3 Things You Never Knew You Needed To Know About Creatine


1.) You don’t have to load creatine

You will hear different opinions on the protocol for creatine loading depending on where you go, some say you should load whilst some think there is no need. Truth is, both would be right to an extent, you see creatine has to reach a point of saturation in order for it to exert its best effects on muscle power and size. Original theories suggest that you need to consume enough creatine to break a saturation threshold, otherwise you end up excreting a lot of the creatine and never fully reach muscle saturation.

However, new evidence states that creatine saturation is more of a cumulative process i.e. you can reach muscle creatine saturation whilst consuming small doses at a time… it just takes you twice as long. Consuming creatine at or around 0.1g per kg bodyweight will therefore work, it’ll just take you considerably longer to feel creatines full potential. Conversely, try consuming around 0.3g per kg bodyweight for a week or so and you will reach saturation faster, and feel creatines full benefits much faster.

It’s your call.

2.) Creatine doesn’t make you 'smooth out' or lose definition

The composition of creatine means it is highly soluble in water (particularly micronized creatine), this is a good thing in terms of absorption from the gut to the muscles. However, one of the side-effects of this is ‘where creatine goes, water will follow’, which has led a lot of people to believe that this will lead to a ‘smooth’, less defined look due to a layer of subcutaneous water (water beneath the skin).

Good news is that this is rarely the case, your bodies renin angiotensin system is too efficient (in otherwise healthy individuals) for this to happen. Consequently most of the fluid retention that happens as a result of creatine consumption is intrinsic to the muscle cell, in other words it gets stored in the muscle.

This is also pretty cool because the fluid shift into the muscle draws nutrients in too which encourage growth and recovery, as well as giving the muscles a larger, fuller look.

3.) There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ dosage for creatine

Many nutrition and fitness experts (to use the term loosely) will say that you need to have 10g of creatine for the loading phase and 5g for the maintenance phase. This is all very well except it doesn’t account for total body mass, it’s quite simple, the larger you are (lean mass that is, not fat) the more creatine you need to have an ergogenic (performance enhancing) effect.

According to the current body of research creatine is body weight dependant, and the current recommendations actually have specific multiple factors similar to that of protein e.g. 1.5-2g protein per kg bodyweight is your daily protein requirement. NOTE: These are only estimates and NOT exact figures, consequently you should always trial your body on any supplement/ dosage and see how you respond.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) note several studies that used creatine dosages of 0.3g creatine per kg bodyweight for the loading phase (should you wish to follow a loading phase) and 0.1g per kg bodyweight for the maintenance phase.




About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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