Ever since the first blog entry on creatine, I have had a TON of emails asking about specific details of creatine supplementation, and now I am going to address all your questions about loading vs. non-loading, cycling vs. non-cycling, and powders vs. pills and serums.
First of all, I want to make sure you all completely understand the difference between loading and non-loading. When “loading,” you are taking in anywhere from about 15-25 grams a day (split into about 4 servings) for about 1 week. Many weight lifters do this because they believe that when you first start, your muscles have very low creatine levels, and taking a high creatine dosage of 15-25g will saturate the muscles very quickly. “Non-loading” is just taking the normal creatine dosage (2-5g) right from the beginning and continuing that dosage for the remainder of the supplementation period. Here is what I did, and you can try this if you would like. I went through a small loading phase for about a week where I took in about 10g per day, but then went back to 5g every day thereafter.
Now, on to “cycling” vs. “non-cycling.” When you cycle creatine, you are on the creatine for about 2 months and then take completely stop taking it for a period of time, usually a month. People do this so they can have those “first month” results every 3-4 months. When I say “first month results,” I am talking about the initial increase in mass and weight that most people experience when first starting creatine. People also cycle because if you take creatine for a long period of time, your body shuts down it’s natural creatine production. Non-cycling is just continuing to take the same dosage of creatine for a long period of time. I highly recommend cycling because I tried it and it worked, and it’s the safest way to go!
There are 3 forms of creatine that you can take: powder, pills, and serums. Let’s start out with pills. Pills are the worst form of creatine supplementation because (1) They are more expensive, and (2) They are very hard to dissolve! Serums are absorbed very quickly, but are very unstable, which means much of it is converted to creatinine, the waste product of creatine. Powder is the best form of creatine because it is the cheapest and most tested and trusted of the three, and is the one that I have always used!
If you are going to supplement with creatine, make sure you drink LOTS of water. Also, I recommend that you mix it in water and drink it right away, because the longer it sits in the water before you drink it, the more it breaks down into creatinine!
If you have any other questions about creatine that I did not address, email me at email@example.com!