What can you look forward to if you take Creatine Before or After Workout? Well, it has been shown over and over again that creatine makes you look bigger, builds muscle faster, improves performance, and even makes you smarter.
In fact, it is said that more than half of professional power athletes like powerlifters, boxers, and track and field athletes use the supplement for these reasons.
Not to mention that it’s becoming more and more popular among high school lifters and athletes, who are becoming more aware of the benefits they can get from Creatine Before or After Workout.
In this article, we’ll talk about all of that by going into detail about what to expect of taking creatine before and after the first 30 days.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a chemical that is found naturally in our muscle cells and in some parts of our brain. Its only purpose is to help muscles do “workout tasks” like lifting weights or doing hard exercises like planks and pull-ups.
Creatine gives our muscles energy, and it can also be found in the food we eat. So, the creatine supplement only makes the chemical we already have in our bodies work better.
This disproves the common belief that a gymnast’s body starts making it because of the supplement.
What is creatine used for?
As you might have guessed, creatine has a lot to do with sports and the gym, but not much to do with people who don’t do these things very often.
This is another reason why gym rats are the main customers for companies that make creatine. That’s why the ads for creatine supplements always show a shirtless guy doing a lot of heavy lifting.
In the same way, creatine helps athletes gain muscle mass and improve their overall performance.
Creatine Before And After: Understanding Its Benefits
Before you even think about the effects of creatine before and after, you need to know two things. First, how it affects your body.
And secondly, why it might not “work” for everyone. This means that your “creatine before and after 30 days” might look different than someone else’s.
Creatine is something our bodies make and use as an indirect source of energy. It gives our muscles the energy they need to do things like sprints or hard sets of bench press.
Because of this, 95% of our creatine is stored in our muscles. But the brain also stores about 5% of it. Because of this, it has been linked to both better and worse brain function, but we’ll talk more about this in a bit.
Even though our muscles already have a certain amount of creatine, taking it as a supplement can raise that amount by about 30%.
Because of this, our muscles have more creatine, which gives them more power. In the long run, this leads to more strength and muscle mass.
So, it’s likely that taking it will help you in some way. But it’s not a bad thing if you don’t. It just means that the gods have given you great genes.
- Now, here’s what you can expect:
- What side effects you might feel AND
- How to tell if it’s working.
Let’s look at our “before and after creatine” time line for 30 days.
Creatine Timing: What Does The Science Say
Taking creatine after your workout is better than taking it before your workout, according to many studies.
In a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, people who took creatine after a resistance training workout gained more lean body mass than people who took creatine before their workouts.
This is backed up by a study that came out in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition. Researchers found that taking creatine after a workout was the best way to improve body composition.
At the end of the study, the people who took creatine after their workouts had lower body fat percentages than the people who took it before their workouts.
This experiment also showed that taking creatine right after a workout helped make muscles stronger. The 1RM bench presses of the people in the post-workout creatine group went up more than those in the pre-workout creatine group.
Taking Creatine Before Workout
Taking creatine before a workout is done so that it can help replace the creatine that is used up quickly during your workout.
If you take it 30 to 60 minutes before you work out, your body will have enough time to get to its highest level of creatine during your workout.
Because of this, creatine is often found in pre-workout supplements. And when creatine is mixed with caffeine, it can help athletes do better.
A study done on healthy, physically active men showed that taking creatine and caffeine supplements made them sprint faster with more power.
There are different ideas about whether caffeine can stop your body from using creatine or make you tired more quickly, but most research shows that this isn’t true. Taking caffeine and creatine together can even make creatine work better.
Taking Creatine After Workout
I’ve already talked about how taking creatine after a workout can help you gain more lean muscle mass and get stronger.
Researchers think that this is because resistance training increases the blood flow to the skeletal muscles, which causes more creatine to be stored in the trained muscles.
When you work out, your body loses glycogen and other nutrients, which makes your blood flow better. This also makes it easier for your cells to make up for what was lost.
Another reason to take creatine after a workout is that it helps the body recover. However, taking creatine alone may not reduce muscle damage or help the body recover from resistance training.
It seems that taking creatine with a high-carb or high-protein + high-carb meal after a workout boosts its ability to help the body recover.
What To Expect In The Saturation Phase
So, when you start taking creatine for the first time, it takes time for your muscles to soak up all of that extra creatine. Keep in mind that you will have some side effects during this time.
But you won’t see the performance benefits until you’ve reached full saturation, which we’ll talk about later.
How long it takes to reach this point depends on how much creatine you take every day. As I explained in a previous article about creatine, there are two ways to start taking it:
- Loading protocol: To build up your creatine stores as quickly as possible, you take a lot of creatine every day. The dose would then be lowered to keep the levels high. With this method, it will take about 7 days for your muscles to be fully saturated. And then you’ll be able to start getting some of its benefits.
- Non-loading protocol: Every day, you take a certain amount of creatine. And your creatine level goes up slowly over time. It usually takes about two to three weeks to reach full saturation.
Both ways will take you to the same place. But some of the side effects you might have will be different.
What Does Creatine Do and Who Takes It?
Creatine is made by the body and found in food. It is a key part of how the body makes ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy, which is the basic unit of energy for muscle contraction and power. 1
Creatine is part of what makes high-intensity exercise and activities possible, so when creatine levels drop, muscles tend to get tired before creatine levels do.
In other words, when you do high-intensity exercise and use up all of your natural creatine stores, muscle fatigue sets in, followed by lactic acid buildup and burning soreness.
This shows why taking more creatine is helpful: the extra creatine fills up the muscle tissue, giving it a bigger supply of ATP-producing fuel that lets you work out longer and harder before your muscles get tired.
Because of this, bodybuilders and weightlifters are naturally interested in creatine. However, athletes of almost every type, both aerobic and anaerobic, may benefit from taking creatine supplements.
Creatine Before And After: Side Effects
1: Initial Weight Gain
For example, one side effect that most people feel during this saturation phase is that they hold on to water and gain a little bit of weight.
This is because when a muscle cell takes in creatine, it also takes in water. This might sound bad, but it can actually make your muscles look and feel a lot bigger.
How much weight gain can you expect at first?
Research shows that between 1 and 3 lbs. But if you choose the loading protocol, this initial weight gain will happen within the first week of using creatine.
If you use the non-loading protocol, on the other hand, your weight will slowly go up over the course of two to three weeks, until your muscles are fully saturated.
2: Stomach Discomfort
Stomach pain is another common side effect of creatine before and after, and more specifically during the saturation phase. There are a few things you can do if this happens to you or if you want to keep it from happening in the first place.
First of all, research has shown that taking more creatine at once is more likely to make your stomach hurt (e.g., with a loading phase).
So, if you are using the loading protocol, giving yourself smaller doses of creatine throughout the day may help. If it doesn’t, you might want to use the non-loading protocol instead.
Also, you shouldn’t take creatine when you’re hungry or with caffeine. Both of these situations seem to make it more likely that you’ll get an upset stomach.
Lastly, sometimes pain is caused by the body not being able to dissolve creatine well. To avoid this, mix your creatine with hot water before you take it. This will help it dissolve completely. Find out if that helps.
Before we talk about the last side effect, I’m curious to know what side effects those of you who have taken creatine have had. This next one really surprised me, but leave a comment if you think there’s something I’ve missed.
3: Higher Creatinine Levels In Blood And Urine
Now, the last side effect of creatine that you and your doctor should know about has to do with your creatinine levels. Creatinine is made when creatine breaks down.
Since you’re taking more creatine, the amount of creatinine in your urine will also go up a little.
And because high creatinine levels can mean that your kidneys aren’t working as well as they should, seeing this on a blood test can be scary if you don’t know what it means.
But creatine has been shown over and over again to be a safe supplement for healthy people. Your doctor should also be aware of what it does to creatinine. But, as with any blood test results, please talk to a doctor or nurse and do what they tell you.
What To Expect In The Post-Saturation Phase
Now we’re at the “after” part of “before and after creatine.” That means that creatine is now locked and loaded in our muscles. What will happen next? Are you going to become the Hulk in one night? Let’s see what the facts are.
1: Increased Strength
First of all, you should start getting stronger in most of your moves. A meta-analysis that looked at 22 studies on creatine found that, on average, trained lifters can expect:
- 8% increase in strength and
- 14% increase in the number of reps.
“Creatine before and after” strength gains, on the other hand, seem to be bigger for less experienced lifters. Take this study, which found that the average increase in untrained people was 30%.
This could mean going from being able to bench 100 lbs to being able to bench 130 lbs. Still, even a small boost in strength or reps is a good return on investment when it comes to supplements. Over time, this can lead to a lot more muscle mass.
2: Faster Recovery
In addition to improving performance in the “after” part of the “creatine before and after” process, a study of 52 NCAA athletes found that 81% of them said that taking creatine helped them recover faster from their workouts.
So, once you’ve reached your limit, watch how quickly you recover between workouts. You might notice a change in that area.
Still, taking care of your supplements is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting better. There are also the choice of exercises, the amount of training, and the programming to think about.
3: Improved Cognitive Functions
Lastly, the effects of creatine on brain function are a relatively new and exciting area of creatine research. Even if you don’t believe it, your brain is one of the tissues in your body with the most metabolic activity.
It is always in need of power. And it seems to get most of its energy from creatine. In fact, when children are born without enough creatine in their brains, they often have serious problems with their brain function and development.
But creatine supplements can raise the amount of creatine in the brain by up to 10% in healthy people. And this seems to make it work better.
Creatine Before And After: Takeaway
So, you should now have a good idea of what to expect before and after taking creatine supplements, including its benefits, how long it takes to see results, and possible side effects. If you want to know more about:
- How, exactly, to take it to maximize its benefits
- What type of you should be using AND
- How much of it
That being said, guys, creatine or any other supplement is just the cherry on top. If you want to really change your body and see great results, you need to put training and eating at the top of your list.
FAQs – Creatine Before or After Workout
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I am Camila Smith. I am a fitness expert and personal trainer and a life coach, blogger, and triathlete. As a health and fitness expert, my mission is to cut through the industry’s noise and empower people to find lasting health, happiness, and confidence through sustainable solutions. More About Camila Smith.