Creatine should be taken on a relatively empty stomach in order for it to be absorbed by the body properly. However, taking creatine on a completely empty stomach can cause side effects such as nausea for some people, particularly since it is advised to take creatine supplements several times daily. Some have found that taking creatine with a small amount of food or water helps to offset this negative side effect without interfering with absorption of the supplement; however caffeine is generally considered to be detrimental to creatine's efficacy.
The best times to take creatine are before and after a workout, according to Muscle & Body magazine. Upon reaching the gym, for example, their suggestion is to consume 5 grams of creatine with 20 grams of whey protein isolate and 40 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates (sugar). This is intended to temporarily increase the strength of muscles for a more intensive workout.
When leaving the gym or arriving home after a workout, the suggestion is to consume between 3 and 5 grams of creatine with 40-50 grams of whey (or whey/soy blend), 60-100 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates and 500-1,000 milligrams of fenugreek. Creatine taken after a workout is supposed to protect the muscles and restore this amino acid to pre-workout levels.