best creatineI’m really excited about sharing this new way of taking creatine monohydrate with you today! 🙂

It comes from Paul Cribb of ast-ss.com who has done tireless research on the subject.

According to Cribb, the traditional approach could be destroying

70-80% of the potential gains that could be obtained,

because the traditional dosage pattern fails to maintain high muscle creatine concentrations over a longer period of time (6 to 12 weeks) ( Volek et al. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 31: 1147-1156, 1999.)

Also, the traditional loading period (20 grams per day for 5 days) may cause creatine saturation outside the cell which prevents effective muscle uptake for weeks or maybe even months! Bad news! 🙁 (Guerrero-Ontivers, M.L. and Wallimann, T. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. 184: 427-437, 1998)

Apparently a small maintenance dose (2-5 grams per day) is next to useless for maintaining high muscle creatine concentrations. Using a small dose after loading ensures that high muscle creatine concentrations virtually disappear within 6 weeks. (Van Loon et al. Clinical Science 104:153–162. 2003)

So what is it that we want from our creatine anyway?
The goal is to:

Maximize the uptake of creatine by muscle cells to create and maintain the maximum muscle creatine concentrations possible

Cribb suggests we do this by way of ‘creatine cycling‘ but not in the usual sense.

How to Cycle Creatine

The principle is simple. We do short term ‘creatine loading‘ following by ‘creatine abstinence’ over and over again. The pattern goes like this:

  1. Load for 3 Days
  2. Abstain For 3 Days
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2

Creatine Dosage

The daily dose of creatine will range from 15-25 grams/day depending upon the size of the individual. If you weigh over Over 180 pounds, go for 25 grams per day. The are no further details unfortunately from Cribb on this but I think the following is a pretty good dosing strategy:

  1. > 180 pounds – 25 grams
  2. 150 – 180 pounds – 20 – 25 grams
  3. 140 – 150 pounds – 15 – 20 pounds
  4. < 140 pounds – 15 grams

This is a sliding scale so someone weighing 146 pounds might go for 18 grams of creatine per day. This is my guess at dosage for different weights so feel free to experiment.

How To Use Creatine Monohydrate

  1. Take 1 serving 10 mins before your workout
  2. Take 1 serving 10 mins after your workout with your post workout shake
  3. Take 1 more serving within 3 hours of working out
  4. Take 1 or 2 more (if necessary depending on your dosage) throughout the day, morning and/or night.

So theoretically this strategy accomplishes the goal of maintaining high muscle creatine concentrations and preventing what’s known as ‘creatine receptor down-regulation’. Down-regulation refers to creatine receptors in muscle cells becoming desensitized. The frequent ‘off-periods’ should prevent this.

Want a tip? Get A Calendar!

3 days on and off can be tricky to implement as it’s not a nice weekly cycle. You’ll need to mark out your days in advance. It’s also important to know that this cycle continues regardless of whether or not it is a training or non-training day.

Now the (slightly) bad news. If you are currently a creatine taker, I would advise an off-period before starting this. For the past 2.5 weeks I have been off creatine in preparation for this new method. Start to cycle off creatine for about 2 – 3 weeks to allow muscle creatine concentrations to lower in order to allow a re-sensitization for loading.

Note: Creatine needs water to work effectively. So along with every 5 gram dose of Micronized creatine, take 15 to 20 oz of water.

The bottom line is this: If you don’t already see good gains with creatine, this maybe this is the answer to your prayers. If you do however, then this could really help accelerate those gains.

My method has always been to first understand the theory, then try it out on myself to test for merit. If it’s true that I am destroying 70%-80% of potential gains from creatine supplementation, I want to know about it!

What Is The Best Creatine Supplement?

I am a big fan of micronized creatine monohydrate. Kre-Alkalyn and creatine ethyl ester have come along with great marketing campaigns designed to take your money. As far as I am aware there are no comparative studies that can be validated by anyone outside the companies that actually make these supplements. There’s a sucker born every minute they say, I hope you’re not one of them.

Let’s face it, if there was a supplement that worked 70%-80% better than creatine, we’d all rush after it and happily pay that little bit extra. Well, you may get these results by simply taking a great supplement, micronized creatine monohydrate, and executing a more effective cycling strategy.

I personally like AST ‘s Micronized Creatine Monohydrate but any creatine monohydrate in micronized form should do the trick!

Tell all your friends and let’s get some decent feedback on this new strategy!

Enjoy Experimenting. To Amazing Gains! 🙂

Mark McManus

Update: To see the results of this experiment, read this post

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