If you are considering taking creatine supplements, it is important that you understand proper dosing instructions before you start. You should also realize that many herbs and supplements have yet to be tested and therefore the full safety of them has not been determined. It is important that you choose your product from reliable sources and stick with brands that you are familiar with and that offer some degree of safety.
Phases – Loading and Maintenance
It is important that you read all instructions and pamphlets provided with the product that you choose before you begin taking the product. However, most manufacturers of creatine supplements suggest a loading phase that consists of the first week that you are using the product. During this time it is suggested that you consume 15 to 25 grams of creatine each day for a week.
Some choose to skip the loading phase and go directly to the maintenance phase. Although the results have been shown to be the same, it may take longer to for your system to become saturated with the product. Loading allows your body to become fully saturated after one week and by skipping this phase it may take three or four weeks for your system to become fully saturated. With this in mind, it is important to note that you will not necessarily see larger results by participating in the loading phase, but you are likely to begin seeing results more quickly.
When it comes to serving size, you normally only consume five grams at a time. During the loading phase, you should make sure that you space these five gram servings evenly throughout the day. The best times to take the supplement are before and after a workout. You should also note that while it can take several weeks for creatine to begin working properly in your system, it also takes several weeks for it to become ineffective as well.
How Long can I Take It?
Usually creatine is used for about one and a half months to three months. Most people then discontinue using it for about a month before starting the cycle over again. However, there is no research available to show if this cycle off and on process is actually beneficial or not.
Determining the amount that you should buy may be a bit difficult and depends on how long that you plan to use the product. However, you can probably expect to use about 1000 grams in a three month session. Below is a chart that breaks down the numbers based on your weight.
- Below 155 pounds
- Loading Phase – 12 to 16 grams daily
- Maintenance Phase – 4 to 8 grams daily
- 156 to 175 pounds
- Loading Phase – 13 – 17 grams daily
- Maintenance Phase – 5 – 9 grams daily
- 176 to 199 pounds
- Loading Phase – 14 to 18 grams daily
- Maintenance Phase – 6 to 10 grams daily
- 200 to 225 pounds
- Loading Phase – 15 to 19 grams daily
- Maintenance Phase – 7 to 11 grams daily
- Above 225 pounds
- Loading Phase – 16 to 20 grams daily
- Maintenance Phase – 8 to 12 grams daily
Creatine is most effective when it is taken with a carbohydrate rich meal. The idea is that by raising your insulin levels by consuming simple sugars, creatine and protein are easier to transport to the muscles. One of the most popular things to mix creatine with is grape juice. However, 50% of the sugar that is found in grape juice is very low glycemic, meaning it will not spike your insulin levels. This means that you are wasting carbs because there is no benefit of rising insulin levels.
One of the best benefits of creatine is the extra energy and the massive gains that users of it see. They are able to work out harder and longer so that their results will be magnified. It is also a great product for those who have reached a plateau and are looking for a way to reach through to the next level.
Creatine is a natural part of the body and by taking supplements you are able to extend your ATP energy production cycle. This means that you will be able to go stronger for a sprint of weight lifting set before you begin to feel fatigued. This effect usually lasts for around five to ten seconds. The biggest benefit of this is that you are able to put more effort into each set of your workout session and therefore receive more results in less amounts of time.