Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements out there, and also one of the most popular. It has hundreds of documented benefits for lifters, such as increased power, increased strength, and increased hypertrophy.
There are many debates surrounding the best practices regarding creatine supplementation, such as how much to take daily? (around 5g for beginners but up to 10g for people with more muscle) and whether it is sensible to load it or just take a daily dose (either option gives the same result long term).
One of the biggest debates among gym goers is whether to take creatine pre workout or post workout. In this article we are going to take a brief look at the science and conclude which is more effective and whether creatine timing makes any difference anyway.
Whether you take your creatine pre-workout or post-workout you will still get lots of benefits, but it seems that taking creatine post workout is the most effective option. A study by Antonio & Ciccone (2013) compared the two and found that post-workout supplementation was more effective at improving body composition and strength.
Whilst the study showed that there was a difference, it was marginal. Truth is that whatever method (pre or post) that fits into your schedule is the one that you should follow. If you have a favorite pre workout supplement that contains creatine then take that, or if your post-workout protein shake comes with creatine then take that instead.
One thing that should be noted, a study by Vandenberghe et al (1996) found that caffeine can counteract the effects of creatine if they are taken together. This means that if you are taking caffeine pre-workout (which you really should be doing) then taking creatine at the same time will yield worse results than taking them separately. In this case, taking caffeine as a pre workout and creatine as a post workout.
What a lot of studies have taught us though is that long term creatine use is what is needed to be effective. Taking 5-10g per day (depending on the amount of muscle that you have) for a 12 week period will give you amazing results. So what time you take it matters less than how consistently you take it, or what dosage you take.
If you are not taking creatine at all then the first thing that you should do is find the best supplement available that contains is (or you could save yourself some time and check out our top 10 creatine supplements of 2017 list). Then you can either load it (take high amounts for a week before lowering it down to a baseline), or you can just take it normally.
If you are trying to find the perfect time to take your creatine, then the science seems to point towards taking it post workout, but in all honesty, it’s really down to a matter of personal preference. Just make sure that you take it daily for a period of 6-12 weeks. Check our top creatine supplements deals.