How to take creatine
Creatine, or methylguanidinacetic acid, is a natural amino acid produced by the body that serves to provide energy and make the muscles more robust and strong. Concentrated, creatine powder is a very common food supplement, used primarily by people who want to increase their muscle mass. Learn how to take creatine powder in the right way, so you can make the most of this powerful substance.
Begin a cycle of creatine
1) Choose a type of powdered creatine.
It is usually found on the market inside a large plastic container, with a small shovel that serves as a measuring cup for the right dosage. Go to a functional food store or supplements and fitness products and choose the type of powder to be taken.
Some types of creatine are available in pure form, while others are mixed with sugar in order to obtain a sweet energy drink.
Avoid liquid creatine; this starts to degrade when it is mixed with water, so a pack of liquid creatine is practically a waste. Who produces this particular type is practically cheating its customers!
Creatine has been tested in several studies and is considered safe to use, but is a supplement, it has not been formally approved by the FDA (Agency for Foods and Medicines). Consult your doctor if you are taking any other medicines or if you are in a particular state of health that could be further affected by taking supplements.
2) Decide whether to “load” or base the dosage on your body weight.
Creatine manufacturers recommend starting with a high dose of the substance and then gradually decreasing it to a “maintenance dose” so that creatine levels remain in the body. It is also common practice to start with a “load” period and then to base the dosage on your body weight.
The “load” period is considered safe for the body and helps those who take creatine to obtain visible results in a few days, such as bigger and stronger muscles.
Creatine may affect insulin levels, so if you have high or low blood sugar, be careful when you take high doses of the product. In this case, you could consider the most moderate method based on body weight.
3) Take the creatine every day at the same time.
It does not matter when you take it; whether it’s morning or evening, it will have the same effect on your body. However, for best results, take it at the same time every day so that your body has time to metabolize one dose before the next.
Some people prefer to take creatine just before training, but the effects of this substance are not instantaneous, so it does not actually provide an immediate increase in energy for weightlifting and other exercises.
If you want to take creatine away from home, take a bottle of water with you and store the dry creatine separately. If you mix it in advance, it will degrade in the water.
4) Dose 5 g of creatine powder.
When it is in the loading period, usually 5 g is the recommended dosage to start with; unless a specialist has advised otherwise, this weight is a safe amount.
Use the appropriate plastic cup that is inside the package to measure the dose of powder.
If there is no measuring cup in the package, try a teaspoonful, which is roughly equivalent to 5 g.
5) Mix the powder with about 1 litre of water.
Pour the powder directly into the water and use a spoon to mix it quickly. If you use a bottle with a cap, you can also close it and shake it.
If you do not have a container with the exact capacity of 1 litre, calculate four cups of water and pour it into a larger container with the powder.
You may find it more convenient to use a one-litre bottle with a cap, so you can always take it with you even when you want to take a dose of creatine outside the home.
You can also mix creatine with a fruit juice or an electrolyte energy drink.
6) Drink the creatine immediately.
As mentioned above, creatine begins to degrade when it is mixed with water, so you have to consume it immediately to get the maximum benefits.
Accompany the creatine with more water. It is important to stay well hydrated when you take it, so after taking it try to drink another glass or two of water.
Eat and drink normally. There are no dietary contraindications for creatine, so you can eat normally both before and after taking it.
7) Take 4 doses a day for the first 5 days.
When you are loading, you need a total of 20 g of creatine per day for the first five days. Subdivide the doses in order to take one for breakfast, one for lunch, one for dinner and one before going to bed.
8) Decrease gradually until you get 2 or 3 daily doses.
After an initial load of 5 days, limit the dosage to an appropriate maintenance routine. You could also safely get to 4 doses a day, but once you are in the maintenance phase, even 2 or 3 doses will have the same effect. Since creatine is not very economical, reducing the dosage will also be useful to save money.
The dosage of Creatine on Body Weight
9) Calculate the dosage for the first week. In the initial phase, your dose should be 0.35 g of creatine per kg of your weight. Divide the total number for each day in easily consumable quantities.
For example, if you weigh 68 kg, (150 lbs), multiply your weight by 0.35; your daily dosage will then be 23.8 g. This means that every daily mini-dose will be 6g, 4 times a day.
10) Calculate the dosage for the second week.
In the second week, get down to a dosage of 15 g of creatine per kg of your weight. This time, subdivide the total dose into 2 or 3 easily consumable quantities.
If you weigh 68 kg, (150 lbs), multiply your weight by 0.15; your daily dosage will then be 10.2 g. You can divide this quantity into two doses of 5.1 g each or in three doses of 3.4 g each. Choose the option best suited to your style and your life rhythms.
If creatine monohydrate causes stomach cramps or other effects (varies from person to person), try decreasing the dose or using another type of creatine (eg creatine ethyl ester).