Updated: Oct 12
Some people treat creatine like a pre-workout, and only take it on the days they have a workout, but is this really the best way to take it?
Creatine takes 2-4 weeks to fully saturate the muscle creatine stores, meaning only taking it on workout days is limiting its effectiveness. Therefore, you should take creatine everyday instead of just on the days you workout.
There is more to it than this though, we must first look at how creatine works.
How Creatine Works
Creatine works by boosting the production of ATP by increasing the creatine phosphate stores within your muscles.
This results in a higher amount of stored energy, waiting to be released when it is needed, such as in a workout.
However, it can take up to a month to fully saturate your muscles with creatine. But if you stop taking creatine, these energy stores will begin to decline to their baseline levels.
This means that creatine is a supplement which should be taken over an extended period of time, in dosages about 3-5 grams per day to retain the benefits.
Should It Only Be Taken on Workout Days?
In short, no. Creatine should be taken every day to maintain optimal levels and keep the benefits at their peak. It can take several weeks to a month to fully saturate creatine stores.
However, one exception to this is the benefit gained by the placebo effect, some users claim to have a strength or energy boost when taking it before their workouts, this is likely due to the placebo effect of making them feel like they're going to be stronger and perform better.
For example; if you take a pre-workout that actually contains no caffeine or stimulants but you think contains caffeine, you would likely still feel more awake, stronger, and have more energy, simply due to the placebo effect.
Below are definitions and short explanations of what some of the terms in this article mean.
Placebo Effect: The placebo effect is a bodily or mental response to something that actually isn't real. For example; if someone took plain flour and thought it was caffeine, they may feel more awake because they think it's caffeine, even though it's just flour.
The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.