You might be thinking that most research related to creatine would be around whether or not it works. Actually, there’s a lot more research going on about how you should (or should not) be taking it. It’s all about optimal effectiveness!
Here’s the main thing: If you want it to work, consistent daily use is key.
“Creatine is not readily assimilated into muscle, as many people would think”, says Darryn Willoughby, Ph.D., in the video “How to Get More Out of Your Supps.” “Instead, it takes a while for creatine to saturate the muscle.”
With this in mind, it’s probably most effective when you take it for several weeks on a consistent basis. This will allow you to see the results you’re looking for in the gym. This also brings up the point of creatine in pre workouts. Chances are that creatine you’re taking before you hit the gym isn’t enough to really do any good.
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One thing to consider is a five day loading phase typically seen with creatine usage. It may help accelerate the process, but not by much. Oh, and by the way, it may also increase the likelihood of some stomach discomfort, bloating, and other temporary side effects.
Now, what about the time of day you should be taking creatine? There are several good articles out there, like “Before, After, or Whenever: The Best Time to Take Creatine” by Adam Bornstein. These three groups of “taking time” have been the topic of many research studies. The differences? Minor ones. That being said, just take it whenever. The important thing is being consistent and just taking it every day.
While there may be some researches who say there are slight advantages to taking it at specific times, the timing is less significant when your creatine reserves are more full (meaning you’ve been taking it a while).
How To Take Creatine Monohydrate
Let’s just assume for a moment that you’ve never taken it before. The basic recommendation is 3-5 grams per day. Don’t miss a day, and don’t bother with any “loading phases”. Just add it to what you’re already doing and see what happens!
To learn more about different ingredients commonly found in supplements, check out the Supplements Simplified series.