The hype is over ladies and gentlemen. Now it's considered a bodybuilding staple. I can remember when creatine was the buzz. Everyone wanted to know what it was, how it worked, and how to take it. Many in the fitness industry claimed it was one of the best things since sliced bread. Well, they were right. Who wouldn't want to add strength, recover fast, build muscle quicker, all while staying natural?
It started out as a simple monohydrate, and has evolved quickly through the years. This article will give you an insight on everything creatine related. You will learn what creatine does, how to take it, and what results you should expect from it.
What Is Creatine And What Does It Do?
Creatine is a legal supplement that is readily available at just about all (if not every) supplement store. Some reported minor issues. These side effects are not noticed by everyone, and many people don't have any of these symptoms at all.
Creatine is also found naturally in our body as well as in certain foods. However, cooking food destroys most of the creatine in it. Therefore, a supplement is needed. The creatine found in our body is primarily found (roughly 90%) in our muscles. Creatine can be produced in smaller amounts by our liver and kidneys from amino acids. Creatine can also help increase protein synthesis which helps muscles grow.
The process by which nitrogen from amino acids is linearly arranged into structural proteins through the involvement of RNA and various enzymes. Protein synthesis is muscle growth. The more efficient you can make this process the more efficiently you can build muscle.
Creatine helps produce energy which is vital in strenuous workouts. Creatine in the body increases the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate)-which is a source of energy the body uses (particularly in the muscles) during short bursts of energy. Notice how I said "short bursts".
Creatine will not be an effective supplement for endurance athletes as they use a completely different energy system than when doing quick, rapid movements. Creatine also helps pull water into the muscle, giving them a fuller appearance.
With so many forms out there, I recommend starting off with creatine monohydrate to see how your body reacts to it. Some people react very well with monohydrate while others are non-responders and need to supplement with another form.
Creatine monohydrate is the most cost effective form of creatine if you are a responder. There are also many types of the supplement that you can try - powders, pills, capsules, liquid.
How To Take Creatine
I want to start off by saying this - since creatine pulls water from other parts of the body to flood the muscles, it is very important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent problems that can occur due to lack of water (especially during warm weather months).
Creatine can be taken both pre and/or post workout. 5g is all that is needed each day. Pre workout the creatine increases the amount of ATP in your body to help you push a little harder each rep and set all while recovering quicker.
Then post workout if taking a dose of creatine (which is considered the best time since your muscles will absorb what you feed/give it after a workout to help with recovery), you will replenish the CP (creatine phosphate) in your body so when you need quick burst of energy again, it can quickly be turned into ATP for the body to use as energy and also help the muscles recover from the workout.
Some people believe in "loading" creatine. This is simply where people take 20g of creatine a day for a week to saturate their muscles. This enables them to start utilizing the creatine much quicker than having to wait several weeks for the muscles to be saturated with creatine by only taking 5-10g a day.
forms of creatine
Creatine With Glutamine
Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE)
Creatine With Sugars
Creatine With Protein
By loading it is believed that your gains with creatine will come much quicker. The 20g needed during this period can be split up into 4-5 dosages spread out throughout the day if needed.
It is also recommended to take creatine with a carbohydrate source to help it absorb much quicker. The loading phase is not necessary and your muscles will become saturated with creatine but it will take a few weeks for this to take place.
You can also cycle creatine (some people do, others don't). If you want to cycle creatine, a proper cycle would 1 month on and then 1 month off.
But again, this is all personal preference, some people feel they don't get the full benefit from staying on creatine so they need to take some time off to wash out the muscles and allow normal levels of creatine back into their muscles before going back on cycle and increasing the levels once again.
I mentioned above some of the minor side effects. Again, these are very minor and not life threatening unless you don't drink enough water, which if you are into health and fitness should already understand how important it is to drink water throughout the day.
If you are a beginner, I'll state it again - you want to take in a little more than half your bodyweight in ounces. Take your bodyweight and multiply it by 0.55. That will give you the amount of ounces needed each day (minimum).
As of right now there are no known long-term side effects of taking creatine. Creatine has been studies for over 80 years and there are no signs to date which is very promising for the future of the product being around for the long haul. Products come and go and creatine is definitely here to stay.