Creatine Loading: Is it worth it?
To maximise your results and efforts in high intensity training, your muscles require high levels of energy. High intensity exercise is generally anaerobic, meaning the strategy is short intense bursts of exercise with short recovery periods. For this, your body depends on alternative energy sources instead of oxygen – this is when ATP comes into play. With more energy readily available, you can make every rep count.
Supplementing creatine is recommended to those who perform high intensity exercise, such as sprinting or powerlifting, as they are anaerobic exercises which requires an alternative energy source to oxygen – this is when ATP comes into play.
Creatine is a product produced naturally in the body by three amino acids: glycine, arginine and methionine, but only in small amounts, and your muscles don’t store much of it. Supplementing creatine into your regime helps to keep your creatine stores saturated to support performance during high intensity, short bursts of exercise
Here, we look at how to take Creatine supplements and how much.
How to take creatine
Usually supplemented in the form of a powder, creatine is generally mixed with a liquid to take as a drink. Pre-workout, it can be mixed with a high sugar drink You can also get creatine protein bars, which can be taken as a pre or post-workout snack, which again, boosts your protein levels
Timing isn’t everything when it comes to creatine, as once saturation levels are fully reached, creatine can stay in your system for some time. The general dose of creatine is 3g daily. Although, timing isn’t everything, before and/or after workout are the most common times to supplement.
To get your creatine stores fully saturated, some people opt to have a loading phase for the first 5-7 days of supplementing higher creatine doses into their routine – but this isn’t compulsory.
When you first start to supplement creatine into your routine, you might want to begin with a loading period. This isn’t 100% necessary, but there are benefits to it. The phase usually entails supplementing a larger daily amount for the first week. Generally, between 15-20 grams of creatine is supplemented for the first 5-7 days. This should be spread out throughout the day into several 5g doses and timings can vary although before and after workout are usually recommended. Following the loading period, doses generally drop down to around 3g per day, meaning you only need to supplement once daily.
The benefit of a loading phase allows your muscle’s creatine stores to become saturated quickly. Choosing to avoid a loading phase means it could take multiple weeks of supplementing before your creatine stores are fully saturated.