Taking creatine on workout days
On days you exercise, there are three main options for when to take creatine. You can take it shortly before training, shortly after training, or some time before or after training. Another option is to divide your daily dose of creatine into equal servings and take them throughout the day.
Action of creatine
What is the effect of taking creatine?
- Acceleration of progress with physical activity.
- Increased muscle work time.
- Acceleration of energy exchange.
- Regulation of the strength of contraction of the heart muscle.
- Prevention of tissue damage.
Overall, drug trials have shown that it improves muscle function, especially in the elderly, and helps reduce fat mass. In addition, creatine reduces damage to the cerebral cortex.
Thus, it is indicated for use not only for athletes, but also for people with poor health, the elderly. Therefore, creatine is produced in many forms and in different forms, both individually and as part of complex supplements.
Should you take creatine after exercise?
Several research labs have tried to find the best time to take creatine supplements. One study looked at whether it was more effective for adult men to consume five grams of creatine before or after exercise. Over the course of the four-week study, participants trained with resistance training five days a week and took creatine before or after exercise. At the end of the study, the post-exercise creatine group experienced greater increases in muscle mass and greater decreases in fat mass. However, other studies have found no difference between taking it before or after training. Overall, based on the limited number of publicly available studies, it is not clear if there is any significant difference between pre- and post-workout creatine supplementation.
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It is best to take creatine shortly before or after training.
It seems logical that taking creatine immediately before or after training should have a better effect than taking it long before or after training. In one 10-week study, adults doing strength training took a supplement containing creatine, carbohydrates, and protein. The participants were divided into two groups. One group took the supplement shortly before and after exercise, while another group took the supplement in the morning and evening long before exercise. At the end of the study, the group that took the supplement immediately before or after training gained more muscle mass than the group that took the supplement in the morning and evening. Based on this study, it can be assumed that taking creatine directly before or after exercise has the best effect on exercise performance. Alternatively, you can take the entire dose after training, or split the dose,
Taking creatine on rest days
Meal timing on weekends is probably far less important than on training days. The goal of a weekend meal is to maintain elevated muscle creatine levels. When starting creatine supplementation, a “loading phase” is usually recommended. This phase involves taking relatively large doses of creatine (about 20 grams) for about five days. This method increases the creatine content of the muscles quite quickly within a few days. Thereafter, it is recommended to reduce the daily dose to 3-5 g in order to simply maintain the achieved creatinine level. Studies have shown that it is more appropriate to take creatine with meals on non-workout days.
Standard regimens for taking creatine:
- 5 g of creatine per day, you can drink it all at once, or you can divide it into two or three doses;
- 20 g per day, usually divided into 4-5 doses (called creatine loading). Within 4-5 days of this intake, the level of creatine in the muscles increases. Then it is taken 2-3 grams per day (as a supporting factor). It has been recorded that even two to three months after the end of such an intake, a high level of creatine remains in the muscles.
This pattern comes from the past, when creatine was poorly soluble and not very well absorbed. Therefore, it was believed that large doses of creatine would allow more of it to be absorbed and more likely to saturate the needs of the muscles. But in the future, creatine became more convenient, soluble and more bioavailable, and most importantly, it turned out that taking with the loading phase and without it gave the same increase in creatine reserves after two to three weeks. It was also experimentally found that when taking 6 g of creatine per day, after just 24 hours, almost half of the dose taken is excreted from the body through the kidneys.
Creatine: how to take for weight loss
Tests have shown that creatine increases protein synthesis in the body, and thanks to the positive effects on muscles, the person who takes this drug becomes more resilient, which means more successfully building muscle mass. Accordingly, the intake of creatine contributes to weight loss – but only indirectly, by increasing the duration of the workouts, their intensity. By itself, the drug does not have a slimming effect. When losing weight, it is important to preserve muscles, since a diet with a calorie deficit pushes the body to extract energy from its own reserves, for which the body uses not only fats, but also muscle protein. By supporting muscles, improving their nutrition and energy supply, we not only improve the figure, but also keep them healthy.
Thus, the drug creatine today remains one of the most popular components of sports nutrition. Thanks to its properties, it strengthens the work of muscles, increases the body’s endurance, and improves the work of the heart. Its use is indicated even for the elderly and people with poor health. What properties are inherent in the drug creatine and how to take it can be found in the annotation to the substance, but its effect on the body is individual and prior consultation with a doctor is required.
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Should you take something with creatine?
Although the benefits of taking creatine are widely known, many people are wondering how the effect can be improved. Various studies have tried to add other ingredients to creatine, including protein, carbohydrates, amino acids, cinnamon, and various plant compounds, to make it more effective. Several studies have reported that consuming carbohydrates with creatine increases muscle absorption. However, other studies have shown that carbohydrate supplementation does not provide additional benefits in increasing effectiveness.
What’s more, some studies have used doses of almost 100 grams of carbohydrates, or about 400 calories. If you do not need these extra calories according to your meal plan, an excess of them can lead to weight gain. In practice, the logic may be to take creatine, when you eat your regular carbohydrate meal rather than adding carbohydrates in excess of your daily requirement. It is also helpful to add protein to these creatine meals, as protein can help increase your body’s retention of creatine.
Creatine is a safe and effective supplement, but the best time to take it is still being debated. Research shows that on workout days, it is better to take creatine shortly before or after exercise than long before or after. On weekends, it can be beneficial to take it with food, but time is obviously not as important as on training days. Plus, taking creatine with foods that contain carbohydrates and protein can help you get the most out of this supplement.