The Post-Workout Advantage
While there’s really no bad time to take it, there is a best time. Check out this creatine research.
Creatine works for size and strength gains. It works when you load it, and it works when you don’t load it but take it consistently. It even seems to boost longevity and help with heart function.
Thousands of studies show that it’s perfectly safe, despite all those ninnies in the 1990s who told us we were going to blow out our kidneys and get all roid rage-y. Yeah, didn’t happen.
You’d think science would be “done” with creatine by now, but the studies keep pouring in. For example, we’re still looking at dosing protocols. Is there a best time to take it?
Well, for years, we assumed the best time was before training. It makes intuitive sense. Take the magical muscle powder before you apply resistance to said muscles, right? Sure, that works fine, but taking creatine AFTER training turns out to be even better.
In You’re Taking Creatine at the Wrong Time, TC Luoma summarized a 2013 study showing that taking creatine monohydrate leads to twice the lean muscle mass gains in those using it right after training compared to those using creatine pre-training. The same group of lifters who took their creatine post-workout also lost more fat than the pre-workout group doing the same workout.
Now, researchers Forbes and Candow have looked at three newer studies. In a nutshell, they show that post-workout creatine ingestion is slightly more effective than pre when it comes to size gains (but not so much strength gains).
Why? As TC noted, it could be because the workout itself somehow sensitized the cells to creatine uptake. Based on the meta-analysis, it could be because you have a pump going after lifting (increased blood flow, better delivery).
It’s really hard to take creatine “wrong.” But for best results, take it after training if hypertrophy is your main goal. You can also take it before and after if you’d like. Five grams is the standard dose, but try 3 grams before and 3 grams after.
If you’re having a pulse of Mag-10 post-workout, just add creatine to the mix. I suspect you’d also get better results from creatine by adding it to your Plazma or Surge Workout Fuel, supplements used, in part, during the workout. Your muscle should be pumped and your cells should be sensitized to uptake after a couple of sets.
For best results, use micronized creatine monohydrate.