Creatine After Taking a Break: Do You Need to Load Again?


Many supplements these days have complicated instructions, creatine included. I was wondering about this, so I did some research. So, do you need to load creatine again after you’ve stopped using it?

The quick answer is no, you don’t need to load creatine after not taking it for a while. Loading creatine can help you see results faster, but it’s never a necessary step for using creatine.

While you may not need to load creatine, I recommend that you do. It’s not necessary, but it will help you out. Below, I’ll go over why you should load creatine, but why it’s not necessary.

If you’re looking for a good brand of creatine to load with, you can check out my article about my favorite creatine and why it’s the only one I use. It’s not magic, but it’ll help you see better results in the gym. I got a discount code and put it in that article, so be sure to check it out!

Yes, You Should Load Again After Not Taking Creatine

BPI Micronized Creatine Monohydrate

Whenever you stop taking creatine for more than about a week or two, your muscle’s reserves of creatine are depleted. This means that you have just as much creatine in your body as you did before you started using it as a supplement.

Because of this, if you want to see results again much more quickly, you should do another loading phase. If you don’t do another loading phase, it’ll take you almost a month to actually see results from creatine.

If you do, you could start seeing results as early as 7 days from when you start the loading phase. Because of this, I believe that everybody should be doing loading phases.

The longer it takes you to see results, the more discouraged you’ll become. If you don’t see results after almost a month, it can be hard to see the end goal. On the other hand, seeing results faster helps you stay motivated and going to the gym more often.

Although, it’s almost never recommended to go off of creatine in the first place. Sure, life happens and you might miss a week, but you shouldn’t be doing creatine cycles, and I’ll go over why down below.

On top of that, while creatine loading phases are very beneficial, they’re not actually necessary. Without a loading phase, it’ll take longer, but you’ll see the same exact results in the end.

Overall, loading creatine is a good idea. It helps you see results faster and sets you up with good supplement taking habits. Below, I’ll go over a few extra things that you should know about before your next loading phase.

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You Never Need to Do a Creatine Loading Phase

While loading phases are very helpful, they’re never needed. All a loading phase does is accelerate your results and help you to see strength and muscle gains a lot faster.

If you skip the loading phase, you’ll still see the same exact results, it’ll just take a bit longer.

All this being said, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. Just because you technically don’t need to do a loading phase doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.

After all, lifting weights or even taking creatine isn’t technically needed, but you do them anyway.

While it’s not necessary to load creatine, it’s almost always recommended.

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When You Should Skip the Creatine Loading Phase

Creatine nitrate, one type of creatine.

While almost everyone probably should do a creatine loading cycle, there are a few situations where it’s okay to skip. Below, I’ll go over some of these situations.

If You Experience Side Effects:

Some people experience side effects when they take creatine, most commonly, digestive issues, upset stomach, or diarrhea. During a loading phase, you’re taking four times the normal dose of creatine.

This means that if you had side effects taking a normal dose of creatine, you’ll have even worse side effects during your loading phase. If you’re one of these people who experience side effects, it’s most likely not worth it.

While creatine loading phases are helpful, the accelerated results aren’t worth it if you’re experiencing side effects.

You Don’t Have a Lot of Money to Spend:

As I’ve mentioned above, when you’re on a loading phase, you’re consuming about four times the normal dose of creatine every day. This means that, during your loading phase, you’re consuming a month’s worth of creatine in 7 days.

If you’re going on and off creatine all the time, for cycles, competitions, or any other reasons, this can waste your creatine pretty fast.

If you don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on supplements, I wouldn’t recommend doing a loading phase. You’ll still see results without one, and you’d only be wasting your money and supplements.

You Have Bad Supplement Taking Habits:

If you have bad supplement taking habits, you should fix those before you do a creatine loading phase.

During a loading phase, you take four doses of creatine every day for a week. If you can’t keep that up consistently, it’s not the end of the world, but it removes a lot of the benefits of a loading phase.

Put simply, if you’re going to do a loading phase, make sure you can take your doses of creatine consistently.

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You Don’t Need to Cycle Creatine in the First Place

Creatine powder spilled on a table.

One of the biggest reasons that people are loading creatine is creatine cycles. On a cycle, you load creatine, take a maintenance dose for a while, then stop taking creatine for a week or two to “give your body a break”.

This sounds okay, but in reality, it’s a myth. There are no studies proving that cycling creatine has any benefit to your body. Whether it’s better results, or just being healthier, cycling creatine is not proven to be beneficial in any way.

The reason cycles are pushed so much by supplement companies is that creatine cycles waste your supplements. They make you run out of creatine faster and therefore spend more money on their products.

I even wrote an article about why you don’t need to cycle creatine, so you should check that one out next.

It’s fine to cycle creatine if you feel like it helps you , but you should know that they’re not needed or necessary. They make you do more loading phases and waste your money. Loading phases are completely fine, but I almost never recommend cycling creatine.

Your brand of creatine might make claims about how you should cycle it, or how you don’t need to load their type of creatine at all. These claims usually sound great, but they’re almost never true. If you want to learn more about these claims, check out my article on every type of creatine available on the market!Opens in a new tab.

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Related Questions

Is It Necessary to Cycle Creatine? No, you don’t need to cycle creatine. It’s mostly a myth pushed by creatine manufacturers to get you to buy more of their supplements. There are no published studies showing that you need to cycle creatine.

Do I Need to Load Creatine? While you don’t need to load creatine, it can definitely help. It’s not necessary, but doing so will help you see results much sooner.

Is Creatine Weight Gain Permanent? No, creatine weight gain is not permanent. Any weight you gain from creatine is either water weight, or new muscle being built. If you stop taking creatine, this water weight will go away within a week or two.

Pete Schenkel

My name is Pete Schenkel, and I've been into weightlifting since I was a teenager. Now, my main focus is growing Powerful Lifting and putting more information out there. In fact, I'm also currently working on becoming a certified personal trainer.

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