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Creatine: Part II

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!

Coach Josh


  1. jeremiah /

    hey i have a question so i am guessing that loading is recommended to do sence it is everywhere else and u dident say anything negative bout it i also see that cycling is recommended so here is my question when cycling after u do the month of no creatine should u load again or just take normal amounts?

  2. There are actually different opinions on this. Personally, I don’t do another loading phase, but others do. It’s really up to you if you do or not.

  3. hey josh, so i have purchased my creatine and whey. I was just wondering like when should I take all this. for example, I was thinking of waking up, taking my whey, then my creatine before my workout then take creatine mixed with glutamine right after my workout, then have another protein shake before bed? Does that sound good or what suggestions do you have?

  4. Click on this link and your questions will be answered. Let me know if you have any others.

  5. Jose Ortiz /

    Hey, I’m actually taking the pills(AMP creatine 189), and I can tell that I’m gaining weight because I gained 5 pounds in a week. But I’ve been doing p90x and I don’t see much progression or size on my arms. So I’m starting to think that you’re right. They probably aren’t dissolving well. Should I try crushing them?

  6. No, don’t crush them. You are going to need to increase the amount of weight you’re using for your exercises. 8-10 to gain mass and 12-15 to get lean.

  7. Geerad /

    Hey Josh, congrats achieving your goals. I stumbled across your video and its got me super stoked to start the program. Just a quick question on creatine supplementation. This is my first round of p90x and I’d like to know if I should begin a 2 month cycle of creatine after completing the first training block, or if I should start the cycle at the beginning of the program to achieve the best results. I would think that it makes more sense to wait a month and start the 2nd training block with creatine but I want to be sure that I won’t be letting anything slip.

  8. If you’re looking to put on some mass, then you can start creatine now, but if you’re looking to lose a lot of body fat and get lean, then wait to take the creatine.

  9. Hey Josh – I’m on the skinner side, 5’11 165 lbs (particularly skinny in the arms, think string beans). I’m considering taking creating in combination with whey to build some mass. However, I don’t want to lose the ripped effect. Should I lay off the creatine and just stick with the whey?

  10. You can stay ripped while taking creatine, but it will be very important that you follow the proper diet.

  11. Josh,
    I just started my 2nd round of P90X,I want to put on some muscle mass and get ripped. I’m older and of course my body is different than younger guys. I’m 5’9-165lbs. I’m going to start taking creatine and I was wondering how much water weight I will expect to put on and will I be bloated or can I expect to get ripped while I’m on creatine (following proper diet and P90X of course)?

  12. You may or may not have bloating with creatine. Many people react differently to the supplement. You might put on a few pounds of water weight, but shoudn’t be too much more if you’re sticking with the proper diet.

  13. Josh
    by putting on a few pounds of water weight, will I be able to lean out around my midsection? My main goal is to put on muscule mass on my arms,chest and shoulders. I want to really work my abs to get to where I want them. I basically want your type of body structure. Will it be difficult to get ripped while on creatine or can I accomplish this goal.

  14. You can get ripped, but just understand you will retain some water.

  15. Derrick /

    Hey Man! So I should only “Load” for the first week I start on it, and then just lower the dosage there on out?, And when I cycle it, do I start on the lower dosage I was on when I got off? Thanks Bud

  16. Most people load for a week, but there are different opinions on this. I loaded a week, and then lowered down to 5g a day thereafter. After you cycle, start back on the lower dosage. There is no need to load again.

  17. Have you heard of Kre-alkalyn creatine? Do you know if it is as good as all the supplement stores make it out to be?

  18. I have heard of it, and it sounds like a great product, but I have never tried it.

  19. Jarret /

    Hey, I am planning on starting to take creatine soon. I am going to try the same thing you did for the loading. I was wondering if it would be ok to mix the creatine in with my whey protein after my workout, or should I have them separately? Also should I be waiting a bit to take it after my workout, or should I take it right of way?

  20. Whatever you do, make sure you take your creatine with simple carbs. I don’t think there would be an issue with mixing it with your protein, but I’m not sure if there is something in it that will break down the creatine into creatinine, which you don’t want. Just stick with mixing it with 8 oz. of non-acidic natural fruit juice. Also, take the creatine right after your workout.

  21. Jarret /

    ok. thanks for the help!

  22. Jarret /

    just another quick question that i forgot before. Is it necessary to take the creatine with a non-acidic juice? can I take it with just some water or milk?

  23. It needs to be taken with fruit juice because of the simple carbs in the juice, which help transport the creatine into the muscle cells.

  24. I plan to add creatine supllements and have the following options –

    1) Amplified Creatine 189 (pills)
    2)Cell-Tech Hardcore (My local GNC guys are pushing this)

    I am mquite confused as he said AMP pills will also work whereas the discussions above seem to recommend the powder form. Also each box mentions different compond – some mentions creatine monohydrate, the other mentions a mix of 2-3 types.

    I would appreciate recommendations if any. Or should I try something totally different brand?

    Thanks in advance.

  25. Josh /

    Cell-Tech is the best if you’re looking to put on some weight and mass.

  26. Thanks Josh. I did take a look at Cell-Tech and what I noticed is huge sugar content (almost 75 g per serving). My fasting sugar level is already high (around 110), would this make it more complicated for me. I am also fearful of the impact the creatine makes on kidneys. Is it worth taking a risk? or there are options that are available with low sugar content?

    Would appreciate your perspective. I would also be checking with Doctor just to be safe.

  27. Yeah, you will have to check with your doctor to find out what exactly the side effects of creatine are. However, from the research I’ve done, if you don’t go overboard with the dosage of creatine, you shouldn’t have a problem.

  28. Parker /

    Right now I’m taking Cell-Tech with my workouts and noticing its working tremendously. However, I still cant get that belly fat off. Would it be a bad idea for me to take Hydroxycut along with Cell-Tech during my regiments?

  29. Don’t take Hydroxycut! I’m not sure why, but there have been a ton of people asking me that lately! I don’t feel it’s a good or safe product to use. Also, if you’re having trouble getting rid of the belly fat, you need to clean up your diet and get off of Cell-Tech, which is for gaining mass.

  30. Luke /

    Josh, I have been using a product with a little creatine mono in it. So on cardio days ive taken 1g creatine mono and workout days ive taken 3-4g due to the supplement. I want to start taking actual creatine to boost it up to 5g. Should i be taking 5g on cardio days as well as lifting days, and since i’ve been “taking” creatine for a month, would i still be able to do the loading phase the first week before i cycle off at the end of the month? Finally, im drinking about 64 oz of water a day, is that reasonable to keep when i boost the creatine amt? Thanks

  31. Josh /

    You will not need a loading phase since you’ve already been using it. Also, I used to take it on cardio days as well as lifting days. Just drink as much water as you can.

  32. Matt /

    Hey josh,
    how much creatine do you take and when do you take it?

  33. Josh /

    @Matt. When I was taking creatine, I was taking 2.5g right before and after my workouts along with 8 oz. of natural fruit juice.

  34. I’m starting the P90X this Saturday. If I want to “cycle”, would it be right to take it the first 3 weeks, then stop for the rest week, and start again with week 5 and continue doing that? Perhaps it would be more beneficial to just do every two months like you said? I am not sure how long the cycles have to be apart.

  35. @Travis. If you’re taking creatine, most people cycle 2 months on a one month off.

  36. brennan /

    hey josh, i stopped my first round of P90X right before school got out (im 14) on day 78 and i am going to be attempting P90X again! i am very excited, but i am wondering.. at 14, should i be taking creatine (i am very interested in All American EFX Kre-Alkalyn EFX Pro) and would i have to cycle using this creatine? also, could i cycle creatine every other day so im only using it on weight/resistance days instead of every single day?

  37. @Brennan. I wouldn’t take creatine at your age. Really, you need to talk to your doctor before you begin any supplement.

  38. Joey j /

    What is the best creatine you suggest?

  39. @Joey. I just use a generic creatine monohydrate.

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