Following a well documented report made by the Journal of Sports Medicine, covering one of the best supplements improving performance:
Creatine is one of the most popular as well as the most scientifically examined dietary supplement to date. In this respect, creatine supplementation has been repeatedly demonstrated to improve high-intensity exercise capacity and increase muscle mass and muscle performance in conjunction with resistance training, by influencing high-energy phosphate metabolism, cellular hydration status, muscle protein kinetics, satellite cells, anabolic growth factors, and inflammation [32
The timing of creatine ingestion may be an important strategy to enhance the physiological adaptation from resistance training. For example, Cribb and Hayes <34
> provided matched groups of resistance-trained males with a supplement containing an identical dose of protein, carbohydrate, and creatine monohydrate throughout a structured 10-week resistance training period. When the combination of nutrients was provided in close temporal proximity to each workout (vs. in the morning and evenings), significant increases in strength (p
Later, Antonio and Ciccone <35
> published a study directly examining the impact of timed administration of creatine monohydrate. Nineteen recreational male bodybuilders were randomly assigned to receive 5 g of creatine monohydrate either immediately before or immediately after exercise during a structured, four-week resistance training program. While no statistical significance thresholds (p
> 0.05) were crossed, a magnitude-based inference approach suggested that post-exercise administration might afford more beneficial changes in fat free mass, fat mass, and upper-body strength compared to pre-exercise ingestion.
> assigned 22 untrained older adults into two groups in a randomized, double-blind fashion: one that received creatine immediately prior to and another group that received creatine immediately after their workouts. Both groups received the same creatine dose (0.1 g∙kg∙day− 1
) and trained three times per week for 12 weeks. However, no differences in lean mass, muscle thickness and muscle strength were found between the groups. Unfortunately, the aforementioned studies did not include a placebo (control) group. To overcome this limitation and to directly compared the effects of pre-exercise versus post-exercise creatine supplementation, Candow <37
> investigated the effects of creatine (0.1 g∙kg− 1
) immediately before or immediately after resistance training (3 workouts per week), compared to placebo, for 32 weeks in aging adults.
Results showed that pre-exercise and post-exercise creatine supplementation increased muscle strength compared to placebo (p
38>, or the inclusion of ‘responders’ and ‘non-responders’ <39
> in the study protocol. While it is difficult to compare results across studies which use different methodologies, it appears that pre-exercise and post-exercise creatine supplementation are effective strategies to increase muscle mass and strength, with potentially greater muscle accretion benefits from post-exercise creatine.