When is the Best Time to Take Creatine?
By: Robbie Durand
Creatine is the one supplement that all athletes should have in their supplement cabinet. Creatine is not only good for younger athletes but there is a substantial amount of evidence to suggest that older athletes can benefit from creatine as well. 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 before or after resistance training is more effective for aging adults. So the million dollar question is when is the best time to take creatine? Researchers set out to determine if its best to take creatine before or after a resistance training protocol in older adults. Using a double-blind, repeated measures design, older adults (50-71 yrs) were randomized to one of three groups: Creatine-Before Workout, Creatine-After Workout, or a 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. Leg press and chest press strength was assessed using a 1-repetition maximum (1-RM) standard testing procedure. The workout protocol consisted of a 5-minutes warm up of cycling on a stationary cycle ergometer. Immediately following the warm-up, participants performed two warm-up sets in order: 1 set of 10 repetitions using a weight determined by each subject to be comfortable and 1 set of 5 repetitions using increased weight. Two-minutes following the warm-up sets, weight was progressively increased for each subsequent 1-RM attempt with a 2-minute rest interval. The 1-RM was reached in 4-6 trials, independent of the 2 warm-up sets. All groups increased over time for lean tissue mass and muscle strength and a decrease in fat mass. Creatine-After Workout resulted in greater improvements in lean tissue mass compared to placebo, while the Creatine-Before Workout group didn’t . Creatine supplementation, independent of the timing of ingestion, increased muscle strength more than placebo. Compared to resistance training alone, creatine supplementation improves muscle strength with greater gains in lean tissue mass from post-exercise creatine. Based on the current study, not only can creatine benefit young athletes but older athletes as well, and more importantly, the best time to take creatine is after your workout.