Creatine in Pre-Workouts Supplements?

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The benefits of using Creatine

Should Creatine be taken pre or post training?

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements available – there are countless research studies demonstrating the ergogenic benefits of Creatine. Increases in strength and muscle size are commonly seen. More recently, the role of Creatine for neurological function has been investigated.

Even for those familiar with Creatine, there is one area of confusion: should Creatine be taken pre or post training. It’s confusing, as lots of pre-workouts contain Creatine…and lots of post-workout products also contain Creatine!

Looking at the role of Creatine in the body, the simple answer would be that Creatine should be taken pre-training. After all, Creatine is an energy source. More specifically, Creatine is a source of high intensity energy. Creatine is needed to help resynthesise the body’s immediate source of energy, which is ATP. No Creatine = no ATP resynthesis = no high intensity energy. All is looking good for taking Creatine pre-workout, right?

Well, it’s not quite that simple. It has been suggested that Creatine should be taken post-exercise, not pre. The logic being that taking Creatine pre-training is too short-term to elicit performance benefits in that session. Post exercise, hormones such as Cyclic AMP (cAMP) are circulating in the blood stream. cAMP can increase absorption of nutrients, such as Creatine, to muscle tissue. Also, many people will go higher carb post-training and the presence of Insulin can aid absorption.


Recent research on optimal Creatine timing

A recent study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN), compared the effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of Creatine Monohydrate (Antonio & Ciccone, 2013).

The study used recreational male bodybuilders as the subjects. The subjects consumed 5g Creatine Monohydrate per day – either pre or post training. As expected, both groups showed improved body composition and strength. Interestingly, the group taking Creatine post-workout had better results and the authors concluded that “Creatine immediately post-workout is superior to pre-workout vis a vis body composition and strength.”

Creatine taken post-workout will be stored in the muscle (as per usual). Think of it as a Creatine fuel tank. Like a car, if you don’t drive it the fuel won’t drop. If you don’t do any high intensity exercise, the Creatine fuel tank in the muscle doesn’t decrease. It’s more a long-term benefit, rather than a short-term view of Creatine before a training session.

Clearly, Creatine has benefit whether it’s taken pre or post-workout. However, if you’re looking for the absolute best you can do – take your Creatine post-workout.

BULK POWDERS™ sell a variety of Creatine Supplements including Creatine Monohydrate Powder, Creapure Powder and Creatine Ethyl Ester plus Complete All-In-One™, which contains Creatine, for your perfect post workout drink.


Antonio, J., & Ciccone, V. (2013) The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10, 36.

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