When is the best time to take creatine for the best strength and muscle building results? I have to admit; there is a lot of varying opinions on how and when to take creatine supplements.
Some sources say you have to take creatine first thing in the morning, others say before your workout, others say after your workout, while others may say before a meal, and others state before you go to bed.
When you are in the “loading” phase of creatine supplementation, you are ensuring that you have the optimal amount of creatine in your muscles prior and during the workout. After the loading phase, you are basically maintaining the amount of creatine you need to get the job done.
Personally, I always have a creatine mixture immediately after my workouts and on the days I do not workout first thing in the morning before breakfast. About a half hour after my work out on the way home from the gym I throw back my creatine mixture.
I've found that when I take my creatine immediately after my workouts with a simple carb mixture, I get the best results. Based on the research I've done, it seems that it is the most opportune time to best absorb the creatine.
First, your muscles are pretty much tapped out after a hard workout. You can say that your muscles are in a state of desperation and need fuel ASAP. By taking in a simple carbohydrate after your training, you are basically “shuttling” fuel to your muscle cells and by taking in a creatine after your workout, you are immediately replenishing your muscles of creatine which have been used up in the workout.
Besides, your muscles are most receptive to producing new glycogen (fuel) within the first few hours after your workout. During this time, blood circulation to the muscles is much greater as well which causes your muscles to soak up everything like a sponge. Insulin, is produced and released in the presence of the carbohydrates which will act as a shuttle to transport glycogen and creatine into your muscles at the most opportune time which is post workout.
Now on the days I don’t workout I take my creatine first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. My whole mode of thinking is this….. when are my muscles most likely to absorb most of the creatine I’m taking. It’s in the mornings after a night of sleep (you have not ate anything for 8 hours your muscles are dying for energy) and after my workout when my muscles are most likely to soak up whatever I consume.
Now some creatine supplements advise you to take it only before working out and not post workout. But more than likely your glycogen stores may already be full how are your muscles going to take up anymore beyond that?
Now, the important thing you will have to remember is to experiment a little. What has worked for me may not work for you. But my advice is to first try taking your creatine supplement when your muscles are most likely to absorb it which is first thing before breakfast and immediately after an intense workout!!