Creatine supplementation has been found to boost physical performance and benefit the body. When is the optimum time to take creatine to help in muscle growth?
Despite the fact that there have been numerous studies on creatine and creatine monohydrate, there have been few studies on the ideal time to consume it.
For many lifters, the most pressing question is today, “When should I take creatine?” “Should I take creatine?” rather than “Should I take creatine?” Here’s what the research says about creatine and when it should be taken.
What Is Creatine?
You may have heard about creatine from your gym pals before. It’s one of the most widely used supplements when combined with whey protein. Creatine is a dietary ergogenic (performance enhancer), meaning it can help you improve your mental or physical performance while you exercise. In the fitness sector, there’s also a lot of research to back up creatine’s use.
In our skeletal muscles, over 95% of creatine is present as phosphocreatine in intramuscular or free creatine in the brain, kidney, and liver. About 1-2 percent of intramuscular creatine is broken down each day into creatinine, which is excreted in the urine. You require 1-3g of creatine every day to maintain pre-existing creatine levels, depending on your muscle mass, and about half of this comes from our diets.
The primary role of creatine in our bodies is to improve training performance by increasing the quantity of ATP (energy) available for muscle contraction. This allows for quicker hypertrophy and the development of muscular fibers. Creatine has also been suggested as a supplement that can help you recover faster after a workout and reduce your risk of injury.
When To Take Creatine – What Science Says
Taking creatine after an exercise has been demonstrated in numerous studies to be superior to taking it before. According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, subjects who took creatine after a resistance training activity gained more lean body mass than those who took creatine before their activities.
A study published in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition backs this up. Researchers discovered that ingesting creatine after physical activity improved body composition more effectively. At the end of the study, the subjects who took creatine after their workouts had lower body fat percentages than those who took it before exercise.
Consuming creatine soon after a workout also enhanced muscular strength, according to this study. Bench press 1RMs increased more in the post-workout creatine group than in the pre-workout creatine group.
While most studies have concluded that taking creatine after a workout is optimal, it can also be helpful to take it before an exercise. According to Canadian researchers, increases in chest press and leg press 1RMs occurred independently of when creatine was ingested. In fact, individuals who took creatine before working out had greater 1RMs at the end of the study.
Taking creatine during a workout has also been shown to be beneficial. Supplementing with creatine during an exercise can improve both physical strength and endurance.
In other research, however, there was no difference between taking it before or after exercise.
Overall, based on the scant research available, it appears that how often you take creatine is less relevant than how consistently you take it. It will help your body build up creatine stockpiles, which it can then use the next time you exercise, even if you take it on non-training days.
Taking Creating Before Or After A Workout Is Our Best Bet
Augmenting immediately before or immediately after exercise appears to be preferable to supplementing later.
During a 10-week study, adults who were weight trained were given a dietary supplement containing creatine, carbs, and protein.
Participants were divided into two groups. One group took the supplement right before and after exercise, while the other group took it in the morning and evening, so it wasn’t near to workout time.
At the end of the trial, the group that took the supplement close to exercise gained more muscle and strength than the group who took it in the morning and evening.
According to this study, taking creatine near the time of your workout is preferable to take it later in the day.
For example, you might take the entire quantity after you exercise or divide it in half and take half before and half after.
Although there is no universal agreement on the best time to take creatine, it is likely to be useful if taken soon to the start of your workout.
Should I Take Creatine On Rest Days, And If So, When Should I Take It?
When you take creatine on non-exercise days, the effects are likely to be less noticeable than when you exercise.
The goal of supplementing on rest days is to maintain high levels of muscle creatine.
When first starting to supplement with creatine, a “loading phase” is usually recommended. You’ll be taking a lot of pills for roughly five days (about 20 grams)
Over the course of a few days, this progressively raises the creatine concentration in your muscles.
A daily maintenance dose of 3–5 grams is recommended after that.
If you’re on a maintenance dose, the goal of supplementing on rest days is to retain the high levels of creatine in your muscles. Overall, taking this dose is unlikely to make a major difference.
Benefits Of Creatine
Creatine has numerous benefits, the most notable of which is that it boosts muscle mass. It can help you grow muscle and strength while also improving the efficiency of your workouts.
Numerous studies have shown that creatine has additional potential benefits, including:
1. Creatine May Help In Preventing Age-Related Muscle Loss
We normally lose muscle mass as we get older. Taking a creatine supplement has been shown to help older people maintain and regain muscle mass. The best results were observed when the research participants additionally engaged in resistance training and actively exercised their muscles.
2. Creatine May Boost Athletic Performance
When examined, creatine was discovered to provide muscles with bursts of power. It aided athletes in raising their jump height, improving their rowing skills, and improving their soccer performance.
3. Creatine May Help Reduce Certain Syndromes
Some persons are unable to produce creatine due to a disorder known as guanidinoacetate methyltransferase deficiency. In persons with this disorder, low levels of creatine in the brain can cause seizures, decreased mental function, and mobility problems. People who have low levels of creatine in their brain can benefit from taking a creatine supplement on a regular basis to increase movement and reduce seizures.
Some people believe creatine provides a plethora of other benefits, but there isn’t enough evidence to support these claims.
When used appropriately and in line with the manufacturer’s directions, creatine is considered safe. The International Olympic Committee, professional sports groups, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association all allow creatine supplements.
Creatine Side Effects
Before taking any creatine supplement, there are a few things to think about.
No matter how safe a supplement is, not everyone can take it. If you have any of the following conditions, you should consult your doctor before starting to use creatine:
- Renal illness patients or those who have had a kidney removed do not have the same filtration capabilities as the rest of us. This is particularly true for people who have an illness like diabetes, which increases their risk of kidney damage. Renal illness has been linked to an increase in creatin. Your doctor may advise you to stop taking supplements because your body can no longer process them safely.
- Many supplements, including creatine, may be unsafe for persons who have had liver disease or are taking medication for liver problems.
- Ingesting creatine during pregnancy or breastfeeding is not recommended due to a lack of evidence. Pregnant women should avoid creatine as a precaution.
Because their body’s filters, kidneys, and liver, aren’t in good shape, some people have problems absorbing supplements. If you have a family history of kidney or liver disease, consult your doctor before taking any supplements. They can help you figure out which supplements will benefit your body the most.
If you’re on any strength or performance steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs, talk to your doctor about adding a creatine supplement. Creatine is already present in many strength supplements, so adding more to your diet could lead to an overdose.
**Because creatine pulls water from your body and stores it in your muscles, you should drink plenty of water while taking it. Have water available when exercising, and exercise with caution in hot conditions. You’ll need to drink more water than normal when taking this supplement to stay hydrated.
Creatine is a safe and effective supplement, but the best time to take it is still up for debate, necessitating more research.
Evidence suggests that taking creatine right before or after exercise is preferable to take it later on workout days.
On rest days, it may be beneficial to take it with food, but timing is unlikely to be as crucial as on exercise days.
Combining creatine with a high-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may also help you get the most out of it.