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Does Creatine Work?
What Creatine does?
When your training consists of repeated short bursts of intense exercises, your body requires a lot of energy to prevent premature exhaustion. This is because your body’s muscle stores in energy decline rapidly during this type of exercise, which causes your muscles and body to feel fatigue. Naturally produced creatine is excreted daily from the body. The aim of creatine supplementation is to help build up your creatine stores in the muscles to support your exercise performance and prolong depletion.
Creatine monohydrate supplements can be taken before and/or after your workout. Saturating your creatine stores and then replenishing the used stores post-workout. Your body needs energy to repair just as much as it needs energy to work out – and that’s where ATP comes in. ATP is an alternative energy source involved in energy metabolism processes, mostly in organs with high energy demand like skeletal muscle.
Here, we explore how much creatine should be supplemented to support your muscle’s creatine stores.
For creatine stores to saturate, it is recommended to supplement a maintenance dose of around 3g daily. This is often taken either before or after a workout. It might take a few weeks for stores to fully saturate, but once they’re there, creatine can remain in your system for some time. If you supplement pre-workout, creatine helps to boost your muscle creatine stores and prolong depletion during exercise. Post-workout supplements help to replenish the stores that have been used during exercise.
To speed up the process of saturating creatine stores in your muscles, some gym goers have a loading phase that involves a larger daily dose of around 20g per day for a short period of time. This is a quicker way to build up the creatine stores in your muscles. The loading phase generally lasts around 5-7 days, then the smaller dose of 3g is maintained following the short loading period.