Creatine: When and How Much to Take
Creatine is one of the most popular and widely-used sport nutrition supplements in the world. It’s used and trusted by strength athletes, bodybuilders, and people who play demanding team sports. But what exactly is Creatine, and how should you use it to boost your training performance and physique?
When Should I Take Creatine?
One of the great things about Creatine is that it’s so easy to take. Add 5g of powdered Creatine Monohydrate to water, BCAAs, or any other cold drink once a day, or use Creatine supplements like our tablets or capsules if you find that easier. Try PhD Micronised Creatine Monohydrate.
Most people take their Creatine in the morning because it’s easy to habit-stack with breakfast or your other supplements. But you could take it in your pre-workout or Intra workout drink, or have it post-workout. The most important thing to get the effects of Creatine is consistency.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a natural compound found in red meat, and in our own muscle fiber tissue. The type of Creatine we take as a supplement is usually synthetic, but it’s worth knowing that you probably get trace amounts of muscle creatine from red meat if you eat it.
Creatine is actually an amino acid that can be converted into phosphocreatine, and used as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – the primary source of energy for cells.
What does Creatine do for the body?
You store most of your body’s creatine in the muscles, and the rest in your brain, kidneys, and liver. Supplementing with Creatine boosts these phosphocreatine stores, which helps your body create more of that energy molecule ATP when it needs more power or strength. This in turn will help you train harder and for longer, helping you build muscle, strength, power and endurance.
How much Creatine should I take?
It’s really simple to get the most from Creatine supplementation. Forget anything you’ve heard about loading Creatine for 5-7 days. Just start with 5g once a day to get the effects of Creatine – it really is as easy as that. Remember to take your Creatine supplement with you when you travel so you stay consistent.
Our instant mix powder makes it easy to meet your Creatine needs, simply add water or try mixing it into your daily protein shake. For added convenience, our Charge Pre-workout, Advanced Mass and Synergy All-in-one protein powders already include creatine too.
When should I take Creatine?
Most people like to take their Creatine in the morning, just because it’s easiest to remember to take it along with other daily supplements like Vitamin D, fish oils, and a multivitamin. But there’s nothing wrong with taking Creatine before a workout in your pre-workout, in post-workout. Figure out when you will remember to take your Creatine and stick with that.
Who should take Creatine?
Creatine is most popular with bodybuilders, powerlifters, and people who do explosive team sports like rugby. But the irony is that almost everyone would benefit from taking Creatine. In 2017, the ISSN published a comprehensive paper titled “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine”. This looked at the safety and effectiveness of Creatine supplementation not just for athletes, but for everyday folk. The paper stated that the benefits of Creatine use go well beyond sports performance. These include preventing or reducing the severity of injury, enhancing rehab after an injury, and clinical benefits in patients ranging from infants to the elderly. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5469049/
It has so many benefits to general health including protecting muscle mass (which is important when you consider that we naturally lose muscle mass after the age of 30) and general health.
Will creatine make me stronger?
The important question about Creatine is how will it boost your sports performance. Creatine by itself won’t magically make you stronger (you need to add training stimulus to achieve that). But it has been proven to improve sports performance in the type of exercise that includes successive bursts of short-term, high-intensity exercise. This includes lifting weights, Olympic lifting, high-intensity exercise, CrossFit WODs, and power-based team sports like rugby.
Supplementing with Creatine can also help you build and maintain more muscle, which will naturally make you stronger and more powerful.
A 2012 paper published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition looked at Creatine supplementation with a specific view to sports and exercise performance. It found that supplementing with Creatine can increase strength and fat-free mass (that’s muscle mass) when you combine it with heavy resistance training, and can also benefit high-intensity sprints or endurance training. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407788/
How exactly does taking Creatine improve performance and support muscle growth? More Creatine in your body means more phosphocreatine in the muscles, which results in more ATP. ATP is your body’s preferred energy source for lifting weights, and doing other short, intense forms of exercise. In short, Creatine gives your muscles more of the energy it needs to perform.
Discover our range of Creatine products here https://www.phd.com/amino-acids/creatine
Don’t forget to fuel yourself Pre, Intra and Post-workout – You can grab yourself all your workout must-haves here. Make sure to let us know how you get on with your training program and tag us in your workouts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – @phdnutrition.