IS A “CREATINE CYCLE” NECESSARY?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you already know about the significant muscle building and strength enhancing properties of creatine monohydrate.
It’s the most extensively researched sports supplement in history and the most powerful natural muscle building compound currently available.
Due to its huge popularity, a lot of confusion has arisen in regards to proper creatine supplementation.
This ranges from the best forms of creatine to take, to specific timing, to optimal dosing protocols and everything in between.
Another hugely debated topic is on the issue of creatine cycling.
What Is Creatine Cycling?
While there is no single agreed upon method, a creatine cycle basically involves a period of extended daily creatine usage followed by an “off” period where no creatine is used at all. The cycle is then repeated over and over again.
This could involve a creatine cycling schedule of 8 weeks on followed by 2 weeks off, or 12 weeks on followed by 4 weeks off, just to give a couple of examples.
Do You Need To Cycle Creatine?
While a creatine cycle is not going to hurt you, the truth is that it is unnecessary and nothing more than a waste of time and focus.
There is simply no good reason to bother cycling off of creatine if you’ve already made the decision to include it in your bodybuilding supplement plan.
There are 3 primary reasons why some lifters will perform a creatine cycle…
Reason #1: To ensure that their body’s natural production of creatine remains elevated.
Truth: There is no evidence to suggest that exogenous creatine usage causes any significant or long lasting drop in natural creatine production when supplementation ceases.
The enzymatic system involved in regulating creatine production is extremely sensitive and adjusts very quickly to increases and decreases in external creatine consumption.
Reason #2 : To prevent any possible adverse health effects, particularly on the liver and kidneys.
Truth: Creatine is backed by endless studies showing it to be completely safe both in the short and long term.
No adverse effects on liver or kidney function have ever been demonstrated, and cycling off in order to “give your body a rest” is completely unnecessary.
Reason # 3: To maximize the overall effectiveness of creatine supplementation.
Truth: Many users claim that they get better results by following a creatine cycle, but this can be chalked up to nothing more than the good old placebo effect.
Obviously when creatine levels are depleted and re-saturated it will appear as if there are “new gains” showing up, but this is nothing more than the natural water retention and strength increases that are produced as creatine levels build up in the muscle tissue following the “off” period.
The only goal with creatine supplementation is to achieve full saturation of the muscle tissue. Once this has been accomplished, that creatine will then be available for use any time you need it during a workout.
But there is a finite limit as to how much creatine can be stored, and cycling on and off is not going to “super saturate” the tissue and deliver any additional benefits.
The Bottom Line On Creatine Cycling
If you insist on performing a creatine cycle and feel that it is benefiting you in some way, then by all means go ahead. It isn’t going to hurt you.
However, based on the available evidence there is really no need at all to bother cycling on and off of creatine.
Proper creatine dosing is incredibly simple: just take 3-5 grams of high quality monohydrate powder once daily, at any time when it is most convenient (it does not have to be pre or post-workout) and mixed with whatever liquid you want (juice, tea, water etc.).
Easy as that.
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