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Nutrient timing is important for ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your nutrients, and this includes creatine and protein powder. Using them together can provide you with many benefits, but you’ll need to make sure you’re taking them at the right times, with the right foods, and in the right amounts.
Although the studies on nutrient timing as it relates to creatine are very limited, they do suggest that your muscles are most receptive to both creatine and protein powder immediately after a workout. That’s because the tissues and fibers in your muscles have been activated, and the cells inside are better able to absorb nutrients not only from supplements, but also from your food. That’s why so many athletes and bodybuilders consume high-protein meals immediately following their weightlifting sessions. Many recommend taking creatine before and after a workout for best results.
Creatine is a compound made of amino acids that is found naturally within your body. It’s responsible for the synthesis of ATP, which is your body’s main source of cellular energy. You can also find creatine in animal protein like beef, pork, poultry, and fish. Protein, of course, is also made of amino acids, and it’s necessary for everything from muscle and tissue growth to the creation of enzymes and neurotransmitters. Without it, your body would be unable to create or maintain muscle tissue. Athletes and bodybuilders should aim to consume about 1.5g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, which is about 116 grams for someone who weighs 150 pounds. Around 5g of creatine monohydrate is recommended each day.
Creatine and protein powder can both have a few side effects, but they’re easily mitigated. For example, creatine has been shown to increase the amount of fluid in your muscles; it’s an osmotic, which means it absorbs water. You’ll need to consume plenty of water – up to a gallon per day, in fact – to prevent dehydration. Physicians warn against combining creatine with caffeine since it may increase your risk of stroke – they also work against each other as creatine makes you retain water and caffeine is a diuretic. Finally, remember that consuming more creatine and protein powder than your body can use is not beneficial in any way and may actually increase your risk for certain side effects. With this in mind, stick to the recommended dosages.
Gaining muscle with creatine and protein powder is easier than without, but it’s important to do your part. Make sure to maintain a consistent workout routine, drink plenty of water and don’t cheat on your diet.