T Nation

Attention Proffessor X or John Berardi.

Since i really respect your guys’ opinions (nothing against anyone else) but after loading up on creatine is it best to take the one teaspoon before your workout or just after it? While loading i am currently taking it before and after but for maintenence i will only be taking one teaspoon per day.
Anyone else feel free to help out. Thanks.

It is best to take it whenever you damn well please. Let me explain. Once your muscles have been filled with creatine, there is only one task…to make sure they stay that way. It takes about a month to get rid of the extra creatine after loading it which means that it does not matter whether you take if before or after training. You don’t use all of it during a training session so it does not matter. You have probably read about this in magazines because it is known that insulin needs to be raised after training in order to decrease the release of cortisol. Because of this, you have many people telling you that it is needed to throw everything your body possibly needs in at this time. That doesn’t even make sense. I have made very good gains without taking in protein directly after training even though many say that this is the optimal time for a shake. Once you are filled to the max with creatine, the time of day that you take it again does not matter. Depending on your size, much more than five grams is going to get flushed down the toilet anyway.
Professor X

The research shows that creatine loading can be accomplished even by eating meat (it takes a hell of a lot though). So the good professor is correct. It proabably doesnt matter when you take it if you are a responder to creatine.

I have one caveat though. In the lab we get a good percentage of subjects in who are non-responders. This means that their muscles dont load well with creatine. This is because they are either loaded already from the diet or for some other reasons. Because of these non-responders (about 15% of the population or so), there are all these darn creatine tricks that supplement companies play (most of which dont make a heck of a lot of difference). Since no one really knows if they will be a responder or a non responder before they take the creatine, I usually suggest the following to minimize your chances of being a non-responder…1) Take your creatine after training while the muscles are primed for uptake…2) Take some of the daily creatine with carbs (for the first week of supplementation anyway) during the loading week (with the postworkout shake is a great time)…3) If you plan to be on for a short time, definately load for a week by taking 5-10g in the am dissolved in some warm tea or something and then another 5-10g after training…4) If you plan on being on for a few months or so, just take the 5-10g after training…The whole creatine with carbs thing only seems to make a difference for the first few days of supplementation and after that, it doesnt make a difference. So dont worry about spiking insulin or anything after the first few days…Finally, in the past, Ive personally experimented with maintaininace doses of 5g and above and despite the research, I do seem to be fuller when I stay around 10-15g per day during maintainance. Nowadays I only do 2 week cycles of creatine so I load the whole time then go off for 4 weeks. But if you plan to be on longer, try a maintainance of 5g and then one of 15 at a later date and let me know if you see a difference.

Excellent post Professor

Mr. B am I correct in hearing that you say to take the creatine with your surge? I thouhgt that taking creatine with protein is not such a good Idea because they fight for absorbtion.

Some think that since the digestion of protein decreases the ph of the stomach (makes it more acidic due to the enzymes released to digest the protein) degrades the creatine into creatinine and therefore renders your supplementation useless. I havent seen any real world or research results that verify this. So I say dont worry about it. Even if it was a concern with regular protein, with the pw drink (which is hydrolysates), there is less change in stomach ph becuase of the ‘predigested’ nature of the hydrolysates.

Thanks guys, much appreciated.

Hey, what is with this idea of cycling Creatine? I never heard you had to do that. I have “cycled” it because I forget to take it for a few weeks and then get back on it again. If I remember to, I take the stuff for several months at a time. I can count on about 5 pounds of weight from taking it (its the boost that gets me over 200 pounds at 6’). Do we need to try to cycle it? help!

Continuing with the cycling theme, I definitely get the best results with a 2-3 week continuous cycle on a 1:1 basis. That’s to say 2 on, 2 off, or 3 on 3 off. I aim for 15 gr. per day for the whole “on” period. The first 4 days or so, on re-starting is absolutely superb!
My only caveat is for athletes using it to support their training, is that I would avoid it when training in a speed oriented phase. When the muscles are so full of water I’m convinced that co-ordination of speed is reduced - I feel like I’m losing touch with my muscles. For this reason I keep creatine supplementation to hypertrophy, strength and power phases.