One of the most common nutrient timing debates surrounds the supplement creatine. While it is true that creatine has conclusively shown to increase total intramuscular creatine, phosphocreatine, lean muscle mass and muscle fiber size along with significant increases in strength and power. The question of when is the best time to consume creatine either pre workout, during or post workout to optimize the positive effects has been debated.
A recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sport Nutrition confirms what I have always purported… that post exercise is the optimum time to consume creatine.
“The results from this study suggest that consuming creatine monohydrate post exercise may be superior to consuming it pre exercise with regards to improving body composition (i.e. gains in FFM, loss of FM). This is the first investigation to demonstrate that the timing of creatine intake affects the adaptive response to exercise. When subjects were pooled together, the gains in fat-free mass and muscular strength in the current investigation were similar to others. Rugby union football players who supplemented daily with creatine monohydrate over an 8-week period decreased fat mass (−1.9 kg) and increased lean tissue (+1.2 kg). They also performed better in bench and leg press tests . Older men (71 yrs) who consumed creatine increased lean tissue mass (+3.3 kg) and improved lower body strength as measured using a 1-RM . Using a single-limb training model, men and women who supplemented with creatine after training of the arms increased their muscle thickness. Interestingly, males had a greater increase in lean tissue mass with creatine supplementation than females . In elite male handball players, creatine supplementation for 32 days resulted in an increase in 1-RM bench press (8.30 vs. 5.29 kg; creatine versus control) . These and other investigations indeed show that creatine supplementation in general has a significant anabolic and performance-enhancing effect [34,35] which is in agreement with the current investigation. Mechanistically, creatine supplementation has been shown to increase muscle fiber size, enhance myosin heavy chain protein synthesis, activate satellite cells as well as increase the concentrations of intramuscular ATP and PCr [6,7,12,36,37].
Our investigation did not involve the use of protein, carbohydrate or amino acids. Whether creatine uptake is truly sensitive to timed intake is not entirely known despite the superior gains in the POST-SUPP group…
In conclusion, post workout supplementation with creatine for a period of 4 weeks in recreational bodybuilders may produce superior gains in FFM and strength in comparison to pre workout supplementation.”
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