T Nation

To Load or Not To Load

Is Creatine Loading necessary or not??? I hear different things from different people, so I’d like to hear some opinions out here on the forum.

No. Not necessary.

I don’t load, I just start with a ‘maintence’ amount. I have tried loading in the past and it’s not much different except I have to buy creatine more frequently.

Loading will just peak your creatine stores faster. At 20 g/day, it will take ~5 days, then go w/ maintenance after that. If going with the maintenance dosage (3 g/day), it will take appoximately 4 weeks to accumulate stores equal to the method previously mentioned.

In the long run it doesn't matter; in the short term, it does.

i load. regardless creatine is really cheap

Have to disagree with Hot Chick. I don’t know where she got her numbers, but the consensus opinion here is that loading is NOT necessary. Even if it were necessary, the loading phase would be different for different people. One’s size would obviously be a big factor, and how much red meat one normally consumes would be an even bigger one.


Fact is, while vegans and others who don’t eat red meat find creatine to be very effective (in fact, it’s probably the first supp I’d recommend to a vegan client), if you eat a lot of meat creatine may not do anything for you at all. (This fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people are “non-responders” to creatine.)


If you do a search you’ll find a ton-load of opinions on this subject.

The information posted was from Dr. Paul Greenhaff who is one of the leading researchers and authorities on creatine supplementation.

You are right; loading is not neccesary, but it will take longer to get the same muscle creatine concentrations if you dont. I guess the decision to not load would be a financial one, but unless you are using those kool-aid creatine products, it's relativly cheep.

20 g/day for 5 days is a general recommendation; for some it may be excessive, but very few will need more.

As far as getting creatine from dietary sources, you'd have to eat almost 2 lbs of raw meat daily to get the 3 grams required for mainteance. If you plan on cooking your meat, you'll need much more than that as creatine is degraded during cooking.