Over the last 20 years creatine has become well know and widely researched for its ability to increase strength and muscle mass. But there has been a myth that you have to cycle creatine that has stuck around, and although the dosage and timing of creatine is widely argued, the question of cycling creatine has been debunked years ago.
What is creatine cycling? The idea of creatine cycling is that you spend an extended period of time consuming large amounts of creatine, followed by a period of time without any creatine (8 weeks on , 2 weeks off). But this is not necessary, let me explain why by outlining some of the reasons people think we need to cycle creatine.
Myth 1. Creatine can be hard on the kidneys and liver: There are no negative side effects of creatine use on your liver or kidneys. The scientific literature is full of studies showing creatine to be completely safe for both short term and long-term use.
Myth 2. To ensure your body does not build a tolerance to the creatine and it loses its effectiveness: This simply is not true. The idea of creatine is to keep your muscle saturated with creatine for your body to use for explosive movements. Your body will never build up a tolerance to this, but it may seem as though it has because you may reach your natural strength limits.
Myth 3. To keep your body’s natural creatine production high: There are no scientific studies that suggest your body will stop producing creatine when an external creatine source is supplied for long periods of time. The system that uses creatine in your body is very adaptable and will take any creatine it can when required for explosive movement.
So there you go, there is no reason to give your body a rest from creatine and take time off, nor is there any reason to load up on excessive amounts of creatine. The goal is to simply ensure your muscle are fully saturated with creatine at the time of explosive strength training. Now there is a limit your body can store, so don’t feel the need to load up to make sure you have enough, your body is very good at moderating it, so just stick with 5g per day.