Creatine simply shifts water inside the muscle cells. The result of this is increased muscle size, strength and body weight. Although this is temporary water retention, the benefits listed can help a weight lifter overcome plateaus, ensuring progression with each workout. 

The idea is that when you consume creatine you will experience bigger lifts which can contribute to muscle mass gained, thus when you cycle off creatine you will have more muscle and strength than prior to supplementation. When you first start taking creatine, some users report a gain of as much as 0.5″ to each arm. This shows how significant the water retention is inside the muscle cell.

Adenosine triphosphate

Creatine also increases ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) levels in your muscles. ATP is an energy molecule that proves effective during anaerobic exercise such as weight lifting. This can typically result in more reps completed during sets, or simply being able to lift a heavier weight than usual. This isn’t just convenient for people pumping iron, but also for those who train for endurance. Shorter running times and faster recovery (post exercise) are both advantages to long-distance athletes.

Although creatine is used worldwide by many top athletes, including the great footballer Zinedine Zidane. it isn’t 100% perfect and comes with some less than desired effects:

. Boating (usually goes away after first few days)

. Dry mouth

. Headaches

These 3 mild side effects may become apparent in sensitive individuals. To reduce these simply increase your water consumption. It is important that when cycling creatine you drink more water than usual. This is because creatine can dehydrate your body as it’s function is to shift all water to your muscles – something the body isn’t used to.

Is Creatine Natural?

Creatine is 100% natural. It is naturally found in foods such as steak. In powder form you just get a larger concentration compared to creatine in food. Steroids, for example, are unnatural as you are letting the male hormone testosterone enter the body. This is completely unnatural and your body will begin to show this when your natural testosterone levels temporarily shut down after use.

Creatine Monohydrate 

The monohydrate form of creatine is the most researched and tested creatine of them all. A loading dose of 20 grams is needed for the first 5 days, then a maintenance dose should be continued (5-10g) up until 30 days, when supplementation should then come to a halt.

A break in creatine supplementation is essential in helping your body regulate your natural creatine levels. And by not consuming creatine continuously, your body won’t become 100% accustomed to the supplement, making sure gains continue with each new cycle.

Creatine Side Effects

In terms of safety, creatine is deemed okay. It has been approved by the FDA and millions of people worldwide cycle the natural supplement frequently. However, although it is natural and safe, in rare cases some users report some side effects. Read below for a list of possible creatine side effects you may experience whilst cycling creatine.


As water in the body is pulled into the muscles, this can cause overall dehydration. To help keep hydrated whilst on creatine, be sure to drink more water than usual. A minimum of 2 liters of water should be drunk throughout the day, but more is recommended whilst cycling the supplement.

Shortness of breath

Some users have reported shortness of breath in the latter stages of a creatine cycle. Although this is a fairly rare side effect of creatine, it is important to monitor this. Inside Bodybuilding has reported of some users experiencing notably elevated levels of blood pressure after taking creatine, which also drops back to normal levels once cycling off. 


Studies have shown that creatine in mice can cause asthma. I have asthma myself and didn’t experience any problems in this area. However, those that have bad asthma should monitor this for any change, should they supplement with creatine.


In conclusion, creatine is used by millions worldwide, including top level athletes, thus it is certainly safe to use and cycle. However, some mild side effects can occur (as mentioned) in sensitive individuals, although these incidences are somewhat rare.