Do You Need A Creatine Loading Phase?

Does Creatine Work?

Creatine supplementation in conjunction with resistance training (RT) augments gains in lean tissue mass and strength in aging adults; however, there is a large amount of heterogeneity between individual studies that may be related to creatine ingestion strategies. Therefore, the purpose of this review was to perform updated meta-analyses comparing creatine vs. placebo (independent of dosage and frequency of ingestion) during a resistance training program on measures of lean tissue mass and strength, perform meta-analyses examining the effects of different creatine dosing strategies (lower: ≤5 g/day and higher: >5 g/day), with and without a creatine-loading phase (≥20 g/day for 5–7 days), and perform meta-analyses determining whether creatine supplementation only on resistance training days influences measures of lean tissue mass and strength. Overall, creatine (independent of dosing strategy) augments lean tissue mass and strength increase from RT vs. placebo. Subanalyses showed that creatine-loading followed by lower-dose creatine (≤5 g/day) increased chest press strength vs. placebo. Higher-dose creatine (>5 g/day), with and without a creatine-loading phase, produced significant gains in leg press strength vs. placebo. However, when studies involving a creatine-loading phase were excluded from the analyses, creatine had no greater effect on chest press or leg press strength vs. placebo. Finally, creatine supplementation only on resistance training days significantly increased measures of lean tissue mass and strength vs. placebo (source).

Do You Need To Load Creatine?

A creatine “loading phase” is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of taking the standard five-gram dosage or creatine monohydrate per day (whether mixed into your protein shake or ingested on its own), the idea behind loading aims at rapidly accumulating sufficient amounts of creatine in your muscles to aid performance.

What the Science Says
Most loading protocols last between five and seven days and require you to ingest 20 to 25 grams of creatine in total, broken up across several servings. After you’ve “caught up”, you’d return to a standard five-to-seven-gram single-serving dosage.

Alternatively, bulk dosing can be based on your body’s weight, with a loading phase dosage set around 0.3 grams per kilogram of body weight per day and reduced to 0.1 gram per kilogram of body weight per day.

Most literature agrees that loading your creatine in bulk isn’t strictly necessary for it to take effect long-term. That said, it could be useful in certain conditions, such as if your baseline creatine levels are extremely low, or you take too little on a daily basis.

Creatine Before or After Workout?

Contrary to popular belief, there are no clear advantages to taking creatine at any specific time, whether it be prior to, during, or after a workout. Caffeine intake might reduce the ergogenic effects of creatine, so if you caffeinate before you hit the gym, it might be best to take your creatine after your workout (and you could reap the added benefit of enhanced glycogen replenishment.)

On the other hand, taking creatine about two hours before your workout could potentially enhance its uptake rate. When it comes to performance and gains, however, the results are far more similar than they are different regardless of timing, so it’s probably best to simply take your creatine at whatever time is convenient and consistent.


The Best Creatine Supplement for Building Muscle in 2022

Creatine is one of the most popular nutritional ergogenic aids for athletes. Studies have consistently shown that creatine supplementation increases intramuscular creatine concentrations which may help explain the observed improvements in high intensity exercise performance leading to greater training adaptations.

In addition to athletic and exercise improvement, research has shown that creatine supplementation may enhance post-exercise recovery, injury prevention, thermoregulation, rehabilitation, and concussion and/or spinal cord neuroprotection.

Creatine for Health and Exercise

Creatine can improve health and athletic performance in several ways.

In high intensity exercise, its primary role is to increase the phosphocreatine stores in your muscles.

The additional stores can then be used to produce more ATP, which is the key energy source for heavy lifting and high intensity exercise.

Creatine also helps you gain muscle in the following ways:

  • Boosted workload. It enables more total work or volume in a single training session, a key factor in long-term muscle growth.
  • Improved cell signaling. It can increase satellite cell signaling, which aids muscle repair and new muscle growth.
  • Raised anabolic hormones. Studies note a rise in hormones, such as IGF-1, after taking creatine.
  • Increased cell hydration. Creatine lifts water content within your muscle cells, which causes a cell volumization effect that may play a role in muscle growth.
  • Reduced protein breakdown. It may increase total muscle mass by reducing muscle breakdown.
  • Safe Supplementation. Creatine is safe for the vast majority of people, which can’t be said of all supplements.
  • Lower myostatin levels. Elevated levels of the protein myostatin can slow or inhibit new muscle growth. Supplementing with creatine can reduce these levels, increasing growth potential.

Creatine supplements also increase phosphocreatine stores in your brain, which may promote brain health and improve symptoms of neurological disease.

Top 3 Creatine Monohydrate Supplements of 2022

The Highest Quality Creatine is Muscle Boost by Vitaliboost

Being the most pure creatine on the market is reason enough to choose Muscle Boost, but it goes beyond purity. Muscle Boost Creatine is NSF certified.

Results: What to Expect From Muscle Boost Creatine Monohydrate Supplement

Reduced Muscle Fatigue

Muscle fatigue is reduced during and after weight lifting. This is mostly due to the hydrating effect creatine has on muscles, by allowing muscle to retain more water. When muscles can more efficiently be used to exercise, they’re less likely to be injured or overworked.

Increased Weight in Compound Lifts

Creatine ensures that your muscles are at their peak hydration levels. Muscle cells need water to function properly, so a healthy amount of creatine in your system insures maximum effectiveness of muscles in heavy lifts.

Bigger pump

Many people using creatine are looking to get bigger and stronger. Creatine allows your muscles to retain more water, which makes them appear larger. This means that the “pump” you get from a lift will be extra large compared to when your creatine levels were lower.

What is NSF Certification?

NSF certification is your key to making sure that the products you use meet strict standards for public health protection.

Choosing a product certified by NSF lets you know the company complies with strict standards and procedures imposed by NSF. From extensive product testing and material analyses to unannounced plant inspections, every aspect of a product’s development is thoroughly evaluated before it can earn our certification.

Most importantly, NSF certification is not a one-time event, but involves regular on-site inspections of manufacturing facilities and regular re-testing of products to ensure that they continue to meet the same high standards required to maintain certification over time. If for any reason a product fails to meet one or more certification criteria, NSF will take enforcement actions to protect you, including product recall, public notification or de-certification.

Products that earn NSF certification are said to be “NSF certified” or “NSF listed” and display the applicable NSF certification mark to show that they have been tested by one of today’s most respected independent product testing organizations.

Scientific Sources:

Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021 –

Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance –

What is NSF Certification –