How to take Creatine Monohdyrate


Creatine has quickly become one of the most talked about, debated, researched and used supplements in the fitness world. While its effects are well-recognised, it seems that a lot of people aren’t sure exactly how it should be taken and are unaware of how important the process of taking it is to achieving the desired results. While it’s been around since the 1920’s (yes, the 1920’s) it didn’t take off until the early 1990’s when Olympic athletes revealed that they’d been using the powerful supplement to prepare for the competition.

But enough history. Let’s start answering the big questions.

What is Creatine & How Do I Take It?

Before we can discuss how to take creatine, we must understand what exactly it is. Creatine is a natural substance made up of three amino acids which, once synthesized, cause a natural energy explosion within your body. It is found in red meat, poultry, fish and eggs and is even naturally stored in your body. Not surprisingly, 95 percent of that stored creatine is found in muscle tissue. (More on this later!)

It has been proven to increase endurance, power and strength. As you might expect, all arrows point to muscle growth, more flexibility and greater agility. Athletes all over the world have reported that creatine helps push them to achieve more. To do that last rep. To do another lap. To push through the pain for greater gains. Anyone at any stage in their fitness journey would benefit from an extra push, so let’s find out how to properly take it.

The Loading and Maintenance Phases of Creatine Monohydrate

With so much information floating around on the internet and within the walls of gyms, it’s hard to tell who’s right. When should you take creatine and how much? Can you mix creatine with other supplements? Perhaps the most divisive of the debates surrounding creatine is whether or not you really need a loading phase.

A loading phase generally (again, debated) lasts for a period of five days and consists of 20g per day, ideally spread out across four servings. The point of the loading phase is to increase the natural stores of creatine in your muscles to their maximum levels. After you’ve completely saturated yours muscles in the Creatine (and it turns into phosphocreatine content) you’re ready for the maintenance phase.

In this phase, you’re significantly decreasing your serving of creatine from 20g per day to just 4-10 grams. Really, it does what it says on the tin: It maintains those high phosphocreatine levels in order to give you that extra push to finish your workout. For more information on how much creatine to take, click here.

Do I Have to Load?

The short answer: No, you don’t have to. While you certainly can skip the loading phase and start taking 4-10 grams from the start, you’ll achieve desired results and maximise muscle potential more quickly. But, don’t misunderstand – with or without the loading phase you will still eventually achieve those desired results and maximise muscle potential.

For a more scientific approach to this answer, let’s look at a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. 31 males were given creatine. The first group was instructed to take 20g over the course of six days (a loading period). The second group was given 3g of creatine to take over the course of 28 days. The first group who introduced creatine through a loading phase showed a 20 percent increase in their muscle’s creatine concentration after six days. The second group had the same results, but after 28 days instead of six.

When is the Best Time to Take Creatine?

As mentioned, if you do opt to start with the loading phase, you’ll need to spread 20g out into five servings a day (4g each). It’s best to time these with your meals, taking one serving of Creatine Monohydrate in the morning with breakfast, one serving in the early afternoon with lunch, another serving in the late afternoon, and your last serving in the evening with dinner. Given that these doses are spread out equally throughout the day, there’s no need to change the timings to sync with your workouts.

Once in the maintenance phase, you’ll only be taking 5g a day. This is another widely debated subject as some people swear by taking their creatine directly before, after, and even during a workout. But, research shows that taking creatine after intense exercise promotes protein synthesis and therefore is more effective in increasing/maintaining muscle creatine stores.

Should I Take Creatine With Other Supplements or Nutrients?

There is no evidence to support that it’s dangerous to take creatine in conjunction with other supplements. The creatine – along with the other supplement – will be digested, absorbed, and utilized by the body just the same as if you’d taken it on its own. The only (potential) risk is a bad taste!

As far as nutrients go, because creatine uptake is sodium and insulin dependent, its uptake can potentially be optimised by spikes in glucose and carbohydrates/protein. Your best bet is to wash our Creatine supplements down with juice and a protein supplement.


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