Once you’ve decided to begin taking creatine, it is important to use the correct dosage. This may not be as easy as it sounds. There are a few factors that come in to play when deciding on how much and when to take Creatine. The most important thing to do, though, is make sure you have purchased or are purchasing pure creatine. Read the label and make sure it is the real deal. 100% creatine powder and a powder filled with additives are not only going to work differently but the dosing would be different. Don’t mess around and just make sure it is pure.
The internet is a blessing and a curse. There are thousands of websites out there dedicated to filling your mind with false statements and claims about creatine powders. A lot of cheap imitations or powders with mostly fillers claim knowledge of all-things-creatine, and will claim one is better over the other. On top of that you have forums and blogs by people who have used creatine powders and will give advice on how much to take without having any science to back it up. Everyone is different and everyone needs to take the amount that is right for their body and workout.
Your creatine dose
In researching creatine and dosage amount, it was amazing to see how many sites said to just follow the directions on the can. This kind of thinking is irresponsible in that fact that not one human being is the same as the other. A 300lb monster of a man and a 150lb woman are not going to burn the same amount of creatine and thus would not need to take the same amount. So how to find the dose for you. The most thorough report we have found was, from physicist/nutritionist, DH Kiefer (John Kiefer). He has been studying this for 20 years and is considered the leading expert on human metabolism. In regards to creatine dosage, he states this:
“Consider the fact that a 150 pound male (70 kilograms) will burn through about two grams of creatine naturally every day. Since 95 percent of creatine exists within muscle tissue, the average resistance-trained athlete would require greater amounts of creatine just to maintain normal cellular levels.
The two-grams-per-day maintenance level is the current recommendation by the American College of Sports Medicine’s expert panel on creatine. After using more advanced methods of determining intracellular creatine levels in 2003, however, researchers found that after two weeks of using the standard protocol, intracellular creatine levels returned to baseline .”
So, using his mathematic prowess, Kiefer has come up with a formula that works on an individual level. It deals with an individual’s body fat percentage and weight. Here is what it is:
“To increase the amount of creatine we carry to a level above the baseline (1g/lb.), we need at least two grams per day for maintenance, plus 0.4g for every lean pound of muscle. For a 200 pound male carrying 60 pounds of lean muscle, a reasonable calculation would be:
(0.4g/lb. * 60 lbs.)/0.95 + 2g ≈ 27.3g
Okay, so we all are not friends of mathematics – his easy formula is as follows:
- POUNDS: Bodyweight * 0.15 = grams of creatine monohydrate to ingest
- KILOGRAMS: Body mass * 0.3 = grams of creatine monohydrate to ingest
The reviews have begun to come in and bloggers and forums are agreeing that this is the easiest, smartest formula to use. Taking more creatine powder than is recommended for your weight is senseless. The body can only use so much and will end up expelling the excess through the urine. So don’t waste creatine powder or your time, stick to the formula.
What about loading doses and cycling?
By following the formula above, there is no need for cycling. As for loading, the recommended dose is 20g per day for five days. This is the starting or loading dose. Once the five days has passed, the recommended dose is the outcome of the formula above. From that point on, the formula result for your body weight should be taken daily. There is no evidence that creatine powder has to be taken right before or after working out. A lot of athletes prefer to do so as reports of better workouts have been claimed. The only thing recommended is to break up the daily dose into four doses a day. So, if you take 20g a day, you would break that down into four 5g doses a day. Research has shown that creatine is best absorbed when insulin levels are high so pairing it with a high protein/carb meal would be best.
What happens if I skip a day?
It is recommended that you try to keep to a schedule, but we all have our days. Just continue the next day and you will be fine. There is no need to double up or take extra as your body will only use so much creatine – the rest will be disposed of. You can take the creatine powder on days you don’t work out without any side effects or problems. The muscle you build using creatine doesn’t magically appear overnight and it will not magically disappear overnight. Through the use of creatine powder, you are building lean muscle and unless you quit working out altogether, you won’t lose that muscle.
As with any supplement, it is important to remember that this is just that – a supplement. It is not going to help you gain muscle mass or tone if you sit around eating Twinkies and washing it down with sodas. You need to eat clean – stay away from processed foods and drinks. You need to do the work – keep to a workout schedule and work to your maximum potential. The creatine powder will aid in your goals for a stronger, more chiseled and muscular physique. Stick to the formula and adjust as your weight increases. Taking too little will not do enough for you, just as taking too much is a waste.