How To Take Creatine

Taking Creatine: A Comprehensive Guide

Creatine supplementation has become an essential part of many athletes’ training regimens, offering significant improvements in strength, power, and endurance. However, taking creatine requires a thoughtful approach to maximize its benefits while minimizing potential side effects.

Understanding Creatine

Before we dive into the details of taking creatine, it’s essential to understand what this supplement is all about. Creatine monohydrate is a naturally occurring substance found in muscle tissue that plays a crucail role in energy production during high-intensity activities. It allows for increased force and power output by facilitating the rapid replenishment of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) stores.

Choosing the Right Form

There are several types of creatine supplements available on the market, each with its unique characteristics and potential benefits:

  1. Creatine Monohydrate: This is the most widely used and studied form, offering excellent bioavailability and efficacy.
  2. Creatine Citrate: A buffered form that can relieve reduce gastrointestinal side effects.
  3. Micronized Creatine: Fine-grained particles that increase solubility and potentially improve absorption rates.

Loading Phase

To get started with creatine supplementation, a 5-7 day loading phase is recommended to maximize muscle saturation:

  1. Take the initial dose of 20-25 grams (approximately 4-5 scoops) spread across three or four servings per day.
  2. Divide each serving by one-third and space them evenly throughout the day (e.g., upon waking, post-workout, before bed).
  3. This intense loading phase allows creatine to quickly saturate your muscles, setting the stage for optimal performance gains.

Maintenance Phase

Following the initial loading period, reduce your daily dose to 3-5 grams (approximately one or two scoops) spread across three servings:

  1. Continue with this maintenance dosage plan throughout the supplementation cycle.
  2. Aim for a consistent schedule of once every eight hours or so, as creatine has a relatively short half-life in muscle tissue.

Timing Your Creatine Intake

To optimize creatine’s effects on performance, consider timing your intake based on when you plan to engage in high-intensity activities:

  1. Pre-Workout: Take your daily dose 30 minutes prior to training for improved power and strength.
  2. Post-Workout: Consume a portion of your daily dose within the first 15 minutes after finishing exercise, as creatine can help with muscle recovery.

Combining Creatine with Other Supplements

When stacking creatine with other performance-enhancing supplements:

  1. Beta-Alanine (BCAAs): Combine BCAA-rich products or take separate doses to enhance muscular endurance.
  2. HMB: Consider adding HMB (beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate) for further muscle protection during high-intensity activities.

Potential Side Effects

While rare, creatine can cause minor side effects in some individuals:

  1. Stomach Upset: Avoid this issue by taking smaller doses throughout the day or using a buffered form like creatine citrate.
  2. Diarrhea and Abdominal Discomfort: These symptoms typically resolve on their own within 24-48 hours, so be patient.


To fully harness the potential of creatine supplementation:

  1. Start with a thoughtful loading phase to saturate your muscles.
  2. Adjust to maintenance dosing for long-term benefits.
  3. Time your intake based on when you plan to engage in high-intensity activities.

By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-equipped to unlock the performance-enhancing properties of creatine and take your training regimen to new heights.