Creatine is the most studied supplement in the world and it is closely followed by protein powder. Many people like to add creatine to their daily routine due to the significant benefits it provided for resiliency and the aid in muscle growth, but how long should you take creatine before cycling off is one of the most common questions we get.
How Long Should You Take Creatine Before Cycling Off? Most experts believe that the amount of creatine should be taken for 8 weeks in total and you should take it every day. However, they also state that when cycling off creatine, you should be off for about 2 weeks to give your body time to reset and open up some of the receptors.
There is a massive debate when it comes to creatine and many people have different opinions when it comes to taking the supplement. To better understand how you should use creatine supplementation, we should look at how the cycles tend to work. This article aims to give you an idea of how to supplement with creatine.
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What Is Creatine Supplementation?
We all have natural stores of creatine in our bodies, which is often stored in the muscle fibers. These creatine stores are depleted through everyday activity and this is where a solid creatine supplement comes into play.
Creatine can be defined as an amino acid, which is commonly present in the muscle fibers and the brain. Whilst creatine does not directly affect muscle growth or endurance, its primary function of promoting energy is what would enhance the ability of the fitness enthusiast to improve these aspects of their training regime. It is commonly used for strenuous endurance workouts and high-intensity lifting.
Why Should You Take Creatine Cycle For Training?
Whilst many people, including myself like to draw comparisons between creatine and amino acids, there are a few differences in the compounds. The one very similar thing is that your body does have the capability of creating its creatine when it comes to different amino acids. Compounds like glycine and arginine are known to convert.
This means that when you eat foods like red meat and seafood, your body can extract some of the creatine and store it in your body. The additional amino acids found in these food sources would also be beneficial and your kidneys and liver can extract the above-mentioned amino acids, which should allow you to create even more creatine.
The main reason for taking creatine has to do with the benefits it offers to endurance muscle growth. It does not directly affect muscle growth, but due to the way, it helps your body create more ATP (energy molecule), it can help you push yourself, which means that you can efficiently overload the muscles. When combined with solid nutrition like protein powder, it would significantly affect your training performance.
How Long Should You Take Creatine Before Cycling Off?
There is no set limit when it comes to creatine cycles. However, the most common idea is that you would want to take it consistently for about 8 weeks. Many people tend to cycle the creatine at this point. However, there are no concrete studies suggesting that it is needed.
How Does It Work In The Body When You Take Creatine And When You Stop Taking Creatine?
Before you take creatine, you will need to know what it does to your body and how it would affect the general theme of your body or muscle growth. In this section, I will share what happens when you take creatine for the first time and during the first cycle. I will also discuss what happens when you cycle off and what creatine levels:
Starting A Creatine Cycle
As mentioned, there is already creatine found in the body. It is estimated that around 95% of all creatine we have in our bodies is stored in the muscle tissues. Once it enters the body, the body would convert the creatine to Phosphocreatine, which is then stored inside the muscle cells.
As you start your creatine cycle, which is mostly creatine monohydrate, it encourages your body to produce more ATP. Upon working out, your body would use up the ATP found in the muscles, which should help you perform much better. Many people believe that ATP is the energy currency of the body, which needs to constantly be refilled.
If you take a normal athlete, you will find that once their ATP is depleted, they will need to stop and recover. However, those cycling on much creatine use could find that the ATP would be replenished almost immediately upon resting. This gives the individual more endurance and a better capability of performing workouts.
Cycling Off Creatine
Once you are done with your cycle and you take the recommended two-week break, you will find that the creatine in your body does not get naturally restored as fast. However, you should still have enough creatine in your body from the current cycle to keep your workout performance at the same efficient level.
It takes about 2 weeks for your body to break the reliance on creatine supplementation and return to the normal state. Once you have finished your cycle and you can start the new cycle, you would find that the effects of the creatine can be felt again. This is very similar to how cycling on and off from caffeine would work.
Benefits Of 5g Of Creatine A Day – Is Creatine Safe?
There are numerous benefits associated with taking daily creatine and we aim to help you see these benefits, which should allow you to better understand the functionality. Since creatine is heavily studied, it is also regarded as one of the safest supplements on the market today. However, here are a few benefits you can expect:
1. Improved Training Workload
One of the first benefits that you can expect is a massive boost in your training workload and volume. You should be able to quickly see the differences after the creatine loading phase in your workouts, which should allow you to overload muscles more efficiently. The creatine would help you to overload muscles more efficiently and improve your muscle growth.
2. Better Cell Signaling
Cell signaling is one of the features that allows one cell to send signals to another cell. The idea is that you can easily improve your communication between cells, which should allow you to activate muscles more efficiently. It also helps muscles to improve better, which should help with recovery and spurs more muscle growth.
3. Anabolic Hormone Activity
Whilst creatine does not raise your hormones in the same way that performance-enhancing drugs would, there have been a few notable increases. One of these increases stems from the rise in hormones like IGF-1. However, the increases are very subtle and might have a severe effect on your performance.
4. Muscle And Cell Hydration
Another important part of working out is to make sure that you have ample hydration in your muscle cells. One of the misconceptions is that creatine would force you to hold back a lot of water. Whilst this is true for the most part, creatine also helps to add more water to your muscles, which offers two main benefits.
The first would be that you have enough water to help the muscle grow more efficiently. The second reason is that you would have a fuller look at your muscles. Yes, the idea that creatine makes you look fat is not true. However, it can help your muscles look slightly larger due to some water retention.
5. Protein Breakdown Decreased
One of the biggest problems with many people is when they enter a catabolic phase while working out. Upon entering a catabolic phase, your would notice that your muscles start to shrink. This often happens when you don’t take enough protein for your body. The body would start to break down the muscles in an attempt to reduce protein breakdown.
With such a decrease in protein breakdown, you won’t be losing as much muscle during the catabolic phases of your workouts. You could find that it would take your body much longer to lose the same amount of muscle mass.
6. Reduces The Levels Of Myostatin
One of the most frustrating hormones could be myostatin. Myostatin is responsible for causing cravings and it could also reduce the rate at which your muscles would grow. Creatine has the unique ability to help you reduce the Myostatin levels in your body, this could significantly improve the rate at which muscles would grow.
How To Use Creatine (Creatine Loading And Creatine Maintenance)
Everyone needs to understand how they should use creatine. This does not refer to the first section, in which we discussed some of the features of creatine and how long you should cycle on the supplement. It directly refers to the dosages you should stick to, which include the loading phases and some of the issues you might encounter:
One of the most important parts of supplementing with creatine would be the loading phase. Whilst you don’t need to go through the loading phase, it does help the creation take hold in your body much sooner. For the loading phase, you should start with a dosage of 20 grams per day for about 5-7 days. You don’t need to take all 20 grams in one go and you can spread this out throughout the day in four batches of 5 grams.
The next phase would be to focus on maintenance and this would ensure that you have enough creatine every day to keep you going. For the maintenance phase, you should focus on 3-5 grams of creatine per day. Taking more creatine would not have any real benefits and you would probably find yourself feeling bloated and wasting the supplement
Many people believe that you should cycle creatine, but this is not always the case. Numerous reports suggest that cycling creatine does not have any significant effect and will not change anything in your body.
Many professional athletes would choose to stick to their creatine cycle for significant periods and they would only take a break during the off-season. However, some people I know consider taking creatine every day for the rest of their lives the way to go.
Ultimately, it would come down to what preference you have and how you feel creatine should work for your body.
Is Creatine Safe To Take?
Before taking supplements, safety is one of the most important things that you should consider. Some people simply do not care what they put in their bodies and this often leads to some serious side effects.
Fortunately, Creatine is one of the most studied supplements, and throughout all the studies, there have been no signs of any potential side effects from using the supplement. It is one of the safest supplements, with bloating being one of the only things often detected.
How Long Should You Take Creatine Before Cycling Off Summary
You must understand how creatine works and the functionality of the supplement before using it. However, you don’t always need to cycle on and off the supplement to use it efficiently. We would love to know in the comment section what you think about creatine and whether you have used it as efficiently.