Calculate the appropriate dosage of creatine monohydrate for both beginner and advanced weightlifters.
Creatine Dosage Calculator
Recommended Creatine Intake:
Your daily dose for the loading phase is: gram per day
The ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition) suggests 5 grams of creatine monohydrate four times daily for 5–7 days is the most effective way to increase your muscle creatine levels (1).
Your daily dose for the maintenance phase is: gram per day
After the loading phase once your muscles are completely saturated, a lower dose can maintain high levels of creatine.
What is creatine and how does it work?
Creatine is quite possibly the most effective ergogenic aid for improving physical performance and body composition. Although, it’s no miracle supplement and shouldn’t be thought of as such. So expectations should reflect this piece of knowledge.
Creatine is actually an amino acid that has been studied for years which makes the proof behind its efficacy even more convincing. But if you’ve ever tried creatine yourself, there’s a good chance you’ve already experienced the benefits.
Now, our bodies naturally produce creatine and it’s found in the muscle and brain, as well as the kidneys, liver, and pancreas. It’s also in red meat and seafood. But if you want the benefits of creatine, you’ll need to supplement (synthetic creatine) because your body doesn’t produce enough and most people won’t get enough from food either.
Creatine converts to a substance called phosphocreatine after it’s consumed and is stored intramuscularly. This process helps supply the muscles with energy to fuel muscle contractions, in the form of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). ATP is important for chemical synthesis, muscle contraction, and nerve impulse propagation.
How does the creatine calculator work?
The creatine calculator determines an ideal intake for each individual based on their body weight using a simple formula. It’ll give you an optimal intake amount for the loading phase and the maintenance phase. If you’re unfamiliar with what the loading phase is, then let us explain.
Basically, creatine works faster when you take a higher overall dose for the first 5-7 days or so. You’re just saturating the muscles with creatine and as a result, your body is able to elicit the effects at a much faster rate.
So, for example, if the calculator determines that you should take 20g for the loading phase, you’ll split up your doses throughout the day (typically 4 doses of 5g) to ensure you meet this number for the first 5-7 days.
But this phase is not necessary as you can take the smaller, maintenance dose and still get the same effects. However, this is a slower process that will take several additional weeks for comparable effects. (7)
The maintenance phase typically follows the loading phase which consists of taking a smaller dose since the muscles are already sufficiently stored with creatine. This is usually about a fourth of the loading phase dose. The maintenance dose should be taken every day following the loading phase to keep the muscles stores at adequate levels.
Maintenance phase formula:
Weight (lb) < 120 = 3g
Weight (lb) < 119 to < 201 = 5g
Weight (lb) > 200 = 8g
The more you weigh, the more creatine you’ll need to take to see maximum benefits. Although, not everyone will be interested in following a specific dosing protocol. So simply taking a dose recommended by creatine product labels can be an effective approach. Research has shown that taking just 3 grams per day is an optimal lower limit for eliciting the beneficial effects of creatine. (8)
Benefits of creatine
But the mechanism/s in which it can help increase muscle growth especially is rather interesting. Research shows that creatine can have an effect on hormones, muscle cells, and other processes. This is in addition to the increased ATP production in the muscle cells. (2, 3)
Having sufficient creatine stores in the body provides benefits beyond the physical and performance factors. Age-related muscle loss and syndromes that are caused by the body’s inability to metabolize creatine effectively, may likely improve from exogenous creatine intake. (4)
Creatine is a very beneficial supplemental tool that has impressive effects. But it’s important to not expect it to have steroid-like effects either. Most people who dose it properly will likely gain several pounds in water but this should then follow up with leans mass at a slightly faster rate than if you didn’t use it.
But your workout, nutrition, and lifestyle have to be up to par as creatine doesn’t make up for a lack of optimal habits.
Does the type of creatine matter?
This is where things can get a little tricky. There are several different forms of creatine although monohydrate is the most common and studied form (doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best, however). Typically, the serving size displayed on most creatine labels is 5 grams. If it’s less than this, we recommend following the label and adjusting based on your results.
Certain creatine products don’t require a loading phase, therefore, just following the product label is likely going to be your best bet. For example, you don’t need to load buffered creatine products such as kre-alkalyn or hcl (hydrochloride), and they’re lower dosed than monohydrate.
So, our creatine calculator may not apply to all creatine types which is something to keep in mind.
Read also: Creatine Ethyl Ester Vs Creatine Monohydrate
Frequently Asked Questions
What is creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid that is naturally produced by the body and it’s also found in certain foods. It helps to produce ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) which fuels muscle contractions and other biological processes.
Is creatine a steroid?
No. Steroids are illegal and creatine is available for anyone to use, even sports organizations.
Does creatine build muscle?
Creatine has been shown in many studies to contribute to increases in lean muscle mass. It has also shown to increase strength and endurance.
But other than supplying the muscles with energy, research has shown creatine to have an effect on hormones responsible for muscle tissue growth.
How much creatine is safe to take?
We recommend only taking recommended creatine doses which are typically provided on product labels. However, depending on the form of creatine you take, you can use our calculator to determine an optimal amount for you.
Also, taking more than the recommended dosages will not result in better results. But if you did take more than the recommended dosages, you’d likely be fine. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), taking up to 30g per day for five years shouldn’t cause any adverse effects, in healthy individuals. (7)
Is creatine safe for everyone?
We definitely don’t recommend everyone use creatine. Especially not individuals with serious health issues.
Those with kidney issues (e.g. renal disease) are one group of people who should definitely avoid using creatine as it is metabolized by the kidneys.
For healthy individuals, creatine is generally believed to be safe both in the short and long term.
But as a safety precaution, it’s definitely a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider prior to using creatine in supplement form.
Creatine works plain and simple. It’s proven and if you’re healthy, then it can really be a big help for your fitness goals. Our calculator should help you to find an effective dosing range so that you can see the results as quickly as possible.
Just remember that not all creatine products are created equally. But we’ve explained the difference and why the calculator may not be needed depending on your choice of product.
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