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View Full Version : Creatine- how/when to get it in


Greg Davis
04-14-2009, 02:46 AM
Any suggestions on how I could get some creatine in around workouts if I don't do PWO shakes? It seems the standard recommendation is a little before a workout, a little after. But I don't typically consume anything right before or after a workout.

I use to put some in my water when I would go to BJJ training but I'm on a BJJ hiatus and so most of my workouts are just gym or outdoors stuff.

Still have a bunch just sitting here so I figure I might as well take it if I can figure something out. Think its that important to keep around workouts or would I benefit from just adding a little bit to the watered-down herbal tea I drink throughout the day?

Garrett Smith
04-14-2009, 05:40 AM
I'd say just get it in, whenever you can manage.

Mike ODonnell
04-14-2009, 09:05 AM
I would take it with some BCAAs pre-workout.....but really there is probably just a small advantage to that.

Steven Low
04-14-2009, 09:39 AM
I would take it with some BCAAs pre-workout.....but really there is probably just a small advantage to that.
What Mike said.

Although in the end it probably won't really matter that much...

Greg Davis
04-14-2009, 10:33 AM
I don't do BCAAs so I think I'll just try a tsp in any water/herbal tea I drink before/after workouts when I get a chance and see how that goes.

Gavin Harrison
04-14-2009, 10:51 PM
I don't do BCAAs so I think I'll just try a tsp in any water/herbal tea I drink before/after workouts when I get a chance and see how that goes.

I believe it's generally best to drink it mixed in some sort of fruit juice.. simple sugars act as carries (I think?). Also, the stuff goes down easy when it's mixed in grapefruit or orange juice ;) Just down it as quickly as possible immediately after you finish stirring... stuff doesn't actually dissolve in liquid as far as I can tell...

Garrett Smith
04-15-2009, 08:38 AM
Gavin,
I have read before not to use citrus juice with creatine.

Grape juice appears to be preferable.

Micronized creatine (same stuff, only finer particles) stays mixed up quite a bit longer than the standardized creatine monohydrate.

Timothy Scalise
04-15-2009, 11:03 AM
I read that the grape juice was the best choise also... I know some people use gatorade.

Mike ODonnell
04-15-2009, 12:11 PM
I read that the grape juice was the best choise also... I know some people use gatorade.

That's assuming you want that insulin spike (why most do it pwo).....otherwise pre-workout will help delivery to the muscle with the increased blood flow during training (why combination with BCAAs may also help delivery into the muscle).

Gavin Harrison
04-15-2009, 12:59 PM
Gavin,
I have read before not to use citrus juice with creatine.

Grape juice appears to be preferable.

Micronized creatine (same stuff, only finer particles) stays mixed up quite a bit longer than the standardized creatine monohydrate.


Don't mix creatine with citrus juice. Orange, grapefruit, cranberry, in fact, most fruit juices have been most recently found to neutralize the activity of creatine monohydrate. The reason is the waste product creatinine develops. A lot of you put creatine on your tongue and drink it down with grapefruit juice. If you have taken creatine this way in the past, stop it now! You are not getting creatine, you're getting waste product.

Do mix creatine monohydrate with warm water--in a glass. This is the only way to ensure you're getting the full benefits of creatine in its dry form. Creatine does not have to dissolve to be effective.


Thanks for the tip, fortunately I haven't used that much in that way. Warm water doesn't sound exactly wonderful, but one less thing I have to pay for to take the stuff...

They apparently also discourage the use of caffein while using creatine.

EDIT: Gatorade has citric acid in it too, so it should be out as well?

Garrett Smith
04-15-2009, 01:57 PM
Interesting that the creatine article says on one had to mix it with warm water (which would dissolve more of it into solution), then it says that it doesn't have to dissolve to be effective...

Caffeine and creatine have to be the most effective for the least $$ ergogenic aids ever discovered. The caffeine issue is likely one of hydration, may or may not be an issue for each individual.

I used to cramp up like crazy on creatine. Ever since I started drinking herbal tea in place of water and taking magnesium on an almost-daily basis, I've never had cramping with creatine since.

I'd avoid Gatorade anyway, it's just expensive salted sugar water with other garbage in it.

Greg Davis
04-15-2009, 02:07 PM
The juices are lost on me I don't think I've drank any juice in years... I'm gonna go with good old lukewarm herbal tea. Good to hear it doesn't need to dissolve perfectly cuz I thought I remembered Mike OD saying always let it dissolve and sometimes it just takes forever to dissolve..

Actually I guess I should avoid putting ACV in with it which I have with herbal tea quite often... (if the citric acid thing is true)

Dave Van Skike
04-15-2009, 02:13 PM
I use chocolate milk or ovaltine, sometimes a protein shake, seems to stay in suspension a little bit longer.

Brian Lawyer
04-15-2009, 03:24 PM
I get the best effects from the creatine that is loaded with sugar, insulin, BCAA's, etc. It's more expensive than the straight Monohydrate powder but I would rather run a two week cycle of the more expensive then the other. The original kind I liked was Cell-Tech by muscle tech. At the discount nutrition store I shop at, Optimum brand came out with basically a generic Cell-Tech that runs $19.99 for a two or three week supply, depending on how many scoops a day you take. I just cycle through that when I want a cheap creatine fix. Two weeks of Creatine, with all other nutirition remaining the same, generally gaurantees me to gain about 5lbs.

Mike Prevost
04-16-2009, 10:51 PM
I am not sure why all the worry about grape juice or whatever. THat stuff is mild compared to the acidic environment in the stomach. Some of the early studies on creatine used juices with no problems.

As far as dosing is concerned, Dr. Paul Greenhaff, who did most of the early research on creatine had it worked out in the mid 90s... excerpt below from: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/72/2/607S

Bottom line, consume 5 grams 4 X day with some carbohydrates. THis loading period should last 5-6 days at most. Then creatine levels can be maintained with 2 grams per day (probably less). If you cease creatine supplementation after loading, it takes about 20 days for creatine levels to return to baseline....



"Total creatine concentrations in human skeletal muscle before and after creatine supplementation are shown in Figure 7 (48). The data show that 1 mo after supplementation with 20 g/d for 6 d, the total creatine concentration is not significantly different from the presupplementation value. It is also evident from this study that consumption of a small maintenance dose of 2 g/d after the initial loading phase will maintain a high total creatine concentration in the muscle for a period of 28 d. The efficacy of the maintenance dose in sustaining muscle creatine concentration beyond this period is unknown. The preceding discussion shows several times that the greatest increases in phosphocreatine availability and the largest improvements in performance appear to be found in persons with the largest increases in muscle creatine concentration. This suggests that an ergogenic effect of creatine ingestion on metabolism and performance during exercise and recovery may critically depend on the extent of muscle creatine uptake during ingestion. It also points to the importance of maximizing tissue creatine uptake when attempting to increase exercise performance via creatine ingestion. However, these findings do not constitute a license for the indiscriminate use of creatine. First, most muscle creatine uptake takes place during the initial days of creatine supplementation. In a study in which subjects consumed 30 g/d for 4 d, 30% of the total intake was retained during the initial 2 d of supplementation, compared with 15% from days 24 (32). There is no evidence that increasing intake above 2030 g/d for 56 d has any potentiating effect on muscle creatine uptake (32, 48). In fact, a consistent finding from several studies is that there appears to be a definable upper limit to the intramuscular total creatine concentration of 160 mmol/kg dry mass (32, 39); once this limit is reached, further supplementation will simply result in excretion of creatine in the urine.
Another point to consider is that several factors identified as governing the extent of creatine uptake are largely independent of the amount consumed. One is the muscle total creatine concentration before supplementation; in general, the lower the initial total creatine concentration, the greater the extent of muscle creatine uptake (32, 39, 41). This precept is clearly illustrated in Figure 8 from work by Harris et al (32), and it is worth noting that even the lowest presupplementation values here fall well within the normal range. In individuals in whom the initial total creatine concentration is already relatively high, neither an appreciable uptake of creatine nor an effect on phosphocreatine resynthesis or performance has been found after creatine supplementation (39, 41). Thus, creatine supplementation can be considered to optimize the store of available high-energy phosphates in those individuals whose total creatine concentration lies at the lower end of the normal range, in the same manner as carbohydrate loading optimizes the muscle glycogen stores. Several means of promoting creatine uptake that 1) allow more individuals to approach the apparent upper limit to the muscle total creatine concentration and 2) do not involve increasing the creatine load have now been identified. One approach, described by Harris et al (32), is to combine creatine supplementation with exercise (Figure 9). In this study, 5 subjects receiving creatine supplementation performed 1 h of continuous, submaximal cycling exercise on each day of supplementation. Subjects conducted the exercise using one leg; the contralateral leg served as a control. As with creatine supplementation alone, a large interindividual variation occurred in response to the combination of creatine and exercise. However, the mean total creatine concentration of the muscle increased by 37% (the equivalent of 44 mmol/kg dry mass) when creatine was combined with exercise, as opposed to 26% (30 mmol/kg dry mass) with creatine supplementation alone. A second approach is to combine creatine ingestion with carbohydrate, a regimen that has a large potentiating effect on creatine uptake (49). This approach also reduces the amount of variation habitually seen in the extent of creatine uptake after creatine supplementation alone or in combination with exercise. In one study (57), 3 groups consumed 20 g creatine/d for 3 d (Figure 10). One of these groups consumed four 5-g doses of creatine dissolved in 250 mL of a warm, sugar-free, diluted orange drink. A second group followed each 5-g creatine load with 500 mL of a commercially available 18.5% simple carbohydrate solution (Lucozade; SmithKline Beecham, London, United Kingdom). A third group consumed creatine and simple carbohydrate in the same manner, with the addition of 1 h of cycling at 70% of maximal oxygen uptake on the morning of each day of supplementation immediately before creatine ingestion. A fourth group acted as a control and consumed only the sugar-free orange drink. Energy and macronutrient intakes were controlled throughout the study in all groups. Serum insulin was significantly elevated after carbohydrate ingestion when compared with creatine or placebo ingestion. Whole-body creatine retention was significantly increased when ingested in combination with the carbohydrate solution, probably because of a stimulatory effect of insulin. As shown in Figure 10, exercise did not add to creatine retention. Thus, combining creatine supplementation with carbohydrate ingestion appears to obviate the need for exercise during the supplementation period.

Brian Lawyer
04-17-2009, 09:13 AM
Gavin,
I have read before not to use citrus juice with creatine.


I read the same thing before on packages of creatine before. I wonder if it was because it affects the absorption of the creatine or if this warning was to protect us from upset stomach....