If you've been lifting weights in a gym, chances are you've seen or heard people talking about taking creatine. With so much talk surrounding this supplement, it can be confusing to know exactly when to take it to maximize the benefits.You may not even be sure whether you should be taking creatine and whether it really is useful.Let us help you discover exactly what creatine is and how it might work best for you..
- What is creatine?
- creatine cycle
- creatine load.
- creatine on training days.
- common questions
What is creatine?
Creatine is a performance enhancing supplement (ergogenic aid) that can give you that extra boost during your workout. It occurs naturally in our muscles and is broken down during exercise. Its main function is to make ATP (the cell's form of energy) available for muscle contraction.
Why should you take it?
As creatine is depleted during exercise (about 1-2% of our total muscle stores per day), it is important to replace the amount you lose. Taking creatine as a supplement can increase muscle stores and allow you to push yourself harder for faster gains.1Restoring your post-workout creatine levels is also important for a quick recovery and reducing potential injuries.1,2
Creatine has shown other benefits in peer-reviewed studies, such as lower injury rates, better performance in extreme heat conditions, and increased aerobic threshold.2,3,5
Who is it suitable for?
Creatine is indicated for those who want to optimize their training. There are no contraindications to taking creatine, but some people may benefit more than others. Since creatine is produced by our bodies and is also ingested in foods such as meat and seafood, we all have a little bit stored up.ButThose following a vegan or vegetarian diet may gain more from taking creatine if their regular diet is not rich in it.3
When to Take Creatine on a Bike
Creatine can be useful at any point in your training plan. When you're in a cutting phase, taking creatine can help build and maintain muscle reserves for the next training cycle. When you're training hard and trying to bulk up, it helps to optimize creatine levels in your muscle tissue to support performance.
How to take to increase creatine
If you're looking to increase creatine, take higher doses several days in a row to maximize storage in your muscles. You can try creatine loading if you've never used it before or haven't used it for a while. After completing the loading phase, you can reduce to a lower dose for maintenance. The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends carrying 0.3g per kg of body weight for at least 3 days and then taking 3-5g per day during the maintenance phase.4
Take creatine on training days
Should you take creatine before or after a workout?
There are reasons to encourage creatine intake before and after a workout. If you are in the loading phase, it may take some time to maximize muscle creatine storage. Some prefer to take it as part of their pre-workout dose, before exercising their muscles, while others prefer to take it right after training to replenish reserves depleted during training.
Is it better to take in the morning or before bed?
Since supplementation offers both pre- and post-workout benefits, the time of day does not matter when taking creatine. It's beneficial to increase your reserves, regardless of the time of day, as long as you can make it a regular part of your routine.so figure out what's best for you.
Should you take it with food?
Some research has shown a greater effect of creatine supplementation when combined with carbohydratesthought, especially in aerobic performance.7If your goal is aerobic performance, take your creatine with a carbohydrate source or as part of a pre- or post-workout shake that contains a carbohydrate source.
Take creatine on rest days
Creatine can also be taken on rest days, which will help maximize muscle storage and recovery, especially during a loading phase.
Should you take creatine with water?
Creatine can be taken with water or mixed into another shake before or after training. While creatine may cause some water retention (it is stored in muscle tissue, which has a higher water content than fat tissue), taking it with water does not. Water, regardless of supplementation, is important for overall hydration.
Can it be taken with other supplements?
Creatine can easily be taken with other supplements as it is a natural substance in our bodies and does not compete with others for absorption. There are no well-documented adverse effects in healthy subjects.4
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Creatine is a popular dietary supplement that has been tested repeatedly and shown to have ergogenic benefits. While it plays a role in performance and recovery, it can be taken at any time of the day, regardless of when you exercise or the rest of your diet or supplement plan.Being vegan or vegetarian can also be even more beneficial - it's all about figuring out what's best for you. you can look at ourThe best creatine supplementsHere.
Want to know more about creatine?
Is creatine right for you? | proof
Find out if you should add some creatine to your supplement stack.
13/07/2020 17:40:27•von isaac syred
Our articles are to be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be medical advice. If you are concerned, consult a healthcare professional before taking any supplements or making major changes to your diet.
- Rodriguez, N.R., DiMarco, N.M. and Langley, S. (2009). Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(3), 509-527.
- Harris, R. (2011). Creatine in health, medicine and sport: an introduction to a meeting at Downing College, University of Cambridge, July 2010.
- Williams, MH (1999). Facts and fallacies of alleged ergogenic amino acid supplements. Sports Medicine Clinics, 18(3), 633-649.
- Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, Ziegenfuss TN, Wildman R, Collins R... & Lopez HL (2017). Viewpoint of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: Safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 18.
- Demant, TW and Rhodes, EC (1999). Effects of creatine supplementation on exercise performance. Sports Medicine, 28(1), 49-60.
- Williams, MH (1999). Facts and fallacies of alleged ergogenic amino acid supplements. Sports Medicine Clinics, 18(3), 633-649.
- Taylor L, Poole C, Pena E, Lewing M, Kreider R, Foster C and Wilborn C (2011). Effects of creatine plus fenugreek extract combination versus creatine plus carbohydrate supplementation on adaptations to resistance training. Sports Science and Medicine Journal, 10(2), 254.
Claire is a registered dietitian atAcademy of Nutrition and Dieteticsand a board-certified health and wellness coach through theInternational Health and Wellness Coaching Consortium. She holds a BA in Biology and an MA in Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.
Speaking and writing about food and physical activity is at the heart of Claire's ethos, as she loves using her experience to help others achieve their health and wellness goals.
Claire is also a certified indoor cycling instructor and loves the mental and physical boost she gets from yoga classes and regular running. When she's not working out, she's in Pittsburgh cheering on her hometown teams or cooking for the family in the kitchen.
Learn more about Claire's experienceHere.
Because it helps with short-term performance, consume creatine 30 minutes before your workout for an immediate impact. Myprotein Creapure tip: Mix the powdered creatine monohydrate with water for quick digestion and availability before a workout.When should I take creatine for best results? ›
On workout days, research shows that it may be better to take creatine shortly before or after you exercise, rather than long before or after. On rest days, it may be beneficial to take it with food, but the timing is probably not as important as on exercise days.How should I take creatine for best results? ›
For people following a diet that contains 1-2g a day of creatine, the most effective way to increase muscle creatine stores to their full potential is to take 5g of creatine four times a day for 5-7 days. This is also known as 'creatine loading'.Is it better to take creatine before or after workout? ›
Creatine supplementation plus resistance exercise increases fat-free mass and strength. Based on the magnitude inferences it appears that consuming creatine immediately post-workout is superior to pre-workout vis a vis body composition and strength.What happens if I skip creatine for a day? ›
What happens if I skip a day of creatine? If you skip a day of creatine, it is possible that your muscles may not recover as quickly from your workouts. However, there are other supplements or techniques that can help promote muscle recovery on rest days, such as protein shakes and stretching.Does creatine affect sleep? ›
Creatine supplementation increases creatine stores in the brain. By reducing the accumulation of adenosine and adenosine triphosphate in the brain during wakefulness, creatine supplementation seems to reduce sleep depth, duration, and “rebound sleep” after sleep deprivation.Does creatine show results fast? ›
Creatine results kick in after roughly 2-4 weeks, depending on dose and personal response. They also begin to wear off, as you establish a new normal within the body, after around six weeks. The difference here is that you're maintaining levels at a healthy, optimal state, rather than addressing a deficiency.Does creatine make you stronger or look bigger? ›
Creatine makes your muscles look bigger, while actually making them bigger as well. First, creatine causes your muscle cells to store more water which causes your muscles to appear fuller and larger. You may notice the size increase a few days or weeks after starting creatine supplementation.How to use creatine for beginners? ›
One common approach is to take 20–25 g of creatine daily for 5–7 days. This dose is typically divided into four or five 5-g servings throughout the day ( 1 , 2 , 3). Research shows that this regimen can effectively boost muscle stores of creatine by 10%–40% ( 2 , 4 ).Can I put creatine in my protein shake? ›
Mixing protein powder and creatine is generally considered to be safe. However, some people claim that creatine itself can cause certain side effects such as weight gain, bloating and even muscle cramps and dehydration.
Taking the two together does not appear to offer additional benefits for muscle and strength gains. However, if you'd like to try both and are looking to increase muscle mass and performance in the gym or on the field, taking whey protein and creatine together is safe and effective.What happens if I stop taking creatine? ›
When creatine dosage is stopped, you lose that extra energy, which means you won't be able to exercise like when you took creatine. With reduced energy, your performance will decrease, and you'll work out less, so, obviously, you won't be able to keep up with the speed of muscle gains any longer.How much creatine per day? ›
How many grams of creatine should you take a day? For maximizing your creatine muscle stores quickly, you should do a creatine loading phase of 20 grams daily for 5–7 days. Follow this with a maintenance dose of between 2–10 grams per day. Some people also find an approach of 3 grams daily for 28 days works well too.Is creatine good for Bulking? ›
Creatine is the most effective supplement for increasing muscle mass and strength ( 1 ). It is a fundamental supplement in the bodybuilding and fitness communities ( 2 ). Research shows supplementing with creatine can double your strength and lean muscle gains when compared to training alone ( 3 ).Is it OK to stop creatine for a day? ›
One common question among athletes: Should I take creatine on off days? The short answer is yes, but you can also skip some days. "Research suggests that creatine stores can be maintained at high levels even if creatine is not taken every single day," says Paul Falcone, senior scientist for LADDER.How much water should I drink with creatine? ›
Creatine and Water
Therefore, proper hydration is essential. As previously mentioned, 6-8 cups of water are the average drinking amount when out of training. However, when supplementing with creatine, you should drink an additional 8-10 cups of water daily, or slightly more, depending on your exercise regimen.
If you've started taking creatine, you should know if it works for you in about a week. If your training volume increases, it's working for you. If not, you're probably a non-responder, and taking the powder isn't going to help you.How much creatine should a 250 pound man take? ›
Our calculation is based on this scale:
Under 120 pounds: 3 grams. 121-200 pounds: 5 grams. Over 200 pounds: 8 grams.
Conclusion: Once a divisive topic, creatine is now one of the most effective and safe dietary supplements that gives proven results. When taken in approved dosages, creatine has been shown to increase muscle mass, strength, brain function, and potentially heart function as well.Can creatine cause anxiety? ›
Unfortunately, creatine also comes with some negative side effects for certain people. Studies have documented creatine causing issues related to mood and anxiety – such as panic attacks or sudden mood swings – among some users.
Creatine metabolism plays an important role in adipose tissue bioenergetics and energy expenditure. Thus, the combination of creatine supplementation and resistance training may decrease fat mass more than resistance training alone.Is creatine weight gain permanent? ›
Is creatine weight gain permanent? If we talk about initial water retention, it will disappear in a few weeks. However, muscles that grow will be in place if you continue to exercise regularly.How fast will creatine make you bigger? ›
You may gain anywhere from two to five pounds during your first week of creatine supplementation due to water retention. Creatine helps increase muscle mass by drawing extra water into the muscle cells, causing you to retain fluid.What are the pros and cons of taking creatine? ›
Creatine is a popular sports nutrition supplement that can enhance exercise performance and recovery. It has also been shown to promote healthy muscle aging and improve brain function. The most commonly reported side effects of taking this supplement are bloating and stomach discomfort.Can you get lean on creatine? ›
Research has shown that using creatine during a trial of 4 weeks of intense training and lifting weights while cutting, can help you lose fat, boost your muscle size and strength, and increase power performance.Does creatine make you big or lean? ›
A study found that adding creatine before and after resistance training had the most effect in increasing lean body mass and increasing strength.What happens when you start taking creatine? ›
Creatine supplements will help your body produce more energy so you fatigue less during short, high-intensity exercise. Taking creatine will also help you increase muscle mass and strength.What are benefits of creatine? ›
Creatine is thought to improve strength, increase lean muscle mass, and help the muscles recover more quickly during exercise. This muscular boost may help athletes achieve bursts of speed and energy, especially during short bouts of high-intensity activities such as weight lifting or sprinting.How many scoops of creatine a day? ›
Most creatine companies recommend taking between 20 to 30g a day to creatine load. One scoop is typically 5g. You'll want to only take one scoop at a time to mitigate potential side effects. Think one scoop with each meal and snack.Should I take creatine every day? ›
The supplement works best when it's a regular habit, but there's no advantage to taking it at a precise time each day. "Taking creatine regularly — multiple times per week — is essential to increase creatine stores within the muscle," he adds.
As with working out, results aren't immediate with creatine supplements. Consistency and dedication are key to seeing the benefits of supplemental creatine. It can take anywhere from seven to 28 days to see the effects of creatine on your energy levels.