What Happens If You Forget to Take Creatine?
Oh no! You trained on Monday, and you forget to take your creatine in the days leading up to your next workout. You just started loading last week, and the pressure at work made you forget to take your daily loading doses.
Relax, it’s not the end of the world.
Sure, it would have been better if you managed to remember to take your creatine, but it’s not like you threw the last weeks progress out the window.
In this post, we’ll unpack everything you need to know about creatine’s loading and maintenance phases. By the end, you’ll know what happens if you forget to take your daily dose – and spoiler alert; it’s not as bad as you think.
How Does Creatine Loading Work?
“Loading” describes a phase where you want to get creatine into your muscles at optimal levels as soon as possible. Creatine monohydrate takes around two to three weeks to start reaching serum levels where it unleashes its potent effects.
During the first two to three weeks of use, you’ll need to take 5-grams of monohydrate four times a day. According to nutritional science, it’s not a good idea to take more than 5-grams at a time. Doses exceeding 5-grams just result in wasted creatine, with your body excreting it before it manages to absorb it all.
By splitting the daily recommended amount of 20-grams for loading into four separate 5-gram doses, you get the best results. We recommend you setup your loading phase to include a dose in the morning, at night, and before and after your workout.
The peri-workout period is the most important time to focus on your creatine use. During this period, your metabolism goes into overdrive, and your body relies on nutrients to fuel your training. By consuming creatine pre-workout, you elevate your body’s hydration levels, enhancing your performance in the gym.
Taking a dose of creatine post-workout helps you muscle quickly absorb the supplement. The fast absorption rate assists with a speedy recovery from exercise-induced stress.
How Long Does Creatine Stay in My System?
Creatine levels build up in your muscle, with the average 155-lb man storing up to 160-grams of creatine in their muscular system. The objective of the loading phase is to reach this threshold as quickly as possible. By doubling the daily amount, you get there faster.
However, if you miss a day or two by accident, it’s not the end of the world. It takes your body as much time to get rid of the creatine as it does to store it. Once you achieve maintenance-level with the supplement, it’s easier to manage your creatine intake.
Creatine serum levels remain high for four to six weeks after stopping use. The time it remains in your system depends on how much you’re using each day and duration of use. So, missing a few days here and there is not going to derail your progress.
What Happens If I Miss a Few Doses of Creatine?
You’re not going to lose size, and your progress does not come to a grinding halt. As mentioned, creatine takes time to move its way out of your system. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as possible after identifying your mistake.
How Can I Get My Creatine Levels Back on Track?
Getting your creatine levels back on track is easy – just remember to take your four doses a day in the future. Consistency is key in the progression of your training. A logbook can help you remain consistent in the gym and the kitchen.
Write down what you eat every day and the supplements you take. By tracking your diet like you track the weight and reps you make in your training, you’ll start seeing the progress you deserve. Eventually, you’ll reach a place where it’s second nature to remember to take your creatine.