Creatine Before Or After a Workout?
There is some confusion regarding the optimal time to take creatine for maximum benefit. Creatine is a popular sports supplement which is used by many athletes and gym goers due to its ability to replenish energy during intense exercise. Creatine also has positive effects for bodybuilders, such as promoting protein synthesis and inducing greater water retention. So, is it better to take creatine before or after a workout?
Before a workout
Many products which contain creatine are marketed as pre-workout supplements which aim to enhance the trainees’ workout and gains. Pre-workout supplements usually contain creatine monohydrate, as well as BCAA’s, Citrulline Malate, Beta alanine, caffeine, and other ingredients. Some sources promote the use of creatine, as a standalone product, to be taken 30-60 minutes prior to exercise.
The benefit of consuming creatine before a workout is the surge of nutrient uptake as blood fills into the exercised muscles during the workout. Nutrients are readily transported across muscle cell membranes, therefore allowing more creatine to enter the muscle.
After a workout
Similarly, many post-workout supplements contain creatine, so this can lead to some confusion. Post-workout supplements are more likely to contain ingredients such as whey protein, maltodextrin, and BCAA’s. The use of creatine during the post-workout phrase is arguably as effective as consuming the supplement before a workout. Many creatine based supplements do instruct consumers to take their daily serving of creatine after a workout.
After an intense workout the body is like a sponge, and is very receptive to nutrients as the glycogen stores in the muscles are low. This is an ideal time to digest quick acting carbohydrates, whey protein, and creatine for optimal uptake.
As we can see, consuming creatine before or after a workout is an effective method. You could even consume half a serving before and half after a workout. Which one you chose will depend on personal preference. Some trainees may take a pre or post workout supplement which contains creatine, and therefore will not have to worry. For everyone else, take creatine at the time which suits you best.