When Should I Take Creatine Monohydrate? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

When Should I Take Creatine Monohydrate?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Creatine monohydrate is a supplement that is great to take both before and after a workout.
  • Creatine can help you see gains in your overall muscle mass.
  • Your creatine intake should be managed according to a loading phase and a maintenance phase.

When you take a creatine monohydrate supplement you do need to make sure to take it at the right time. This supplement takes a certain amount of time to get into your system, so timing it before a workout is important.

It really depends on what kind of creatine you’re taking and whether it is in a powder, gum, liquid, tablet, or capsule form. You want to read the label to see when the manufacturer suggests you use the supplement.

When starting a new supplement or regimen it’s important to do your research and contact your health care professional, especially if you have any underlying health concerns. Once you’re ready to get started, sign up for an Exercise.com PRO account to access workout builders, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

What Do Scientific Studies Suggest About Taking Creatine Monohydrate?

Studies have found it’s beneficial to take the powder form of creatine monohydrate before and after a workout. This way, the creatine is available for your muscles to take up.

It’s more effective to take the powder supplement of creatine monohydrate over the other forms.

You should split your supplement intake into two phases: loading and maintenance. 

During the loading phase, you want to split your creatine monohydrate into four servings of five grams apiece. These should be taken throughout your day, including one before your workout and another one afterward.

During the maintenance phase, you should use the creatine monohydrate as long as you want to see results. Also during this phase, the servings are only about one-tenth of what you were using during the loading phase of your creatine monohydrate usage.

How Long Does Creatine Monohydrate Stay in Your Bloodstream?

When you use the powder form of creatine monohydrate, keep in mind that it’s in your bloodstream for about one to one and a half hours. This period of time is essential for muscle growth because this is when the creatine is absorbed into your muscles.

When working out, think about how long it takes for creatine monohydrate to be ingested and then to be absorbed by muscles.

Once ingested it takes about one hour to reach your bloodstream and then your muscles. With this knowledge, you can plan your workouts accordingly so that your muscles have the creatine supply they need.

Also, keep in mind that after your workout you should replenish your creatine store by ingesting more creatine supplement. If you take your creatine at 10 am it becomes effective at 11 am and will be in your system until 12:30 pm.

Hopefully, your workout will only be for an hour, that way you’ll have an extra half hour where your muscles can replenish their creatine supply. You can replenish the store with another serving after your workout as well so that you do not deplete your body of creatine.

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Is Creatine Beneficial in Resistance Training?

Studies have reported that alongside resistance training, diet, and creatine supplementation, total cholesterol levels can be substantially lowered compared to just resistance exercise alone.

Not only is creatine great for lowering cholesterol, but it is beneficial with resistance training and other high-intensity workouts.

When Should You Stop Taking Creatine Monohydrate?

You can keep taking creatine monohydrate as long as you want to see the benefits of it and as long as you’re working out. There have been several studies done, and none have proven any long-term adverse health effects.

Creatine monohydrate — used properly and in conjunction with regular workouts — will do nothing but benefit you.

One long-term side effect of taking creatine appears to be a slight increase in gastrointestinal upset. This side effect has been shown to be more prominent during the loading phase rather than the maintenance phase.

If you stop taking creatine your muscles will slowly drop down to their normal creatine levels. It will take approximately four to five weeks for this to happen.

With or without creatine monohydrate supplementation it’s a good idea to keep up a healthy exercise regimen that suits your lifestyle and needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I have to take supplements?

Unless your doctor has instructed you to take certain supplements, you do not have to take them.

Are supplements safe?

Whether or not supplements are safe to take depends on a number of factors. Learn more about the safety of supplements here.

What supplements do I need to take?

No one can answer that aside from your doctor. To learn more about the various supplements that doctors commonly recommend, check out this article.

Finding the right exercise routine is important along with keeping your healthy diet high in protein. Check out our PRO Plan today to see how we can help you stay motivated, focused, and fit all year long!

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