Is Creatine Monohydrate Loading Necessary?
By Sean Nalewanyj
If you search through the online articles, forums and videos, you'll find a variety of different creatine dosing recommendations.
Some will tell you to simply consume 3-5 grams daily, while others will have you perform a loading phase first.
The creatine monohydrate loading phase usually looks like this...
Day 1: 4 servings of 3-5 grams
Day 2: 4 servings of 3-5 grams
Day 3: 4 servings of 3-5 grams
Day 4: 4 servings of 3-5 grams
Day 5: 4 servings of 3-5 grams
Day 6 Onward: 1 serving of 3-5 grams daily
The goal with this approach is to rapidly saturate the muscles with creatine during the 5 day loading phase, and to then maintain those levels from that point forward with the smaller maintenance phase dose.
But do you really need to perform a creatine monohydrate loading phase in order to achieve maximum creatine benefits?
The simple answer is that it's really up to you.
The creatine monohydrate loading phase simply allows you to fully saturate the muscles at a faster rate. However, this doesn't provide any additional long term benefits in terms of overall size and strength.
If you stick with the standard 3-5 gram per day dosage from the get go, you'll still achieve full creatine saturation after about 3 weeks.
The bonus here is that you'll end up saving somewhere around 75 grams of creatine that you would have otherwise flushed away during the loading phase.
So, if you want to spend a bit more money and experience the full effects of creatine within 1 week, go with the loading phase. But if you're willing to be a bit more patient and want to save some cash by waiting 3 weeks, just take 3-5 grams per day continuously.
Where did this creatine monohydrate loading protocol come from?
It's likely the invention of creatine manufacturers who simply want you to burn through more of their product in a shorter time.
With millions of people performing a loading phase first, they end up selling quite a bit more creatine in the long run.
Again, there is nothing wrong with performing a loading phase, but don't be fooled into thinking that it is a mandatory aspect of effective creatine supplementation.
If your goal is to maximize your strength, performance and overall muscle gains, my recommendation is to consume 3-5 grams of high quality creatine monohydrate daily, and to stick with micronized German-grade "CreaPure" creatine.
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