Creatine Post Exercise Better than Creatine Pre-Exercise
Much like there is new research on the benefits of protein timing after resistance exercise influencing muscle protein synthesis, there now seems to be a creatine timing as well. In the past, most people thought it did not really matter when you took creatine but new research suggests you may want to take creatine after you exercise for best results.
Creatine supplementation in close proximity to resistance training may be an important strategy for increasing muscle mass and strength; however, it is unknown whether creatine supplementation before or after resistance training is more effective for aging adults. Using a double-blind, repeated measures design, older adults (50–71 years) were randomized to 1 of 3 groups: creatine before, creatine after, or placebo for 32 weeks. Prior to and following the study, body composition (lean tissue, fat mass; dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) and muscle strength (1-repetition maximum leg press and chest press) were assessed. Participants completed 3 sets of 10 repetitions to muscle fatigue with 1-2 minutes rest between sets for each exercise at an intensity corresponding to their 10- repetition maximum for each exercise. At the end of the study, there was an increase over time for lean tissue mass and muscle strength and a decrease in fat mass.
Creatine taken after exercise resulted in greater improvements in lean tissue mass compared with placebo. Creatine supplementation, independent of the timing of ingestion, increased muscle strength more than placebo. Compared with resistance training alone, creatine supplementation improves muscle strength, with greater gains in lean tissue mass resulting from post-exercise creatine supplementation. The results of the study did find that post exercise creatine supplementation resulted in favorable increases in lean mass in older adults but the results were small. Another valid point is that the study was conducted in older adults, there has yet to be a study comparing the differences in younger adults but based on this study older adults may want to consider taking creatine post exercise for the greatest effects.
Candow DG, Vogt E, Johannsmeyer S, Forbes SC, Farthing JP. Strategic creatine supplementation and resistance training in healthy older adults. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2015 Feb 26:1-6.