How Do I Use Creatine for Bodybuilding?

Amanda R. Bell

Creatine naturally occurs in the muscles of the human body, and is responsible for creating the substance that give muscles the energy to contract, which is necessary for them to build up. Supplements made with creatine have long been used by bodybuilders to improve their physical performance and, therefore, speed up the amount of time that it takes them to reach their goals. To use creatine for bodybuilding, you first need to determine what dosage you should use. Then, you can either do a high-dose phase to build up the amount of creatine in your muscles or simply take your proper dosage every day. When taking this supplement, it is important that you consume plenty of water; other than that, the only thing you need to do is lift weights to your fullest capability and continue working to reach your goals.

A bodybuilder.
A bodybuilder.

The amount of creatine that you take on a daily basis will depend on your weight. For most people, this will range from 2 teaspoons (6 grams) to 4 teaspoons (12 grams); the less you weigh, the less creatine you will need. Prior to taking any supplement or determining the dosage, it is important that you talk to your doctor and a trusted and certified personal trainer. With information and suggestions from both of these individuals, you will be able to determine the proper dosage of creatine for bodybuilding.

A person's weight determines how much creatine he or she should take.
A person's weight determines how much creatine he or she should take.

Many bodybuilders choose to take a higher-than-normal dose of this supplement for about a week before switching to the regular dosage for their weight known as a loading phase. In theory, this allows for a buildup of creatine in your muscles, potentially providing faster results. Despite this, a regular dosage based on a person’s weight generally provides the same results as a creatine loading phase. If you chose to do a higher dosage, you will take between 4 teaspoons and 7 teaspoons (21 grams) per day, preferably with water or a non-acidic juice such as grape or apple. This can help your body to absorb the creatine, although acidic juices, especially orange juice, can make creatine for bodybuilding useless.

Once you finish the loading phase, or in lieu of it, you can begin the maintenance phase. This will be based on the dosage that you, your doctor, and your personal trainer set for you. Outside of the actual amount, this is the same as the loading phase: take the creatine supplement daily with a non-acidic juice or room temperature water. On days that you train, take it directly after your workout.

While you are taking creatine for bodybuilding, it is important that you drink plenty of water. Generally, it is recommended that you consume at least 8 cups (1.9 liters) per day. This is because muscles utilize water to repair themselves after lifting, and creatine helps to draw more water to the muscles. If you do not drink enough, you may experience dehydration or the creatine may not work to its full potential.

The primary purpose of this supplement is to increase your body’s recovery time so that it can work more efficiently and improve in performance more rapidly. For this reason, there is no real difference in your training schedule when taking creatine for bodybuilding. Simply train as you normally would, lifting until fatigue. For most people, the creatine will increase the amount of repetitions or weight that it takes you to feel fatigued, making you naturally able to lift more. All you have to do is keep working towards your goals.

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