Creatine is one of the few supplements proven to improve performance. And, although your body produces creatine, supplementation can increase your workout capacity, strength, and muscle growth. You should always take your creatine supplement after your workout rather than before.
Since creatine causes your muscles to “attract” and retain water from the rest of your body, you may experience muscle cramping and other side effects that inhibit your exercise. Additionally, you haven’t created much muscle demand prior to your workout.
Since muscle demand is highest immediately following your workout, taking creatine after your workout will help your muscles recover fully from the workout by maximizing the amount of creatine your body stores in your muscles, and ensuring the delivery of the maximum amount of creatine (and other nutrients).
Creatine is safe and effective when taken properly. Avoid “loading” and “cycling,” and take 2-5 grams per day. Like protein supplementation, creatine should be taken within 30-60 minutes of your workout. Taking creatine with a carbohydrate — post-workout — can increase the uptake of creatine in muscle tissue. I like adding unflavored creatine monohydrate to a post-workout carb/protein shake. As with any supplement, check with your physician before taking creatine.
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