Creatine Cycle Necessary?
This is a common question that I usually get from newbies and it’s regarding creatine and it’s on and off cycles. Creatine monohydrate is by far one of my favorite supplements and have gained a permanent spot in my supplement arsenal over the years. If you don’t know what creatine is, it’s a sport enhancing supplement that increases muscular strength, improves endurance and helps to promote lean muscle tissue. There has been a huge debate regarding the timing of creatine, daily dosage and best form of creatine. But the biggest debate has to be whether or not to cycle it. So is a creatine cycle necessary, and will you still get benefits without cycling it?
First of all, for the newbies out there who do not know what creatine cycling is, it’s basically a period where you take creatine for a certain amount of time (most commonly 12 weeks on 4 weeks off) , followed by a period where no creatine is ingested. Then the process is repeated. I have read that companies may have used that as a marketing tactic to make creatine resemble the cycling phase of steroids, but then again there is no direct source and hasn’t been fully proven. Personally, I used to cycle creatine when I started supplementing it back in 2008 but since reading up on it and thoroughly researching it, I have found that cycling creatine is a waste of time and is not necessary. I’ll give you 3 reasons why I don’t cycle with creatine:
Reason #1: Have you known anybody that has supplemented with creatine, and in their off cycle, lost a significant amount of strength and some body size? And as soon as they cycle back on they notice huge gains in the first few weeks? The most common reason why people cycle off creatine is that they heard that it is more effective and produces more results when you load up on it again. This is a huge myth and is pretty much a trick. The reason I say this is: when you’re on the off cycle, your muscles naturally lose it’s water retention caused by the excess creatine, and when you cycle back on, your muscles become re-saturated with creatine and water, giving it that look that you have made huge gains from it. There is honestly no point in just losing the water retention and having to re-saturate muscles over and over again.
Reason #2: People tend to cycle off creatine because it is naturally produced in the body, and consuming creatine for extended periods of time prevents the body’s ability to produce creatine. This is creatine myth and there is no evidence as of yet to prove that supplementing with creatine for long periods of time has effects on the bodies ability to create it.
Reason #3: Creatine is harmful to the kidneys in large dosages and should be cycled off to prevent kidney damage. Just like how people think that too much protein is harmful for the body, this is completely false. Creatine has been proven by countless studies to have no adverse effects on kidneys and the liver. It has been proven to be completely safe whether it’s taken in the long term or short term. Cycling off to give your body a rest is not really needed, because creatine is safe.
So this pretty much sums up creatine cycling. If you feel like you should cycle off creatine because you’ve heard that gives you better results, or want to play it safe for your organs, then by all means go for it. I have not cycled off creatine for about 2 years now and I have not yet experienced any negative effects from it.