Long Off-season best practices: Creatine + B-Alanine Supplementation

After some deliberation, I decided to include Creatine in my supplement stack for the off-season. I’m coming from one of my most successful seasons and looking for additive marginal improvements, given that I’m probably close to the limit in hours per year.

58 y/o
VO2max 62 mL/kg/min
FTP 260w
Weight: 137-141 lbs
Body Fat 10-12%
Cycling only Training Hours 2022:350h, 2023~400h

Main Considerations:

  1. Weight is important for me, I will not do the traditional accelerating loading phase, instead a consistent 3g dosage daily, expecting to complete the slow loading in about 30days and stay there. Also, stopping the supplementation 6 weeks before competition.

  2. Muscle building is very important for me, so the hope is that Creatine will help support weightlifting, power yoga, snowboarding, uphill skiing, Nordic ski and trail running. I expect to average 12-15h of total activity during the off-season.

  3. There’s no solid evidence for optimal timing of intake, so I will not bother with this and just take it after the hard workout of the day.

Here’s a link to the main articles I found relevant if somebody else wants to incorporate creatine:

Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show?

Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021

Creatine supplementation and endurance performance: surges and sprints to win the race

The balance of evidence for benefits bs side effects strongly favores supplementation for me. Your mileage might vary.



Please keep us updated, I’ve not tried creatine. However in the last decade+ since turning 50, I seem to put muscle on easily if I simply eat enough protein. Right now I’m completely blown away by my 3x per week kettlebell routine, in terms of body comp improvements, overall feelings (like I’m in my thirties again), and durability improvements on the bike.


Do you have a routine you could recommend (free or purchase videos). I’ve been using cyclo core for the last 10 years and tried getting the kettle bell video but seems it isn’t available anymore.

Don’t want to sidetrack this thread but here is the short version of what I do… watch the two videos here: Starting over at 50: Order of operations to protect limited supply of "matches"? - #3 by WindWarrior and currently my basic 25-min routine is 2 sets of round the worlds, 2 sets of halos, 2 sets of deadlifts (2 kettlebells), and 12 sets on-the-minute kettlebell swings. Once a week I do a full body 50-60 minute routine with more stuff.

Like everything, what is working for me, may not work for you.

3g per day? I am on 15g :slight_smile: But also respond very well.

1 Like

I was formerly a pretty dedicated powerlifter and took creatine pretty religiously. The approach I always took was consistent daily dosing of 5g, without a loading phase. I did not cycle it, took it almost everyday with a protein shake after my evening work, but I don’t think timing is particularly important.

Creatine absolutely works, but its not like a lifechanging supplement by any stretch. I found it seemed to give me a couple extra reps. You will gain 3-5 lbs really quickly, but it will mostly be water weight. I always gained about 5, but I was tipping the scales at 215 lbs back then. I don’t think you will see any benefits for cardio based activities, as I always found the benefits only noticeable for particularly heavy lifting.

I also plan to get back on the creatine this off-season as I am mixing it up with a return to more intensive weightlifting. Hoping to get some of those lifts back but at my lower cycling weight of 185! Will report back with my experience, haven’t taken creatine in a few years now.


This just came out but I haven’t listened to it yet. I lift 2 days a week usually and take creatine daily, mostly for overall health. If I have a race, I’ll also stop taking creatine a week before the event to get rid of the excess water weight. I also can’t say it’s changed my life but all the benefits make me think why not use it.

1 Like

Beta-alanine? Personally feel it working at least as well as creatine, no such water retention.

When I’ve used creatine it has been with beta-alanine. I would split the dose into three and take it morning, afternoon, night. It was 1.5g / dose of creatine (4.5g total per day at 62kg body weight). I split the doses to avoid the paresthesia (tingles) that beta-alanine can cause.

When I’m thinking about strength training, I try to eat a bit more protein too. My wife is really good about diet, and she strength trains year-round, so she just pushes more protein at me and I eat it. Great system if you can get it (LOL).

When supplementing with CA, I observed the following: (a) water weight gain of 3-5 pounds. Goes away quickly upon stopping supplement intake. (b) Slight improvement in strength training performance, mostly ‘explosive’ stuff, but nothing dramatic overall. (c) No obvious benefit to endurance cycling performance during or after supplementation. (d) I think I was a little leaner, but could be imagination or result of the weight lifting. Seems fairly consistent with what is in the literature.

TL;DR - Your plan is solid. Good luck and hope you are on the Uber-Responder end of the curve and get a nice result.

1 Like

Been taking a bit less than 5g daily for a week. No loading phase.

I feel like no loading dose and cycling creatine are just routes to spend more money on creatine and spend less time benifiting from the effects.

But don’t underestimate the cognitive benefits.

Or the requirement for hydration. I gave myself a kidney stone last year and creatine played a role in the dehydration!

1 Like

Good reminder

No weight gain, 4-5 weeks of patience

I take creatine up until 2 weeks before any A race. I use it for the cognitive benefits and I lift most of the year also.
I lost 3 pounds before my event when I stopped using it. It could be different from person to person but that’s usually what I lose when I stop taking it.

1 Like

I have yet to find any convincing research that concludes that changing the loading for creatine meaningfully impacts the weight retention.

Water follows solutes. If the solutes come slowly the water comes slowly, but slowing the process down doesn’t change the osmotic challenge presented to the extracellular fluid?


You don’t need to read it. If you have a meticulous way to control for variables, just do it and compare.

I’m not sure about the scientific robustness of controlling within n=1, but do you understand why creatine causes water retention?

1 Like

Well, I’m sure you understand the variability of results around large scale interventions. You have to try for yourself.

I will report here if the mechanistic process you allide, implies I eventually gain the weight or not.

I am in day 4 of the 7 day loading period, taking 20g/day, to be brought down to 5g/day once the loading is complete.

My weight is up 0.8lbs during this time, but it is impossible to know if that’s attributed to creatine, food volume, salt, stress, sleep, or the other myriad of factors impacting weight.

1 Like

1-2 lbs weight gain so far. Feeling very strong on the lifts.

1 Like

Long time creatine user here, 5g a day most days (except when traveling or it’s just too much of a pain to pack something else). I’ve had no noticeable weight gain or loss when I cycle on and off. Last year I cycled off for my big A events, I probably won’t this year.

1 Like