Several studies have tried to determine when to take creatine during the day, but there have been mixed results.
One study found that men who took creatine after their workout had better results than those that took it before they exercised.
However, another study found little difference between those who took it before and those who took it after.
Overall, there might be slightly more evidence supporting the effectiveness of post-workout dosing, but it’s probably a good idea to experiment and find what works best for you.
When Is the Best Time To Take Creatine?
On days you workout, take creatine after your workout. On rest days, take your creatine supplement whenever you’d like. The purpose of off-day creatine dosing is simply to keep your creatine stores at the maximum level.
Can You Take Creatine Every Day?
The average 150-pound male stores around 120 grams of creatine in his muscles at any given time. However, muscles are actually capable of storing up to 160 grams of the compound. By taking creatine supplements every day, you can continuously top off your creatine supply and prime your body for high-intensity workouts. When you consistently have more fuel to power through harder training sessions, you can increase your strength, build more muscle and improve your overall performance.
Here are some of the benefits of daily creatine consumption:
Increased muscle energy
Daily creatine supplements boost the phosphocreatine supply in your muscles, allowing them to rapidly replenish ATP levels during high-intensity workouts. This allows you to workout harder and longer.
Added muscle mass
Studies show that taking creatine every day might increase your levels of IGF-1, a hormone that promotes muscle growth. This can aid the formation of new muscle proteins and help you add more muscle to your frame. Creatine also increases your muscles’ ability to retain water, which leads to a process known as cell volumization. This swells your muscles and makes them appear larger.
In addition, some studies have shown that creatine decreases your body’s level of myostatin, which is a molecule that stunts muscle growth. This can make it easier for you to add muscle. Finally, creatine helps you lift heavier weights and perform more sets and repetitions, which is essential for building strength and muscle.
Faster muscle growth
Studies have found that taking creatine every day for less than a week can boost your muscle size and lean body mass. At first, the gains are primarily due to increases in the water content of your muscles. However, long-term use of the supplement can speed the growth of your muscles by increasing the intensity and length of your workouts and providing the necessary biological conditions for fast muscle growth.
For example, one study compared creatine users with a control group over a six-week training period. It found that the participants who used creatine supplements added an average of 4.4 pounds more muscle mass than those who did not use creatine.
Another study involving experienced athletes discovered that creatine supplements added an average of 5.7 pounds of muscle mass to participants. It also helped them show significant improvements in strength, with participants adding an average of 24 pounds to their bicep curl and 70 pounds to their leg press.
These results are not limited to high-performance athletes. A review of more than 150 studies found that all creatine users increased their lean body mass by an average of 2.2%. They also decreased their body fat by an average of 3.2%.
Improved high-intensity exercise performance
Because creatine boosts ATP production, it can significantly improve your ability to perform high-intensity exercises, increase your muscle endurance and decrease your recovery time. In fact, one study found that it may boost your high-intensity performance ability by as much as 15%.
It can also improve your:
- Running and sprinting speed
- Ballistic power and explosive strength
- Cognitive performance
In addition to enhancing your athletic performance, researchers have found that creatine may help lower your blood sugar and fight diabetes. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions, and it may relieve some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS.
What Is the Most Popular Form of Creatine?
There are several different forms of creatine on the market. Of those, creatine monohydrate is the most popular and most affordable. Best of all, over 1000 studies have concluded that it is safe and effective.
Creatine monohydrate is made by combining creatine with a single molecule of water. By weight, it contains between 88% and 90% creatine.
How to Start Taking Creatine
There are two ways to begin taking creatine. One way involves a creatine loading period, and the other involves a maintenance dose taken over time.
Under the creatine loading method, you typically take four 5-gram servings of creatine each day for between five and seven days. After the loading phase, you consume between 3 grams and 5 grams per day to maintain your creatine levels. This method is intended to rapidly elevate the creatine levels in your muscles and help you see results in a short period of time. In fact, studies show that a loading phase may maximize your creatine stores in less than one week.
Under the maintenance dose method, you skip the loading phase and take between 3 grams and 5 grams of creatine each day. Studies have found that taking the maintenance dose for just 28 days fully saturates the creatine supply in your muscles.
Both methods of creatine dosing are safe, but some research suggests that creatine loading can increase the risk of minor side effects like bloating, water retention and gastrointestinal distress. If you find that creatine loading causes you discomfort, you may want to switch to a maintenance dose as soon as possible. It will take a little longer to reach creatine saturation in your muscles, but the results will even out in just a few weeks.
Is Creatine Right for You?
Creatine is a safe, effective supplement that can help you achieve your weight-lifting and fitness goals. It is proven to help you build lean muscle mass, reduce fat, increase athletic performance, boost your strength and decrease your recovery time between workouts. You can start taking the supplement using either a loading dose or maintenance dose and get similar results. There are conflicting studies regarding the best time of day to take creatine, but it may be best to take it after your workout. Before taking any supplement, you should check with your doctor.