What is the Creatine Loading Phase?

The loading phase of creatine increases creatine consumption to rapidly elevate muscle creatine levels. Weightlifting and sprinting need creatine for energy.

The loading phase lasts 5–7 days and involves 20 grams of creatine per day. This dosage is usually divided into four or five 5-gram portions throughout the day. To sustain muscular creatine levels after loading, switch to a maintenance dose of 3–5 grams per day.

The creatine loading phase boosts performance and muscle building by flooding your muscles with creatine. It's vital to remember that this creatine strategy may not be necessary or suitable for everyone.

How Does the Creatine Loading Phase Work?

Creatine increases muscular phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine regenerates ATP, your cells' energy source. Phosphocreatine allows for more intensive and sustained workouts, increasing strength and muscular building.

But remember that muscles can retain creatine. A typical diet of meat and fish delivers 1 to 2 grams of creatine per day, but not enough to replace muscle storage. Your muscle creatine levels may be 60% to 80% full with natural creatine production.

To boost muscular creatine levels beyond food and natural production, take a supplement. However, muscle creatine absorption and storage require time. If you take 3 grams of creatine per day, it may take four weeks for your muscles to peak.

For those looking to expedite this process there's an option called the "creatine loading phase." This involves taking a dose of creatine (around 20 grams per day) but for a shorter duration (typically lasting, between 5 and 7 days).

In a week this can increase the levels of creatine in your muscles by anywhere, from 10% to 40%.

What are the Benefits of the Creatine Loading Phase?

man curling a dumbbell

The main benefit of the creatine loading phase is that it can help you see faster results from using creatine. By increasing your muscle creatine levels in a short time, you can improve your exercise performance and muscle growth sooner than if you take a lower dose of creatine for a longer time.

Some of the benefits of using creatine are:

Increased strength

Creatine can help you lift heavier weights or do more repetitions by providing more energy for your muscles.

Increased power

Creatine can help you sprint faster or jump higher by enhancing your explosive movements.

Increased endurance

Creatine can help you delay fatigue and recover faster by reducing the buildup of lactic acid and other metabolic waste products in your muscles.

Increased muscle mass

Creatine has the potential to enhance muscle growth and increase muscle volume by promoting protein synthesis and attracting water into the muscle cells. These advantages might be more pronounced when undergoing the creatine loading phase compared to using a dosage of creatine over an extended duration. 

Nevertheless it's worth noting that, in the scheme of things the disparity may not be particularly substantial or noteworthy.

What are the Drawbacks of the Creatine Loading Phase?

The main drawback of the creatine loading phase is that it may cause some side effects or interactions that you should be aware of. Some of the possible drawbacks of using creatine are:

Gastrointestinal distress

Some individuals may experience stomach discomfort, feelings of nausea, diarrhea bloating or cramps when using creatine. These symptoms are more likely to occur when consuming an amount of creatine or taking it without having eaten anything beforehand.


Creatine attracts water into muscles, which might dehydrate you. This can affect blood pressure, renal function, and exercise. To avoid these side effects, drink water and avoid alcohol and caffeine when using creatine.

Weight gain

Taking creatine supplements can potentially lead to weight gain due to an increase in muscle mass and water retention. While this might not be an issue for individuals it could impact both performance and physical appearance particularly if weight is a concern for you.

Kidney damage

Supplementing with creatine may raise blood creatinine levels. Your kidneys filter creatinine. Elevated creatinine readings may indicate renal injury or dysfunction. Creatine should not be taken if you have kidney problems or are taking drugs that impact kidney function. Blood tests should also be done to assess kidney health.

Liver damage

Creatine can raise blood ammonia levels, which can affect liver function. Ammonia is turned to urea by the liver. An excessive amount of ammonia might harm the liver. Worsen liver problems. Creatine should not be consumed if you have liver problems or take liver-harming drugs. Regular blood testing for liver function is advised.

These potential drawbacks may be more noticeable during the loading phase" of creatine usage compared to using a lower dosage, over an extended period of time. However when used safely and responsibly the risk of experiencing these side effects remains relatively low.

The Bottom Line

The creatine like Simply Supplements Creatine Monohydrate loading phase entails consuming a large dose of creatine for a short time to fast boost muscle creatine. This can boost workout performance and muscle building faster than taking a lower creatine dose over time.

The creatine loading phase is not necessary or suitable for everyone. Beware of adverse effects and interactions. It may possibly not affect your long-term outcomes.

Whether to use creatine loading depends on your aims and interests. If you want faster creatine results, consider loading. If you're worried about side effects or cost, stick to a smaller creatine dose.

James Freeman


Meet James Freeman, a California native whose passion for fitness emerged during challenging times, reshaping his life. With over two decades of coaching experience, he's not just a coach; he's a real-life example, shedding over 100 pounds in a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond his coaching career, James is passionate about inspiring at-risk youth and promoting wellness in schools. In his downtime, he enjoys swimming and cycling, connecting with nature. Join him on his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles for insights into his empowering fitness journey.