Creatine dosage and timing...a source of debate for many years. Everybody knows creatine is effective, but many are not aware that proper creatine dosing and timing can actually improve its effectiveness. For ease of understanding we will only focus on creatine monohydrate in this article. Creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied and widely used form of creatine. It is also the cheapest form of creatine available and comes in bulk sizes.
Creatine loading is the concept of initially taking extra creatine for a short period of time in order to maximize your body's creatine storage. Many believe loading is unnecessary, as the body will eventually reach its saturation point sometime in the future (as long as you consistently take creatine). It's a matter of preference, but creatine loading is the only way to ensure saturation occurs sooner rather than later. Take four 5-gram doses spread throughout the day, for a total of 20 grams. Do this for 5 days and you will probably notice your body is retaining more water. Your strength may get a boost and your weight may go up a couple pounds. Creatine monohydrate is cheap so it may be worth loading it if you have not taken it before.
The standard creatine monohydrate dosage is 5 grams per day. This is a maintenance dose to be taken after loading is complete. Very large individuals may want to take a little extra, but many pro bodybuilders take only about 10 grams per day, so there is probably no need to exceed this amount.
The best time to take creatine is after your workout. Many believe it doesn't matter, but a recent study showed slight increases in muscle mass and strength for those who took creatine post-workout vs. pre-workout. Every little bit counts, so take it after your workout to maximize results.
Creatine monohydrate's effectiveness is improved when taken in combination with a simple sugar. Read the label on a store-brand creatine and it's usually just sugar and creatine. If you're working with a pure creatine powder, then eat a banana along with it. For maximum insulin response, add 10 grams of glutamine. Studies have shown that glutamine raises blood sugar levels post-workout. Glutamine has a ton of other benefits for the trainee and it's dirt cheap, so probably worth a try.
1. Take four 5-gram doses of creatine monohydrate for 5 days
2. Take 5 grams of creatine, 10 grams of glutamine, and consume a banana or other simple sugar post-workout
3. Get big and strong!