Creatine supplements are used by athletes, bodybuilders and recreational exercisers to gain muscle mass and strength. Creatine is a found naturally in skeletal muscles, and is responsible for short, high-intensity activities. Taking creatine supplements increases the amount of stored creatine to improve performance. A common starting point for many creatine users is a loading phase -- a period of five to seven days of progressively greater dosages designed to increase the amount of available creatine in the body. However, you can still experience the same benefits of creatine supplements without loading.
Read the manufacturer’s guidelines for dosage limitations and requirements. Each creatine supplement varies slightly in regards to dosage amounts. For example, some supplement manufacturers may recommend a brief loading phase from about 15 to 25 g of creatine per day. Instead of following the loading phase dosage, use the dosage recommended for the maintenance phase.
Take the creatine supplement one to three times per day, advises the Muscle and Strength website. Most supplement manufacturers recommend taking the creatine three times on workout days and only one time on rest days. This helps to ensure that the creatine stays in the bloodstream and muscles.
Consume about five to 10 g of creatine per day. Actual dosage amounts may vary according to the strength and potency of your particular supplement.
Take the creatine supplement about one hour before the start of your workout, suggests the Muscle and Strength website. This time frame ensures that the creatine enters your bloodstream to enhance the performance and effectiveness of your workout.
Drink the creatine with fruit juice or another high glycemic carbohydrate source for improved digestion. The simple sugars help to transport the creatine and protein into the skeletal muscle fibers for the workout.
Continue taking the creatine supplement, but cycle off after about eight weeks. A general guideline is to take the supplement consistently for eight weeks followed with four weeks off before starting another eight-week cycle. This time frame ensures that your muscle cells are saturated with creatine.
Consult a doctor or registered dietitian before taking creatine or any other supplements.