If you had asked me last week did it matter when you took your creatine I would have said no. The reason for this is that when you take creatine the body stores it in the muscle as creatine phosphate along with some water which results in a larger muscle. Now you see the attraction to bodybuilders. 🙂
In addition to allowing your muscles to be a bit bigger it also allows you to have a better workout. Your muscles use adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as a sources of energy in order to contract and in doing so it’s converted to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) due to losing a phosphate group. Once that happens ADP can no longer be used for energy by the muscle, however if there is creatine phosphate stored in the muscle it can be used to quickly convert ADP back to ATP by replacing the lost phosphate group. More ATP equals more energy to contract the muscle so it can do more work which stimulate the muscle to grow faster and become stronger.
Ensuring that you maximize the creatine phosphate stores within the muscle allows you to have bigger muscles and better performance which results in even bigger muscles and strength over time. In order to do this you just need to load the body on creatine and then maintain it. Some people like to load creatine by taking a 5 gram dose 4 to 5 times a day for the first 5 to 7 days, after that they maintain by taking 5 grams a day. I personally just take 5 grams a day and within 30 days you will max out your body’s capacity to store creatine phosphate.
So once the muscle is loaded with creatine phosphate and is available for use when I train it shouldn’t really matter when I consume my daily 5 grams of creatine and hence why I would have said it does not matter. However the latest research article over at Suppversity indicates that their actually is an advantage to when you take your creatine.
Lean Mass Advantage of Post- vs. Pre-Workout Creatine Supplementation Confirmed. Older Trainees Benefit Most
While the difference was not statistically significant there does appear to be an advantage, even more so for older individuals like myself. It’s enough for me to start taking my creatine immediately after training. A very small change for potential gains!