Should Athletes Load or Not Load Creatine?

Posted: Thursday, 17 May 2012 by Strength&Nutrition24/7 in Labels: , ,

Written By Vincent St. Pierre

  • Everyone has asked the question when starting creatine: how should I take it? 
  • I have heard about loading, should I, and how much?
  • Is there a difference for athletes or general public?

We will attempt to answer all these questions through the course of this article.

I have gone through all these questions myself and have received a million and a half answers: “You should take this much for loading”.....“no, this much”...”no, loading isn’t important it’s just marketing”.... etc.
I found this so frustrating trying to find the true answer, yet no one could supply me with one. They would just tell me what they did. However, I don’t care what they did, I care about what the most effective way of using creatine is; in order to get the full benefits and my money’s worth.

Creatine is one of the most researched supplements in all of sport nutrition literature. This means nearly all ways of increasing the bodies storage of creatine have been tested. So I will bring to you what all this research has deemed to be the most effective form of increasing your creatine stores.

Loading is by far the most rapid and effective way of increasing your creatine stores. The greatest amount of creatine is absorbed in the first 2-3 days of the loading period. Although there has been a study that small amounts (3g/day) over a 28 day period could increase your creatine storage. However, does this low dosage have a benefit on performance? Well many studies looked at this and demonstrated that improvement in exercise capacity wouldn't occur with this low dosage.

 There are only a handful of well controlled studies that have been able to demonstrate a low dosage (5-6g/ day for a period of 10-12 weeks) can promote an increase in strength and muscle mass during training. In the end, it seems that the most effective way to increase creatine stores is to use the loading technique for at least 3 days followed by 3-5g/day thereafter to maintain stores.

For a detailed look on how to implement the loading phase please refer to this article


  • Loading has been found to be the best method to improve one’s exercise capacity 
  • Taking a small dosage without loading will have no to little improvement on exercise capacity 
  • You should load for at least 3 days then continue with a 3-5g/day there after to maintain creatine stores
  • For a detailed look on how to implement the loading phase please refer to