When To Take Creatine

When is the best time to take creatine for optimal results? Well, I have to admit, there is a lot of information out there on how and when to take creatine.

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Some information sources say you have to take creatine first thing in the morning, others say before your workout, others say after your workout, some say before a meal, and others before you go to bed.

Just exactly, what is the best time to take creatine? Remember, what counts is the amount of creatine you have present in your muscles during your workout. This is the key.

When you are in the “loading” phase of creatine supplementation, you are ensuring that you have the optimal amount of creatine in your muscles prior and during the workout. After the loading phase, you are basically maintaining the amount of creatine you need to get the job done. However, for obvious reasons, you will be taking in different amounts of creatine for the loading phase and maintenance phase.

Personally, I've tried taking creatine at different dosages and throughout different times of the day. I've tried taking creatine in the morning, mid afternoon, lunch, pre-workout, post workout, afternoon, and at night. For my loading phase, I take 5 grams of creatine upon awakening, 5 grams on an empty stomach in the mid morning, 5 grams ½ prior to training, and 5 grams immediately after training.

Here's a look at my loading phase:

Loading phase: Week one

• Upon awakening - 6:15 am - 40 minutes before breakfast: 5 grams

• Mid morning - 9:45 am- 40 minutes before mid morning meal: 5 grams

• ½ hour prior to training: 5 grams

• Immediately after training: 5 grams

For my maintenance phase, I usually take my creatine either in the mid morning on an empty stomach and immediately after training. However, I will sometimes have my creatine 30 minutes prior to training.

Maintenance phase: Week two and on

• Mid morning - 9:45 am - 40 minutes before mid morning meal: 5 grams


• ½ hour prior to training: 5 grams

• Immediately after training: 5 grams

I've found that this schedule is the one that works best for me. I always have a creatine mixture immediately after my workouts. As soon as the last weight is lifted, I go to the locker room and slug back my creatine mixture.

I've found that when I take my creatine immediately after my workouts with a simple carb mixture, I get better results. Based on the research I've done, it seems that the results are two fold. First, Your muscles are pretty much depleted of fuel after a hard workout. You can say that your muscles are in a state of havoc and need fuel ASAP. The faster you get fuel into your muscles after a workout, the faster you get your body on the road to recovery. Faster recovery equals faster growth.

By taking in a simple carbohydrate after your training, you are basically “shuttling” fuel to your muscle cells. Secondly, by taking in a creatine after your workout, you are immediately replenishing your muscles of creatine which have been used up in the workout. Basically, your giving your muscles much needed fuel to start the recovery process.

Your muscles are most receptive to producing new glycogen (fuel) within the first few hours after your workout. During this time, blood flow to the muscle is much greater, which causes your muscles to act like a sponge. Your muscles basically sop up glucose like a sponge. Insulin, which is released in the presence of carbohydrates will act as the shuttle This “shuttle”will transport glycogen and creatine into the muscle at an opportune time - post workout.

There have also been some positive reports on taking creatine prior to your workout on an empty stomach. The idea is to get as much creatine into your muscles before working out which makes sense. I will always have a creatine mixture prior to training on my loading phases, however, when I am in my maintenance phase, I will alternate between taking my creatine in the mid morning and prior to training.

Now, the important thing you will have to remember is to experiment a little. What works wonders for me might not work for you. However, The fact remains that you will be taking in different amounts for the loading and maintenance phase. Try using the above information as a guide and work something out that fits your schedule and training methods.

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Alright, let’s find out if there are any negative side effects associated with taking creatine here.


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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