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How to take Creatine

Modern Dosing Regimens Four years later (1996) Dr. Hultman in collaboration with a British group headed by Dr. Paul Greenhaff devised a dosing strategy containing two principal phases (4).

LOADING PHASE: In accordance with this dosing protocol most athletes commence creatine supplementation with a loading phase. The purpose of the loading phase is to quickly fill one's creatine stores in a matter of just a few days. A typical loading phase might be 20 grams of creatine monohydrate daily for five days. The loading phase should not exceed the time it takes our muscle creatine stores to saturate, usually under five days.

MAINTENANCE PHASE: Following the loading phase a maintenance phase should then be implemented with the sole purpose of "maintaining" our creatine stores full. The maintenance dose should just cover the amount of creatine degraded on a daily basis; equivalent to about 2 grams for a normal sized male. It is recommended that the maintenance phase not extend beyond 6-8 weeks. The reasons for this will become clearer below.

Calculating Creatine Doses

Obviously, an individual's capacity to store creatine should ultimately depend on the amount of muscle mass they possess. For this reason exactly you should adjust your creatine dose to match your bodyweight (a rough approximation of muscle mass). According to Hultman et al. (4) during the loading phase take 0.3 grams of creatine monohydrate for each kilogram you weigh. The maintenance dose is 10-times less, or 0.03 grams of creatine monohydrate per kilogram of body weight. To calculate you creatine dose in pounds simply divide your bodyweight in pounds by 2.2; 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds. In other words, an "average" sized male of 154 pounds, weighs 70 kilograms, or 154 divided 2.2. The next step is to multiply your weight in kilos by the appropriate dose. For example, our average person would load with 21 grams of creatine monohydrate per day (0.3 x 70 = 21) and maintain with 2.1 grams of creatine monohydrate daily (0.03 x 70 = 2.1).

Incorportate a Wash-out Phase

Today it is frequently advised that a washout-out phase be incorporated following the maintenance phase. The wash out phase is an addendum to the original supplementing method of Hultman, Greenhaff and colleagues and is merely a precautionary measure just in case there are any adverse consequences to creatine use. I personally recommend that you wash-out for one month following every two months of supplementation. This amount of time should be sufficient to allow your system to return to normal after ceasing supplementation. After wash out supplementing can commence anew with a loading phase. Well, so much for the basics of creatine supplementation. We'll next discuss why creatine works.


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