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Should I take my creatine pre- or post-workout?

Once you’ve decided to supplement your diet with creatine the next question becomes when to take it. 

Most people take supplements either before or after they exercise, but when is the appropriate time to take creatine?

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When you decide to take a supplement it all depends on what the supplement does for you. 

Does the supplement give you energy to help you exercise? Does the supplement help you recover after you’re done exercising? 

Creatine is unique in that it helps with both energy supply and recovery. So, the short answer is both before and after a workout are excellent times to supplement with creatine.

What are some of the benefits of taking creatine pre-workout?

Creatine is an excellent pre-workout supplement. Your body uses energy when you exercise, but there is only a limited amount of energy stored in your system.  Because of this, you become fatigued as you continue to exercise. 

Therefore, there is a natural limit as to how long any individual is capable of exercising at a given point in time. Taking creatine before a workout supplements you natural energy reserves. This allows you to workout harder and longer than you would typically be able to otherwise. Because of this, it is very beneficial to take creatine before a workout.

What are some of the benefits of taking creatine post workout?

Creatine is also great to take after a workout. Exercising takes a lot out of your system. Running, lifting, or whatever your sport is, it takes a lot out of your system. 

Your body will recover, but it takes time. Supplementing with creatine can shorten this recovery period so that you’re back on the field in better shape than you would be otherwise. 

Your body does its best recovery work immediately following a workout. Exercise stimulates your body’s recovery responses, but this heightened response level diminishes quickly. Because of this limited window, it is critical that your system has all the nutrients that it needs to recover in this window. 

Supplementing with creatine can dramatically improve your body’s recovery response by getting more of the nutrients into your system so that your body recovers more efficiently. By recovering more efficiently, you are maximizing the results you get out of an individual workout which will generate better results in a shorter period of time.

Does creatine really help with your workout?

Studies have shown that creatine can help with your workouts, but utilizing where it can be most effective activity-wise is important. According to WebMD, there’s some excellent evidence out there that shows creatine in a positive light. It can help with sports that require quick and sudden bursts of athletic activity.

Whether or not creatine boosts performance in aerobic activities is still not 100 percent conclusive. Studies have suggested that those 60 years and older do not show benefits of creatine supplementation. There is also the theory that since creatine causes water retention some athletes might be slowed down with its usage.

Are there other benefits to creatine other than for just working out?

There are some studies, according to WebMD, that suggest creatine not only provides more energy for athletic endeavors, but that it can also boost brain power during its usage.  A study done in Australia showed that those who took creatine supplements six weeks before tests scored higher on memory and intelligence than those who did not.

While there is no other evidence to back this up, the author of the study believes that those who need short term assistance in peak mental function can benefit from short term creatine usage. Other professionals view the study as inconclusive and also premature in its findings. 

It’s always smart to keep a healthy regimen both in terms of exercise and diet before adding in supplementation. Creatine should specifically be used in proper amounts and with proper intentions.

Finding a great exercise routine can be challenging alongside maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Before choosing to use a supplement and exercise regimen, make sure you have a good idea of your goals and needs. Get started on your road to wellness with the free fitness report card!