What if I told you that you could activate the genes responsible for increased muscle cell volume and size in the next 3 days?
The best thing about it is that you probably already have the very thing necessary for this in your kitchen!
While every one else is searching for the latest CRAZY supplement to accelerate their gains, you should be using this one…
…in its most EFFECTIVE form and,
…in the most EFFECTIVE way!
Check out the following study title:
Global and targeted gene expression and protein content in skeletal muscle of young men following short-term creatine monohydrate supplementation. 
Yep, Creatine Monohydrate! I’ve already blogged about the fact that monohydrate is the most effective form of creatine, despite what some manufacturers would have you believe.
But in the above study, Canadian scientists found that loading with creatine monohydrate for just 3 days at 20 grams per day caused an increase in the expression of genes responsible for muscle growth.
Interesting to note that this study involved NO training whatsoever. The message is this: If you’re not already supplementing with creatine, now is the time to start!
Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I previously commented on a NEW way to take creatine that could prove to be MUCH more effective.
It also involved 3 days of creatine loading, which was followed by 3 days of zero creatine supplementation.
Because apparently the traditional dosage pattern fails to maintain high muscle creatine concentrations over a longer period of time (6 to 12 weeks). 
Also, the traditional loading period (20 grams per day for 5 days) may cause creatine saturation outside the cell, which may prevent effective muscle uptake for weeks or even months!
The above 2 points are according to Paul Cribb from AST.
Since the purpose of using creatine is to:
Maximize the uptake of creatine by muscle cells to create and maintain the maximum muscle creatine concentrations possible…
…Cribb suggests we do this best with short term ‘creatine loading‘ following by ‘creatine abstinence’ ad infinitum. The pattern goes like this:
- Load for 3 Days
- Abstain For 3 Days
- Repeat Steps 1 and 2
Theoretically this strategy accomplishes the goal of maintaining high muscle creatine concentrations and prevents what’s known as ‘creatine receptor down-regulation’.
For the sake of making this user friendly, you could use a 3-day on, 4-day off strategy, staying off creatine from Thursday to Sunday each week.
Where’s My Guinea Pigs?
Who wants to test this?
I’m looking readers who are willing to test this method and report back to the rest of us.
Here’s what I want you to do:
- From today, 1 Aug 2011, stop creatine supplementation altogether. This starts a 14-day wash-out period
- On Monday, 15th Aug 2011, commence the above dosing strategy. Monday-Wednesday at 20g per day. Thursday-Sunday at 0g.
From there report back to us via the Facebook group and/or forum, but preferably on Facebook.
If the response is positive, more people can get on board. If not, we can toss the idea aside.
But let’s not dismiss something that could prove to be VERY beneficial, especially if you see yourself as a creatine “non responder”.
As stated above, the best form of creatine is monohydrate, see here. If you’re in the UK/Europe, you can get 250g of creatine monohydrate for £4.59, or 250g of creapure creatine for £7.69. If in the US, Optimum Nutrition’s Creapure Creatine is a good choice.
Let me know if you plan to take part below and on facebook!
 Global and targeted gene expression and protein content in skeletal muscle of young men following short-term creatine monohydrate supplementation.
 Performance and muscle fiber adaptations to creatine supplementation and heavy resistance training.
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Cool. am just about to cycle off creatine anyway, been taking it for ages without cycling off it. I’m in!!
I am just coming from cycling-off creatine for the past 5 weeks. Started back up yesterday, out of pure coincidence. Already have my 20g in from yesterday, and will continue in the style of this experiment.
I’ll post to the FB page too.
@Rob. Awesome. Look forward to hearing about it!
I’ll give it a go, I’ll let you know how it goes.
I will give it a try. Thanks Mark!
But how long we have to follow,does there is any side effects,what about the water intake?
I think you have to write…. DO and donts OF CREATINE supplements,its very dangerous to the kidney of taken more than the actual limit
Best time to consume?workout and non workouts days
I told anoop balachandran of exercisebiology to look at the above experiment
Im down to try, sounds like it might be good. I’ll quit taking creatine today
Don’t forget to dissolve your creatine in a warm beverage before consuming – this will allow for better absorption.
Q—– I will try this method, BUT….my pre-workout mix has a small dose of creatine in it as most do. Do I need to stop taking this for the next two weeks also???
I am curious as to why you’re promoting this again when you already blogged and even tried this yourself back in 2008 and reported you found no differents compared to the traditional methods?
In your 12/18/2008 post (“updated and linked” in the post linked above), you said you sound no difference in the 3/3 load and the regular technique. Is it just the study that changed your mind?
@Sunil. I’ve blogged about those topics before, do a search here and you’ll find the articles.
@Matt, yes you would.
@Dean & Aaron. The purpose of the article was to mention the Canadian study. But since they used a 3-day loading protocol, I brought up the previously mentioned method. Yes I didn’t notice any difference, but I am only 1 person. I’d like to see what happens when a number of people try it.
Just an FYI…this post led me on a bit of a creatine post chase through your site since I just started back on it after a few years of not using it. I came across this – understandable you might have forgotten it after 3 years, but thought I’d point it out anyway: https://musclehack.com/my-creatine-experiment-update/
Gah, my bad – only read a few comments before I went on my search and posted mine; should’ve looked further down the page. I’d delete if I could…
@Josh – At least Mark knows we read his posts and take advice critically, as everyone should.
@Mark – Thanks for the reply. I’ll give it a try after the vacation.
Are we to cycle creatine 3 days on and 4 days off or is it just for a week? I’m gonna give it a try on August 15. What difference does this make compared to what you did in this article? https://musclehack.com/the-best-way-to-take-creatine-monohydrate/
But how to consume on non workout days,u had only mention on the workout days
You had not mention how long it should be taken?
You know how you stand in front of the mirror and feel like somedays you’re bigger, and somedays you’re not? That’s because creatine is an illusion. When you wake up, the water will have left your muscles and the creatinine will absorb in your kidneys. Stay off creatine, there are many better supplements out there without the negative side effects of creatine. Especially monohydrate, and especially at 20 grams a day. I’m disappointed in how many people you probably have trying this absurd cycle, Mark. Stay with the basics; your body can only utilize 3-4 grams of creatine per day.
Best time to consume creatine,some expert says after workout …some experts says before workout,iam confused 🙂
guys, read the info contained in the links above. You’ll find this…
How To Use Creatine Monohydrate
Take 1 serving 10 mins before your workout
Take 1 serving 10 mins after your workout with your post workout shake
Take 1 more serving within 3 hours of working out
Take 1 or 2 more (if necessary depending on your dosage) throughout the day, morning and/or night.
I’ve been following your blog for sometime, I’m quite scepital about too much supplementation, however, this looks like a interesting study. I may give it a go.
I to use some supplements and I’m looking into taking fish oils – at the moment I just take a capsule of 7 seas cod liver oil. What fish oils do you recommend? I’ve bought some stuff from Myprotein.com so I’m familiar with their products.
I’m trying to build a bit of muscle after some weight loss (I’m female by the way).
Can you load glutamine at the same time?
Sounds good to me to, Mark. I’ve got 5 weeks in Japan until I hit Hawaii for a month and I wanna look good for the beach and the ladies. I’m only doing the 1 full body monster 1 hour workout a week plus indoor rock climbing, so I don’t know how that’ll effect my results compared to the others. Anyway, I haven’t done creatine in a year so I’m going to start as soon as mine arrives in the mail since the Hawaii trip is so close. How should we let you know about results?
hey mark, a couple years ago you blogged and told us that using 3 days on and 3 days off of creatine didn’t give you any change in results…but now your promoting this and telling us to try it. why are you doing this to us man? 🙁
@Neal. 3 on, 4 off, continuously.
@Sunil. On and off days don’t matter. The purpose of supplementing is to keep creatine phosphate levels topped up. 3 on, 4 off ad infinitum would mean 3 on, 4 off continuously, indefinitely, long enough to see if it makes a difference. Plus, take creatine after your workout.
@Ola. At the moment I’m taking 3 x 1g capsules of Omega 3 fish oils
@TokyoJarrett. Give us regular updates on the facebook group. Even after you’ve started a few days, it’s be good to hear from you.
@StevenCarrabas. Read the comments.
I tried this and I am not sure if any relation for sure but I spent the whole night with very very very bad diarrhea! So bad I will not make a second attempt to see if it was the cause! This was the only change in
my very rigid diet but thought I would say just in case this is a risk…
@Rich. How long did you try it? The initial 3 days aren’t any different from the initial 5 days loading that is typically recommended. Maybe you’ve a virus working on you, or it’s a reaction to medication or something.
@Rich. I had the same issues back when I first started taking micronized
Creapure creatine. The issue was that I did not fully dissolve the creatine before taking it. It led to a very rough start, until I learned to take it this way (in which case you absorb the creatine better).
If you haven’t, try fully dissolving the creatine in very hot water (I bring water to a boil in a water heater), and then add the creatine (about 5-8g of creatine can almost instantly dissolve in about 8-10 fl. oz. of water).
After it is dissolved, if I want to have a hot drink, I just add coffee and liquid sucralose. If I want a cold drink, I just add a little more water (and sweet tea mix, or whichever you choose) and a whole lot of ice until it’s nice and chilly.
Many people experience digestive issues with Creapure if it is not fully dissolved. I’d recommend giving it a try.