When should I take creatine?


Besides protein, creatine is also one of the most popular nutritional supplements. Because it is said to promise the following effect:

more muscles, strength, and anaerobic performance.

In muscle building, it is important to benefit strength and mass gain. Another advantage of creatine known to sports science is faster recovery after an intensive workout. 

Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in the body, mainly in the skeletal muscles, and is formed from three different amino acids. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is responsible for releasing energy from the cells. When energy is needed, ATP splits off one of its phosphate groups and becomes ADP (adenosine diphosphate). This releases energy that the muscles can use.

But when should an athlete take creatine?

Many people probably ask themselves, should I take it before training for more strength during training or directly after training so that it is absorbed immediately by the exhausted body? Or should I take it before going to bed for better regeneration or after getting up to have immediate strength for the day?

Time is very important for nutrient absorption when you are active in sports. For example, for muscle building, it is best to take carbohydrates after getting up and after training. A lot of research and studies have been done, but for creatine they haven't found a perfect time to take it. However, there are several options. Important: When taking a supplement, drink plenty of water - in this case 100 to 150 ml of fluid per gram of creatine.

Option 1: Before training

Creatine gives more power, i.e. performance can be improved during short-duration, high-intensity training. Therefore, it should be taken 30 min before training.

Option 2: After training

After training, muscles are exhausted and need nutrients. Therefore, creatine should be taken with carbohydrates and protein to maximise muscle maintenance.

Option 3: Anytime

Since creatine is good for the body, you can take it anytime as long as you consume your daily required amount. 2 to 5 grams per day is perfectly adequate. It has health benefits for people of all ages, such as improved brain health and heart health or a reduction in bone mass loss.

Even on rest days, you can maintain your high creatine levels. Thus, by taking creatine you can prepare your muscles for the next workout.

So, when is the best time to take creatine?

Listen to your body and to experience. Take creatine when it suits you best. The amount is also important.  In the first few days, a "loading phase" (lasting 5 to 7 days) can be useful, in which you take 5 to 7 grams to fill the creatine store a little faster. Especially if you are taking creatine for the first time. However, it is not mandatory, as it does not provide any benefits over long-term, low-dose intake.

It can be concluded that it is beneficial to take creatine before and after training. However, as described above, the perfect time to take creatine does not really exist.