By far, the most important is good food. I have gained just as much muscle with and without protein powders.
I do know my strength is better when on a creatine cycle, but supp's are expensive and I try to get away with not using.
I just use a protein powder now for a little insurance.
I don't bother to cycle creatine, though I'll have a break off all supps next week as I'm on holiday I just take it indefinitely & know a lot of people doing the same.
as soon as my tub of creatine is finished I won't bother again. Im a non responder on that supplement!
Will be a good time to test to see how you do without it for sure...It's always worth taking something out now & then to see if you notice a drop/increase in anything...
Have read/seen loads of articles & actual tests regarding creatine & for the most part people do respond to it...but it's never going to be beneficial for every user.
I rarely ache from training & if I do it's not for long, I do eat a fuck load of food though haha