loading phase), typically 20-25 grams a day split into two to four servings. Whether you take creatine before or after training could amplify its effects. Loading phases aren’t necessary, but I highly recommend them. For the following period, you should take 3-5g of creatine per day as this will help to maintain your creatine levels (the exact amount you will need to have will depend on your weight). I wrote an article about my favorite brand of creatine, so check that out if you’re interested! With or without creatine monohydrate supplementation it’s a good idea to keep up a healthy exercise regimen that suits your lifestyle and needs. These people then can use a lower dose of only 10 grams per day, but load this over a period of 10-14 days. Water retention 9. While it’s fine to have a preference, there’s really no proven best time to take creatine. This one is a bit easier since there are only two phases. 2) Take 7 Grams of Creatine Every Day, for 7 Days (Loading Phase). Below, I’ll explain all of these in-depth. Finally, you can skip the creatine cycle. Most brands of creatine will claim that their brand has fewer side effects than other types. Phase 1: For a week, consume 20 grams of creatine every day. Now you know how to take creatine. Since your reserves are filled faster, this means that you’ll see results from creatine faster. I was wondering that myself, so I did some research. Ingesting creatine a few hours to the test allows you to dilute your urine several folds without tampering with the normal creatinine values. If you take it right then yes, creatine will work. Does Creatine Affect You Sexually? Basically, do what feels right for you. This is what’s known as a loading phase. If you want to learn more about creatine cycling, keep reading this article. If you choose not to do a creatine loading phase the only benefit you’ll be losing out on is faster results. Generally, in studies, researchers give people a certain amount – say 3-5 grams for a period of time (say a month or two), do some type of exercise study and write up the results. Otherwise, creatine loading is great, but you should only do it for about a week, before going to a lower dose of 5 grams per day. For example, a common approach is to take 20 grams of creatine daily for 5–7 days. How to Take Creatine without Cycling. What is creatine and what does it do? After the discovery of creatine, … While you can safely take creatine for a while, there are some caveats and side effects you should know about if you’re going to be supplementing creatine in the long term. Because of the benefits for building large muscles, creatine cycling is not typically employed by endurance athletes. This is an attempt to immediately super-saturate your muscle cells. To see results faster, you can do a loading phase, where you take 20 grams of creatine every day for one week, before dropping down to 5 grams per day. While loading creatine is very beneficial, it’s not necessary to see results. While you can take creatine for up to five years, doctors do have some concerns about its long term use. Myths are spread by companies in order to make more money, even if they have no basis in truth. It's no coincidence that we can find it in the top three of most people’s ‘essential supplements list'. This is a resounding yes! Stomach pain usually goes away after your body gets used to creatine, but if it’s too uncomfortable for you, stop taking creatine right away. And as discussed above, there have been no negative side-effects found with the daily, prolonged use. Again, your body might adjust to the increased levels of creatine, but if it’s too much to handle, stop taking creatine. Loading can be great if you want results quickly, but it also uses a lot of creatine in the process. Or, until you run out and need to buy some more. At the end of the day, creatine is safe for up to 5 years if you take a normal, healthy dosage. Muscle cramping 2. The time it takes for creatine to start working will also vary based on your weight, your metabolism, and how much meat you consume on a daily basis. A creatine cycle is where you do a loading phase, where you take about 20 grams/day of creatine, a maintenance phase, where you take about 5 grams/day for a few months. Any method of taking creatine will get you results eventually, but if you want results faster, follow these steps in order. How Long Can I Take Creatine? For loading you should be taking 20-25 grams per day split up into 2-4 servings, for the first 4-7 days of using a creatine supplement. Read my article on every type of creatine if you want to learn more about what all the different types actually do! 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