Creatine loading is a short phase in which people take a higher amount of creatine to increase their ability to lift heavier weights. But before you start your creatine loading, you need to understand everything behind this supplementation tactic.
Creatine is one of the most researched and used supplements in the bodybuilding community. It is regarded as safe if taken within normal parameters.
Note: consult with a doctor before taking any supplements. The information provided here should not be used in the exchange of professional medical guidance.
What is Creatine?
Before you know about creatine loading, you must understand what is creatine.
Creatine is a tripeptide substance produced naturally by our bodies and you can also find it in foods, almost exclusively in uncooked meat. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity training.
Although found in foods, creatine is largely lost during the process of cooking such foods. That is the reason why many people turn to supplement their bodies with creatine. With muscles supplied with enough creatine, you will be able to lift heavier weights and, using the logic of hypertrophy, gain more muscle faster.
Creatine monohydrate is rather inexpensive and safe as it has been through numerous researches for the past decades. Creatine HCl or Creatine Ethyl Ester have not been researched as thoroughly and their price is usually higher.
Related: The Ultimate Supplement Guide
What is Creatine Loading?
Creatine loading is the first phase of someone taking creatine. Usually, it consists of the first 5-7 days of supplementing with creatine where the athlete consumes a higher amount of creatine than normal to super-saturate the muscles with the substance.
By doing the creatine loading phase correctly, a person can have their muscles with enough creatine in the first week and see progress in their lifting numbers in that period already. A person who takes creatine normally, choosing to skip the creatine loading, will also see its benefits, however, it could take up to a month to get to the same creatine level in his/her muscles.
If you have stopped taking creatine for a long period and are considering getting back on the supplement, you may take advantage of the creatine loading phase as well.
How Much Should You Take During the Loading Phase?
During the creatine loading phase, an athlete typically consumes around 20 grams of creatine every day for 5 to 7 days. This amount of creatine is usually spread 4 or 5 times a day.
After the end of the creatine loading phase, the athlete is required to get back to the normal creatine taking as instructed in the supplement – usually between 2-10 grams every day.
The smaller amount of creatine one must take after the creatine loading phase is to maintain the creatine stores in the muscles.
Is it necessary?
Honestly, no. You do not have to go through a creatine loading phase to reap its benefits. The only difference is that it may take you longer to achieve the results compared to someone going through the process.
As creatine is considered harmless, most people who are serious about gaining muscle mass will utilise the creatine loading phase to see results faster without compromising health or recovery.
Creatine is not considered a PEDs by any sports industry. Check out this comprehensible guide for athletes regarding protein and creatine intake.