You might have heard of the phrase “creatine loading” before, especially if you're interested in taking the supplement or starting a journey to elevated fitness. Creatine loading is a concept batted around by seasoned athletes, but what does creatine loading actually mean? And is it something that could be useful for you? Here, we’ll break down exactly what creatine loading is, who it’s for and if you're interested - how to get started.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a compound produced naturally by our bodies, and is also a world-renowned sports supplement, famous for its unparalleled benefits in boosting athletic performance. Creatine is also found in small amounts in foods like meat and fish. The incredible benefits of supplementing with creatine include improved performance during intense exercise, greater muscle gains and enhanced recovery. Learn more about the benefits of creatine supplementation here.
How does creatine work?
In order to fully understand the principles of creatine loading and the science behind it, you first need to understand how creatine actually works. Creatine is our bodies’ natural precursor to ATP, which is our energy source for muscle contractions. Because creatine is used to form ATP, when your creatine runs low, your muscles start to fatigue. This is where supplementation comes in.
By supplementing with creatine, you can top those ATP levels back up so that your muscles take longer to run out of juice. This way, you can keep working out harder, for longer. In doing so, you'll be able to start reaping the much desired benefits.
So, what is creatine loading?
That's how creatine works in the body, so what is creatine loading and why do we do it?
Creatine loading refers to taking a higher dose of creatine than you’d normally take, with the goal of rapidly topping up the creatine levels in your body. If you eat a typical omnivorous diet, you take in 1-2g of creatine per day. This means that your creatine stores are likely to be only 60-80% full.
So the goal of creatine loading is actually to treat a deficiency in your body; a deficiency that most people have, which is holding back their training potential. The way to do this, is to take more creatine than you normally would, in order to bring that percentage up much higher.
After the loading phase, you simply go back to taking a standard dose of creatine which helps to maintain the elevated levels of creatine that you've built up. Pretty simple!
How to implement creatine loading
The most common approach to creatine loading is taking 20-25g of creatine over 5-7 days. This is usually taken in four or five 5g servings, split throughout the day. This has been shown to boost stores of creatine in the muscles by 10-40% — perfect to make up for that deficit that most people have whilst eating a standard diet.
After the 5-7 day loading phase, you can maintain those higher levels of creatine by supplementing with the standard dose of 3-5g daily.
If you're looking at integrating CreGAAtine into your routine, you'll want to know more about dosage.
Benefits of creatine loading
Creating loading is the fastest way to start getting benefits from creatine. That's because you'll be raising the levels in your body quicker and reaping the benefits sooner. These benefits include, but are not limited to:
Improved performance: The boost in energy you’ll get from the rapid increase in creatine means that you can spend longer working out before you get tired. You’ll also be able to work out harder during that time! Win-win.
Muscle strength: Loading with creatine means you’ll see a quicker increase in your muscle strength than if you take the standard dose from the start.
Muscle gains: Not only will your muscles get stronger, they’ll also get bigger. Looking to make some rapid gains? A loading programme could give you the perfect start.
Fewer injuries: Research shows that athletes who supplement with creatine have fewer muscle strains and have less issues with muscle tightness following their workouts.
Is creatine loading safe?
Yes, creatine loading is safe. The creatine loading programme described above has been found to be completely safe for healthy individuals. Rarely, some people report side effects like nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort, however this hasn't been serious.
The risk of these side effects can be reduced by drinking plenty of water and eating small meals little and often, however we are all unique and our bodies all work slightly differently. If you find that you struggle with stomach discomfort during the loading phase, it may not be the best approach for you.
Creatine can also cause temporary weight gain and bloating due to water retention, and these effects can be increased during a loading programme. The good news is that water retention is hugely reduced when taking CreGAAtine due to its optimised formula.
It’s also commonly believed that supplementing with creatine can increase your risk of cramping, dehydration and heat illness, but research has shown that this is not true. In fact, creatine can actually protect against these conditions!
To learn more about the side effects of creatine and the best products to buy in order to avoid potential side effects, click here.
Do I need to load?
No, you don't need to load creatine. The loading phase is not 100% necessary, as similar effects can be achieved by taking a standard, lower dose of creatine over the first few weeks. It just takes a bit longer to see benefits, so if that doesn’t matter to you, feel free to skip the loading phase altogether.
As always, we recommend consulting a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regime, including creatine.
Make the decision to boost your performance - today!
If you’d like to benefit from increased performance, more strength, faster gains and fewer injuries, consider starting your own loading programme.
CreGAAtine is a high-quality supplement that works even better than standard creatine, and is 100% safe to use as part of a creatine loading programme.
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