Creatine: Before a workout or after?

What’s your take on creatine for both seasoned guys and people just starting out? Should I take it before a workout, after?

-Panos A.

Answer

Now here’s a good question and one which is long over-due. Usually, people just roll their eyes when creatine questions are brought up, but after 2 decades of being the undisputed king of supplements, it’s worth re-visiting.

First, let’s talk about beginners. It’s my opinion that you shouldn’t touch creatine until you’ve gained your first 20lbs of muscle. Why? Because one of the things creatine does is volumize the muscle cell by attracting water. It’s pretty clear that the more muscle cells you have, the more you can enlarge them though cell volumization. It’ll also teaches the trainee what really builds muscle – lots of hard work, food and rest. To do things the other way around is to teach the trainee muscle comes from pills, powders and potions. Besides, 10lbs is chump change compared to what many years of arduous training can accomplish.

The more advanced man likely has had several runs with creatine and understands more accurately what it does (or doesn’t) do for him. In practice, I find it to be no miracle. Sure, 10lbs in as many days is possible, a few more reps here and there. But nobody’s built their body with creatine, no matter what anybody tells you. Once you’re loaded, you’re loaded. The cell isn’t going to hold anymore. At this point it’s best just to keep levels topped off and enjoy its other benefits.

Next, we get down to types. Plain old creatine mono is by far the best buy and per the studies, plenty effective. You want micronized creatine though to minimize any bloating and cramping. Two other forms I like are Kre-Alkalyn and Creatine HCL. Both are more efficient forms of creatine vs mono. I’m not going to get into the creatine wars because I think they’re silly, so I’ll just leave it at that. They’re more efficient. Take it post workout, as the latest studies support that timing.

Finally, you want to be using around 3-6 grams of beta-alanine/day alongside creatine. REASON: Studies suggest trainees gained 3x’s the amount of muscle and lost almost twice as much fat as creatine alone. Folks, that’s a big deal. So even if you don’t’ think BA works, you want to tag team it with creatine.

Both should be in the drinking water, IMO.

Coach Rob Regish

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