Bodybuilders and other strength athletes who use creatine during a workout - because their muscle cells can absorb the energy supplement better at that moment - will benefit more by taking it after the training session rather than before. Researchers at Nova Southeastern University write about this in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Study The researchers did an experiment with 19 male recreational bodybuilders.
The bodybuilders trained for four weeks, sticking to the same schedule five days a week. They also all followed the same sort of diet – in which about a quarter of the energy was derived from protein.
Half of the bodybuilders took 5 g creatine just before working out [Pre-Supp] on their training days, and the other half took the same amount of creatine just after the workout [Post-Supp]. On the days that the men didn't train, they took the dose whenever they wanted.
Results At the end of the four weeks, the men in the Post-Supp group had made more progress than the Pre-Supp group.
The Post-Supp group gained twice as much lean body mass as the Pre-Supp group.
The weight with which the men in the Post-Supp group could just manage one bench press increased by over one kg more than it did in the Pre-Supp group. On top of that the Post-Supp group lost a kilogram more body fat than the Pre-Supp group did.
Conclusion "Post workout supplementation with creatine for a period of 4 weeks in recreational bodybuilders may produce superior gains in fat free mass and strength in comparison to pre workout supplementation", the researchers conclude.
"The major limitations of this study include the small sample size as well as the brief treatment duration. Future studies should investigate creatine supplementation using resistance trained individuals for a longer duration."
Source: J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Aug 6;10:36.
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