I’ve added creatine powder to my smoothies on training days when I know I’ll be in beast mode. Hundreds of articles professed not only the benefits of creatine but more important, its safety. It’s been extremely effective for me and I’ve seen an increase in:
- More muscle
- More power and strength
- Improved anaerobic capacity
However, I’ve also heard a ton of mixed reviews about when to take creatine and the possible side effects of taking it at the wrong time. My some say before a workout, others say definitely after. So what’s the deal?
What exactly is creatine?
Highly researched and well absorbed, creatine monohydrate has been shown to increase physical performance during high-intensity activities. I use Optimum Nutrition Micronised Creatine Power made with a creatine monohydrate known for its purity and potency. The human body actually produces creatine itself when metabolizing the protein in red meat and fish, but it’ll take about 1.5kg of raw fish to match the amount in one 5-gram dose of a creatine supplement. Along with sleep and a good diet, creatine has earned its reputation as the cheapest way you can improve both your performance in the gym and the results you see.
Taking creatine BEFORE your workout
The argument for taking creatine before a workout usually follows these lines: More creatine equals more ATP, the primary currency of cellular energy. More ATP means more power available to the muscles. More power means more activation of muscle fibres and more weight lifted. More weight means more muscle. Sounds tempting, right?
Taking creatine AFTER your workout
On the flipside, the argument for creatine after a workout often focuses on how your muscles are depleted of nutrients after a workout and are thus “primed” for a big influx of nutrients. Throw creatine in there along with your protein and carbs, and your body will supposedly soak up the powerful supplement and receive all of its benefits.
Taking creatine WHENEVER – which is what I’ve decided to do
The argument for taking creatine anytime is based on the hypothesis that both of the former arguments are more or less supplement superstition. Basically, they say, you don’t need to stress yourself about timing. Since creatine is good for you, as long as you use it alongside a healthy diet, you’ll see the benefits.
Personally, I take creatine before my workout. I often have more strength and energy to finish my sets with a stronger form than I do without it. However, if I have a heavy workout and expect an equally physically demanding day, I take half a dose before and the other half in my post-workout shake. Saying all this, I strongly recommend taking creatine on ‘beast mode days’. It’s important to be aware of how your body performs on its own, as I believe in many cases supplements can become as addictive as training itself.
My Saturday mornings aka Doomsday look a little something like this!