I've never really agreed w/ the creatine loading phase that is usually instructed on the outside of containers anyway, how most novices consume the product in general or why they even buy the stuff in the first place. But I digress.
We know that after 2-3 weeks of taking a normal serving size (which is a relatively small amount, 5 grams) of creatine our bodies levels will get to the same levels as that if we were to use a loading phase.
The idea of a loading phase is that it only takes a week. But this loading phase requires us to take around 20g/day for a week.
All a loading phase will do is increase the price of your piss. Literally
Creatine is a diuretic.
Any extra that your body can't absorb is going to be excreted in your urine, which makes it sound extremely safe like water soluble vitamins, and you take tons of Vitamin C when you get sick (even though I have yet to see any viable research that would prove access VitC to help your common cold after you're already sick).
Peeing all the time makes your more susceptible to dehydration, cramps, and gastric issues (of which creatine is heavily linked).
As far as my problem w/ how novices consume the product. Your body can only accept around 5g/day of creatine (depending on the person). So what's the point in forcing it.
As far as why they bought the stuff in the first place. Probably b/c the wanted an excuse for why they can't hit a lift when they "forgot" to take their creatine that day. Duuhuumb. Creatine might help you hit an extra rep or two on some of sets, it has nothing to do w/ immediate force output. And that's even if the lifter I'm making fun of right now has even trained long and consistently enough to even be able to put up anything substantial. I'll just go ahead and stop there before this turns into my normal tirade against the typical weight room hero that only workouts in spandex shirts, baggy sweatpants (to cover his chicken legs) and sweatbands even though he doesn't really sweat, but loves to put on a show loading up his supplements in the locker room, and doesn't really have anything impressive anyway.
To step away from making fun of probably half the people at my first job in the profession. Creatine works. There's no doubt about it. The stuff was a great find. See Pubmed article here. But the majority of people that even do lift heavy are going to get more from a preworkout meal than swallowing some creatine powder.
Really, creatine is fine for most people, it even has a role in brain health. Taking 5g/day is probably fine, depending on the person. I'd urge you to get tested first. But there's really very little need the supplement unless you've been training heavily for years, and have exhausted all your resources.
To wrap things up, in my professional and layman opinion it seems like taking an extra week or two to get the full affect of creatine is superior to loading.
If you are going to take creatine. Stay under or around 5g/day. Keep it simple and go for Creatine Monohydrate. If you're in high school, don't control or don't know what your workouts will include then take it before bed.
If you're only lifting, are in good shape and not doing conditioning then it'd be fine to take before the workout. But taking it before practice, games, or conditioning is asking for cramps and injuries (and not b/c your ripped) or sitting on the toilet for the next day or two.