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Should You Take Creatine Before Or After Workout?

Should You Take Creatine Before Or After Workout?

What is creatine?

Creatine, a naturally occurring compound found in the body and foods such as meat and fish, can also be taken as a dietary supplement to boost energy in muscles during intense exercise. Athletes, bodybuilders, and strength trainers often use creatine to improve muscle strength, power, size, and recovery. This explosive muscle function is important for various sports, including basketball, football, baseball, MMA, and jiu jitsu.

Taking creatine supplements increases the availability of stored energy in the muscles, leading to better workout performance. When used correctly and in moderation, it is considered safe for healthy adults. Although you can get creatine from eating foods like red meat, consuming a high amount may have negative effects.

If you’re looking to increase your creatine levels without changing your diet and tracking macros, creatine supplementation may be a good choice. The amount of creatine you will take depends on your goals, exercise level, and body weight.

Should you take creatine before or after exercise?

The process of increasing creatine levels in the body is gradual and cannot be achieved quickly like a narcotic that takes effect within an hour. It is estimated that noticeable results from creatine supplementation can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days. Therefore, the timing of consuming creatine does not significantly impact its effectiveness in relation to athletic activities or workouts.

The benefits of creatine supplementation take time to build up in the muscles, so an immediate effect is not expected. A consistent approach, rather than timing it with a particular workout or activity, is the best way to use creatine. To make it easier to remember, consider adding it to your daily routine by mixing it with your post-workout protein shake or breakfast shake. The key to achieving the maximum benefits from creatine is to take it consistently every day.

How long does it take for creatine to be effective?

The impact of creatine supplementation may vary from individual to individual, but studies have indicated that some benefits can be seen within the first week of use, with full effects potentially taking several weeks to several months to appear. The initial stage of creatine supplementation, known as the loading phase, involves taking a high dose (such as 20 grams per day) for 5-7 days, followed by a lower maintenance dose of 2-5 grams per day.

During the loading phase, some individuals may notice a rapid improvement in muscle size and strength, while others may see slower results. After the loading phase, most people continue to take the maintenance dose of creatine to sustain its benefits.

The effects of creatine supplementation can be influenced by several factors, including age, sex, training status, diet, and individual response, so results may vary. Consistent training and a balanced diet that supports muscle growth and repair are also important factors in promoting the effects of creatine supplementation.

Related: What Are The Best Sports Supplements To Use?

Creatine monohydrate vs HCL?

The main differences between creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL are their composition, solubility, and required dose. Creatine monohydrate is a combination of a creatine molecule and water, leading to increased water in muscles for quick size gains. It is best used with a loading phase of 20-25 grams daily for 5-7 days, taken with a carbohydrate and protein source. Creatine HCL, made of a creatine molecule with hydrochloride, has better solubility and absorption, allowing for smaller doses to see similar results as creatine monohydrate. While creatine HCL works faster and needs smaller doses, creatine monohydrate has been extensively studied and is beneficial for various fitness goals, making it suitable for all athletes.

Do you need a creatine loading phase?

A creatine loading phase can help raise low creatine levels faster, with a suggested daily dose of 10g for the first two weeks instead of the standard 5g. However, the average body can only utilize about 5g of creatine daily, so taking more may not bring additional benefits. Maintaining a consistent routine of daily creatine intake, regardless of the dose, is more effective than a loading phase. The key is consistency and remembering to take creatine daily.

How much water should you drink while taking creatine?

There is no scientifically agreed on amount of water that is required to be consumed when taking creatine, as everyone is different. That said, an additional 10-12 cups of water per day is common among athletes. It is generally recommended to stay hydrated and drink enough water to maintain proper overall fluid balance. Consuming adequate water can also help with creatine absorption and minimize any potential side effects such as bloating or dehydration.

If you’re not well hydrated enough you can experience cramps, kidney issues, liver issues, and more. Headaches are a common early sign of dehydration. When taking any supplement it’s good to be well hydrated, and this is especially true for creatine considering how it helps your muscles absorb and retain water.

What to look for in a creatine to know that it’s high quality

Quality creatine supplements are usually made from pure creatine monohydrate and produced in FDA-approved facilities with strict quality control and GMP standards.

The quality of creatine supplements can also be affected by the form of creatine (monohydrate, hydrochloride, ethyl ester), particle size and composition, and presence of fillers or additives. Some creatine supplements may contain unnecessary ingredients like sugar, caffeine, or other supplements, which can be avoided by choosing a pure creatine monohydrate supplement.

For those who only want to take creatine, it is recommended to choose a pure creatine monohydrate supplement, free of any additional unnecessary ingredients.To be sure that you are getting high-quality creatine, look for brands that have independent third-party quality certifications, have a good reputation, and use high-purity creatine monohydrate as the main ingredient. Muscle Boost creatine from Vitaliboost is the best example of high quality creatine monohydrate at a reasonable price.

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