When Do I Take Creatine?

how to take creatine
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When should you take creatine? There are two approaches to this matter: according to the first one, you should take creatine before your training, with similar timing to pre-workouts; according to the second one, the timing does not matter. Which one is closer to the truth? The second approach. Why? Find it out in this article!

When to Take Creatine? Timing

Let’s start by explaining the two approaches to taking creatine. Why do some people believe that you should take it before training, while others claim the timing does not matter?

Taking Creatine Before Workouts

To understand why people believe in taking creatine before workouts, we need to look into the way it works. What does it do?

Creatine is a natural compound found in many foods. In the course of chemical processes in your body, it is converted into phosphocreatine and used as an ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP, on the other hand, is the main energy source for your body cells. As a result, creatine helps you:

  • train harder,
  • engage in longer workouts.

This leads to people believing that taking creatine before a workout will help them reach a high concentration of it during the training session, hence squeezing the 100% out of it. What is more, due to the stimulated blood circulation (resulting from physical effort), creatine gets distributed to your muscles much faster if you take it before or right after workouts. However, does it really matter?

when take creatine

Taking Creatine Without Regard to Timing

What about the second approach and forgetting about the timing at all? Well, there is one significant reason why this makes sense.

Each person has their own creatine limit, a threshold for storage of this substance in their body. If you reach it, there’s no point in taking even more creatine. Why is it important? Because no matter when you take your creatine, you should achieve this threshold and maintain it until your workout (and after it). In consequence, the benefits of taking creatine pre-workout become irrelevant.

Naturally, there’s one “but” to this approach – you need to be consistent in your creatine intake. But if you are, you should not worry about when to take creatine – just add it to your supplementation routine in the morning (or in the evening – whatever suits you!).

When Should You Take Creatine? Workout Goals

We’ve discussed creatine timing, so now let’s take a look from the other side: when should you take creatine based on your goals?

Since creatine helps create energy and accelerates muscle regeneration, it’s great for both strength and endurance training. It will work best for those who workout regularly – it might not be the greatest supplement if you only hit the gym once in a blue moon. However, there are also some instances when you should not take creatine. What are they?

  • You suffer from liver conditions.
  • You suffer from kidney conditions.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In such cases, we strongly advise you to see your doctor first. They will determine whether you should take creatine.

Mixing Creatine with Other Supplements and Substances

What about mixing creatine with other sports supplements? It gets a bit more tricky here. Typically, you can mix creatine with pre-workouts or testosterone boosters, coffee, and energy drinks. However, for the first two, you need to pay attention to the formulas of your supplements.

Some workout supplements might already contain creatine. Hence, if you want to combine them, you need to read the label and ensure that you don’t overdo creatine. If you have any doubts regarding the dosage and any other aspects related to this, feel free to consult a physician – once again, their advice will prove invaluable. You might also want to read our article on stacking supplements.

How to Take Creatine?

You know when to take creatine, that’s great; however, do you know how to take it?

Don’t worry, it’s not difficult. The key here is consistency. Additionally, your creatine intake should be divided into three phases: loading, maintenance and rest.

Loading Phase

  • Length: 1 week.
  • Dosage: Maximized (typically around 20g/day).
  • Purpose: Maximizing your creatine storage for the best workout results.

Maintenance Phase

  • Length: 4-6 weeks.
  • Dosage: Around 5g/day.
  • Purpose: Keeping the optimal creatine levels in your body.

Rest Phase

  • Length: 2-4 weeks.
  • Dosage: None.
  • Purpose: Keeping your body off creatine before the next loading phase.

when to take creatine

Natural Creatine Sources

When wondering how to take creatine, you should look into not only the supplements available but also its natural source: food. After all, while we have provided you with estimated amounts of creatine above, they have been calculated for an average person – your diet might affect how much creatine you need. So, in which foods will you find it?

  • Poultry,
  • dairy products,
  • fish,
  • beef,
  • pumpkin seeds,
  • pork,
  • walnuts,
  • sesame seeds,
  • spinach,
  • almonds,
  • broccoli,
  • brown rice,
  • quinoa.

Apart from that, you should remember that your weight also affects the amount of creatine you need to optimize your workouts. Hence, start from who you are and what you eat, and look into the supplements only after that.

The Takeaway

Let’s sum this article up. When do you take creatine? It’s good for any type of workout. The timing does not matter much – you can take it both before or after your training sessions. How to take creatine? You should divide your cycle into 3 phases: the loading phase, the maintenance phase, and the rest phase. The first one is focused on maximizing the creatine levels in your body, the second one on keeping them from falling, and the third one acts as a break before the next cycle ends.

Creatine is one of the best sports supplements, one with proven effectiveness. What is more, you can mix it with other products for the best effects – products that you will find in our sports supplements store.

You might also read: Creatine 101: What Is It and What Does It Do?

When should I take creatine?

Creatine can be taken before or after workouts, but timing doesn’t significantly affect its effectiveness

Can creatine be taken with other supplements?

Creatine can be mixed with pre-workouts, testosterone boosters, coffee, and energy drinks, but caution is advised to avoid overdosing.

Are there any situations where I should avoid taking creatine?

Avoid creatine if you have liver or kidney conditions, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult a doctor if unsure.

how to take creatine

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