Creatine increases your ability to produce energy, allowing you to increase the length and intensity of your workout. To achieve the best benefits, you’ll need to take creatine at the right time. While many people take creatine before a workout, your best results may come if you take it afterwards-here’s why.
Results of Recent Study
During a recent study, 19 recreational male bodybuilders were separated into two groups. One group took 5 grams of creatine monohydrate immediately after working out, while the other took the same amount right before. Both groups exercised five times each week, and also supplemented their workout with protein. The men who took creatine after their workout noticed a greater increase in lean muscle mass, and were also able to bench press an average of one more rep than those who took the supplement before their workout.
Replenishing Creatine Stores
One reason why it may be best to take creatine after a workout is the fact that your natural stores are depleted during exercise. This means your muscles are primed to accept creatine when taken right after a workout. Creatine supplements provide an additional advantage in that they also help speed recovery, making it less likely you will experience the muscle cramps that are common among people who take this substance prior to exercising.
Disadvantage of Taking Before
Aside from muscle cramps, there are a few other side effects you may experience when taking creatine before your workout. Many people report nausea, vomiting, and an increase in blood pressure-conditions that can leave you wanting to skip a workout rather than exercising harder. Creatine also increases the size of your muscles by taking water from the rest of your body, something that could lead to dehydration. You should always drink plenty of water when taking creatine, regardless of whether you take it before or after a workout.
Absorbing More Creatine
It’s not enough to simply know when to take creatine, as you must also know how to take it. Many sports nutrition professionals recommend taking creatine along with a post-workout meal in order to achieve maximum results. This is because insulin level spike while eating, and insulin in turn makes it easier for your body to absorb creatine into your cells. If you don’t plan on eating right after a workout, you can achieve the same effects by taking creatine along with a glass of juice. For best results, you should wait no more than five hours after a workout, as your body will begin making and storing its own creatine by that time.
Creatine is considered one of the safest workout supplements, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use caution when taking it. Always follow package directions to the letter to ensure you do not experience any unwanted side effects. Lastly, everyone is different so figure out what works best for you. Many people take creatine both before and after workouts for best results.