Creatine : Loading, Maintaining, Flushing...Do It, But Do It Right!

Check out our infographic on the muscle building, power generating energy source, Creatine, for a novel spin on how, when, and how much Creatine you should be taking!

Loading Phase

  • Load your muscles with creatine for the first 3-4 days
  • Aim for 0.2g creatine per kg bodyweight

Maintenance Phase

  • Now you're loaded up, keep those muscle creatine levels topped up
  • Aim to consume 3-5g creatine per day thereafter to maintain creatine levels
  • Do this for 3 weeks or so, then STOP

Flush Out Phase

  • An average creatine cycle should last about 3-4 weeks
  • After each cycle you must rest and flush your kidneys through with fluid/water. Do this for 3-4 weeks
  • Aim for 30-35ml fluid per kg body weight per day (approx 10-13 cups)

Other Points Of Interest

  • The loading phase is only necessary for creatine monohydrate
  • Some brands suggest longer for the loading phase, research suggests that 3-4 days is adequate
  • Always perform a 'Flush out phase'...don't ignore it

 

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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!

Comments

  • Dave F

    I'd like to know what evidence there is for the 'flush out phase', is there any evidence of detrimental effects if creatine is consumed for much longer? I am of course talking 'evidence' not supposition.

    • Tom

      Thanks for the query Dave,

      The original source for this infographic is the ISSN, (2010), HERE >>> http://www.jissn.com/content/7/1/7

  • Muhammed
    May 14, 2013 Muhammed

    Hi Tom

    I am writing to enquire regarding consuming creatine. What would be the best time to consume it? i.e with or without meals, before meals and can I take it with my Promax protein shake? Your reply will be much appreciated.

    Many thanks

    Mo

    • Tom

      Thanks for the query Mo,

      Creatine is stored in the muscle and used by the body when it's needed, therefore consume with your protein shake first thing in morning or within 30mins after your gym session and you should be fine. Remember to follow the dosage guidance on our blog as well as adhering to the cycles 4 weeks on, 4 weeks off.

  • Andre
    May 22, 2013 Andre

    I'm a fitness trainer for 12 years and I use creatine monohydrate on my own, I agree with the loading phase, but I normally take 2x5g g per day for 9-12 weeks in the maintance phase and than 4 weeks the flush out or break phase.

  • James Mace
    September 26, 2013 James Mace

    Looking at the research papers from that link you provided to the ISSN article, there seems to be no evidence to suggest that there is any need for any flushing period (one study had participants using creatine daily for up to 4 years with no adverse health effects). So one every four weeks certainly seems excessive to me.
    Personally, I have been taken creatine (in an all in one, post-workout shake) after every workout that I have done for the past several years and have had no adverse effects.

    • Tom

      The adverse effects may take well in excess of 4 years to show nephron and glomerular damage. The long term repercussions of excessive creatine consumption is damage to the integrity of the kidneys, I strongly advise anyone to flush them and take 4 weeks off.

      Tom

  • Danny

    Hey Tom,
    My creatine has just arrived today (1st time user) and was wondering about your comment that says 3-5g per day during maintenance phase when on the instructions it says 2x5g per day, one 45mins before workout and one post workout.

    Thanks in advance

    • Tom

      Hey Danny, thanks for the question. I am in no position to suggest anyone deviates from the directions on a product, however in this case my recommendation is based on current ISSN guidelines, which are actually lower than the dosage on the product, so this is your call. I stand by the 5g per day as a rule of thumb for maintenance, but the guideline is actually around 0.1g per kg body weight because creatine req's (like most nutritional components) are body weight dependent.

      Hope this helps,

      Tom

  • Samantha Rice

    As Tom mentions, 5 grams of creatine per day should be enough. One month off creatine seems to be necessary. If you follow this advice, chances are you won't experience any negative effects on your health in the long run- and this is what is really important.

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