Creatine Loading Phase | Is It The Best Way To Gain Muscle?

If you are new to the world of gymming and endurance training, then you would have heard of the terms “creatine” and “creatine loading.”

Creatine is a widely consumed supplement that helps build muscle and increase performance while exercising. It is also one of the safest supplements for consumption!

Despite being found naturally in our bodies, most trainers recommend creatine loading.

There is unparalleled hype around it, and most fitness enthusiasts swear by it!

So, if you want to know more about the creatine loading phase and its benefits, along with what to consider and if you really need creatine loading, then continue reading this article to find out!

 

What is the creatine loading phase?

creatine loading phase

The creatine loading phase takes place within the first week of taking supplements. In this phase, you start with a consumption of 20 gms of creatine that helps your muscles saturate rapidly.

Since most creatine servings measure 5-7 gms, they are divided into 3-4 servings across all meals for the day.

Creatine loading is a one-time phase. Therefore you only need to consume the desired amount, which is 3 to 5 gms, to regulate and maintain creatine levels in your body.

While creatine loading is not compulsory, not going ahead with it will most likely prolong your workout results.

There are different types of creatine available in the market –

  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Creatine Ethyl Ester
  • Creatine Hydrochloride or Creatine HCL
  • Buffered Creatine
  • Liquid Creatine
  • Creatine Magnesium Chelate

 

What are the benefits of creatine loading?

If you are still contemplating undergoing the creatine loading phase, here is a list of benefits that might help you confirm your decision.

 

Benefit #1 – Boosts workout performance 

Creatine loading can increase your workout performance by 10-20%.

This process increases phosphocreatine levels in your body, which converts to ATP when you undergo intense workout sessions.

ATPs can only be stored in our bodies for 8 to 10 seconds during high-intensity workouts.

Therefore, when phosphocreatine converts into ATPs during your workout, it helps you give that right amount of extra push to go longer.

In the case of not undergoing the creatine loading phase, your body might run out of phosphocreatine and ATPs, which can cause fatigue and exhaustion.

Therefore, creatine loading helps you exercise for more extended periods and help you recover from tiredness more quickly.

An uncommon yet widely perceived reason for a boost in your workout performance is the quick results of creatine monohydrates.

In turn, this increases motivation levels for you to invest more time, energy, and effort towards achieving your desired body.

Benefit #2 – Can prevent most physical injuries

Creatine loading can help you prevent your body from severe wear and tear.

As mentioned above, when the levels of phosphocreatine increase, the endurance levels increase as well.

Therefore, when your body has ample nutrients supporting workouts that require higher energy levels, the probability of physical injuries decreases.

 

Benefit #3 – Increased muscle pumps and strength

Consuming creatine, particularly creatine monohydrate, helps with cell hydration (increase in water content in the cells) that speeds the process of gaining muscle pumps.

Creatine loading combined with strength training such as weightlifting, using resistance bands, etc., can increase your strength by 5 to 15%. 

When your body activates creatine during workouts, it reduces muscle breakdown. It also helps gain and retain muscles that help with endurance training.

One of the reasons could be attributed to the release of IGF-1, a hormone responsible for muscle growth.

Moreover, some studies suggest that all the changes caused by creatine may trigger new proteins to be built in the body that help create muscle mass.

 

Benefit #4 – Safe and cost-efficient

Excessive amounts of creatine during the first week have had no adverse side effects on sportspersons.

In fact, creatine loading is one of the safest and most effective methods to boost your energy and motivation levels to exercise rigorously.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition states that consuming up to 30 gms of creatine every single day for five years can be well tolerated by the human body.

Moreover, creatine monohydrate is not expensive. Good quality supplements retail from Rs. 500 for 100 grams and go up to Rs. 1000.

While price points depend on the quantity and brand, they still retail in a relatively accessible and affordable price range.

Benefit #5 – Helps maintain muscle growth in the future

After undergoing the creatine loading phase, you will only need to consume around 3 to 5 gms of this supplement every day.

This is because your body will use up to 2% of creatine when you exercise.

Therefore, this maintenance dosage will be sufficient to sustain your muscle growth during your workout sessions.

 

What to consider before going ahead with creatine loading

consider before going ahead with creatine loading

 

Despite such benefits and advantages of creatine loading, it is essential to consult your general doctor/dietician/trainer and take their advice.

While consuming creatine monohydrates in controlled amounts is safe, it may or may not work for everyone.

There are rare but noticeable cases of some side effects, such as nausea and diarrhoea.

Others may experience bloating and weight gain due to high levels of water retention in creatine monohydrates.

There is also a lot of debate regarding creatine monohydrates causing dehydration. While some studies support this claim, some also oppose it!

Moreover, since activating creatine involves kidney functions, it may adversely affect people with renal infection.

In some cases, it can also cause a renal infection in people irrespective of their medical history.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, creatine loading is an essential week-long phase for those starting out with fitness and strength training.

Creatine loading helps build and retain muscle, improves endurance, and can also help prevent severe physical injuries.

Moreover, it is a safe and cost-efficient way to give you the right amount of energy boost to get you going!

However, it isn’t compulsory to undergo, especially if your doctor or dietician advocates against it.

In the end, you must listen to your body and make the right decision!

Feel free to share your experience in the comment section below if you have tried creatine loading!

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