Creatine loading is not necessary. The timing of creatine does not matter for muscle gains. Creatine monohydrate is the best creatine for muscle building. Alternative forms of creatine are more expensive. Creatine monohydrate is the best and most researched form of creatine to take.
SUMMARY OF CREATINE LOADING PHASE FOR MUSCLE GAIN
A Creatine loading phase is not necessary.
The timing of creatine does not matter for muscle gains
Creatine monohydrate is the best creatine for muscle building. Alternative forms of creatine are more expensive. Creatine monohydrate is the best and most researched form of creatine to take.
Creatine is one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements on the market, and for a good reason, it works! Roughly half of the daily creatine requirements for the average person are produced in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, and brain. (Brosnan & Brosnan, 2016) The other half of creatine must be obtained from dietary sources such as beef, fish, meat, etc. (Kreider et al., 2017)
Most athletes will consume creatine monohydrate as a supplement to meet their requirements. Creatine can increase performance, strength, and muscle mass and possibly have other benefits, such as cognitive enhancement. (Wax et al., 2021) There have been some new updates on creatine monohydrate in the research, so here are the latest study findings.
DO YOU NEED A CREATINE LOADING PHASE?
Don’t be fooled into buying alternative forms of creatine. High-quality Creapure creatine monohydrate is a cheaper form. More importantly, it is the gold standard for creatine research. When creatine first hit the market, it was recommended that a loading phase of creatine was necessary. This loading phase consisted of high doses of 20-30 grams. The purpose of this loading phase was to get creatine into the muscles. The recommendations were for creatine loading to saturate creatine stores was 5 grams taken multiple times per day for 6 days.
A study compared an alternative form of creatine (i.e., creatyl L-leucine) to creatine monohydrate. The study found that similar to other studies, create-l-leucine was less effective than creatine monohydrate. (Askow et al., 2022) This should be of no surprise, but the interesting findings from this study were 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day saturated creatine muscle stores similar to creatine loading for a week with 20 grams per day. (Hultman et al., 1996)
Taking creatine monohydrate at 5 grams per day for 14 days resulted in a 24% increase in muscle creatine.
Loading creatine with dosages of 20 grams per day for 6 days resulted in a 20% increase in muscle creatine levels. From a cost standpoint, it makes sense to use 5 grams a day, given that you will reach the same creatine saturation stores with a longer duration. You don’t need to use a loading phase of 5-7 days.