How To Use Creatine
September 10, 2013
Maybe you’ve tried creatine, but it hasn’t worked for you. This is because creatine works differently for different people.
There are multiple ways to take creatine, so trying different creatine dosages or timing may make all the difference in your physical performance and muscle mass gains.
How Much Creatine Should You Use?
Studies have used almost every creatine dosage in scientific studies, with largely similar results.
Athletes are given anywhere from 10 to 25 g creatine per day during a loading period of 3 to 7 days. Afterward, athletes take between 2 and 5 g creatine per day to sustain high creatine levels.
With such varying data, it is best to follow instructions on the label of the particular creatine product you are using. Then listen to your body. If you do better on a lower dose, adjust your usage accordingly.
Should You Load Creatine?
Scientists do not agree about whether loading creatine is necessary to achieve its full benefits.
Some studies support creatine loading. Athletes who took up to 20 g creatine per day for 3-5 days accumulated higher concentrations of creatine in their muscles.
Studies show creatine loading quickly increases measurable body mass. In one 8-week trial, athletes who loaded creatine gained significantly more muscle mass than those who exercised without talking supplements.
Other studies show taking a lower dose of creatine eventually raises creatine concentrations in muscle to the same level that loading does. It takes longer for creatine to build in muscles, but if you take as little as 3 g creatine per day, after 28 days, creatine concentration is identical to that caused by creatine loading.
How to Avoid Possible Side Effects
Creatine overuse damages the kidneys’ ability to process water and excrete waste. However, you have to take extremely high doses for an extended amount of time to cause that kind of damage.
Some people who take creatine have stomach troubles; they experience nausea, diarrhea, stomach discomfort, or loss of appetite. Some people feel muscle cramps or muscle breakdown. Some even have heat intolerance, fever, electrolyte imbalances, or reduced blood volume.
This is because many of these effects are due to creatine’s ability to draw water into muscle cells, which causes dehydration. To prevent this, be sure to drink plenty of water while using creatine.
To avoid negative effects, only take creatine as recommended on the label, cycling on and off as needed and consult a doctor before use.
Should You Use Creatine?
Using creatine is a personal call. Athletes almost universally use it to increase muscle mass and improve performance. Since side effects tend to be non-dangerous, trying creatine is much safer than trying anabolic steroids.
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