T Nation

Creatine Advice?


I've been lifting for about a year (New Rules of Lifting is my bible) -- but was wondering about creatine. Is it worth taking? And how/when do you take it? I went to Vitamin World the other day and saw 50,000 different kinds...any recommendations? And is it dangerous at all?


Creatine is a proven and safe supplement.

Get Creatine Monohydrate powder, all other products are just full of other ingredients that don't do anything and are usually more expensive. Monohydrate is just creatine, nothing else.

Instructions are usually on the package. 5g a day is standard. You can also load it at the beginning if you want.


Do you take it even on days you don't lift, or just right before/after a workout?


I've seen recommendations such as 5g on off days and 5g before and 5g after training on workout days. Personally I don't take it on off-days, but that's just Sunday in my case, so I doubt it makes much of a difference.


Second what everyone has said so far. Usually the label will do a fairly decent job for dosage as long as you don't follow a loading protocol. I think those are unnecessary.


Just through 5 grams in your post training shake.


Maintaining 5g per day every day is the way to go. Missing a day here or there won't make too much of a difference, as creatine is something that saturates the muscle. But yes, you are recommended to take it every day.


Don't do it! Creatine ruined my life (and my family's)!


Yikes....what happened?


The only non monohydrate form I buy is Controlled Labs Green Mag or Green Bulge(one is pill, one is powder). I love both


green bulge?

haha thats a ridiculous supplement name


He's being facetious.

If creatine was dangerous, everyone would be screwed because it's already inside everyone's muscles. All supplementation does is ensure that the creatine stores inside your muscles stay saturated. Long story short, this will allow you to lift more total weight during a workout, leading to more muscle growth.

5g (a rounded teaspoon) a day is all that's needed. Preferably it is mixed in with a sugary drink as this helps absorption, but this is not absolutely necessary. If you already drink a post workout shake, mix the 5g in with that. If you don't use a post workout shake, start using one. Personally, I just mix a scoop of vanilla whey protein, 2 scoops of orange gatorade powder, and 5g creatine. If you want to overpay for some post workout supplement that will essentially contain the same things, that is fine too. On off days just mix the creatine with a glass of water and drink it.

Edit: Also, as others have said, stick with basic creatine monohydrate. Once creatine started to become a cheap supplement, they felt the need to add useless bells and whistles just so they could charge more. Usually this consists of adding some sort of sugar and then doubling the price, hence why I suggest just using gatorade powder. Micronized creatine will mix better, but the regular stuff works fine too as long as you don't let the shake sit for too long because it will just settle to the bottom.


Ya they could of come up with a better name but I dont buy supplements for name.


^ sugar is not required to spike insulin. Whey protein works just fine. Not everyone thinks simple carbs post workout is a good idea.


It's not required, but the magnitude of difference is pretty big. CHO + PRO stimulates 3-4x the insulin release of just protein. I've got the data but am looking for the publication. The insulin signaling pathway also has some crosstalk with mTOR that enhances protein synthesis. Outside of cutting, what would you say is the advantage of not having carbs in a PWO shake are? Not being a dick here, legit asking.


I'd be interested in seeing that publication if you can find it. I usually actually start to drink my "post workout" shake towards the end of my workouts as I feel the sugars help keep my energy levels consistent throughout. I guess it would be considered more of a "peri-workout" shake, but honestly what the hell does 20-30 min difference in timing make. It's not like your body immediately flips some on off switch the second you set down your last weight.


Isn't there adequate sugar in the protein shake for this purpose? I know there's not a LOT of sugar, but there's some.


whey protein is insullogenic. Sugar is not required for aiding creatine uptake.

Regardless of whether carbs create a bigger spike. I never claimed that carbs DIDNT do that.

I cant post more about my thoughts on simple carbs immediately post workout. Ive shared my thoughts many times in the past. For me and many other a pre workout insulin spike with carbs and protein is more effective than attempting to spike insulin post workout with simple carbs, which leads to excessive fat gain in some.

It has to do with catecholamines and how insulin cant spike in their presence


Forgot about that other thread. I think i brought up catacholamines as they basically drop insulin to resting levels by 30 minutes into a workout. During a hard aerobic workout it's impossible to spike insulin, I don't know about resistance training, I don't think there's research there. However, the PWO environment is very insulin sensitive, peaking at around 30 min.

I'm going to have to ask someone for the reference for this data because I can't find it. I only know one of the authors. But, what it shows is that if PRO is taken immediately after exercise, insulin will only rise to about 15 micro-units/L. If just CHO is taken, insulin rises to 40-60 micro-units/L, and if PRO+CHO is taken, insulin rises to 60-80 micro-units/L. As far as I know, protein itself isn't insulinogenic, but specific AA's are. Arginine in particular can spike insulin, but to be significant would need to be taken solo in a decently large dose.

Another thing about PWO carbs is that glycogen depletion inhibits protein synthesis. It creates competitive anabolic processes and the body is more apt to replenish carb stores than synthesize protein.

Overall I'm not saying there's any harm to a pre workout CHO+PRO shake, but I think you might as well hedge your bets by taking CHO+PRO after a workout as well. As for fat gain, if the workout is sufficiently difficult (i.e. glycogen depleting. a number of studies show that resistance training sessions can deplete muscle glycogen as much as 40%) then PWO carbs will be pretty well managed. As far as I know there is only one study saying that pre workout protein is superior to post workout protein. However, though I have nothing to support this, it does seem that if you took a sufficiently large does of CHO pre workout and mitigated the CHO depletion, the effectiveness of a PWO protein only shake might be improved. But I think there's some CHO+PRO synergy beyond that.


I dont care fuck all about studies. I started drinking gatorade powder and whey before/during my workouts about 3 years ago. About the same time I stopped drinking post wokrout shakes. I know what works for me. I dont need to hedge any bets.

As Ive gotten older (yes Im aware Im only 23) Ive included less and less carbs in my diet while increasing fat intake. Ive only improved, performance wise and aesthtically. I know how my body works.