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  • AlexXSmith

    Endorsing (legal) supplements like this but “against doping.”

    • All the roadies stopped reading at the words “weight gain”.

      • jules

        lol I really did :)

      • Luke Bartlett

        crits tho

        • K-Bones101

          Works great for crit sprints

    • CapeHorn

      Interesting point, but then we need to ask the question – Where ‘should’ you draw the line?
      There is the ‘easy’ answer, which is how I think CT look at it – which comes down to the WADA code, is it illegal, or does it act like something that is illegal?

      If you just look to the other side of the coin, that this is a ‘supplement’, and could be seen as something that performance enhancing and therefore is on the grey side, then could you not start saying the same thing about other legal supplements? ie. We already have a small dose of creatine when we eat meat, and there is a benefit in some cases from adding more to the diet.
      But then again, what about beetroot juice? There are specific benefits that have been found if you drink beetroot juice before a race. would that be classed as a supplement, considering that the vast majority of people drinking beetroot juice pre-race would be doing so for the performance benefit and not the taste (yuk).
      And to take the example to the extreme, both water and carbohydrates are performance enhancing, esp. for endurance events. as part of a normal diet, the average person doesn’t think “I should be having 30-60g CHO per hour” (as it would be ridiculous for the average person) – but during a 6-8 hour race, your performance would be significantly worse if ALL you ingested was water, which would suggest, from that certain point of view, that carbohydrates are a performance enhancer. And then you could also suggest the same about water. but I won’t, because that would just be stupid.

      • 42x16ss

        It’s even more simple than the WADA code. Creatine is a component of the food we eat (unless you’re vegan). Just like Whey Protein (again, unless you’re vegan), or Magnesium, or Salt, or Potassium…

        I could go on.

      • Nomad

        That’s right; creatine is a dietary supplement and not a pharmaceutical – big difference. Creatine, and many other dietary supplements (e.g., glucosamine, amino acids, ZMA) are non-toxic snd safe to use. And if it’s not prohibited by WADA, then who cares about any ethic implications? And, IMO, if WADA was really concerned about the health of the athletes, they would crack down on these highly toxic corticosteroids & pain meds that athletes constantly use under the guise of the “TUEs”

        OTOH, medical drugs are toxic, particulary nephrotoxic (any competent nephrologist will tell you that). NDAIDs, corticosteroids, opium-based pain meds, etc., all toxic, and yet prescribing M.D.’s seem to be “silent witnesses” to the damage they cause.

        Prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S. (128,000 deaths & 2.7 million serious ADR reactions annually!):


        The FDA and it’s medical system’s allies will go after dietary supplements, demean “unproven remedies,” and generally take every possible opportunity to warn people about “alternatives,” on the basis that they aren’t scientifically supported.

        Meanwhile, the very drugs these “experts” are promoting, and certifying as safe and effective, are killing and maiming people at a staggering rate.

        The masses are treated to non-stop PR on the glories of medical drugs.

    • Cam

      What does it have to do with doping..

    • This comment on Alan McCubbin’s last piece might help explain his perspective a little: https://cyclingtips.com/2016/06/improving-performance-with-bicarb-soda-how-it-works-and-how-to-do-it/#comment-2742443363

    • jules

      define supplement

    • Nomad

      Doping = drugs = toxicity; which is not good for one’s health.

  • Tom

    So let’s start with a legal supplement, will see how far this goes … Please no more articles like this one.

  • Tyron Anton

    Why do people get so up in arms about things like this? It’s a naturally occurring substance that we’ve been able to refine to produce a marginal improvement in performance, in that sense it’s not so dissimilar to coffee, and, similarly to coffee, it doesn’t equate to performance benefits for everyone. Are you going to stop going to the cafe now? No, exactly. Just relax.

    • 42x16ss

      I’d say it’s even simpler than that. It’s like saying you shouldn’t use whey protein as a supplement, even though it’s a component of dairy.

    • TheTallCyclist

      Same can be said about testosterone, growth hormone, etc where gains are more than marginal. Where you draw the line and that you draw it differently for some athletes (based on financial/political reasons) and not others is where the problem really starts…it’s a slippery slope.

      • Superpilot

        It’s not a slippery slope at all, the line is really, really, really clear. The items on a big list are banned.

      • K-Bones101

        They are legit banned and many are actually illegal to possess. Answer done. Cyclists always find a way to whine about shit….especially something as basic as creatine. Just don’t use it if you don’t want to. I think it’s a fantastic supplement…and it works great!

  • Craig

    As someone on a plant-based diet I started supplementing with creatine to get my levels within a ‘normal’ range but haven’t been able to see any significant difference in performance. The most significant difference actually occurred when I first switched to a plant-based diet :)

    • rosscado

      Was that a positive or negative significant difference in performance on switching to a plant-based diet? Serious question. And to what do you attribute the change?

      • Craig

        It was very much a positive but it might be different for someone in the elite athlete/athlete category. I noticed it when I started heading out to the Dandenongs in preparation for the ACE250, my training load was the same yet I was getting PB’s in September as opposed to Dec/Jan. I did my fastest 3 Peaks/ACE250 loop and have also moved up a grade in racing, albeit Vets. The only changes were dropping meat, eggs and dairy……it makes me virtually social outcast but I just cant give up the extra 15-25 watts I seemed to have gained from nowhere :)

        • Wilson

          is your weight the same?

          • Craig

            Initially my weight was the same with a gradual weight loss over 6/8 months from 72kg to 69kg and much easier to hold that weight.

          • K-Bones101

            My weight stays the same if I use creatine HCL….no water retention from it and still works excellent. I notice the results more in my sprint efforts…I can go about an extra 80-100 watts higher in a sprint effort

    • doytch

      TFA doesn’t mention it (they rarely do but I really wish they did), but there are definitely creatine responders and non-responders and you’ll see those broken out in some studies. You appear to be in the non-responder camp.

  • lowlander

    The most significant aspect of this post is being overlooked. Namely, one should apparently do weighted lunges with a popped collar for maximum benefit. #ULiftBro?

    • Spider

      The straight led deadlift (stupid name as you don’t dead the weight) is done with collar down though…you pop for the lunge…so collar is quad dominant whilst hamstrings/glute need the downward position.

      learning to lift!

  • david__g

    Next up: Pizza and Beer for road Cyclists and How to Take it by Davidg

    1) Buy beer and pizza
    2) Eat it
    3) GAINS. (in weight)

    • Dave

      Risk of testing positive to endorphins afterwards though.

      Not be recommended to certain track (Chris Hoy) or CX (Femke van den Driessche) riders who have crossed over into motorsport, as ethanol is banned in competition.

      • Superpilot

        And tested positive to a sense of humor beforehand also! Love it..

  • Superpilot

    Serious question to Alan McCubbin (saw you on Maven channel, yew!) – I have had a flu for 14 days. Reading the research it is advised not to train while having any form of chest congestion (due to risks of myocarditis or other heart complications).

    I was however shocked to learn the bodies preference for utilising lean muscle mass to produce required energy when recovering from infection compared to fat (what I read basically said the lean muscle including that of the heart is utilised, hence the heart is in a stressed state, hence do not train for sake of risk of heart infection, as well as the lack of results from sub-par training).

    Now, my question – you mention creatine in relation to recovering from injury, but could it also prevent the lean muscle loss incurred by not training while unwell? Or is it only utilised to gain increased muscle when you undertake exercise, so therefore you need to exercise in order to experience a gain in mass at all?

    For the record, I have lost 3kg, presumably of muscle, in those 2 weeks despite eating a normal diet. That was hard gained over months of 300km weeks, so I’m a bit pissed off about it! Ha.

    • Interesting question – I’ve not come across that line of thinking re. preferential use of amino acids for energy during the recovery from illness/infection. Part of this may be due to the immune system working overtime, and that requires amino acids as opposed to producing energy from amino acids as such. Presumably though this could be achieved by simply eating more protein to prevent the muscle breaking down amino acids for this purpose. There’s evidence to suggest creatine can help minimise loss of muscle when a limb is immobilised (think broken arm or leg in a cast), but I haven’t come across anything looking at whether it will help in the during/post-illness period. It’s unlikely to do any harm though.

      As for your specific weight loss – I wouldn’t expect all 3kg to be muscle mass – that’s a pretty severe loss of muscle tissue in such as short space of time, particularly if your appetite and eating haven’t really been affected. Some of this may be due to changes in glycogen (the carbohydrate stored in muscles and liver, bound to fluid – up to 1.5kg worth), and some may be body fat loss that’s too subtle to notice visually. Best of luck getting back to health (and muscle)!

      • Superpilot

        Thanks for the reply Alan! For the record that internet ‘research’ (i.e. grain of salt) came from here: http://people.uleth.ca/~frantz/tri-training.htm/Miscellaneous/virus with associated references at the bottom of that article.

        Perhaps the article is talking about the catabolic idea without reference, hence my question to you. Still, the lack of training while unwell will result in the reduction of form through the loss of some muscle mass due to that lack of training.

        Therefore whether the article was true or not is kind of not really central to the question of whether creatine could assist in the maintenance of strength/muscle mass when we are forced to do no training at all. Hence my question.

        Thanks again for the thought provoking article and thorough response!


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