Beneficial ways to take it
Your body naturally produces creatine with three amino acids: glycine, methionine and arginine. However, it is neither produced or stored in large amounts naturally. During exercise, especially high intensity training, creatine stores deplete rapidly. Creatine monohydrate can be supplemented into your routine to help increase physical performance during short term, high intensity activity and prolong depletion.
Creatine supplements generally come in two different forms: a capsule and a powder, although you can also get creatine protein bars. A maintenance dose of creatine is around 3g per day, which can be weighed out in powder, or taken as a capsule(s). The powder is usually mixed with a liquid and consumed as a drink. Timings can vary, but some people find it beneficial to supplement pre-workout, or immediately after workout.
When supplemented pre-workout, creatine powder is often mixed with a high-sugar sports drink. Creatine levels can deplete rapidly during exercise, so supplementing around 30 minutes or 1 hour prior to your workout gives your body the opportunity to digest it and put it to use during your workout. Creatine supplementation can support your exercise performance when 3g of creatine is consumed daily – it also helps to prolong depletion during your workout.
Taking creatine immediately after your workout is a common time to supplement, and it helps maximise the benefits of creatine. It helps to replenish the creatine stores in your muscles that have depleted during your workout.
When you first start to supplement creatine into your regime, some people go down the route of an initial loading phase. This consists of a larger daily dosage of creatine for a short period of time before you move onto your maintenance dose of 3g per day. Generally, the larger dose is around 20g per day, which is split into equal smaller doses throughout the day. The loading phase can last around 5-7 days and the aim is to saturate creatine stores in your muscles in the quickest way possible.