We know that creatine is one of the most widely used supplements worldwide. Its benefits are proven: the increase in performance, strength and muscle mass, in addition to recently discovered positive effects on intestinal and brain health. But, a recent question has arisen in the scientific community, does ingestion before or after a resistance training make a difference? We sum it up here, everything you need to learn how to consume creatine in the post-workout.
Consumption and Absorption
Creatine (α-methylguandino-acetic acid) is a non-protein nitrogen compound and its synthesis in the body occurs mainly in the liver and kidneys. This compound is not produced in large amounts endogenously, so it can be consumed via supplement. After ingestion, creatine is directed to the metabolically demanding tissues, whose energy demand is high. In addition, it is mainly stowed in the muscles in the form of phosphorylcreatine and participates in the process of REsynthesis of ATP.
On the subject, a review article evaluated a possible creatine absorption mechanism that enhances its entry into the muscle after exercise. Considering that, during exercise the musculature contracts, the supply of blood to the tissue is greater, which possibly increases the absorption of this compound.
Creatine in post-workout?
In addition to hyperemia caused by exercise, creatine transport kinetics would benefit from the consumption in periods close to resistance training, being a potentially effective strategy for increase muscle mass. It is noteworthy that hyperemia may facilitate creatine absorption, delivery and retention, but the time of arrival at the target location should be considered. Thus, in a practical way, the offer of creatine should be made up to two hours after exercise.
Another mechanism is the increase in the activity of the sodium and potassium pump (Na+ K+) in the training period, this increase in activity acts as a facilitating factor for the passage of creatine from the bloodstream to the muscle, which theoretically improves absorption. In this sense, it is noted that associating the intake of this supplement with the training can be an important strategy in clinical practice.
Creatine Alone x Co-ingestion
When comparing the intake of creatine monohydrate alone and the consumption of creatine plus some source of carbohydrates, the absorption of Cr+CHO is higher. Co-ingestion of cretin with carbohydrates can also be increased with proteins, a fact that showed positive effects on the uptake and retention of cretin in the body as a whole.
Supplementation of 5 to 9g per day of creatine for up to 32 weeks, can increase muscle mass as well as strength. Further studies should be done to determine whether post-workout intake should be done training days or also on rest days. Thus, from the mechanisms presented, creatine consumption soon after resistance training was higher than consumption at other times of the day.
This strategy is important in the clinical practice of health professionals, especially for the more trained individuals who are in a period of stagnation of results. Thus, in addition to indicating post-training intake, carbohydrate intake in greater proportion and proteins in a lower proportion, further enhances the absorptive process. Finally, taking advantage of the window of opportunity after exercise of up to two hours seems to favor such a practice.
Article: Creatine O’Clock
Candow DG, Forbes SC, Roberts MD, et al. Creatine O’Clock: Does Timing of Ingestion Really Influence Muscle Mass and Performance?. Front Sports Act Living
. 2022;4:893714. Published 2022 May 20. doi:10.3389/fspor.2022.893714