When to Use Creatine
Athletes are constantly trying to gain advantage over their competitors. In sports and body building, every second counts, literally. Scientifically, there are ways that you can train, eat, sleep and do just about everything, that can enhance your overall performance.
To someone who isn’t in competition it may seem silly to worry about whether you should eat before or after a workout. To those of us who understand that all things are important, the littlest of things can add up big.
If you are taking creatine supplementation to enhance performance, increase endurance, or to build lean muscle mass, you may be wondering if there is a better time to take the dosage required to produce the optimal benefits.
There is a method to taking creatine, but it all depends on what your overall goals are and how long you have been taking it. The following article should help you decide when to take creatine for your own personal needs.
Taking Creatine Before a Workout
In the past there was general consensus that taking creatine before a workout was most beneficial. The thought was that by taking creatine prior to exhausting a muscle, it gave you the optimal amount of energy that you needed to push harder and past your maximum.
The problem with that theory, however, is that it only holds if you are depleted of the creatine stores you need. For those who are already supplementing on a continual basis, that would not hold water. Someone who is already supplementing should have sufficient stores in the body to not need the additional boost.
A reason to not take creatine before exercise is the potential of shifts in the body’s fluid. Creatine monohydrate powder works by drawing fluid from other body systems to supplement the muscles.
If it pulls to much fluid from surrounding body tissues it may deplete other body tissue that is in need of the fluid, especially during prolonged, or endurance exercise. That makes it possible that taking creatine prior to a workout can lead to dehydration which can result in serious health consequences.
If you are taking a supplement that has a high concentration of sugar there is also the potential that you can have an insulin rush followed by a crash. That is counterintuitive to the entire reason that you take creatine in the first place. If you take a substance to increase your energy level, why would you want to work against yourself by taking something that has the potential to decrease it.
Taking Creatine After a Workout
There are specific advantages to taking creatine supplementation post workout. After you have exhausted muscle tissue, your body is most sensitive to insulin-mediated absorption of creatine. If you combine your supplementation with protein and glycemic carbohydrates, which trigger insulin release, it will increase the uptake of the creatine into the muscles.
When you combine those specific nutrients, it results in the production and release of growth hormone, anabolic hormones, insulin and testosterone. That means by taking creatine after a workout you are allowing for a greater uptake of it to do what it was intended to do.
Therefore, if you are just starting out on a regimen of supplementation with creatine, you may want to consider taking it before a workout until your stores are safe from depletion. Once you are able to ensure you have the reserves to maintain a continuous amount of creatine in the muscle during endurance, you should switch to taking it as a supplement after a workout.
The key to having it work optimally is to ensure that you are combining it with the right nutrients. If you take creatine without the additional things required to increase uptake, the whole theory of it being beneficial afterwards is lost.
The good news is that no matter when you supplement with creatine you are able to increase the stores of it in your muscles. If you are someone who is not good at regimens, give yourself a break.
For all intents and purposes, when you take it, is not as important as the amount you take and the consistency with which you take it. Choosing the product that has the highest concentration, and one that is 100% natural, is going to be beneficial for your athletic performance.
If you are looking for a good creatine supplement, I recommend checking out this protein powder.
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.