Ready For Gains?

Targeted Hypertrophy Training (THT)


how and when to take creatine

I want to clear up any confusion about supplementing with creatine. This is the DEFINITIVE guide to maximally effective creatine supplementation.

In the past I have experimented with (and encouraged readers to experiment with) 2 different approaches. The 2 methods were as follows:

(1) The common method of loading for 5 days @20g creatine per day. Then 5g per day thereafter.

(2) 20g creatine per day for 3 days. Followed by no creatine supplementation for 3 days. Then 20g creatine for 3 days, and so on and so on. 3 days on, 3 days off.


If you’re wondering about this 3-day mini cycling of creatine (option 2), it came from Paul Cribb of and you can read about it here. Many of you experimented with this newer method, as did I, and found that it was no more effective that the traditional dosing pattern. For convenience then, it would only make sense to use the traditional approach.


Creatine Loading


Do you need to “load” with creatine? This is oftentimes hotly debated, but the short answer is yes. Yes, that is, if you want to reach maximum levels of creatine saturation inside the muscle as quickly as possible. Remember, what we want to do is…

Maximize the uptake of creatine by muscle cells to create and maintain the maximum muscle creatine concentrations possible

You would still get there without loading; perhaps after a few weeks. But better results come by reaching saturation as quickly as possible. How to load? Easy…

You could maybe afford to take a 3g-4g serving on non training days, since you don’t require as much muscle creatine without training.


Creatine Cycling


Should you cycle creatine? Yes, I think it is best practice to cycle creatine. I stated above, we want to “maintain the maximum muscle creatine concentrations possible”.

However, it may not be possible to maintain high muscle creatine concentrations over a longer period of time (6 to 12 weeks) [1].


Also, long-term creatine supplementation may cause creatine saturation outside the cell, which prevents effective muscle uptake for weeks or maybe even months [2].

So in order to avoid this, we cycle on and off. How to do it effectively? It’s easy. I’ll discuss this within the context of a 10-week training cycle – followed by a week lay-off as we do in THT.

(1) Week 1 – 8 – Maintain creatine levels with 5g per day taken AFTER your workout in your post-workout protein shake

(2) Weeks 9 + 10 – During your last 2 weeks of training, come off creatine altogether (2 weeks off in total)

(3) Week Off Training – Load creatine at 20g per day for 5 days (split in to 4 x 5g servings)

(4) Week 1 New Cycle  – Repeat step 1 above. Your muscles are now saturated with creatine and you’re ready to train. Maintain at 5g creatine taken post-workout in your shake.


Why load on that week off and not during week 1? Firstly, loading on your week off means your muscles will reach maximum creatine saturation levels just in time for your first week back to training!

Also, creatine has been shown to preserve muscle mass when not working out. Most people will not lose muscle when taking a 7-day lay-off (some people come back stronger). But just to be on the safe side, loading with creatine at this time will aid in preserving your hard-won gains.


The Best Type of Creatine


So now you know the dosage and cycling pattern. What about the TYPE of creatine.

Forget the hype and marketing. Studies have shown that creatine monohydrate is FAR superior to Kre-alkalyn [3] and creatine ethyl ester [4]. Basically, we want a form of creatine that does not convert to creatinine in stomach acid. Both kre-alkalyn and creatine ethyl ester convert to creatinine to a much higher degree than creatine monohydrate.


For more on studies about the most effective creatine, read this, ‘Creatine Facts: What Is The Best Creatine’. If you’re in Europe, you can get a fantastic (and cheap) Creatine here. In America, you can get a high-quality, cheap Creatine here. More awesome creatine stuff at MuscleHack:


Now you know how to take creatine. You know the doses, the cycles, and the best type of creatine to take. You shouldn’t have any further confusion on the matter 🙂 But if you do, just ask below.

Train With Intensity! Mark McManus



[1] The effects of Creatine Long-Term Supplementation on Muscle Morphology and Swimming Performance in Rats. J Sports Sci Med. 2009 Dec 1;8(4):516-22. Yildiz A, Ozdemir E, Gulturk S, Erdal S.

[2] Creatine supplementation in health and disease. Effects of chronic creatine ingestion in vivo: Down-regulation of the expression of creatine transporter isoforms in skeletal muscle. Guerrero-Ontiveros ML, Wallimann T. Mol Cell Biochem. 1998 Jul;184(1-2):427-37.

[3] Kre-alkalyn® supplementation has no beneficial effect on creatine-to-creatinine conversion rates. Tallon MJ and Child R

[4] Creatine ethyl ester rapidly degrades to creatinine in stomach acid. Child R, Tallon M: Abstract presented at 4th annual conference of the ISSN 2007.

Get Totally Shredded Fast

Get ripped at blistering speed without losing muscle and keep gaining in the gym. Also, you get your abs or you get your money back! That's the power of Mark's Total Six Pack Abs program. More details here.

Buff Baking Anabolic Cookbook

Extremely easy anabolic recipes with simple ingredients that makes fueling muscle growth feel like a cheat meal! Bars, cookies, pizza, ice cream...see pics and recipes here.

Advanced T.H.T. Training

A brand new workout including 9 x advanced "Shock & Awe" hypertrophy techniques to ignite pounds of new gains! It's "Game-Changing" time! Got at least 1yrs training experience? It may be time to go advanced! You've never trained like this before. Get all the details here.

Stay Shredded

Stay shredded all year – no more long cutting cycles. If you’ve ever gotten ripped abs only to lose them a few weeks later, you need to know the secrets of staying shredded without fasting and without giving up cheat meals. I’m ripped all year – you should be too! Details here.

Shoulder Blast Workout

In Jan 2019 a bunch of 'lab rats' tested the New Shoulder Blast Workout and gained up to 2.5 inches in shoulder size in 7-10 days! There is a very specific type of training stress that works uniquely well for the shoulders. You're about to target it...hard! More details here.

The Arm Blast Experiment

Gain up to an inch on your arms over the next week with new "hyper-intense" training techniques that literally force new arm growth. The workout is based on the results of an online study conducted by Mark from MuscleHack. More details here.

Chest Blast Workout

3 Workouts | 7 Days | Up to 3 inches in chest growth! A workout that will fry every muscle fiber in your pecs and literally force new and permanent! More details here.

The Leg Blast Workout

An explosive training package for fast leg gains! 1 week | 3 x 90 minute workouts | "hyper-intense" techniques = big & fast leg gains. Up to 3 inches in growth. See more details and testimonials here.

Get The Free MuscleHack App!

FREE for iPhone & Android! Just go to the App or Play store and search for 'musclehack'.

The THT workouts are already programmed into the app so you can track your progress to make sure you are packing on new slabs of muscle!

You’ll also get all my latest tips for free in the app!

Please help out Mark by making a donation - nothing is too small 🙂

MuscleHack is a one-man operation. Mark does everything here - the articles, videos, social media updates, THT workouts - all at no cost to you. Please help keep it all free by giving a small donation. Thank you!


I highly recommend MyProtein for all your supplement needs.




[et_social_follow icon_style=”slide” icon_shape=”rounded” icons_location=”top” col_number=”3″ counts=”true” counts_num=”0″ total=”true” outer_color=”dark” network_names=”true”]

You'll love your fast gains on THT!

Cool! Click here to take you to the download page. (or check your email for the download link)

You'll love your fast gains on THT!

Cool! Click here to take you to the download page. (or check your email for the download link)