Everything You Need to Know About the Creatine Loading Phase
If you’ve been around the gym environment long enough, the topic of creatine has probably come up once or twice. You’ve likely seen someone scooping powder into a shaker cup and wondered what was in it. Chances are you’ve read about it in your favorite fitness magazine or saw a buddy give major praise to the all-encompassing supplement on social media, calling it the best thing since sliced bread.
As someone interested in optimizing their workouts and nutrition to be healthy and strong, there’s no doubt that you’ve got creatine on the brain — but doesn’t it lead to significant weight gain? Yeah, no thanks!
Back in the day, creatine and muscle growth went together like peanut butter and jelly. Used by those looking to get major gains, the supplement was dubbed the holy grail of fitness and was commonly used by bodybuilders and gym bros on a mission to get big quickly.
Over the years, however, creatine has been studied, researched, and tested more than any other supplement on the market. As it turns out, it’s proven to be one of the most effective ergogenic nutritional aids currently available to fitness enthusiasts everywhere.
Yup, it’s true. What was once inaccurately associated with bulging biceps, fake tans, and kidney damage, creatine — contrary to the cultural stigma — will not turn you into a Jersey Shore cast member, nor will it cause any of the fabled side effects often associated with the substance.
You see, facts are facts, and the fact is that creatine has outstanding benefits for those looking to level up their fitness performance. And beyond these proven athletic benefits, creatine supplementation has been shown to have significant cognitive and neurological benefits, all with minimal risk.
Ready to introduce creatine to your supplement stack? Great —we couldn’t be more excited for you! That being said, before hopping on the bandwagon, there are a few things you should know, like where to find the best creatine powder (at BioHealth, of course) and what the loading phase is all about.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry — we’re here to help! Read on as we explore creatine to uncover its benefits and the best way to take the supplement for maximum benefits via the loading phase.
Creatine 101: A Quick Lesson
Ah, chemistry. While we won’t bore you with the exact science of creatine, sometimes you just have to swallow a massive pill of science to understand things a bit better — and ultimately to boost fitness performance.
Simply put, creatine is a naturally occurring non-protein amino acid that’s found in muscle tissue, most commonly in meat and seafood. This means you make it, and if you’re not a vegetarian, you likely eat it, too.
While existing in your muscles, creatine forms a molecule called phosphocreatine. This little molecule spends most of its days hanging around our muscle cells until our muscles need energy. When this happens, the phosphocreatine lends its phosphate to an exhausted adenosine diphosphate molecule (ADP) to transform into its more powerful counterpart, adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
To put it simply, phosphocreatine acts as a high-energy reserve of phosphates that ADP dips into to form ATP. For an immediate energy boost, our muscles can now use the energy from ATP to contract.
To Load or Not To Load
Before we dive into the benefits of creatine loading, you might be wondering what it is. We’ll explain.
As mentioned, muscle tissue naturally contains creatine stores; however, it’s not fully saturated.
In fact, if you eat a relatively balanced diet, your muscles stores of creatine are likely only 60 to 80 percent full.
To maximize your creatine stores, you’ll need to take a great supplement like CreActive.
What’s CreActive, you ask?
It’s a premium quality supplement that contains not only creatine from the best source on the planet but also the best nitric oxide enhancer and the best nootropic that work in perfect synergy for immediate and tangible results under the bar, across the court, on the field, in the ring, or anywhere that you find your happy place. Plain and simple — this is your new PR in a bottle.
What’s So Great About Maximizing Creatine Stores?
By creatine loading, you’ll be able to quickly elevate your creatine stores above that 60 to 80 percent threshold so that you can start using more energy in your muscles. And when you have more energy, you can push your muscles harder in the gym, leading to increased strength, improved body composition, better exercise performance, and more.
Here are some of the other benefits of loading up on creatine:
- Maximizes training
- Supports greater muscle pumps
- Quickly provides muscles with more energy
- Can improve motivation due to quick results
- Reduces the chance of injury and fatigue
How To Load Creatine
Without the creatine loading phase, it can take quite some time until you start experiencing the incredible benefits of creatine. In other words, the loading phase is a bit of a shortcut, and if you’re patient, you can still achieve the same benefits with typical creatine doses.
However, if patience isn’t your virtue, then the creatine loading phase is for you, as research proves it can maximize your muscle stores within a week or less. So, what’s the best way to do it?
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the fastest and most effective loading phase is to take five grams of creatine monohydrate four times daily for five to seven days. This translates to 20 grams total per day for about one week.
Don’t Want To Take That Much Creatine?
Perhaps a gradual approach is more up your alley.
Rather than saturating your muscles with high doses of creatine in a week, you can take three grams of creatine daily for 28 days. While this method leads to slower results, it’s still effective and might be better for those who experience digestive issues when taking high doses of creatine.
What’s The Maintenance Phase?
After your loading phase, you can maintain your creatine stores by taking a lower dose of creatine, ranging from two to five grams daily. If you’re a larger athlete or constantly engage in strenuous exercise, you may need to take as much as five to ten grams per day to maintain your creatine stores.
To help keep your creatine levels where they need to be, protein is key. In fact, according to a recent study, taking creatine with protein almost doubles absorption compared to taking creatine alone.
If you don’t want to consume a high-protein meal with your creatine before hitting the gym, we suggest using a protein supplement — like our Pasture Fed Blend Protein.
Masterfully crafted with 31 grams of premium protein per scoop, this powerful amino acid-rich blend will nourish your muscles allowing your body to transform like no other protein on the market.
A Final Word
As soon as your muscles are fully “loaded” with creatine, research shows 10 to 20 percent gains in strength performance. Some of the other incredible benefits of taking creatine include faster sprint times, enhanced recovery, increased anaerobic threshold, and of course, more muscle mass.
When it comes to creatine, quality is of the utmost importance. That’s why we use only the best to create CreActive. Designed with your health and safety at the forefront, we take great pride in our reputation for having some of the cleanest products on earth.
With BioHealth Nutrition, your choice is always simple, your nutrition is second-to-none, and your body is better than yesterday. Don’t settle for anything but the best, and check us out today. Trust us — you’ll be glad you did!
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition | JISSN
Caffeine and creatine use in sport | PubMed
International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine - Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition | JISSN
International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine | NCBI
Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations | PubMed