Creatine in Pre-Workout Supplements?

creatine in pre-workout supplements

The benefits of using Creatine

Should Creatine be taken pre or post-training?

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements available – there are countless research studies demonstrating the ergogenic creatine benefits. Increases in strength and muscle size are commonly seen. More recently, the role of Creatine for neurological function has been investigated.

Even for those familiar with Creatine, there is one area of confusion: should Creatine be taken pre or post-training. It’s confusing, as lots of pre-workouts contain Creatine…and lots of post-workout products also contain Creatine!

Looking at the role of Creatine in the body, the simple answer would be that Creatine should be taken pre-training. After all, Creatine is an energy source. More specifically, Creatine is a source of high-intensity energy. Creatine is needed to help resynthesise the body’s immediate source of energy, which is ATP. No Creatine = no ATP resynthesis = no high intensity energy. All is looking good for taking Creatine pre-workout, right?

Well, it’s not quite that simple. It has been suggested that Creatine should be taken post-exercise, not pre. The logic being that taking Creatine pre-training is too short-term to elicit performance benefits in that session. Post-exercise, hormones such as Cyclic AMP (cAMP) are circulating in the bloodstream. cAMP can increase absorption of nutrients, such as Creatine, to muscle tissue. Also, many people will go higher carb post-training and the presence of Insulin can aid absorption.

Recent research on optimal Creatine timing

A recent study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN), compared the effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of Creatine Monohydrate (Antonio & Ciccone, 2013).

The study used recreational male bodybuilders as the subjects. The subjects consumed 5g Creatine Monohydrate per day – either pre or post-training. As expected, both groups showed improved body composition and strength. Interestingly, the group taking Creatine post-workout had better results and the authors concluded that “creatine immediately post-workout is superior to pre-workout vis a vis body composition and strength.”

Creatine taken post-workout will be stored in the muscle (as per usual). Think of it as a Creatine fuel tank. Like a car, if you don’t drive it the fuel won’t drop. If you don’t do any high-intensity exercise, the Creatine fuel tank in the muscle doesn’t decrease. It’s more a long-term benefit, rather than a short-term view of Creatine before a training session.

Clearly, Creatine has benefit whether it’s taken pre or post-workout. However, if you’re looking for the absolute best you can do – take your Creatine post-workout. Here’s a quick product round-up to start with:

Related articles

Looking to learn more when it comes to creatine and sports nutrition? We believe that every person, with support, has the right to transform their lives through fitness. That’s why we’ve put together of articles with expert advice, all to help you on your fitness journey. From when to take creatine to supplements for muscle growth, check out more articles below:

When to take creatine         Creatine vs whey
Creatine loading                  Creatine ethyl ester

Safe supplements                Scientifically proven supplements
Creatine benefits                  Best intra workout
Creatine pre workout           Best supplements for muscle growth
Building muscle mass

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