Fact or Fiction: Creatine

Creatine helps your body produce energy during heavy lifting and high-intensity workouts. Although it’s naturally found in your muscles, supplementing your diet with additional creatine has been proven to increase muscle size.

Creatine has also been studied extensively with almost no reverse side effects. In addition to muscle growth, studies have found creatine supplementation to support brain health and exercise performance. Since it is found in foods like meat, vegetarians will especially find it useful.

At the end of the day, creatine is one of the cheapest, most effective and safest supplements you can take. Every time I have had the goal of building muscle, 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day has done the trick.

Here’s how it works and the dosage you should take.

How Creatine Works

In high-intensity exercises lasting between 1-10 seconds, creatine’s primary role is to increase the phosphocreatine stores in the muscles. Simply put, this helps you lift heavier. As a result, you will get stronger.

But it will also help you:

  • Recover faster in between sets (i.e. you can workout longer).
  • Repair muscle fibers faster in between sessions (i.e. you can hit consecutive training days with higher intensity).
  • Reduce muscle breakdown (i.e. you won’t be as sore).

Interestingly enough, because creatine increases phosphocreatine stores in your brain, some studies have also shown this to improve brain health and help prevent against neurological disease like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.

What Dosage?

When starting to use creatine for the first time, most recommend an “overload period” to increase the muscle stores of phosphocreatine. To do this, I recommend taking 20 grams per day for five days. Split these 20 grams up into four, 5-gram servings throughout the day–something like this:

  • Before breakfast.
  • Before lunch.
  • Before dinner.
  • Before bed.

If you choose not to do the overload period, you may not experience much of a difference for about a month (your muscles need time to maximize their storage of phosphocreatine).

Following the five day loading period, take 5 grams per day to maintain high levels within your muscles. Anything over 5 grams will turn into expensive urine as your muscles will flush out anything in excess.

Simply put, if you want the benefits of supplementing with creatine, you need to be consistent. There is no benefit to cycling creatine on and off.


Creatine is one of the cheapest, most effective and safest supplements you can take on the market. It’s also one of the most popular among elite athletes.

If you decide to take it, I would recommend overloading on the supplement for the first five days with 20 grams (5 grams at a time at four different times during the day). After this five day overload period, stick to 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day.


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