Do You Need To Load?
The creatine loading myth is something people have been discussing ever since creatine gained massive popularity in the 1992 Olympics. The question of “should I load” when first taking creatine has been asked more times than one can count.
Some people oblige you to go through a loading phase when starting creatine, while others say it’s utter nonsense. Which is it? In today’s article, I’ll be discussing all the research and information we have about the notorious loading phase and finding out if you need to load up.
Before hopping into the loading phase of creatine, I’d like to go over a little background about creatine monohydrate. You may skip this by scrolling towards the loading phase section if you’re well informed enough on creatine. You may want to stay; however, you could learn a thing or two.
Creatine monohydrate was first discovered by a French chemist named Michel Eugene Chevreul in 1832. He discovered that humans produce it naturally from our kidneys and livers, and about 95% is stored in our skeletal muscle. (1✔)
Creatine is an amino acid created from the breakdown of three other amino acids, glycine, arginine, and methionine. The amino acids are transformed into phosphocreatine, the form in which the body may actually use it. (2✔)
How Our Body Uses Creatine
Once in the phosphocreatine state, the body can begin to use creatine. The main users of creatine are going to be your muscles, and mainly for energy. Our liver and kidneys don’t produce massive amounts of creatine, so your muscles’ energy isn’t going to be all that high. (2✔)
Which is where creatine supplements come in. The more creatine your muscles have available, the more energy in the form of ATP can they expend in physically demanding tasks. Those include weight lifting, sports, training, and simple exercise. (3✔)
Benefits of Creatine
I’d like to discuss just a couple of benefits one could get from taking creatine supplements. I’ll leave a link here to an article I wrote discussing creatine benefits more in-depth, but for now, here are a couple of benefits of creatine users’ experience. (4✔)
- Muscle Growth
- Increased Strength
- Longer Energy
- Faster Recovery
- Better Endurance
Many of them are from direct influences from creatine, while others are indirectly correlated with creatine supplementation. For example, muscle growth occurs indirectly because the creatine allows for an increase in energy in the muscle. (5✔)
With this increase, athletes and lifters can’t take on more intense workouts without tiring out as quickly. This stress allows for muscle tissue to damage and recovers faster, resulting in muscle growth in the body. (5✔)
What Is The Loading Phase?
Knowing about creatine, and knowing how to take it are entirely different things. When starting to take creatine, a beginner is advised to begin with something known as a “loading phase.”
The loading phase is a period in time, usually about a week, where one loads up on more creatine in order to maximize your muscles stores. To do this, about 20 grams of daily creatine is administered to rapidly saturate your muscles.
After about a week, you may resume normal maintenance of creatine intake at around 5 grams daily. Lots of research shows how impactful loading can be to muscle stores after a week of it. (6✔)
The benefits people gain from loading is getting quicker results. It’s the fastest way to benefit from creatine supplement’s effects. Consistent research has shown that a loading phase can maximize muscle stores within one week or less. (7✔)
Your strength, endurance, recovery, and performance improve much faster when starting with a loading phase. The creatine seems to jolt muscles stores to their max, which really pays off when training. (7✔)
Do You Need To Load?
quicker. Considering how in this day in age, patience is fragile in many people, loading is often used. If you don’t mind waiting a little longer, you could easily skip the loading phase.
Can one experience the same results even without a loading phase? Absolutely, it’s just going to take a little longer. Studies have shown that the muscle saturation of a one-week loading phase equals that of the maintenance dosage of creatine through 28 days. (8✔)
This means that your muscles stores just take longer to fill out without a loading phase, around 28 days, or a month. If you’re willing to wait that long, you can completely bypass a loading phase altogether. (8✔)
Lower doses of creatine are completely fine as long as they are taken consistently regularly. Creatine doses as low as 3 grams a day have shown to be just as beneficial as a loading phase only after a month.
To the gym bros who tell you that you “must” perform a loading phase when starting creatine are wrong. Although it may help, taking regular doses of creatine a day will get you to the same saturation level in your muscles. You just have to wait.
In the conclusion of this discussion of the creatine loading myth, it’s apparent that you by no means have to load when taking creatine. The higher doses may get your results may get you results much quicker without a doubt, but it’s not at all necessary.
The increase in strength, endurance, energy, and performance all can occur without a loading phase is what the research shows. The benefits are just apparent quicker when loading phase than beginning with maintenance creatine doses.
If you want quicker results, go ahead with the loading phase, it’s completely safe. If you don’t mind waiting a month when on creatine, start with the base amount of creatine. Either one is fine.
Got any questions? Leave them down below, along with any comments you may have about creatine monohydrate!