Creatine Loading: Should You be Doing It?
Before we start talking about creatine - and different types, let’s make one thing very clear - creatine is king and it needs to be included in your training regime.
If you are a serious bodybuilder, weightlifter, powerlifter - anything involving high weights, you need to be taking creatine. It is hands down the best supplement for building strength, power and decreasing recovery time.
Traditional creatine monohydrate has been around since the golden era of bodybuilding - and research has shown it to be a very effective tool for replenishing ATP (Adenosine TriPhosphate) Stores.
For those unaware of how creatine works here is a basic explanation.
How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine is a natural substance that many of us consume on a daily basis (with the exception of vegetarian/vegan populations) through meat, eggs and some dairy products. Creatine works by increasing the total amount of stored phosphates in your muscle cells.
During exercise, your body uses ATP as fuel - but all fuel has a cost, and you lose a phosphate in the energy transfer, leaving you with ADP (which your body cannot use as energy).
In order to restore this into ATP, the body must draw from phosphocreatine in the body. Supplementing creatine enables your body to faster replenish this ATP store, thereby allowing you to train harder - for longer.
The debate opens up when we look at dosage times and the type of creatine we ingest. Currently, there are two streams of thought for each.
Supplementing Creatine Before vs. After Exercise
Any supplement you take should be calculated - you’re taking it to grow stronger, so let’s make sure you are supplementing at the correct time each day.
As we know, creatine helps to replenish ATP stores (that's the primary rationale). With this in mind, many researchers are unsure if it's more effective to supplement prior to exercise - to rapidly increase available phosphocreatine, or after exercise, to increase post-phosphate stores.
The simple answer is that both are effective, and it seems that when supplemented with a carbohydrate matrix, absorption can increase.
This is why many powerlifters will supplement creatine with glucose polymers - especially on off training days (in the morning).
Types of Creatine
The three main types of creatine we have today are creatine monohydrate and creatine malate and creatine magnapower. All of which have been shown to be very effective tools for replenishing ATP stores, yet one has a slight setback - water retention.
Creatine monohydrate requires excessive hydrogen ions in order to be properly synthesized (which is why it's recommended to drink plenty of water during a creatine cycle, or loading phase).
This excessive water intake leads users to cycle and load creatine - which can become a little taxing on your body and requires precision dosing.
Creatine malate, on the other hand, does not require a cycle or a load. I know what you’re thinking, creatine malate is not as effective, but in fact, research has shown that it is just as, if not more effective than creatine monohydrate.
Using creatine magnapower (magnesium bonded to the creatine) allows the creatine to work for longer. The addition of magnesium, due to its alkaline properties will enable for longer activity in the muscle.
Should I be Loading Creatine?
The simple answer is no. Although there is conclusive evidence to show that loading creatine will cause water retention and gains in muscle mass, this does not mean that you need to unload it and repeat the process just to see results.
The addition of loading creatine will also make you move through your supplement much faster, can lead to bloating and many people may feel uncomfortable with this.
The most important reason why you shouldn't be loading is because many clinical studies have shown that consistent creatine supplementation is very effective in promoting gains in lean muscle mass - especially when creatine magnapower is used.
Best of All Worlds
For a creatine supplement that will provide you with the best of all worlds be sure tcheck outut our creatine matrix. With 5g of clinically dosed creatine monohydrate, creatine di malate and creatine magnapower your ATP stores are in for some massive replenishment.
Find Creatine Matrix here.