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The Best Time To Take Your Supplements

The Best Time To Take Your Supplements

This article will show you when to take some of the top supplements and how to get the most out of them.

Out of the hundreds of e-mails I get each week, more than half are from people who are interested in knowing which supplements to take or what the best way is to take the supplements they're currently using.

So this article will show you when to take some of the top supplements and how to get the most out of them.

Creatine, glutamine, and protein are 3 of the top supplements for gaining lean muscle and strength.

But what are the best times to take these proven supplements?

Here's what I've found personally works best for me as well as tracking clients progress using these 3 supplements (which, by the way, are about the only 3 I recommend to clients, other than protein/meal replacements, EFA's and a good multi-vitamin).

There's a lot of conflicting research that shows creatine and glutamine may compete directly with one another for cell transport and absorption.

That's because both creatine and glutamine use the same transport method (sodium) to be absorbed by the body, so there's a chance that one will get absorbed more than the other.

Even though there are different theories as to whether this is true or not, here's my thought:

By-pass the entire problem by just splitting up the timing a little bit.

Supplement Consumption Timing


Best taken 1/2 hour or so BEFORE a workout and again RIGHT after a workout.

What I do is take a creatine/juice/protein drink about a half hour before a workout and than another shake right after.

This "bracketing" technique helps set up an anabolic (muscle-building) state for your muscles and helps prevent muscle breakdown from a workout (catabolism).

Other than these 2 opportune times, you can add another creatine serving or two any time throughout the day.

I usually recommend 25 to 30 grams of creatine on a loading phase and 10-20 grams a day on a maintenance phase.


Definitely take glutamine right before bed.

This is where the overwhelming research shows the value of glutamine raising growth hormone levels significantly by taking 5 grams before bed.

Also, another great time is upon waking, when your muscles have been without significant nutrition for up to 6-8 hours.

Another good time for glutamine is about a half hour or hour after working out.

This helps in the recovery/recuperation process from demanding workouts.

So, creatine definitely before and after your workout and glutamine right before bed and right upon waking.


The best times to take ANY protein drink or protein supplements are as follows.

I've listed them in order of importance, so based upon what you can afford, start at the top of the list and work down.

When Should You Take It?

  • The most important time is right after a workout. Your muscles are like a sponge and need instant nutrition for muscle recovery and growth.
  • Right before bed. You're about to sleep for 6 to 8 hours. That's a long time without protein. Could you imagine going throughout your day (when awake) not eating 6 to 8 hours?
  • Right upon waking. Same thing, you've just gone 6 to 8 hours without proper nutrition. Your body needs protein quick.
  • Half hour before a workout. This sets up the "anabolic window" before your workout and provides your muscles with adequate nutrition so that the effects of weight training (weight training breaks down muscle-called catabolic) are not as severe.


I hope this article helped shed some light on when to take the 3 most important supplements for gaining mass and strength.

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About The Author

Shawn LeBrun is the owner of ShawnLeBrunFitness.com, anonline personal training website dedicated to helpingyou gain muscle and lose fat.

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Definitely answered some questions on when I should be taking the creatine..great article!

Oct 8, 2012 10:41am | report

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great, just what I was looking for!

Nov 11, 2012 8:51am | report

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I'll be following the bracketing technique.

Jan 15, 2013 11:35am | report

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Great article. Will have to try some of these tips.

Feb 23, 2013 6:19am | report

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This is a great article.. I just had a couple of questions since I am relatively new to this supplement intake regime:

1) Just to be sure that I am following, are (is) amino acid(s) the same as glutamine?

2) I understand that I should bracket creatine/protein before and right after my work out and then Amino acids right before bed. Is it okay if I also bracket amino acids with casein before bed ?

Mar 1, 2013 8:38pm | report

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I seriously don't know what the author was thinking when writing this article because 10-20 grams on a maintenance phase is a ridiculous amount.....this dosage is more suited for a loading phase!

Its been proven that 2 - 5g of creatine on maintenance phase is more than enough to keep levels sufficiently high. So anything more than 5g a day is wasteful and potentially unhealthy. If you want to avoid throwing money away keep your creatine usage to 5 grams on maintenance days.

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May 22, 2013 9:48am | report
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Showing 1 - 6 of 6 Comments

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