How Long Should You Take Creatine Before Cycling Off? 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. this means that all of your muscle cells have more water and therefore more weight. Personally, I’ve taken creatine for years and haven’t experienced any negative side effects. 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. When you take all this extra creatine, it fills up your creatine reserves in your muscles much faster. Load it up then maintain your levels. As you learned before, creatine can be used safely for up to 5 years, without a creatine cycle. After these two phases, you stop taking creatine for a few weeks, before starting over at the loading phase. These people then can use a lower dose of only 10 grams per day, but load this over a period of 10-14 days. Creatine is a compound that is naturally produced by the body to supply energy to muscles. Once you’re in this phase, you can continue doing it indefinitely. 8 week Creatine Cycle. Below, I’ll go over these factors more in-depth. Diarrhea 4. 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. Or, until you run out and need to buy some more. How to Take Creatine without Cycling. If you take creatine and start with a 5 grams/day dose, it will take a few weeks for these stores to become saturated. However, do not take 20grams all at once. According to the Mayo Clinic and other scientific journals, creatine is known to be safe to take for about 5 years. When you take creatine, your muscles keep stores of it to use as energy when it needs it. So, if you’re taking creatine at a normal dose, it’s known to be safe for up to 5 years. 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. While you don’t have to do all of these steps, doing them will help you see results faster. A single round of the creatine cycle should last 6-8 weeks, with a pause of 2-4 weeks (or longer, if needed) where you do not supplement with creatine at all. Whether you take creatine before or after training could amplify its effects. Thereafter, loaders follow up with a smaller maintenance creatine dosage each day. Since you’re taking much less, it takes a longer to begin working. It will take approximately four to five weeks for this to happen. Before taking creatine, or any other supplement, talk to your doctor and make sure you’re in a good enough of a condition. Ingesting creatine a few hours to the test allows you to dilute your urine several folds without tampering with the normal creatinine values. While creatine has many possible side effects that I listed above, there are some that are much more common than others. 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. On the contrary, creatine should be taken as part of the dilution method. It's no coincidence that we can find it in the top three of most people’s ‘essential supplements list'. Some brands of creatine might claim that their type will kick in faster, and start working right away. 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. Should You Load Creatine? Below, I’ll go over the most common ones. 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. Gastrointestinal pain 6. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Do I have to take supplements? Weight gain 8. While loading phases aren’t necessarily needed, they can do wonders for seeing results from creatine much faster than without a loading phase. If you aren’t getting enough water intake, this can cause the rest of your body to become dehydrated. This is because you can really take creatine for years at a time without harmful side effects. I wondered too, so I did some research. 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. When it comes to supplements, especially creatine, many people wonder about how long you can safely take them for. Along with those reasons, it’s common to think that taking a break from creatine will lower your chances of harmful side effects. The goal of supplementing on rest days is to keep the creatine content of your muscles elevated. Now you know how to take creatine. Creatine is a molecule that is produced from amino acids in the body and can be found in some meats and fish. A combination of daily dosage and term of administration dictate whether someone is in a “loading” phase or “maintenance” phase. The simple answer is that you can take creatine safely for up to 5 years. When used orally at appropriate doses, creatine is likely safe to take for up to five years. You can fix this simply by drinking more water or reducing your creatine intake. To get results from creatine the fastest, you should follow these steps. Because your reserves are filled up faster, in turn, you’ll see results from creatine much faster. A loading phase where you take typically 20 grams of creatine every day instead of 5, and you do this for about a week. Many people take supplements that include creatine, so if that’s in your pre- or post- workout drink, you should receive all the benefits. What is creatine and what does it do? Why 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. Once you find a time that works for you, take your creatine consistently at this time. Many people associate creatine loading phases with creatine cycles, where you stop taking it for a period of time, before doing a loading phase again. This being said, everyone is different, and everyone responds to supplements differently. Should You Creatine Cycle for Endurance? All the other standard creatine advice seems to hold up in this and other studies. Basically, do what feels right for you. There’s not much you can do to combat this, aside from stopping creatine use altogether. Finally, you can skip the creatine cycle. 3 Generally, creatine impacts your endurance, strength, and power. Below, I’ll explain all of these in-depth. Now the great thing about creatine is that there is no need to cycle. Creatine is the main energy suppy for muscles, it helps muscles grow and it fights fatigue in muscles. 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. 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. If you want to learn more about creatine cycling, keep reading this article. It’s called maintenance because you aren’t adding to your creatine reserves, just “maintaining” them. When taking creatine, you can also experience muscle cramps. check out my article on every type of creatine. So, how long does creatine take to start working? If you take creatine in high doses for a long period of time, you could incur damage to your liver, kidneys, and heart. How long can you take creatine for without any harmful side effects? 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. As you start taking creatine, the creatine reserves will slowly start to fill, and depending on which method of taking creatine, the time it’ll take to fill the reserves will vary. If you want more info, here’s an article I wrote on whether or not you need to cycle creatine. 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. Loading phases aren’t necessary at all, but they are helpful for speeding up the process. Creatine plays an important role in energy production in the body. This is because you’re taking 4 times as much creatine every day, which fills up your creatine reserves very fast. Creatine can do a lot for your workout, especially if taken at the right time. There is no data showing that you need to cycle creatine, even when you’re taking it long term. Myths are spread by companies in order to make more money, even if they have no basis in truth. Optimal dosing still appears to be between 3-5 grams per day. 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. 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 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. Phase 2: Take 5 grams of creatine every day. In fact, I wrote about my favorite creatine and why it’s the best, so check out my recommendation next. If you don’t do a loading phase, you’ll start off in the maintenance phase. It all comes down to when it’s most convenient for you, and what feels right for you. If it makes you feel sick taking it early in the morning try it some other time. Any supplement, creatine included, can cause stomach pain. Some pre-workout drinks contain creatine along with other stimulants. Creatine is safe for use for years at a time without cycling it. Creatine monohydrate is tried and tested, and it’ll get you to results faster than any other form of creatine. Mark McManus . You know the doses, the cycles, and the best type of creatine to take. And as discussed above, there have been no negative side-effects found with the daily, prolonged use. Creatine is great, and you can take it for a long time without side effects if you get the right brand. Your muscles are going to require that creatine almost immediately, so why not take it 30 to 60 minutes before training? And then you ingest 3-5 grams a day after that to maintain the elevated creatine stores. Most people have a preference for when they take creatine. How Do You Take Creatine? 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. 2) Take 7 Grams of Creatine Every Day, for 7 Days (Loading Phase). Loading phases aren’t necessary, but I highly recommend them. 1) You can load creatine by first taking around 20g per day for 5-7 days. If you’re going to take creatine, talk to a doctor first. Can Creatine Cause Belly Fat? If you put in work at the gym and take creatine, it will give you some advantages with strength and muscle growth. After your loading phase, you go into a maintenance phase of 5 grams every day. This dose is typically divided into four 5-gram servings throughout the day. 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”. 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. In fact, creatine has been found to be safe to take in normal doses for up to 5 years. 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. Despite popular belief, it doesn’t really matter what time of day you take creatine nor what you take it with. Put simply, if you do a loading phase (20g of creatine/day), your muscles’ stores will be filled in about 7 days. If you’re only doing a maintenance dose of creatine (5g of creatine/day), your reserves will be filled in about 28 days. Supplementing creatine any longer than this hasn’t been studied yet, so you can’t be sure that it’s safe. In liquid form, creatine will be absorbed faster in the body than as a tablet or capsule. This nutrient is responsible in providing energy to the muscles in order to do explosive and quick movements. If you don’t know, here’s what creatine loading is. Creatine can help increase your performance during short duration and high intensity exercise —like heavy lifting and power exercises. 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. This helps you form a habit of taking it and makes you less likely to forget. Although a loading phase will allow you to experience the full benefits of creatine within a slightly shorter time frame, 2-3 weeks at the standard 3-5 gram per day dose will still get you to the exact same point regardless. 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. One of the best ways to see results from creatine faster is to do a loading phase. This causes you to be heavier, and for your muscles to look bigger, even if you aren’t actually any stronger. Forever. While these are some possible side effects of creatine, they’re not experienced by all users or even a lot of creatine users. The one thing I do have to say about timing is; whatever time you pick, do it consistently. Dizziness 5. Depending on your body composition, this water weight can either make you look more overweight, or more muscular. If you do do a loading phase, you’ll see results much faster than if you only do a maintenance phase. Most brands of creatine will claim that their brand has fewer side effects than other types. 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. Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor, nothing here should be taken as medical advice. These claims sound good, but they’re usually not true. Nausea 3. 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. Here’s where creatine loading comes into play. Instead of a 3-5 day wait, you’re looking at 2-4 weeks to get noticeable results. Creatine is one of the most popular and most-researched supplements in the world. Loading creatine is where you take up to 20 grams of creatine per day instead of 5, for about a week. So, let's take it from the top Can You Take creatine As A Beginner. Instead, creatine will take optimum effect if you spread the 20 grams to 4 servings of 5grams and drink them within a day. Train With Intensity! The second way to take creatine is to take a single serving every day. Choosing to cycle creatine has no proven benefits, and will only waste your supplements and make you spend more money. 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. 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. Cycling creatine supplements for around 8 weeks at a time is common. How Long Can I Take Creatine? I was wondering that myself, so I did some research. Optimal dosing still appears to be between 2 to 5 grams per day. 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. Companies that make/sell creatine push the myth of creatine cycling in order to sell more of their supplements and make more money. Kre-Alkalyn Dosage. If you’re short on money, I’d recommend not doing a loading phase. 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. 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. 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. 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