When is the best time to take creatine for maximal muscle growth?

October 14, 2002


1- Featured Article:
When is the best time to take creatine for maximal muscle growth?

2- Anthony’s Training Tip:
For muscle gain, keep your workout short, but intense.

Welcome to the 18th issue of the Creatine Newsletter. Summer is over and we are back! This month we focus on getting BIG! First, in this month’s feature article we debate whether it is better to supplement before or after exercise for optimal muscle growth? Secondly, Anthony Ellis explains why short-intense workouts are the best stimulus for muscle growth.

Don’t miss out on future articles! Sign up and get the latest post straight to your e-mail inbox or RSS reader.

This Month’s Featured Article:

When is the best time to take creatine for maximal muscle growth?


A few years ago it was frequently recommended that athletes take their creatine before exercise. Those supporting this approach rationalized that taking creatine before exercise optimized energy usage by muscle during physical exertion. This method, however, only really makes sense if your muscle’s creatine stores are nearly depleted. This wouldn’t be the case, however, if you were already supplementing.

Another potential problem with taking creatine before exercise is possible shifts in body fluids. Creatine monohydrate powder draws fluids from other body compartments into our muscles with the possible consequence of depriving other body tissues of much needed fluids. Although this process is nothing more than the cellular manifestation of muscle “volumizing”, it does make possible dehydration an important consideration. This is especially critical if you are working out intensely in hot, humid environments.

Lastly, highly glycemic sugars, such as those frequently included in certain creatine products, could cause a sharp drop in energy levels after just a few minutes; the crash after the sugar rush. This is obviously counterproductive to your training needs. Other reasons also exist, but these are the most important. There are hence plenty of reasons why not to take creatine before exercise.


Taking creatine following exercise, on the other hand, holds certain advantages. After exercise our muscles are most sensitive to insulin-mediated uptake of creatine. We can take advantage of this situation by taking creatine with glycemic carbohydrates and protein, which increase insulin release to a greater degree than similar quantities of either carbs or protein alone. This combination of nutrients also has the added advantage that they augment the release of our body’s principal anabolic hormones, growth hormone, testosterone and insulin. Therefore, taking creatine with carbs and proteins after exercise should enhance creatine uptake and more effectively promote muscle growth.

In my practical guide to creatine use I recommnend a creatine recipe that should increase creatine absorption and more effectively promote muscle growth. More information about my guide can be found here.

Anthony’s Training Tips:

For muscle gain, keep your workout short, but intense.

To gain mass, your goal should be to get in, stimulate your muscles and then get out as quickly as possible. It is not necessary or wise to do large amounts of exercises per body part trying to target every muscle and hit every angle.

You should do no more than 2-3 exercises per body part. That’s it. Doing more than that won’t build more muscle, faster. In fact it could possibly lead to muscle loss. Long training sessions cause catabolic hormone levels to rise dramatically. Catabolic hormones are responsible for breaking down muscle tissue resulting in MUSCLE LOSS. In addition, long training sessions suppress the hormones that actually build muscle.

If you don’t want to lose muscle during your workouts, I suggest limiting your sessions to no more than 60-75 minutes MAXIMUM. Less if you can.

Click here for more of Anthony’s training tips.

Still have questions about creatine? You'll probably find the answers in my ebook!

Creatine: a practical guide will teach you how to use creatine safely and effectively for greatest muscle growth. You'll learn: how to design your own personalized dosing protocol, what to eat (and what not to eat) and other methods to make the greatest muscle gains, at the lowest price. Also, find out whether expensive creatine formulations are really worth the money!

All for less than the cost of your monthly creatine!

More information