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Training With Creatine

Should You be Taking Creatine on Off Days? Does it Make any Difference?

Creatine Off Days

You may be wondering if you need to take creatine the days when you stop exercising. This is a complex issue, as there is not enough research corroborating that the use of creatine on off days is beneficial.

Some people maintain that creatine should be taken on off days too. They note that creatine does not function instantaneously as a stimulant, such as Red Bull, or caffeine; and it does not offer you energy from calories as food does. Creatine is not ingested before exercise to maximize your energy. It should be used consistently for certain periods, firstly to increase your creatine stores from 10 up to 40%; and then, to keep them stable so that you enjoy long-term benefits. The only way you can see any real difference is by not missing any of the proposed doses; if, for some reason, you skip a day at the gym, you should not omit to take creatine according to your creatine cycle. Just don’t forget that cycling off creatine is recommended as the safest approach. According to this, there will be some weeks when you won’t be taking any creatine at all; and some weeks when you will be required to consume specific quantities.

As long as you follow a schedule with regular periods off creatine and you do not have any special health issues, you can safely consume creatine throughout some weeks without any complications. So, according to this logic, if this is a week when you are supposed to take creatine, you can ingest the recommended amounts of the supplement on all 7 days; typically, this is 5 grams per day. You may want to reduce your creatine intake on non-training days of this week to 3-4 grams; but you cannot skip it altogether. For example, let’s assume that you go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; you should consume the recommended dosage of creatine for each of these days. On the remaining resting days, you can take slightly less creatine, about 2-3 grams; in this way, your do not put any extra strain on your kidneys. So it seems you can have your cake and eat it too.

Nevertheless, some experts argue that using creatine on your resting days is not essential. So far, evidence that creatine helps with muscle recovery is limited. It is not yet scientifically sound to maintain that creatine truly enables you to recover. Until further research is done, you are left to decide on your own whether creatine helps you recuperate. If you get the impression that it reduces your fatigue and soreness after exercising, you can go ahead and take it on off days; naturally, if you are not happy to mainly rely on empirical evidence, you won’t go ahead. In addition, you should not forget that the claim that you ought to keep your creatine levels high even on non-training days is not yet proven. Therefore, if you only want to use creatine for making more vigorous efforts during your workouts, take it on exercising days exclusively.