What is the loading phase for creatine?

A woman is sitting on a yoga mat, drinking a protein shake. She added creatine to her shake as she's currently in the loading phase for creatine.

What is the loading phase for creatine? Do you have to have a loading phase and is it safe? These are questions commonly asked before someone new starts taking creatine for the first time and luckily for you, all the answers can be found right here on this page.

What is the loading phase for creatine and does it work?

The idea behind doing a loading phase of creatine is to fill your body’s already existing creatine storage as fast as possible. And actually, that’s just what happens.

To fill them as fast as possible, you’ll want to take 5g doses, 4 times a day. Continue this for 6-7 days. After the first week, you should take 5g every day to maintain. Do not exceed the 5g doses, especially not at the loading phase.

But do you have to be loading creatine to get any of the benefits? It is possible to get basically the same results without doing a loading phase first. But instead of waiting a week to get the benefits, you would have to wait for up to a month. This will affect neither your strength nor muscle gains in the long run.

Are you looking for dumbbell workouts? Workout with dumbbells

Is it safe to load creatine?

Creatine is one of the most studied supplements out there. But there are still a few side effects to look out for, especially when you’re exceeding the recommended 5g a day.

While the side effects besides a weight gain are rare when limiting your use to only 5g a day, you’ll be more likely to experience more annoying side effects such as diarrhea, headache, stomach ache, retained water etc. when doing a loading phase for creatine.

Personally, I’m never loading my creatine because my stomach would get too upset and my workouts would be affected. If your body can handle it and you’re okay with spending a bit more money, do the loading phase. If not, you’ll get the same benefits from taking creatine, you’ll just have to wait a bit longer.