pouring ladder pre workout | creatine loading

How Loading Creatine Can Help You Reap Its Benefits More Quickly

By Andrew Heffernan

Curious about creatine loading? Let's start at the beginning.

Among the thousands of potions, pills, and powders marketed at fitness-minded folks, creatine monohydrate is among the most studied. It's also among the most tested and most effective. Regular use can help enhance strength, muscle growth, and athletic performance by providing the raw materials your body needs to fuel brief, high-intensity efforts.

Some trainers and nutritionists suggest a creatine loading phase for the first week of use, followed by a maintenance phase.

How what does that mean, is it effective, and should you do it?

Achieve more during training with the performance-enhancing blend of ingredients, including creatine, in LADDER Pre-Workout!

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What Is Creatine Loading?

creatine powder and pills | creatine loading

Creatine is the body's primary fuel source during the first few seconds of any exercise, and continues to be the primary fuel source during repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise (think: sprinting and weightlifting). This fuel is stored in your cells and typically acquired through dietary sources such as meat and fish. Supplementing with creatine allows you to top off your cellular stores, to help you have more of it available during exercise.

At typical servings (5 to 10 grams per day) of a creatine product, it can take a month or more of supplementation to build up your cellular creatine stores enough to make a noticeable difference in your workouts. Creatine loading allows you to reach those levels in as little as a week.

Here's how it works:

  • You take up to 20 grams of creatine per day (usually broken into four five-gram servings, each taken with water, about 4 hours apart) for your first 7 to 10 days on the creatine-only supplement.
  • Then you taper down to a maintenance dose of about 5 grams per day, which you can continue safely, more or less as long as you wish.

Continuing at a higher amount for longer than a week to 10 days won't do you any good — you can't make your cellular tanks any larger, after all — so once they're topped off, be sure dial back your daily intake to the maintenance level.

Are There Any Side Effects to Loading Creatine?

man weighing himself on scale | creatine loading

“Water retention is the most common event reported in the first several days of creatine use," says Paul Falcone, senior scientist for LADDER nutrition. Retaining water can occasionally lead to bloating and other gastrointestinal issues, including frequent urination.

However, the recommended five grams taken four times a day while loading should help mitigate these side effects. “Spreading out your intake strategy should enable your body to on-ramp more easily," says Falcone.

Any water retention should disappear after a few days, says Falcone. So even if you're a little bloated at first, the effect will be temporary. And after five to seven days, switch to a lower amount of about five grams daily — the amount in each serving of LADDER Pre-Workout. (Don't use LADDER Pre-Workout as a way of creatine loading because the product contains ingredients other than creatine.)

Do I Need Creatine?

You don't need creatine to achieve your strength training goals, but it can help you reach them faster. In fact, if you're interested in maximizing muscle and strength, creatine should be high on your list of supplements to try. Most people notice an uptick in their strength, performance, and muscle mass, with minimal side effects.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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