When going off creatine....very noticable drops in strength

  1. When going off creatine....very noticable drops in strength


    Anyone else have this? I mean when I cycle on creatine (and I'm using like 5-10g of micronized mono) I get some great gains within 3-4 weeks, usually 20 pounds or so on bench. However it seems that when I cycle off I lose a LOT of the gains as far as the lifts go. I'm talking probably 7% or so of my max. For example at the end of my last creatine cycle I was doing like 10 reps @ 225 at the top of my pyramid. After 2 weeks of not taking it I was probably at 5-6 reps @ 225 with a noticably less pump.

    1. Is this normal?
    2. Anyway to avoid this (obviously don't take creatine but any other way)?
    3. Any better alternatives that give me real gains that I can keep? It's kind of pointless if I'm only strong will on creatine. I can't be on that stuff my whole life.....can I


  2. 1. Yes it is, I lose about 10lbs on bench and other people I know who use it also do too. Its completely normal. As long as your making progress prior to your previous creatine usage, even if its 5lbs higher, moving up is always a good thing.

    2. Use Heavy-Duty principles and gear your training somewhere more towards powerlifting. I don't do it too often because it assaults my CNS pretty badly if I do it too long. Supplement-wise even if you use gear the same problem would occur once you got off anyway. Change up training.

    3. Again adjustment in training. Creatine is non-toxic and completely safe, there's nothing wrong with cycling it. I usually do a 4 weeks on 2 weeks off routine for atleast a couple tubs at a time. That's up to you. I use micronized and its good stuff, and cheap 'Higher Power' from bb.com is a good cheap one.

    4. I also tend to lift more when I use a good stim. I'm sure its all in my head, but it gives me endurance/energy.


    I'll have to commend you though. Your in the right boat using monohydrate instead of the other non-sense out there.

    Assuming that your natural, strength and gains come at a slower rate. Just stick with the basics and you'll be fine.
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  3. try cycling beta-alanine on when you go off creatine. So the last week of creatine, start the beta-alanine so that it kicks in by the next week and I suggest 5-7gr per day because that range had the best results in the studies. It's not a budget breaker either with the bulk powders.

  4. I used to have exactly the problem you're describing. Not anymore.

    I cycle 3 days on at a higher dose and three days off. I experience no drop in performance at all. In fact, today was my first of my 3 off days and I set 3 PRs this morning. No PHs or gear either.

    20-25g of creatine mono per day for three days (broken up into 3 or 4 doses throughout the day). Nothing for 3 days. Repeat.

    Some people say this is too much creatine. Fine. Try 15-20g per day and see how you feel. If you get to day three of your off cycle and feel like your strength is dropping, then bump up your intake on the next cycle.

    Be sure to drink plenty of water.

    I bet if this is your only change to your routine, it will make the difference you're looking for.
    Last edited by EctoPower; 07-31-2007 at 04:55 PM. Reason: Added the water comment.

  5. You've probably got a couple of things going on when you're off. 1) you've lost some of the intracellular volume in your muscles so they are not getting the leveredge to lift as much (kind of like being able to lift more when you're fat) and 2) you might be fatiguing more easliy at the end of your workout b/c you have less creatine available.
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  6. Quote Originally Posted by EctoPower View Post
    I used to have exactly the problem you're describing. Not anymore.

    I cycle 3 days on at a higher dose and three days off. I experience no drop in performance at all. In fact, today was my first of my 3 off days and I set 3 PRs this morning. No PHs or gear either.

    20-25g of creatine mono per day for three days (broken up into 3 or 4 doses throughout the day). Nothing for 3 days. Repeat.

    Some people say this is too much creatine. Fine. Try 15-20g per day and see how you feel. If you get to day three of your off cycle and feel like your strength is dropping, then bump up your intake on the next cycle.

    Be sure to drink plenty of water.

    I bet if this is your only change to your routine, it will make the difference you're looking for.
    I have my doubts about this though. I'm not saying I don't believe you, but I'd be curious to see what happens if you take 2 months off creatine altogether. My theory is that you'll lose just like I did. I think the reason you are not losing the strength during your 3 days off is b/c the creatine has not totally left your body yet. So you are never really "off" creatine. It's just my theory though and I was wrong one other time in my life

  7. Yea, I hate going off creatine, lose alot of strength too. Try to keep your reps really low to keep as much strength as you can, don't drop the weight just to get the same amount of reps.

  8. I'm telling ya, just cycle between beta-alanine and creatine. cheap and effective.

  9. I second the beta alanine. Good stuff.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by TheNinja View Post
    I have my doubts about this though. I'm not saying I don't believe you, but I'd be curious to see what happens if you take 2 months off creatine altogether. My theory is that you'll lose just like I did. I think the reason you are not losing the strength during your 3 days off is b/c the creatine has not totally left your body yet. So you are never really "off" creatine. It's just my theory though and I was wrong one other time in my life
    Yeah, this is basically the point. I never have a decrease in strength because I always have enough enough creatine available in my muscles to make a difference. When I've gone off creatine for longer, I lose about 3 pounds of water weight by about day 5 and have a noticeable decrease in strength probably in week 2 or so. So this method is ideal because I always have an effective amount of creatine in my muscles, but I also don't get "burnt out" on creatine by taking a high dose for too long.

    So, this is basically an answer to your original question. Yes, you can take CM for your whole life (at least until you stop weight training) and this is an effective method for avoiding the decrease in strength. Don't take my word for it. Here's an extract from an article by Dr. Paul Cribb at www.ast-ss.com:

    a scientific study was with a 2week loading phase then 8 weeks 3-5g maintenance dose... after 8 weeks creatine levels were lower than before the men started the trial!!

    Achieving a high concentration of creatine within muscle is essential to triggering a powerful anabolic effect at the cellular level. However, it is clear that the traditional dosage pattern fails to maintain high muscle creatine concentrations over a longer period of time (6 to 12 weeks).

    1. Volek et al. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 31: 1147-1156, 1999.

    2. Cribb et al. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 35: S400, A2239, 2003

    3. Cribb et al. Presented at The Australian Association of Exercise and Sports Science Conference, April, 2004

    Excessive loading (the traditional way) may cause creatine saturation outside the cell that prevents effective muscle uptake for weeks or even months! [4]

    4. Guerrero-Ontivers, M.L. and Wallimann, T. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. 184: 427-437, 1998.

    A small maintenance dose is futile at maintaining high muscle creatine concentrations. Using a small dose after loading ensures that high muscle creatine concentrations disappear within 6 weeks![5]

    5. Van Loon et al. Clinical Science 104:153?162. 2003

    For more on that, go to their website and search "creatine cycling." Good luck Ninja.

  11. I have used Beta Alanine before, but not to the point where it is substantial...what is it, like a minimum of 5 weeks up to 12 weeks ?

    A 1000g of Beta-Alanine will cost you atleast 50-60 bucks bulk. Then you gotta wait, wait, wait for your carosine levels to increase, etc, etc. Then you gotta take it everyday or else it won't work.

    A 1000g of micronized creatine you can get a bb.com for $19.99. Yup same amount, 1000g. How long does it take creatine to work ? Maybe a week or so, not 5. If you miss a day of creatine it won't just lose its effect. Let's be honest, we have busy lives. If I stop taking Beta-Alanine for 1.5 weeks then I'm already up sh-t creek. If I stop taking creatine for 1.5 weeks, then I hop back on the bandwagon and get back into play.

    I'm not speaking in terms of Beta-Alanine's effectiveness because I've never tried it long enough to make it worthwhile. The cost/benefit ratio is not something I can justify, because at that price that like 3x tubs of creatine I could get. essentially 3,000g for $50-60.


    I gotta say though, I really like that 'termites crawling under my skin' feeling with Beta-Alanine. Very nice.

  12. Something else to keep in mind is that recent studies show that supplementation immediately pre-workout MAY be beneficial. Here's the thing: to replenish creatine stores, it doesn't really matter when you take it. But if you take it pre-workout, it may do more than simply replenish stores, it may actually provide added benefit as it circulates throughout the body.

    I take it pre-workout three times a week now, about to go off.

  13. Yeah def. poison. I take it twice a day. 10g in the morning on an empty stomach when I first wake up, and 10g post workout or sometime later in the day if I don't workout.

    I'm a big believer in taking creatine after muscle training.

  14. ReaperX, what did you dose the BA at? because i dosed it at 5gr and then went to 7gr. I noticed a little benefit the first week and it got even better the next. Probably maxed the effect by week 3.

  15. g-train. I'm not exactly sure of the quantity of BA that I was getting due to the propriety blend of the products that I used. At some point in time I'd like to get a tub of Beta-Alanine and run it

  16. that's a good idea. I know it's more expensive than creatine, but it's still relatively cheap as compared to the majority of products out there.

  17. Quote Originally Posted by EctoPower View Post
    So, this is basically an answer to your original question. Yes, you can take CM for your whole life (at least until you stop weight training) and this is an effective method for avoiding the decrease in strength. Don't take my word for it. Here's an extract from an article by Dr. Paul Cribb at www.ast-ss.com:
    There's your answer, end of post. Don't cycle creatine, use it continuously.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReaperX View Post
    Yeah def. poison. I take it twice a day. 10g in the morning on an empty stomach when I first wake up, and 10g post workout or sometime later in the day if I don't workout.

    I'm a big believer in taking creatine after muscle training.
    20g per day is pointless, you wasting your money.

  18. Quote Originally Posted by DriverDan View Post
    There's your answer, end of post. Don't cycle creatine, use it continuously.


    20g per day is pointless, you wasting your money.
    I agree, the muscles are saturated with creatine after a dose of about 5 grams(depends on the persons LBM)

  19. Quote Originally Posted by DriverDan View Post
    There's your answer, end of post. Don't cycle creatine, use it continuously.


    20g per day is pointless, you wasting your money.


    That's not at all what I said! I said to cycle creatine 3 days on and 3 days off to avoid any decrease in strength. I said that you can do this indefinitely at the right dosage and you won't lose strength, you won't burnout receptors either. And the right dosage is 20-25g per day, which is not a waste of money. The only way that would be a waste is if you took that dose everyday indefinitely because you would burnout your receptors, rendering each dose less and less effective. Cycling 20g for three days, then 0g for three days works perfectly. Try it. You'll be surprised.

    And whoever would think CM could really be a waste of money? The stuff is dirt cheap!

    : : :

  20. Quote Originally Posted by EctoPower View Post
    That's not at all what I said! I said to cycle creatine 3 days on and 3 days off to avoid any decrease in strength. I said that you can do this indefinitely at the right dosage and you won't lose strength, you won't burnout receptors either. And the right dosage is 20-25g per day, which is not a waste of money.
    Since creatine takes a while to dissipate 3 on 3 off would work, but there's no research that says it would work better than 5g continuously.

    The only way that would be a waste is if you took that dose everyday indefinitely because you would burnout your receptors, rendering each dose less and less effective. Cycling 20g for three days, then 0g for three days works perfectly. Try it. You'll be surprised.
    Burnout what receptors? Can you cite research to back that claim?

    And whoever would think CM could really be a waste of money? The stuff is dirt cheap!
    I was saying that taking 20g per day continuously would be a waste of money since it's excessive and most will be pissed out.

  21. Quote Originally Posted by DriverDan View Post
    Since creatine takes a while to dissipate 3 on 3 off would work, but there's no research that says it would work better than 5g continuously.


    Burnout what receptors? Can you cite research to back that claim?


    I was saying that taking 20g per day continuously would be a waste of money since it's excessive and most will be pissed out.
    Here's all your research:

    http://www.ast-ss.com/articles/article.asp?A****243

  22. Quote Originally Posted by EctoPower View Post
    Looks like an add for some guys special creatine.

    Anyway at least in my body thats BS, I dont even see effects from creatine for 4-6 weeks, aside from bloat. Thats when the magic strength gains start for me.

  23. Quote Originally Posted by FrankJ View Post
    Looks like an add for some guys special creatine.

    Anyway at least in my body thats BS, I dont even see effects from creatine for 4-6 weeks, aside from bloat. Thats when the magic strength gains start for me.
    How do you figure that? Sure he thinks AST's creatine is the best, but that's typical of any manufacturer. Bottom line is creatine monohydrate is the same, regardless of brand. I don't even use AST's micronized creatine, I use Optimum Nutrition. The method works the same.

    He references the studies that are the foundation for this method, so he's not just blowing smoke up your *ss.
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