- When is the best time to take creatine for the best result?
- Should you take creatine before or after a workout?
- How to take creatine the best way?
Bodybuilders and athletes have many questions when it comes to creatine supplements. Some think the best time to take creatine is before working out, while others believe the opposite.
So, when to take creatine for best results?
Today, we will fall back on research and find out the best time to take creatine for different goals.
We want to make you super informed so that you can decide when you want to take creatine.
Is the Timing of Creatine Supplementation Important?
Various studies have tried to determine the best time to take creatine.
One study tried to find out if taking creatine before and after a workout had the same results. The participants took 5 grams of creatine before or after weight training for a course of four weeks.
The researchers concluded that the group taking creatine after exercise gained more lean mass and reduced fat mass.
But other studies have not found any difference between taking creatine before and after a workout.
So when is the best time to take creatine for the best result?
Well, it depends on your goals. We will explore the benefits of taking creatine both before and after exercise.
In that way, you will be able to decide when is the best time to take creatine by yourself.
Taking Creatine Before Working Out
We discussed how creatine helps you increase energy and strength in 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Creatine.
So if you want to have more strength and energy for working out, you should take creatine around 30 minutes before workout.
This will increase the ATP in your muscles, allowing you to train and workout harder. If you want to do high-intensity exercises or resistance training, you should take your creatine supplement before working out.
Taking creatine before exercising can also improve your power, performance, muscle strength, and reduce fatigue. It can give you the required motivation to work out longer and harder to synthesize more protein. Naturally, that will also help you build more muscle mass.
So is pre-workout the best time to take creatine? Let’s explore more!
Taking Creatine After Working Out
You can take creatine after working out if you want to build muscles.
Research has shown creatine to add muscle mass and build muscle in the long-term. You can also lower your myostatin levels that prevent muscle growth, facilitating muscle growth.
Taking creatine after working out increases the creatine store in your body. As a result, supplementing right after a workout can replenish the burnt ATPs and aid in muscular recovery.
Post-workout supplementation can also help you heal your muscles and prevent fatigue. It can-
- Improve muscle recovery
- Bring down inflammation
- Reduce markers of muscle damage
- Delays fatigue
Creatine also improves muscle appearance by increasing intracellular fluid.
So taking creatine after working out can help you achieve your muscle-building goals. It’s also suitable for muscle healing and recovery from injuries. You can also refill your muscles with ATP and get ready for the next workout.
So, when to take creatine for best results? What do you think? It is after working out?
Read on to know the truth!
For The Best Muscle Building Results
Creatine helps in increasing glycogen storage in your muscles when taken with carbohydrates after a workout.
Glycogen is the stored energy in your muscles for future use and improves performance and delays fatigue.
You should be careful while adding carbs to your diet as they contain calories. Someone training to lose weight may not want to add extra calories for obvious reasons.
The best way is to take your creatine with your carb-based meal after a workout so that you can refrain from adding extra calories to your body.
The Best Time to Take Creatine: Shortly Before or After Workout
There’s really not much difference whether you consume your creatine before or after exercise. At least, not according to research.
But we do know one thing for sure- taking creatine right before or after you exercise is the best option, compared to taking it long before or after workouts. We also have some studies to prove this point.
Researchers placed participants of a 10-week study in two groups. One group received creatine supplement with carbs and protein soon after or before exercise, while the other group took creatine in the morning or night.
The study found that the group taking creatine closer to exercising gained more strength and muscle compared to the other group.
Based on this research, it seems beneficial to take creatine right before or after working out.
You can also divide your dose into two parts, and take one before hitting the gym, and another after you finish working out.
Let’s explore why the best time to take creatine is around workout. When you take creatine around the time your exercise, you provide your body what it needs to build muscles. The creatine helps you synthesize more protein and add to muscle mass.
You can also get benefits in terms of muscle recovery. The same way of taking creatine before or after exercise helps in the repair of muscle fiber. As a result, you can also protect your muscles.
And when you take creatine regularly, you always stay active and full of energy.
So, if anyone asks you when to take creatine, suggest taking it right around your workout schedule.
Taking Creatine on Rest Days
It doesn’t matter much when you take your creatine supplement on rest days. The aim of taking creatine on rest days is to maintain the phosphocreatine stores in your muscles.
So you can take your supplement any time during the day.
But as we discussed above, timing it with your carb and protein-based meals can have some benefits.
On another note, the best time to take creatine on rest days can be during the morning. Your supplement will give you the kick of energy to stay active whole day.
Taking creatine later in the day might keep you more energetic during the evening when you might want to relax.
How to Take Creatine the Best Way
How you take your creatine also matters. Athletes follow a period of loading and rest to get the best results from creatine. They will take a high dose of the supplement for few weeks and then cut down the intake.
Generally, there are three protocols you can follow-
1. Start Off With a Creatine Loading Phase
Creatine loading is an effective technique to boost your creatine levels in a short time. During the initial days, you take a high dose of creatine to saturate your muscles. After that, you switch to a normal dose for the entire period.
You can begin your creatine loading phase by taking around 20 grams of creatine each day.
Be sure to divide the dose into 4 servings, like 5 grams in four servings. You can take the doses throughout the day for 5 to 7 days.
After the loading phase is over, you can switch to a normal dose of 3 – 5 grams per day.
The loading phase is more or less similar to the bulking phase we follow during building muscle. We load our bodies with the necessities to build muscles in a short time. Then we cool off and hold on to a maintenance dose just like during the cutting phase.
2. Taking The Same Dose Daily
You can eliminate the loading phase and start taking 3 – 5 grams creatine on a daily basis. There’s no need for changing your dose or worrying about maintenance phases.
You can get the same results by following the two methods we discussed above. You don’t need to go through the loading phase if you want.
But doing so can have faster ergogenic effects. It’s totally your call.
However, if you are getting ready for a competition or show, then a loading phase may help. Otherwise, you may not bother yourself.
3. Creatine Cycle with On/Off Periods
Some people give a break to their creatine supplement for a week or two. It’s not necessary, and taking creatine supplements regularly also doesn’t affect your natural creatine levels. So you can choose not to discontinue your supplementation if you wish.
Just continue taking your regular dose at the same time and consistency.
So when is the best time to take creatine for the best result?
It’s right before or after you exercise! You can take it before or after working out with almost the same results. There is no doubt anymore about the timing of creatine. You can gain muscle mass, strength, and improve recovery by taking creatine around your workouts.
To get faster effects, you can follow a creatine loading phase followed by the maintenance phase. You can also start off with 3 – 5 grams daily if you want and get the same awesome results!
You can even pair your creatine with your protein shake for maximum muscle gains.
Can I take creatine monohydrate before bed?
Creatine monohydrate increases energy. So, taking it before bed may not be such a good idea. However, taking creatine before bed is not unsafe. You may just find it difficult to fall asleep.
Can creatine affect sleep?
Creatine reduced the need and urge to sleep in rats. It also supplies energy to your brain and reduces symptoms of sleep deprivation. As a result, creatine may affect sleep quality in humans. However, no studies have yet been performed on the subject.
Does creatine make you feel weird?
In some individuals, creatine may lead to feelings of light-headedness, nervousness, or anxiety. We suggest you start with a small dose to see how your mind reacts to the substance. If you feel okay, go ahead and take the regular dosage.
Will stopping creatine lead to muscle loss?
You will retain the muscles you build while taking creatine. They will not go away even if you stop your supplement. However, your muscles will stop drawing fluid and may feel less fuller.
Is it too much to take 10g creatine in a day?
You can take 10g creatine in a day if you are following a loading phase. After that, you should reduce your intake to 3 – 5g per day. Never take high doses of creatine(20g+) for more than a week at a stretch.