Creatine Before or After Working Out?

14th April 2019
Among the many doubts in the minds of athletes is knowing the right moment to take certain supplements. In the case of creatine, is it better to take it before or after working out?

This is a common question in gyms and the bodybuilding world. When is it better to consume creatine, before or after working out? This is a debate that doesn’t seem to have a definitive answer, each opinion has its supporters and detractors.

There are also those who believe it doesn’t matter whether it’s before or after. Many claim that taking this nitrogen organic acid as a nutritional supplement prior to physical activity or after makes no difference.

What is important, in any case, is to have products that are especially beneficial for providing energy to our bodies and making our muscles grow.

Creatine, what is it?

For many years, athletes, trainers, and nutritionists have included the term in their vocabulary. However, many of those who use it have no idea what it actually is. 

Creatine is a derivative of amino acids, which synthesizes naturally in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. Some living organisms -humans included- have deposits of this molecule in their tissues and nerve cells.

Many “frequent foods” are a natural source of this substance. Among them are fish such as herring or salmon, dairy products and eggs. It’s also found in some ingredients of vegetable origin, although in much lower amounts.

Why take creatine?

Creatine is a powerful anabolic, with positive effects on the muscular structure. However, it’s counterproductive and risky to take natural diet supplements made of creatine with anabolic steroids developed from male sexual hormones.

We need to keep in mind that there are many products which are illegal to consume. Besides, it could be tremendously harmful to our health.

On the other hand, the list of benefits includes increased strength and energy. In simple words: those who work out in gyms will be capable of lifting more weight. Meanwhile, muscle size growth is obvious.

creatine athletes buying

Nonetheless, beyond the practices related to weightlifting, soccer players, basketball players or cyclists can also benefit. Taking creatine increases agility and boosts our endurance threshold.

Controversial element?

In spite of the fact that no scientific research has revealed negative results regarding creatine consumption, certain “urban legends” are known. Some of these refer to hair loss, or the risks of gaining excess weight. It’s also been related to cases of depression in women.

When to take creatine

Option 1: before training

Enjoying extra energy when faced with exercise is the main argument by those who recommend taking creatine before training. A factor that translates into more energy being available.

The ideal moment: one hour before. This way, our bodies will have enough time to properly absorb all that these supplements have to offer.

Option 2: after training

Those who speak in favor of waiting to finish training before taking creatine, argue that taking it before makes no sense. Some people believe that the body will not have enough time to correctly assimilate and distribute these acids throughout all of the muscles.

Additionally, after exercise, our muscular structures are ready to gather all of the nutrients they require. The effort and sweat have consumed all our reserves and must be replenished. This, without forgetting that creatine is very efficient at accelerating recovery processes.

Option 3: before or after

The third group completely disregard any of the two previous options. Before or after produce the same results.

Those who lift weights or practice endurance sports will always need it. They’ll enjoy its benefits without “when” being a decisive factor.

Likewise, these supplements can be consumed without the need for developing cycles that include loading and resting periods. Unlike other elements, creatine sensitivity doesn’t exist.

athlete taking creatine

Option 4: read the recommendations

Every product has a specific usage protocol. It’s a factor that varies according to the type of creatine it contains, and if, in the formula other substances are present. Therefore, the best answer to the initial question is usually found in the instructions of each supplement.

Definitely, there are several options and all of them have an explanation. It’s up to the athlete to decide according to his goals and needs. Of course, the opinion of a nutritionist or another specialist is fundamental.

 

 

Cooper, R., Naclerio, F., Allgrove, J., & Jimenez, A. (2012). Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: An update. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-9-33

Bemben, M. G., & Lamont, H. S. (2005). Creatine supplementation and exercise performance: Recent findings. Sports Medicine. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200535020-00002

Tarnopolsky, M. A. (2011). Caffeine and creatine use in sport. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. https://doi.org/10.1159/000322696

Butts, J., Jacobs, B., & Silvis, M. (2018). Creatine Use in Sports. Sports Health. https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738117737248