So are you wasting your money by taking creatine on off days, or doing something necessary?
I think that people who ask this question have a misunderstanding of what creatine is and how it works.
Ever hear someone talk about the “buzz” they get from creatine?
I remember one guy telling me that he took creatine at the same time as red bull and he went “hyper”! I was laughing on the inside.
Creatine doesn’t give you a buzz.
It isn’t a stimulant like caffeine. Nor does it supply energy from calories like food.
Therefore it is not a pre-workout “energy” supplement.
By supplementing with creatine you are simply attempting to maintain a high concentration of creatine phosphate in the muscle. (UK/European readers get your creatine here).
Here’s a quick summary of how it works…
95% of our creatine stores are contained in skeletal muscle. It’s used in the production of energy.
This energy is produced by Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and it is important to understand that ATP is essentially the fuel that the human body recognizes.
Now, there is only a very limited amount of ATP in storage at any one time, about 1 – 2 seconds worth. ATP therefore has to be continually synthesized.
High Intensity Bodybuilding like THT places a high demand on ATP production so the phosphocreatine system creates ATP by regenerating it from ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate).
This is accomplished by taking a phosphate molecule from creatine phosphate and converting ADP to ATP.
We therefore want to increase the availability of creatine phosphate, which will allow us to train with more intensity, stimulate more muscle fibers, and produce more muscle growth.
We maximize this availability by supplementing with creatine. You’ll typically cause an increase in creatine phosphate stores of 10-40% by supplementing with creatine!
For a more indepth look at this read, “What is Creatine & How does it Work?”
So now you know what you’re taking creatine for, and that it isn’t a stimulant of any kind.
Maximizing creatine phosphate stores can be accomplished by taking about 5g of creatine per day. That’s all you have to do.
Does this include non-workout days? Yes.
Remember, it’s a “top-up”, so yes this includes non-training days. You may be able to get away with a little less e.g. 3g or 4g, but you should still take creatine every day.
After 8 or 10 weeks of continuous use, take a couple of weeks off.
However, a new method of creatine supplementation is currently being tested by MuscleHackers at the moment. You don’t have to cycle off creatine with this method. If this is the first time you’ve heard about this, read this post, “Activate Genes For Increased Muscle Size In The Next 3 Days!”
The results should be coming back to us in the coming days and weeks.
P.S. Over at MuscleHacker.com, Adam just blogged about, “MuscleHacking – it really IS for everyone!” – go check it out.