Creatine is a combination of three different amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine. It’s produced by the body and found in food such as fish and red meat.
How Does Creatine Work?
After creatine enters the body or after it’s produced by the body, it firsts binds with a phosphate molecule to form creatine phosphate.
Your primary energy source is ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and as the name suggests, it consists of three phosphate molecules of which one molecule breaks off during utilization. Creatine passes this phosphate molecule to the remaining ADP – which is now adenosine diphosphate – and creates ATP again that can be used as a new energy resource unit.
Therefore, the more creatine is available in your body, the more you can extend the intensity of your training sessions.
What is the Best Time to take Creatine?
We believe by taking it post workout is the more beneficial time for several reasons:
1. Insulin helps drive more creatine into muscle cells. In your post-workout meal, you should be eating foods that help spike your insulin. If this is the case, then taking creatine with this meal will help its uptake into muscle cells.
2. The body absorbs many nutrients better after a workout.
3. The creatine supplement will help refuel your body's low creatine phosphate stores.
Load and Cycle of Creatine
It is not necessary to load creatine, but it can help you see results faster. To get the full benefit of creatine you must saturate your muscle cells with it. Using a small dose (5 grams), saturation will take up to 30 days, depending on the individual's lean body mass. However, by using a loading dosage of 20 grams per day for five days you can quickly saturate your muscle cells. After this period, use a maintenance dosage (3-5 grams) to keep your creatine levels high.
It is not necessary to cycle the creatine. Your body has an internal equilibrium and over time, that equilibrium will eventually swing back. What we mean is that by taking excess creatine for a short period of time, may temporarily increase your creatine phosphate stores, but after a while your body's feedback mechanisms will likely bring the levels back down to normal.
Taking time off from creatine can help bring your body's equilibrium back into a state wherein taking excess creatine will be beneficial again.