Creatine: Is a loading phase needed?

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Is a loading phase needed for creatine?

Creatine Monohydrate is one of the most effective supplements available. Article after article, research shows its positive ergogenic effects.

However, much confusion surrounds the most efficient method of taking this supplement. Let’s take a look at the science.


Although creatine is produced naturally by the body, supplementing with creatine monohydrate can significantly increase the ‘creatine pool’ in human muscle.

If supplemented correctly, this enhanced creatine availability can enhance performance and increase muscle size. The table below shows results from key articles which researched this issue.

The science

[table]Research, Dose, Muscle creatine concentration,
Greenhaff (1994), 20g/day in 5g doses for 5 days, Increased by 25% in 5 out of 8 subjects,
Hultman (1996), 20g/day in 5g doses for 6 days, Increased by 20%,
Hultman (1996), 3g/day in one 3g dose for 28 days, Increased by 20%,
Balsom (1995), 20g/day in 5g doses for 6 days, Increased by 18%,
Odland (1996), 20g/day in 5g doses for 3 days, No effect


The above table shows that a loading phase required, and that it needs to last for at least 5 days. Anything less than this will cause a short increase in blood borne creatine for an insufficient period of time to allow the muscles to reach ‘fill level’.

Our take

From personal experience, creatine monohydrate is by far the most effective supplement I’ve used in many years of training. It’s always disappointing to hear someone criticise creatine powder to then find out they didn’t follow the advised loading phase.

Follow the loading protocol: 20g per day (5g doses split into 4 servings throughout the day) for 5 days. After completing the loading phase, continue with a single 5g per day ‘maintenance’ dose. Then you will see what creatine can really do…

Tip: Always try and consume your creatine supplement (creatine powder or creatine pills) with a high sugar fruit juice, the insulin spike this produces improves muscle cell creatine uptake.

One thought on “Creatine: Is a loading phase needed?

  1. Robin

    Thank you for this article, i think loading creatine gives faster results as compared to starting with maintenance phase


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