Supplements can get complicated, some more so than others. Creatine is one of the most well researched performance supplements ever created. Studies have shown that creatine can help improve performance, strength, build more muscle and increase power output during high-intensity training. Creatine is stored in your muscle tissue and utilized during quick explosive movements. Therefore, maximizing your creatine availability by loading may improve performance when you need it the most.
Do You Need To Load Creatine?
Creatine is a combination of three amino acids: arginine, methionine, and glycine. On average, eating a well-rounded diet consisting of lean protein, quality carbohydrates, and healthy fats, will provide 1-2g of creatine per day. Foods rich in creatine are typically found in protein such as red meat, poultry, and fish.
Loading creatine monohydrate will maximize creatine stores and availability up to 20% giving you more power output and strength during short bouts of exercise. The skeletal muscle within your body will store enough adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to produce approximately 10 seconds of high-intensity activity; more creatine content will lead to greater increases of strength and power output.
The recommendations on dosing creatine are widely varied. A recent meta-analysis investigating creatine dosage, ranged between 0.07g/kg of body weight per day – 5 g per day revealing favorable ergogenic performance outcomes with a cycle between 4 – 10 weeks. During a typical loading phase, it is recommended to dose 20-25g of creatine monohydrate per day, for 7-10 days, with studies showing an average increase of muscle creatine content of 10-40% dependent upon diet and nutrition factors.
The loading phase will help you maximize creatine content for power and performance, in a shorter period of time. That being said, the loading phase is not entirely necessary. Studies have shown that supplementing with 3-5g of creatine monohydrate daily for 28 days, will maximize muscle creatine stores. Therefore, loading will provide quicker results and induce performance benefits faster within 1-2 weeks, than supplementing a smaller dose for a longer period of time.
Research shows that a creatine loading phase, is the fastest way to reap performance benefits.
Loading creatine monohydrate can improve performance benefits such as
- Muscle Strength: Several studies have investigated the effects of creatine monohydrate on strength and shown positive gains in 28 days of supplementation.
- Muscle Growth: With greater gains in strength comes a direct correlation to increased muscle mass. Studies have consistently shown that creatine supplementation leads to increased muscle growth.
- Improved Performance: Power and speed are important variables in overall athletic performance. Creatine supplementation has been shown to improve by 5-15%.
RELATED ARTICLE Pros and Cons of Creatine Monohydrate
What Is The Best Type Of Creatine?
Although creatine monohydrate improves performance, power, and speed, there are quite a few different types of creatine to choose from. Creatine ethyl ester, hydrocholoride, Magnesium Chelate, Nitrate, Pyruvate, and Kre-Alkalyn have all been created to address the negative side effects associated with bioavailability of creatine monohydrate.
Studies investigating the performance benefits amongst the different types of creatine, have all shown positive yet similar results – with exception to Kre-Alkalyn. Kre-Alkalyn is a ph corrected form of creatine monohydrate, adding an alkaline powder to stabilize ph levels. This inevitably maximizes absorption, reducing the amount of creatine needed and eliminating the need for a loading, cycling, and de-cycling protocol. Studies show that supplementing with Kre-Alkalyn will lead to improved performance gains, with added benefits to endurance, power, and speed with 3g per day.
RELATED ARTICLE Kre-Alkalyn Vs Creatine Monohydrate: What’s The Difference?
Do You Need To Load Creatine: Takeaway
Loading creatine monohydrate will help maximize your athletic performance quicker. Without the loading phase, you can expect to increase performance after 4 weeks of supplementation with a dose of 5g per day. Studies show that other forms of creatine such as Kre-Alkalyn do not need to be loaded, and offer distinct performance advantages, due to better bioavailability, leading to greater gains in strength, power, and speed.
Ditch The Creatine Monohydrate And Get The Gains You Deserve With Kre-Alkalyn
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Butts, Jessica et al. “Creatine Use in Sports.” Sports health vol. 10,1 (2018): 31-34. doi:10.1177/1941738117737248