Creatine monohydrate is one of the most popular nutritional supplements on the sports nutrition market. If you regularly take creatine, you can bring the quality of training to a new level and do a much larger amount of work. This leads to the fact that muscle mass is gaining faster, and adaptation to strength takes less time. However, still not all athletes have come to a common opinion on how to use this dietary supplement. For example, some argue that a creatine loading phase is required to achieve maximum effect. Others are convinced that such a phase is optional. Who is right? The answer to this question can be obtained using the scientific approach.
About one gram of creatine is produced daily in the human body. If you follow a diet that includes a lot of meat and fish, creatine production increases. However, it is important to remember that creatine is destroyed faster than it is produced: about 2 grams per day is destroyed in the body. Given this factor, it becomes obvious that athletes simply need to introduce dietary supplements into their diet, which include creatine.
How to take creatine properly: nutritional advice
Regardless of whether you have a loading phase with creatine or you take it in small doses daily, supplements allow you to quickly restore the level of this substance in the body by about 20%. Depending on how creatine is taken, different results can be achieved.
Speaking of creatine loading, we mean a higher dose taken of this substance during the first week of administration. After the loading phase is over, athletes switch to lower, so-called “maintenance” doses. Usually, about 20 grams of creatine is first taken, which is divided into four equal parts. These doses are consumed evenly for seven days daily. After the loading phase, it is enough to consume about 5 grams daily. The loading phase allows you to quickly increase the volume of intramuscular depot creatine. The support phase makes it possible to leave the depot saturated for a sufficiently long period.
As scientific studies show, if an athlete takes 3-5 grams of creatine without a loading phase, after 28 days the supply of this substance increases in the same way as in the presence of a loading phase. Of course, the loading phase helps to increase the total volume of this substance. However, the difference becomes insignificant after one month.
It is important to note one more detail. The muscles have limited storage tanks for creatine. If you consume 20 grams of this substance daily, the maximum muscle load is reached after two days. By the third day, creatine begins to be excreted from the body by the kidneys along with urine. Therefore, it makes sense to take large doses of creatine only in the first three days, after which up to 60% of the substance will be naturally excreted from the body.
Should I do a loading phase while taking creatine?
The answer to this question depends primarily on what your goals are. Thanks to the loading phase, you can quickly experience the effect of taking creatine. In the event that you are engaged in weightlifting, then you can implement the loading phase in order to quickly increase the volume of your muscles, as well as their size and power. However, due to the fact that there is no evidence of a difference in the effects of creatine intake with and without loading, the loading phase can be dispensed with. Therefore, if in the near future you do not have to participate in competitions, you can take small doses of creatine.
For bodybuilders of a weight category, the absence of a loading phase makes it possible to avoid changes in body weight due to the accumulation of excess fluid in tissues, which is often observed when taking large doses of creatine. Although it is impossible not to note the psychological effect: very often the athlete is pleased with the increase in body weight, despite the fact that the increase is due to water.
Does creatine loading phase need? The answer to this question is likely to be negative. The loading phase may be relevant only in some situations, which means that this supplement should be taken systematically and in small doses.
Based on materials: bodybuilding.com