What Are the Best Times To Take Creatine?

by Matt Wilson
Last Updated: 12/04/2021
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Just like many things back in the day, creatine was regarded as something suspicious and unholy. Luckily, we progressed and started using this supplement in order to increase muscle and improve our exercise.

It doesn’t matter if you are doing sports, lifting weights or using it to make the best out of your fitness training. Many studies proved that creatine can give you the power and energy that you require to perform. 

Creatine when used as a supplement can also improve your health.

Any credible study will tell you that when it comes to pre-workout or post-workout, the best time to take any supplement depends on your goals and what kind of workout routine you have planned for yourself.

In this article, we will discuss pre or post workout supplementation. You will find out how post-workout supplements can be beneficial, but also similar to pre-workout supplements.

We will talk about the best time to take creatine, and benefits that creatine, among many other supplements, has. 

Many supplements may be useful if you want more power and strength, but creatine and studies about it will tell you, it’s highly effective for weight lifting.

Why Take Creatine?

Research tells us that creatine has many benefits, and not just in terms of exercise and muscle growth.  

But first, what is creatine, you might ask? What makes creatine different from other supplements?

Creatine is naturally found in your body and is responsible for giving your muscles enough energy for high-intensity workouts.

There are several types of creatine, but in most cases when creatine is mentioned (in relation to workouts), chances are it’s creatine monohydrate.

Creatine monohydrate is the most popular form of creatine, but it’s not always clear if monohydrate is better than HCL (which is another popular type of creatine).

Would you like to have more power? Yes, please! Would you like to have more money? Yes, please!? 

Well, this article is not about that, but please do continue reading.

First of all, creatine is extremely popular and has many benefits when it comes to its effects on performance improvement and fitness training. With creatine, you are able to achieve better results in the gym and have more energy, overall.

Using creatine can boost your performance and give you more strength for weight lifting (by 10%), as some studies show [1]. 

The fact that creatine is so beneficial when it comes to workouts is not a surprise since creatine has a major role in providing cellular energy, as the study suggests [2].

Workouts aside, creatine may also be beneficial for your health, as one study suggests. 

It is useful for lowering the level of blood sugar and can be beneficial in treating liver disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease [3].

Also, another health benefit of creatine is that it can be an effective tool for weight loss. Creatine helps your muscles to grow but may cause your body to retain water.

When Is the Best Time to Take Creatine?

You can use creatine before or after your workout (just be mindful of the dose!).

If you prefer to split your daily intake of creatine by taking it throughout the day, then we may only suggest that you don’t exceed the recommended dose.

Either way, science hasn’t yet definitively answered the question when exactly is the best time (before, after, or during a workout) to take creatine. But there are some good suggestions that may be beneficial to your training. 

So, just keep going with this reading an article thing that you are doing.

Taking Creatine on Days You Exercise

Taking creatine on days you exercise is definitely more productive than taking it on your rest days since the reason for the later has less to do with the training itself, at least in an obvious sense.

Many studies show that if you do take creatine on the days you exercise, you need to pay attention to the timing.

Research shows that there are more benefits in taking supplements with creatine closer to your exercise than taking them too early or too late [4].

In the mentioned study, one group was taking creatine in the morning and in the evening, while doing their exercises in the middle of the day. The group that took creatine just before or after their workout had more improvement (when it comes to strength and muscles).

Although this research is not by any means definitive, it highly suggests that more benefits are gained by taking creatine close to your exercise.

Should You Take It After You Exercise?

Science says that taking creatine post-workout works when it comes to gaining lean muscle mass and losing body fat. 

A study conducted on a group of people who took 5 grams of creatine after workout proved that this routine was highly effective [5]. If you desire to improve your performance, timing is all!

The amount of creatine that two groups of people consumed was 5 grams per day, but the difference was that the first group took the creatine supplementation before and the second group after their workout.

Results showed that if you take the supplement after a workout, there is going to be a faster increase in muscle growth and strength gains. 

These results are not conclusive and there are some contradictory findings in similar research (when individuals took five grams of creatine for 7 days and the results haven’t shown a significant increase in either group) [6].

Should I Take Creatine Every Day Including On Rest Days?

Should you? Well, it depends really. 

You could train for five days and then take a couple of much-needed rest days. In that case, the reason for taking creatine is to keep the optimal levels of creatine in your muscles, high. 

Another issue is just starting with creatine. This usually means consuming 20 grams of this supplement daily, until you get used to it. 

How Should I Take Creatine for Best Results

If you want to quickly improve your body strength, your physique or stamina, then you definitely need to try the loading phase (no, we don’t want you to look at the screen for 10 minutes until your XXX site is finally working, not that loading)

For this phase, you need to take 20 grams of your creatine supplement daily, for approximately one week. 

After the loading phase, and after you’ve trained five days (it’s all about that timing), your daily intake should decrease to a smaller dose of 3-5 grams (this dose is optimal for gaining muscle mass).

The third method means using creatine every once and a while during the period of a couple of weeks.

Out of all three methods, the first two can give you probably the same growth in muscles and energy increase. The only difference is that the first one is going to get you there faster.

Therefore, if the timing is important for you, then go with the first method (timing is everything so go with this method).

Read about creatine cycling to maximize your creatine intake and discover other creatine phases.

What Should I Take Creatine With?

We assume that you are eating carbohydrates or carbs because you are a human being that needs energy (unless you are sungazing, in which case we are at a loss for words). 

Science gives an answer to this question as well. One research shows that there are more gains if creatine is taken with carbohydrates or if you combine carbs with protein [7].

Another related research found that consuming exactly 47 grams of carbs and 50 grams of protein can significantly improve the retention of creatine and produce better effects than if you use creatine alone [8].

It is worth noting that creatine can be effective in muscle protein synthesis [9]

There is one study that shows the complementary role of carbs in providing your muscles with more creatine overall [10]. Make sure not to overlook protein intake by focusing too much on carbs.

You can also take creatine with other supplements. For example, taking creatine with beta-alanine can help you reduce body fat.

For better results and to improve your fitness, our advice is to take creatine with a balanced mix of carbs and proteins.

The Bottom Line

In the end, we can only say that consuming creatine pre or post workout, doesn’t really matter, as long as it is close to your exercise period.

There are benefits of creatine on many levels, and normally, you would want to take high amounts of this supplement, as studies suggested, when starting with it. 

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27328852/6 
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22297802/  
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17828627/  
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17095924/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23919405/ 
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25993883/ 
  7. https://www.asep.org/asep/asep/kreider2.pdf 
  8. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/jappl.2000.89.3.1165 
  9. https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-016-0158-y 
  10. https://p9067/ ubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/889

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