Creatine remains one of the most effective and safest performance-enhancing supplements on the market to support gains in size, strength and performance.
The many research-proven benefits include higher work capacity, increased strength, and greater strength endurance (through its ability to regenerate ATP – the primary energy source for short, intense muscle contractions).
It also accelerates recovery between sets and between workouts, and aids muscle cell hydration and protects muscle against damage from free radicals.
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Evolving dosing strategies
Among creatine supplements, creatine monohydrate remains the most effective and affordable form on the market.
And you can boost its effectiveness and get the best response by applying intelligent dosing strategies.
The conventional scientifically-validated ways to supplement with creatine include:
The traditional ‘loading’ protocol: The approach was initially introduced based on research findings from a study aimed at proving creatine efficacy. This protocol includes a loading phase where up to 20g (roughly 0.3g/kg/day) is take over multiple doses for 5–7 days, followed by a maintenance phase of 3-5g (roughly 0.03g/kg/day) either for three weeks (if cycling) or indefinitely without additional loading phases.
The maintenance protocol: This newer approach suggests taking 3-10g of creatine per day for a period of up to two months with no loading phase. It is, however, recommended that you cycle your creatine consumption to reset your body’s response mechanisms to continue realising a benefit.
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Boost the creatine benefits
Whichever protocol you choose, it is ideal to split your intake into multiple daily doses and to mix your creatine monohydrate with your favourite protein-carbohydrate drink or with grape juice (or as directed on the label).
Follow this protocol for optimal results:
- Take one serving before training to stock up reserves.
- Take another dose after your session to replenish depleted stores.
- Take a single serving before breakfast on non-training days.
The exact timing isn’t that important because your muscle cells can store creatine for use when it is required.