If you are interested in training and fitness then you have probably heard of Creatine – you might already be using it.
But a lot of people end up using it incorrectly and don’t get the full benefit of Creatine. This guide will help you to understand when you should be using Creatine and whether you should use it before bed.
What Is Creatine?
Before we look at when to take creatine, you need to understand what it actually is. Creatine is a supplement that can help you to develop more muscle mass.
It is used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts who want to increase their lean muscle mass and is just one part of a fitness and nutrition program that enables them to do this.
Creatine is made up of amino acids, compounds that are required for your body to make protein.
Your body naturally produces amino acids in the liver, pancreas and kidneys, but taking a supplement gives your body even more amino acids to work with.
How Does Creatine Work?
The creatine supplement is broken down into your bloodstream and then absorbed into your muscle tissue. Once absorbed, it is converted into phosphate which is an energy source for your muscles.
The main energy source your muscles will use during a workout is ATP – Adenosine Triphosphate – which is naturally occurring in the body.
Once this chemical runs out, your muscles will begin to fatigue.
If you use a creatine supplement then when the ATP runs out your muscles can start using the phosphate that it was converted into, allowing you to work out harder for longer. This will ultimately give you better results.
Can You Take Creatine Before Bed?
There is a lot of confusion about supplements and workout enhancements and when you should take them. Creatine is not a stimulant, so you can take it before bed and it won’t affect your sleep.
If you purchase a creatine supplement that is designed specifically to be taken pre-workout then you should check if it contains any stimulants. If it does, do not take it before bed.
When Should You Take Creatine?
There are different ways to use a creatine supplement. Taking it before your workout can give you a more immediate effect.
However, loading it into your system throughout the day over a period of time can give you a more sustained result.
When and how you take creatine can also depend on the type of training you are doing.
If you are bulking – trying to increase your muscle mass – then you will want to take your creatine dosage in regular increments throughout the day. This could include a dose at bedtime.
You should also take regular creatine during the cutting phase, when you want to cut down your body fat for more muscle definition.
It is easy to accidentally lose muscle mass as well as body fat during the cutting phase, as you will be decreasing the amount of calories you intake.
Taking a creatine supplement during this time will help you preserve your lean muscle mass.
Once you move into the maintenance phase of muscle building, when you want to keep your muscle as it is, you can decrease the amount of creatine you take.
However, you should still keep up with a regular dose. If you are taking a smaller amount then you will probably only need to take it once or twice a day rather than 3 to 4 times a day, so you are less likely to take a dose at bedtime.
How Much Creatine Should You Take?
The amount of creatine you should take each day will depend on the individual person. A lot of athletes who use creatine tend to start with a loading phase of 10-20 grams per day.
This will last for several weeks. Once there is a higher level of creatine built up in your system, you can reduce it to a maintenance dose. This is typically between 2 and 5 grams of creatine per day.
Is Creatine Natural?
Your body already has creatine in it – we produce an average of 2 grams of creatine a day.
Only a small amount of this is present in the muscles – most of it is flowing around the rest of the body which means it cannot be used during a workout.
Taking a creatine supplement sends the creatine straight to your bloodstream so that it can be absorbed by the muscles where it is needed the most.
Is Creatine Safe To Use?
Creatine is considered safe to use, but you must follow the instructions.
If you suffer from any health conditions, especially affecting the liver, kidneys, or pancreas, then you should seek medical advice before you start taking creatine.
Creatine supplements are designed to be used alongside an intensive workout schedule.
You should always seek medical advice before starting a new intensive exercise routine to ensure that you are not at risk of any adverse effects or injuries.
Fitness and strength need to be built up gradually and do not come overnight.
Will Taking Creatine Make You Stronger?
Creatine helps to increase your lean muscle mass by giving your muscles more energy. This allows you to workout longer and harder, giving you better results.
The workout is a very important part of the process – you cannot achieve the results without putting in the hard work.
You will need to have a consistent and well structured workout routine in order to make the most out of the creatine supplement.
Taking creatine before bed is not an issue as it is not a stimulant. The best time of day to take creatine depends on your workout routine.