By Stepfanie Romine
Creatine is a well-tested, effective, and super-popular sports nutrition supplement that can help support muscle growth, performance, and strength.
But despite its widespread use, there's still a lot of confusion about when and how to take creatine. One common question among athletes: Should I take creatine on off days? The short answer is yes, but you can also skip some days.
"Research suggests that creatine stores can be maintained at high levels even if creatine is not taken every single day," says Paul Falcone, senior scientist for LADDER. "However, it is important to be consuming creatine regularly." Aim for 5 grams of creatine per day for maintenance, though it's OK if you skip a day here and there.
Read on to get a refresher on the benefits of creatine — and to learn why timing isn't as important as consistency.
Get 5 grams of creatine among other performance-enhancing ingredients in LADDER Pre-Workout.
"Creatine timing during the day isn't as important," Falcone says. The supplement works best when it's a regular habit, but there's no advantage to taking it at a precise time each day.
"Taking creatine regularly — multiple times per week — is essential to increase creatine stores within the muscle," he adds.
That said, if you're creatine loading to build up your cellular reserves quickly, timing does matter more. In this phase, you take up to 20 grams of creatine daily divided into four servings taken with water a few hours apart. After a week, you scale back to a recommended "maintenance" amount of about 5 grams per day, which happens to be the amount in every serving of LADDER Pre-Workout.
Of course, you can just skip the loading phase and stick to the 5 grams per day serving from the start, though it will take a bit longer (about a month) for creatine to build up to sufficient levels in your muscles to make a noticeable difference in your workouts.
Either way, once you're in maintenance mode, you can occasionally skip creatine on an off day if you want. But, if you get your creatine from LADDER Pre-Workout, it's fine to make it a daily habit.
"For optimal benefits, daily consumption [of Pre-Workout] is recommended," says Falcone.
LADDER Pre-Workout does more than enhance strength.* It's formulated to help increase energy, delay fatigue, and help you stay dialed in by helping sharpen your focus and attention.*
Those benefits come in handy on off days, too — plus, it just tastes good.
"Creatine enhances strength and gains in muscle mass in conjunction with resistance exercise," Falcone says.*
Otherwise known as methyl guanidinoacetic acid, creatine is a combination of three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine.
Creatine gets stored in your muscles and serves as the body's primary fuel during quick bursts of activity. During repeated bouts of intense activity, such as lifting or sprinting, creatine continues to be your go-to fuel source.
It plays a key role in your body's adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy cycle, which gives your muscles the energy they need to function. As you deplete ATP during exercise, your body taps your creatine stores, breaking it down into creatine and phosphate to top off your ATP and replenish your energy.
But, take note: Not all creatine is the same. The most tested and effective form is creatine monohydrate, which is what is used in LADDER Pre-Workout.*
Don't sweat the timing of your creatine. The science supports creatine plus resistance training for greater gains, but there's no magic hour.
"With creatine, regular supplementation is what matters most — not timing during the day," Falcone says. If you're getting your creatine from your daily serving from LADDER Pre-Workout, that will eliminate any guessing games about when to take it.
LADDER Pre-Workout formula gives you a boost of energy that you'll feel kick in within 30 to 45 minutes after taking it.*
You get a lot more than creatine in every scoop:
Use your off days to dial in your nutrition, get plenty of sleep, and squeeze in some active recovery.
"It is important to take rest and recovery seriously," Falcone says. "At the same time, light activity, stretching, and foam rolling can play a role on rest days."
In addition to continuing your LADDER Pre-Workout routine, keep up these healthy habits even on off days:
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.