Creatine, a dietary supplement taken to promote muscle growth and improve athletic performance, is often offered in the form of unflavored creatine powder. Many athletes and bodybuilders wonder how best to take creatine and what liquids they can and should mix it with. We explain in this article whether you should take creatine best with milk, whey protein, water or juice.
Take Creatine Shake together with carbohydrates?
This question is often asked by athletes: Does it make sense to take the creatine supplement together with carbohydrates or is it better to avoid carbohydrates? There are some studies that could show that the absorption of creatine is favored and the glycogen content of the muscles increases when the creatine powder was consumed together with carbohydrates. It should be noted, however, that the increased insulin output does not necessarily have to come from extra carbohydrates added to the shake. You can also simply take the creatine with a normal meal – in this case, the insulin output occurs via the food. Alternatively, mixing the creatine with protein powder, Whey protein, or BCAAs would also lead to the desired insulin increase and thus improved intakes.
So the decision for extra carbohydrates is entirely up to you: if you are currently following a strict diet and want to cut calories, an extra serving of simple sugars every day certainly doesn’t make sense for you. Creatine is absorbed by your body, with or without carbohydrates.
Creatine mix with water
Perhaps the easiest and most convenient way to take the supplement is to mix creatine with water and take it before your workout. You can take your daily dose of creatine with as much water as you like. If you don’t like the taste of creatine powder, just add more water to dilute it. Although this may be the most flavorless, mixing creatine with water offers a number of benefits.
Some experts warn that creatine can increase your risk for dehydration because it causes your muscles to pull water from the rest of your body. This leads to increased water retention in your muscles. However, there isn’t much evidence to support this idea. A study published in June 2017 found no link between creatine and dehydration.
To be safe, however, you should drink plenty of water when taking creatine and avoid working out in high heat to prevent dehydration. In addition, taking creatine with several glasses of water before or after your workout is important to ensure you stay hydrated as you sweat during your workout.
Creatine supplements are now also optionally available with different flavors. Thus, you can mix the powder with neutral water and still get a delicious shake to your taste.
Creatine mix with juice and smoothie
A creatine shake with water is too boring for you and not your taste? Then try a creatine mix with different types of juices and smoothies to not only get a strength boost, but also absorb some important carbohydrates and nutrients.
It’s best to mix creatine powder with a juice that’s fresh and has no added sugar. These days, it’s easy to find cold-pressed juices that can give you the vitamins and minerals of fresh fruits and vegetables without the unnecessary added sugar of pre-made juices. Whether you get fresh juice from the store or make it at home with a juicer or blender, the juice for the creatine blend should contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
However, it’s important to remember that juice also has some drawbacks. It contains less fiber than the whole fruit or vegetable and often has a higher sugar content than a single fruit, with the ability to raise blood sugar levels.
For those who are watching sugar in their diet, it may be better to eat whole fruits and vegetables instead of getting the sugar compact in a drink. In addition, juices tend to be less filling than whole fruits and vegetables, which can lead to hunger if this is your only meal. Smoothies can also be high in sugar, especially if you bought the smoothie in advance or ordered it from a restaurant. To be safe, it’s best to blend the smoothie for your creatine shake at home.
By the way, the fact that creatine converts to creatinine when mixed with acidic juices and is therefore ineffective is false and just a fitness myth!
Mix creatine with protein
Protein or Creatine? Athletes and bodybuilders often wonder which supplement is most beneficial. However, it is possible that taking a combination of protein and creatine supplements may benefit you. This can be especially helpful for bodybuilders or people hoping to gain more muscle mass in a short period of time.
While creatine serves as fuel for muscles during workouts, protein is important for afterward, when your muscles need plenty of protein to rebuild and get stronger. A combination of creatine and protein on a daily basis can not only help you perform better in the gym and lift more weights, but also help you recover.
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When should you mix the Creatine Shake?
Creatine breaks down slowly in liquid. Most products retain up to 95% of their creatine up to eight hours after mixing with water. Some creatine shakes even retain up to 80% of their creatine after a full day. To get the most out of creatine, it’s best to mix it just before ingestion. However, for convenience and if you don’t mind a few percent creatine, you can also mix your creatine shake before heading to the gym.
Here are easy options to get the most out of your creatine supplement:
- Add your protein powder, glutamine and creatine to a shaker, but don’t add water until you’re ready to consume your drink. If you need a pre- and post-workout shake, use two separate shakers, adding water just before drinking each.
- Mix your protein with water before you go to the gym, but add the creatine just before consuming.
Conclusion: The best creatine mix
What do we learn from the different ways to mix creatine? In the end, it’s all a decision of taste! You can mix creatine with milk or protein powder, with carbohydrates, juice or just water: Creatine is optimally absorbed by your body in all combinations. You should ask yourself the question whether you want to take possible extra calories or rather do without it.