If you are a gym guy you know about creatine and most probably you may have had it several times. But the point is to consider what is the right time to take it to increase its effectiveness and for better results. That is why a lot of people don’t get the desired results as they don’t know the use of it. Well, apart from this creatine one of the most popular supplement powders used by workaholics before the workout. Some studies also suggest that it’s a good supplement in increasing muscle mass. So when to take creatine for beginners or all the people who work out daily?
Another research says that it’s safe to consume as well. But still, the confusion remains constant about when to take it. So, this article is for you. We will discuss creatine in a more detailed way and get to know interesting facts together.
So here we go…
Firstly you should know what is creatine and what consists of it. How does it work with your body and helps you in giving a shape?
What is creatine?
It’s a molecule that first occupies skeletal muscles. It works as a key element in releasing energy from the cell’s stores for use and to restore the cellular form of energy- (ATP). Does our body make some creatine itself? Yes, about half of the body’s creatine comes from a diet like animal sources while the rest is synthesized naturally by kidneys and liver. When the levels of creatine disturb or depletes it can ruin the performance. This is why one should take creatine before and after a workout for a balance and a quick recovery.
Why should you take creatine?
As we know it’s a molecule that is naturally found in our cells, and also helps in improving our performance. However, natural creatine is not sufficient for high-level performance. Thus, an external creatine source will help you concentrate it in your body which has several health and performance-related benefits.
It provides you with better endurance, strength, power, and performance. Which you generally need during heavy lifting and power exercises. It also provides you neurological benefits along with high performance such as improved mental coordination in the elderly.
Also read: The best pre-workout for weight loss
You receive 1-2g/day of creatine from a regular diet- generally found in red meat and seafood which is used by your muscles, and that’s where you need an external source for this.
More interestingly, why this supplement is worth considering is it increases strength gains from a weight lifting program by 5-10%. Studies have shown this.
Creatine before a workout
Creatine monohydrate is a common supplement before the workout. As it is usually used for short-term performance, particularly for weight lifting and vigorous exercise. Hence, the best time to take creatine is 30 minutes before your workout for instant results.
Creatine after a workout
According to the studies, it was concluded that adult men who took ceratin after the workout observed a greater lean mass and a greater decrease in fat mass.
Another study showed that there is no difference at all in taking it either before or after the exercise. So, it’s not clear yet.
But for those who prefer taking creatine after working out after performing heavy weight training, it’s good to take it in a combination of carbohydrate or protein sources to maximize muscle retention, and it could be your best post-workout recovery shake. Moreover, a regular uptake of creatine will keep your muscle stores maximized and numerous potential health benefits.
Before or after: when to take creatine
Usually, it is said to use a supplement shortly before or after the exercise and rather than too long from or before exercise.
You will get it better from an example of a 10-week study. In which they provided dietary supplements of creatine, carbs, and proteins to the adults who do weight exercise.
Then the participants were divided into two groups. One group took the supplement soon before and after the exercise, while the other group took it in the morning and evening, which means not too close to exercise.
Ending up the study, it was found that the group who took the supplement close to the exercise gained more muscles, endurance, and strength than the group who took it in the morning and evening.
So, based on the study, we can say that it’s better to take creatine close to the exercise rather than taking it some other time of the day.
We understand that it’s not important to take the supplement before or after but soon after you have done your exercise or about to do it. A 30 minutes break is enough to go.
Should you take creatine on rest days?
So, a lot of you may have this confusion about whether to take creatine on rest days or not. What is the point of taking when you are not working? The answer would be to keep the content of muscle creatine elevated.
Initially, when you start to take the supplement a loading phase is usually recommended. The loading phase involves taking a high load of creatine(20 g) for about five days.
It will continuously increase the content of creatine in your muscles for several years. Then you can continue with low maintenance from 3-5 g every day. The main purpose of taking supplements on rest days is to simply maintain the levels of creatine in your muscles. So, if you are taking a maintained dose, it won’t create a big difference if you take it.
What should you take along with creatine powder?
When the intake of creatine increases the performance instantly, one may wonder how to expand its effectiveness by taking some other nutrient along with it.
Well, researchers did try to add some other ingredients like carbs, proteins, amino acids, and cinnamon and many other plant-based compounds to maximize its effectiveness.
However, some studies say that taking carbs with creatine increases the proportion to which it’s received by your muscles. Though, some studies oppose saying adding carbs has no benefits in performance.
Taking carbs may or may not provide you benefits but consuming heavy loads of carbs would result in weight gain. For instance, you can take your creatine powder while you are having your carb meal, but take care of not taking too many loads at once.
Protein is also good along with creatine as it contains amino acids that will help you in increasing the levels to which your body is retaining creatine.
So, it is clear when to take creatine and what to take along with it. Beginners can learn the right time to consume creatine and start their dose with confidence.
What sports or workouts creatine will benefit from taking?
- Olympic weight lifting
- Field hockey
- Ice hockey
- Combat sports
Potential creatine benefits:-
- Increased work capacity
- Increased performance during max effort lifts
- Increased anaerobic threshold
- Increased single and repeated sprint speed
Creatine powder is used for maximizing the efficiency of the workout. But when to take creatine is a big question for beginners. Well, creatine uptake is beneficial and up to its high extent when taken close to the exercise, like 30 minutes before or after the exercise rather than taking it some other time. You can also take protein or carbs along with it to increase its saturation at maximum.
Frequently Asked Questions:-
What is the proper way to take creatine?
Well as the creatine wrenches out water into your muscles, you should take it with a glass of water and keep yourself hydrated. When starting taking creatine, the first load yourself 5g four times a day for five days and then continue taking 3-5 g/day to make optimal levels. When should you use creatine?
Well, most athletes use creatine less than an hour before or immediately after exercise. Consuming creatine after the workout would be more beneficial as it stimulates blood circulation, so the cells can be supplied easily with creatine more frequently. You should use creatine close to the workout like 30 minutes before or after the workout.
Should I take creatine every day?
Yes, you should take creatine every day. Of these the first initial days of starting the dose, you should take heavy loads of creatine with intervals like four times a day for five days. Then you can continue a regular dose of 3-4 g per day.
How many weeks should I take creatine?
Creatine levels in your body with an intake of 3-5g every day will be as high as at the beginning with heavy loads after 3-4 weeks. In the initial few days, you will have to take higher doses to elevate the concentration of creatine in your body and then an optimal requirement of 3-5 g per day will be safe for long-term administration.
Does creatine make you gain weight?
No doubt creatine will boost up your energy levels and overall performance in sports. Though it may cause a little weight gain. The fluid hold may be temporary or may last long as you take creatine. Well, over time it will become less noticeable as you gain lean muscles.
What are the negative effects of creatine?
A maintained dose won’t harm you and with creatine, you will have to continue workout as well. Apart from it, the possible negative effects may include:-
- Kidney stones
- Weight gain
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Muscle cramps
- Digestive issues
Can you lose fat while taking creatine?
According to a study, 4 weeks of vigorous training during the cutting phase of creatine administration improves body fat volume, muscle strength, and improved performance. Studies also found that creatine supplementation can increase endurance power without interrupting fat mass.
How much weight will I gain on creatine?
On average weight gain in the first week of creatine intake is about 1.5-3.5 pounds, although the weight gain may be due to water retention. If an athlete takes up creatine for 3 months will gain a weight gain up to 6.5 pounds of lean mass which is more than an athlete can gain without creatine training.
Does taking creatine make you not natural?
Anything that is you consuming externally like a creatine supplement is not natural as the creatine synthesized in our bodies. So, one should research about the company before going to use it.
How long does creatine weight gain last?
On average, you can gain weight up to 1-2% of body mass during the loading phase, which is the water weight. But overall the mass gained by the water retention during creatine supplementation will stay for a short term and resolves within a few days after the loading phase.