How much creatine should I take?
You should take the smallest amount that results in a positive gain. By this we mean that if you find that 5 grams work – that is what you should take. Taking 10 grams will not produce twice the effect.
Remember what you are trying to do is saturate the muscles with creatine. You are looking to boost your levels by about 30% percent. Taking addition creatine once you have reached saturation is just a waste. Whatever you don’t use is just excreted as the waste product – creatinine.
For the average person 5 grams of creatine powder is the right amount. If you are using serum you will only need to take 2.5 grams of creatine because of the better absorption rate.
Should I do a loading phase?
Probably not. Everyone who sells creatine wants you to do a loading phase where you take 20 grams a day for the first 5 days. From their standpoint – the more you take – the more they sell. However, unless you are in a hurry to gain muscle mass loading is not necessary.
Studies have shown that people who load have greater gains than people who take just 5 grams a day after the first 2 weeks. However, after 4 weeks both groups are at an equal level. So, all loading does is just get you to the same point 2 weeks faster. We don’t think taking 100 grams in 1 week is worth it if all it does is shave 2 weeks off the process. In the end you are not going to have greater gains with loading.
What is cycling?
In the sports supplements world cycling is a procedure where you use a supplement for a while, then stop, then go back to using it. You go through a cycle of use.
Why do people cycle supplements?
Cycling first started with steroid use. The idea is that if you give your body a constant source of a substance – it may eventually get lazy and stop making the substance. In effect your body just relies on you to feed it the supplement – rather than making it. So, if you take a few weeks off from using supplement you ensure that your body will continue to produce the substance.
Do I need to cycle with creatine?
Maybe. Have you figured out yet that we never give a straight answer? The fact is that people have not been supplementing with creatine long enough to know if cycling is required. Our feeling is “better safe than sorry.”
You have nothing to lose by cycling and a few years from now you may find out that it was a good idea. It is always good to give your body a rest from any supplement. We find that a 2 month on and 1 month off cycle has worked for us.