Should You Take Creatine on Off Days?

By Walter Oconner | Nutrition

creatine-on-off-days-x

Creatine is one of the favorite and most trusted supplements of all, and the question “Should you take creatine on off days?” is one of the most common ones people ask. In this article, we will give you our opinion about that particular question, but we will also share some information about creatine, explaining why you should consider including it in your supplementation. Stay tuned.

How to Take Creatine?

creatine-on-off-days-img3

Now let’s get to the most crucial question: What is the proper way to supplement with creatine? There are two “schools”:

  • The old your approach - loading phase - this approach consists of taking 20 g of creatine per day, to speed up the buildup process, “feeding” the supply in muscles. This way you top up your creatine reservoirs in your muscles, and then you are supposed to enter the “maintenance” phase, taking 4-10 grams of creatine each day. The loading phase should last five days, and you should spread your creatine in 5-gram doses throughout your day, preferably with meals.
  • Skip the loading phase - new school approach insists that the loading phase is unnecessary and that you should cut straight to the maintenance phase.

Both of these methods work, the one you choose is up to you. They both have benefits and flaws: loading phase will help you top up quicker, which will show faster results but might cause more bloating due to increased water retention. The “no-loading” approach will have no boating, but you will have to be more patient to see the way.

Although creatine cycling is popular, since people believe you can become tolerant to its effects, research does not say the same. However, like with any supplements, cycling is a good idea, and if you want to get the creatine completely out of your system (before scooping it back in), cycle 8-12 weeks on with 8-12 weeks off creatine.

It is a good idea to take your creatine with simple carbs such as grape or apple juice (try to avoid acidic carbs, like orange juice), to trigger the insulin spike which will result in better creatine absorption. You can take your creatine shortly before/after exercising, or you can split your dosage through the whole day. The goal is to have enough creatine levels in your body to make you last longer in the gym.

Now, The Final Question: Should You Take it on Your off Days?

Since taking creatine is all about maintaining a steady amount in your muscles, it is a sound idea to take it on the off days too. Creatine is safe, widely spread and well-trusted supplement, and you should not worry about it harming your health. However, like always, consult your doctor before taking any supplements. Also, unlike many other supplements, creatine is really affordable, and using it in the off days will not hit your budget too hard.

Conclusion

In short - creatine is a good idea. If you want to supplement your nutrition and boost your workouts, you will hardly find a better option than creatine. It is always to go with the crowd, taking what everybody else is taking for years - experimenting with new supplements is not exactly the best idea, especially if you are not exactly sure what is in the pills/powder. With creatine, you do not have those concerns. It is safe, effective and affordable, and testing it and seeing how it works for you will not drain your wallet. Stay strong!

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14636102

https://breakingmuscle.com/healthy-eating/the-crash-course-on-creatine

https://www.myprotein.com/thezone/supplements/the-best-time-to-take-creatine-before-or-after-workout/#when

https://www.t-nation.com/supplements/creatine-controversy

About the Author

Hi everyone, I am Walter, Main Editor of CareHappiness.com and a Fitness Trainer with over 4 years of experience. I’ve also been promoting clean eating, a healthy lifestyle, and Organic products.