Creatine loading is the kick-starter to your creatine supplementation journey, crucial for those aiming to maximize their workout results swiftly. 

It's the process of saturating your muscle stores with creatine, which can lead to enhanced strength, increased muscle mass, and improved performance during high-intensity exercise. 

The typical creatine loading phase involves taking around 20 grams of creatine daily, split into 4 doses, for 5-7 days​​. 

What is Creatine Loading? 

Creatine loading is a method used to quickly fill your muscles with creatine, a natural substance that helps to produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise. 

Here's a breakdown:

Initial High Dose

For about one week, you take a higher dose of creatine — usually 20 grams a day divided into smaller doses — which is much more than the typical daily amount.

Why Load?

This front-loaded approach is all about getting your muscles to store as much creatine as possible, as fast as possible. This stored creatine then helps to improve performance, endurance, and muscle growth during workouts.

Ease Into Maintenance

After this first week, you scale back to a smaller daily amount, known as the maintenance dose, to keep your creatine levels steady.

Researchers and fitness experts support this method because it's shown to be effective and safe when done correctly.

The Benefits of Creatine Loading

Studies show that creatine loading, followed by lower-dose maintenance, increases strength significantly more than when no loading phase is used. Keep reading for a few benefits. 

Quick Saturation of Muscle Creatine Stores

Creatine loading is designed to super-saturate your muscles with creatine, reducing the time it takes for creatine to build up within the muscles and create greater amounts of available creatine for your training​​.

Enhanced Power Output and Strength

High volumes of creatine in your muscles from loading can significantly improve your power output, strength, and endurance, supporting rigorous training and heavy lifts​​.

Increased Energy During Workouts

With a successful loading phase, your muscles have more phosphocreatine, which is essential for the conversion into ATP during high-intensity workouts, thus preventing exhaustion and enabling you to train harder for longer periods​​.

Weightlifter with chalk on hands

The Best Way to Take Creatine 

If you’re looking to maximize your creatine intake, follow along. We’ll show you the smart way to load creatine. 

How to Creatine Load Infographic

Stage #1: Creatine Loading Phase

During this initial phase, you're driving the creatine straight into your muscle cells at full throttle. Imagine filling up a gas tank to the brim—that's what you're doing with your muscles during the creatine-loading phase. 

This method is designed to fast-track the benefits you're gyming for, like that surge in muscle growth and strength gain​.

The Safe Bet: Creatine Dosage and Safety

Now, if you're worried about the safety of this high-speed loading, studies have shown that taking 20 grams of creatine a day for five days is not only safe but even going up to 30 grams per day over longer periods has been deemed safe​​. 

Still, always listen to your body; if you notice any digestive issues, it's wise to adjust the dosage.

Water Intake During Loading

Creatine pulls water into your muscles, so it's essential to drink plenty of water during the loading phase. 

Aim for at least a gallon a day to support hydration, training, and overall health. A good habit is to drink water every 30 minutes to an hour throughout your waking hours​​.

Stage #2: Maintenance Dose and Ongoing Strategy

Once you've hit the peak with loading, it's time to shift into cruise control with a maintenance dose—5 to 10 grams per day will do the trick. This keeps those creatine stores in your muscles topped up​​.

How Long for Creatine to Work

The loading phase reduces the time it takes for the muscle cells to be fully saturated with creatine from our diets or the liver making it on its own​​. 

However, it's a matter of preference and willingness to endure some slight discomfort​​.

Man using cable machine

Timing Your Creatine Intake: Pre or Post Workout?

The best time to take creatine can vary. Taking it near your workout time, either before or after, seems to be most beneficial.​​

However, a steady daily supplementation without loading, although slower, will still get you to high muscular creatine levels within three weeks​​.

The Ultimate Conclusion: Creatine Loading for the Win

To sum it up, the creatine loading phase is your fast pass to muscle and strength gains. With a proper loading strategy and maintenance plan, you're setting yourself up for success in your fitness journey. 

For those looking to support their muscle growth and recovery, consider exploring products like Protein Supplements and Performance & Recovery collections from Ultimate Nutrition, which may complement your creatine regimen. Remember, stay hydrated, monitor your body's response, and keep pushing those weights.


The information provided in our articles is meant for informational and educational purposes exclusively and should not be considered as medical advice. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting a new nutritional product and/or making significant changes to your diet and/or starting a new exercise regime. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, and/or prevent disease.

UN Editorial Team