Creatine is one of the most popular sports supplements on the market, and for good reason. It has been shown to increase lean body mass, muscle size, and creatine stores in the muscles, all of which are directly related to increased physical performance. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN) released this article by Jose Antonio and Victoria Ciccone in August this year on the effects of creatine when used pre or post-workout. The purpose of their research was to discover whether or not the timing of creatine supplementation had any effect on its benefits.
The participants in this study were 19 male bodybuilders who were divided into two groups, the first group taking 5 grams of creatine before their workout while the second group consumed 5 grams of creatine following their workout. The bodybuilders were given a routine to follow for four weeks; this routine consisted of 5 days of resistance training with two rest days every week. On rest days the participants still consumed their 5 grams of creatine at whatever time they choose during the day.
The researchers concluded that there were no significant differences after the four week resistance training program between consuming 5 grams of creatine before or after working out. By using another type of analysis however, they were able to find a slight evidence that post workout supplementation might be better. Nevertheless, there are other factors that could possibly influence these results that this study does not take into account. These include the relatively small sample size, only 19 participants, and the short time frame of the training program. Also, it is important to remember that the bodybuilder’s creatine supplementation was given alone, as oppose to being combined with other important nutrients that will also aid in increasing physical performance.
Overall, this is good news because it does show that the post workout nutrient window isn’t the only beneficial time for creatine supplementation. When considering how to apply this to your own training and supplementation it is important not to forget the other nutrients and supplements such as amino acids, carbs, and protein needed optimize training results.
Antonio, J. and Ciccine, C. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of The International Society of Nutrition 10:36, 2013.