Creatine is used by body to produce energy, ATP (Adenosine triphosphate – transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism), within the first few seconds of high intensity effort before the ATP generation occurs at any appreciable rate from glucose breakdown. More creatine stored in muscles means you can keep the explosive burst of energy for longer duration. That translates into couple extra repetitions when you lift weights or few seconds longer high intensity sprints. Also, with creatine supplementation the regeneration of creatine in muscles is quicker, allowing more frequent weight training sets and/or high intensity cardio training intervals, as well as the overall higher workout volume. Taking creatine supplements helps to increase the recovery rate of muscle cell between your training sessions. Another effect that some people like and others do not – water retention in muscles, possibly some bloating too. There is no scientific consensus on to what time of a day is the best to take creatine. You will get the benefits regardless of the timing.
Scientific studies suggest that ZMA users get the increased natural levels of anabolic hormones – testosterone and GH (growth hormone), which leads to better quality training and physique development results. ZMA improves and extends stage 3 and stage 4 slow-wave sleep. This is critical, as deeper sleep helps to raise GH and testosterone levels, quickens muscle recovery, improves immune system, decreases stress levels etc.
You would save some money by taking separate zinc and magnesium supplements together and possibly “hit” the adequate amounts of these minerals. However, the form of zinc and magnesium used in ZMA is a zinc mono-methionine/aspartate and magnesium aspartate. This form helps to minimize interference in the absorption of both minerals. Furthermore, ZMA provides zinc and magnesium in the proper dosage with the added right amount of vitamin B6, which aids magnesium uptake and utilization by the body. If you take too much zinc (more than 50 mg absorbed) that can have negative effects – weakening of immune system, metabolic rate and HDL (good cholesterol) decrease, compromise muscle recovery and growth, interfere with copper uptake. Taking more than 450 mg of magnesium can actually interfere with optimal sleep. Do not take ZMA with any food, particularly dairy products, which are rich in calcium. Calcium interferes with zinc uptake while zinc disrupts the absorption of amino acids.
Take one capsule of ZMA 1 h before bed-time (at least 2 h after the last meal).