How much creatine do you need? Well, we do get a certain amount of creatine from our food but it's only about 1 to 2 grams per day. This is not enough to enhance strength training performance - You need more.
In order to get the optimal benefit of creatine, it is suggested that you first load up. The loading phase requires that you stuff creatine into your muscles - Which means you want to saturate your muscles with creatine. Taking one teaspoon of creatine 4 to 5 times daily for five days should do the trick.
Week 1: Loading phase: one teaspoon of creatine 4 to 5 times daily
Afterwards, one five to ten gram dose per day should keep the gains coming and maintaining the optimal amount of creatine in the muscles. However, you don't have to go overboard on the maintenance phase. The body has a cap on the amount of creatine that it will store in the muscle. Keep it to about 5 to 10 grams a day and you should be fine.
Week 2: Maintenance phase: 5 to 10 grams (1 to 2 teaspoons)
“Should You Take Creatine With Anything?”
Here's an important tip about creatine: Creatine works best in combinations with a liquid carbohydrate supplement. In fact, this combination may boost the amount of creatine accumulated in the muscle by as much as 60%. If you recall, the more creatine you have stored in the muscle, the better.
By supplementing your creatine with carbs, you're basically super charging your body. The more creatine you have in your muscles, the more power you have.
The more glycogen you have stored up in the muscle, the more energy you'll have for weight training or other physical activities. The creatine/carb combo is a pure energy booster for all types of activities, including building muscle.
Personally, I always try and take creatine with a simple carb such as dextrose and I would advise you to do the same. Creatine alone is not nearly as effective when taken with a simple carb. Try and add creatine to a carb drink like Cytosport's Cytomax or TwinLab's Ultra Fuel. However, for 3 dollars, you can grab yourself a bag of dextrose and simply add 5 to 10 grams of creatine to water. Don't take your creatine with soda pop or coffee.
If you are using plain powdered creatine, always mix with a simple carb. If you are using a creatine transport system such as EAS's Phosphogen, simply add water. More and more supplement companies are now offering creatine delivery systems.
These systems are meant to increase the absorption rate of creatine into your muscles. Companies such as EAS (Phosphagen HP), Muscle-Tech (Cell-Tech) offer such systems. These companies basically add a whack of dextrose to their creatine mixture. Other companies will add other ingredients such as glutamine but the main purpose of these products is to transport more creatine into your muscles using a simple carb (such as dextrose).
It's best that you take your creatine on an empty stomach with a simple carb (such as a carb drink or dextrose). By taking your creatine with a simple carb on an empty stomach, you increase the absorption rate.
Lately, however, I've been using the newest creatine transport systems and I am amazed at the results. These products don't require a loading phase and cut down on the creatine bloat and nauseau. I'll be talking about these products a little later.
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