There are two ways you can take your creatine when first starting out. You can start by taking 2 to 10 grams of creatine daily and just continue to do this every day. The other way is to initially do a loading phase as this is thought to deliver creatine’s benefits much faster into the muscles.
You can start a loading phase by ingesting 20 grams of creatine daily during the first week of consumption. Don’t take all 20 grams at once as it’s better to intake 5 grams at four different times of the day. Your body can only handle so much creatine at once, so taking creatine at four different intervals ensures you receive maximum results.
After that, take your creatine dose back down to 2 to 10 grams daily from there on out. By consuming such a large amount of creatine during the first week, you are essentially saturating your muscles (loading creatine).
The Creatine Loading Phase
There are two ways you can take creatine when first starting out. You can start by taking 2–10 grams of creatine per day and continue to do this every day. The other method is to perform a loading phase, which delivers creatine’s benefits into the body at a much faster rate. You can start a loading phase by taking 20 grams of creatine for the first seven days.
You shouldn’t take all 20 grams of creatine at once. It’s better to take 5 grams of creatine four times a day. Your body is limited by how much creatine it can absorb, so taking creatine at four different intervals ensures you receive the maximum benefits from your creatine supplement.
After this initial loading phase, it’s advisable to take a lower daily dose of 3–5 grams of creatine per day. According to research by the University of Connecticut, a loading phase is the best way to increase your muscles’ creatine stores.
Is the Loading Phase Necessary?
It’s possible to boost your creatine levels without performing a loading phase of 20 grams of creatine per day for one week. Instead, if you choose a lower creatine dose of 2–10 grams per day, you can still see results. However, it will take longer for these benefits to appear as creatine builds up in muscles over time.
There are several reasons why people avoid the loading phase. For instance, many people assume you will put more stress on your kidneys and other filtering organs if you take too much creatine at once.
Other people experience stomach discomfort and feel dehydrated when taking large doses of creatine. If you’re a senior citizen, it’s good to skip the loading phase as kidneys are hard to come by, and your organs won’t bounce back like they once did. Remember, the loading phase isn’t necessary—it’s just a faster way to load creatine into the muscles.
One research study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology shows that muscles can be saturated with creatine in 28-days if you take 3 grams of creatine per day. However, this method takes 3-weeks longer than the regular one-week loading phase. Most athletes in their prime want to experience an immediate increase in muscle mass and strength; in this case, the loading phase is the recommended option.
How to Load Creatine
- Option 1: Take 20 grams of creatine per day for one week
- Option 2: Take 5 grams of creatine four times a day for one week