Creatine usage is actually quite complicated because of the still unproven benefit of loading which is something that most coaches seem to recommend. But there are other issues that also involve the correct usage of Creatine and they include your hydration and exactly when to take creatine to get the maximum benefit.
First we need to look at the principal of loading as it has been shown that the human body contains about 120 grams of creatine 95% of which is stored in skeletal muscle. In general, muscle can hold an addition 30 to 40 grams of creatine, for a total of 150 to 160 grams. Of course, existing muscle mass is a huge factor in this equation.
There are two primary means of taking or loading creatine before you start on your 5mg regular dosage. The first is rapid loading which involves taking 20 grams of creatine for 5 to 7 days, then taking 5 to 10 grams per day thereafter. Creatine is generally taken 5 grams at a time, in a non-acidic fruit juice, or with dextrose.
The other alternative is slow loading, or gradual loading, which is simply taking 5 to 10 grams of creatine a day without the rapid loading, 20 gram per day phase. It should be noted that both rapid loading and slow loading are effective. It is recommended that you experiment with both approaches, and determine which is best for you.
It is important to note here also that taking creatine at specific times has not conclusively been proven to work better than just random supplementation. However it makes sense that your biggest demand for muscle building help is going to be pre and post workout.
Creatine stacks well with post-workout waxy maize and whey protein. There is evidence revealing that taking creatine with a 1 to 1 ratio of carbs to proteins can increase creatine absorption. When loading creatine, it is best to take creatine at the following times:
Morning – 5 grams with grape juice
Pre-workout – 5 grams of creatine with waxy maize
Post-workout – 5 grams of creatine with waxy maize and whey protein
Evening – 5 grams of creatine with grape juice
The last point is Creatine and water intake which is vitally important if you want to get the full benefit of the extra creatine you are taking. Creatine supplementation causes muscle tissue to hold more water. To avoid any mild dehydration you should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.
In conclusion it should be said here that the cycling of creatine seems to be something that more and more studies are proving to be important. You should do a month on creatine and a month off or two weeks off.