Are you exploring for when to take creatine? Creatine was the supplement that people stashed under their bed. But there’s no longer any reason to be ashamed of taking it. It is now one of the well-researched supplements. Studies have begun linking it to benefits that extend far beyond muscle building, including anti-aging, memory support, and cell protection capabilities.
There’s a strong case that pretty much everyone should take it, including both men and women. The new question is when to take creatine. Nutrient timing is a hot topic, especially among athletes and anyone looking for an edge in the gym. Part of this stems from solid science showing that the timing of carbohydrate consumption can influence essential aspects of recovery and growth, such as glycogen replenishment and, to a limited degree, muscle protein synthesis.
The other side is practical—you want the most bang for your buck when it comes to the nutritional products and supplements you purchase. Athletes have attempted to apply timing to “optimize” everything, and anecdotal claims about effectiveness are easy to find; scientific backing is more elusive. You’d think that such a heavily studied supplement would be an exception to this rule. Still, until relatively recently, there was almost no in-depth research into the effectiveness of creatine timing.
What is Creatine?
Creatine helps you recover between sets. This means a supplements’ value lies in boosting recovery speed, which enhances the amount of work you’re able to do during a workout. Over time, this leads to faster gains in both strength and size.
Over the years, creatine has proven itself to be one of the most effective supplements for improving performance during repeated bouts of intense exercise. As far back as the 1970s, Soviet scientists knew that creatine supplements improved performance, and it contributed to the USSR’s Olympic dominance through the 70s and 80s.
How and When to Take Creatine?
Dosing creatine correctly appears to be between 3-5 grams per day. You can “load” for the first 5-7 days to help saturate your cells. But beyond that, there’s no advantage to taking hefty amounts.
Once you’ve finished the loading phase, you then progress to maintenance. While some maintain on 5 grams per day, others need just 2-3 grams per day.
Typically, creatine users fall into one of three classes, as detailed below:
Some prefer taking creatine before working out. Before training, it makes sense to load your muscle cells with this brilliant supplement to reap the full advantages early on. Essentially, more creatine means more ATP, the prime reference of cellular energy.
Having more ATP equals more potential access to the muscles. What that means is there’s more power to activate the muscle fibers, so more weight lifting power.
But don’t forget about the significant post-exercise recovery opportunity. After working out, your muscles have endured a fierce session of being torn up, beaten and hammered wildly. Taking creatine supplements post-workout is the ideal time to thrust some good stuff into your muscles to boost the growth & recovery process.
Throw creatine in there as well as carbohydrates and protein, and your starved muscle cells will pretty much absorb the potent supplement and soak up all its goodness. To find out more about why creatine is so common and the difference between this popular supplement and protein powder, visit our blog post Creatine vs. Protein.
So, make sure you load in different doses of creatine. It’ll make you for your next weight lifting or gym session. Remember the old saying? After practice, you should have for your next exercise session, not the one you’ve just finished.
Those who take creatine believe both the methods above of making it are pretty much supplementation superstition. Why stress about the timing? Because creatine is right for you, you should see the benefits while you’re supplementing with it.
When to Take Creatine Monohydrate?
We recommend taking creatine half an hour before training and another immediately after, so you get 5 grams. For example, you could take the full dose before you exercise, or afterward. Or, split the dosage, taking half of it before you exercise and the other half later.
You can also take it on rest days by taking one serving in the morning and the evening. Suggested amounts vary depending on your body weight, but generally, we advise having 5g directly before or after a workout.