The popularity of creatine supplementation has skyrocketed over the last 15 years. The positive effects shown in so many studies have resulted in many different dosing methods. Early studies used a loading phase that involved taking
approximately 20 grams per day divided into 5 gram servings for a week. This was usually followed by a maintenance dose of 2-5 grams per day taken in a single dose at some time during the day. Variations of this standard protocol have been studied and in many cases positive results have still been found. One area that has not received much attention is the time of creatine around workouts and the frequency of dosing. Canadian researchers took an unusual approach of comparing different dosing frequencies on the potential to increase in gains in muscle size and strength from resistance training. One group consumed creatine 2 days per week and another 3 days per week. The individual dose of creatine was reduced for the 3 times per week group (0.10 g.kg creatine) so that the total intake was the same as the 2 day per week (0.15 g.kg creatine). After 6 weeks of training and supplementation, all groups increased strength and muscle thickness. The placebo groups increased by 2-6% on average ,whereas both creatine groups increased muscle thickness by 16-20%. The creatine groups also increased strength to a greater extent than placebo groups. There was no difference between the 2 and 3 day per week creatine groups. The findings indicate frequency of creatine intake is not as important as the amount of creatine. This is consistent with the concept that creatine accumulation in muscle is the most important factor and that subtle differences in timing and frequency are unlikely to be of major importance in determining the impact on adaptations to training.
Candow DG, Chilibeck PD, Burke DG, Mueller KD, Lewis JD. Effect of Different Frequencies of Creatine Supplementation on Muscle Size and Strength in Young Adults. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Apr 20.