What Is It?
Creatine monohydrate is a very popular new supplement that serves as an energy reserve in muscle cells. Once creatine reaches the muscles, it is converted into creatine phosphate. This is used to regenerate the muscles' ultimate energy source, ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
By supplementing with creatine the creatine phosphate levels in muscle are maximized, and more muscular work can occur, since there are greater energy reserves to use. This allows for greater leverage and requires the muscle to move less and lift more weight.
Some researchers today think that one of the stimulating factors of steroid use is water retention which is the same thing that creatine does. So in some respects creatine might be as good as steroids. Which to me seems pretty good. However unlike steroids creatine is produced in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys, it is also in many of the foods we eat so it is 100% natural.
How & When Do I Take It?
There are many different ways to take creatine monohydrate.
The most popular way to take it is something like this:
For the first 5-7 days you will need to load up. This is an example schedule that you can do. In this you will take 5 grams of creatine every 4 hours which will give you a steady stream of creatine.
7:00am Take your first creatine serving with water or grape juice.
11:00am Take your second creatine serving with water or grape juice.
3:00pm Take your third creatine serving with water or grape juice.
7:00pm This serving is the most important because it will be following your workout be sure to take it with a high carb drink like grape juice or you can opt for water.
After the 5-7 days of loading up you will need to go through a maintenance phase which will last through the rest your cycle. Take 5 - 10 grams of creatine a day in water or grape juice. Preferably after you train or if your not training then right after you wake up.
Be sure to cycle the creatine because your body will become immune to it. So stay on it 2 months then off 1 month. Reload and start again.
Paul Cribb Cycle:
Or the AST researcher Paul Cribb has come up with a new way to supplement with creatine. When doing this be sure to not take your creatine at any other time. If you follow these steps (that are shown below) you will have taken three servings of creatine precisely when your muscles need it.
However, make sure you follow these steps after every single workout whether it's running, swimming, rock climbing or weight training. One big reason people don't obtain the results they're after is they make the mistake of underestimating the impact of other activities on building muscle. Every extra activity has a negative impact on building muscle.
Your first carbohydrate/creatine drink should be consumed during the last 10 minutes of your work out. Muscle cells will be low in energy substrates, and more sensitive to uptake.
Another creatine/carb serve should be taken within the next 30 minutes after the workout. Capitalize on this period. The nutrients you ingest will be absorbed where you want them.
Combine another creatine/carb serving with a large serving of whey protein with in that hour after the workout.
That's it. Seems easy enough, huh?
Another way to take creatine is to just take 5 grams a day after you work out. This will take longer for your body to be "filled" with the creatine but its not as wrecking to take it like if you were loading up trust me after a few days of loading up taking it does get old fast.
What Are The Side Effects?
There have been many people complaining of side effects from creatine. Personally I have not been exposed to any of them (if there even are any). The most common are probably stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhea. These can be all avoided by drinking a lot of water, at least a gallon a day.
If you get these you are not drinking enough. Plus after a workout you are already dehydrated and if you don't provide these molecules with enough water they will sit in your stomach and draw water from every where they can in an effort to be digested. Then you would most likely get stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhea. So be sure to drink and drink and drink and drink...
I almost forgot since you are going to be drinking so much water you will probably have to go to the bathroom a lot. I had to go just about every 15-30 minutes and with school that ain't no picnic. Hehe... some of my teachers think I have a bladder problem but, lets not get into that.
How Long Will It Last In Water?
Be sure to not keep your creatine mixed in water for days. It will degrade and turn bad. However, there shouldn't be a problem mixing it a few hours before you drink it.
How Much Will I Gain?
It depends on the person taking it. Remember creatine only works for 90% of the people who use it. If you are in the 90% for whom it works for then there is a wide range of how much you will gain. Some people gain up to 16 pounds after the first two weeks on it and for some it takes longer to start working.
What's The Best Type/Brand?
There are many different types of creatine on the market everything from powder to effervescent to liquid (stay away from liquid creatine. Creatine is unstable in liquid.) The best overall kind of creatine in my opinion is probably the good ol' powder. Stick with the big brands when it comes to creatine like Prolab or AST. hmm.....
Right now I am taking Dymatize Micronized Creatine that kinda goes against my big brand policy but, oh well. For me it works great so you might want to give that a try.
I also like the fact that its micronized which means that the creatine particles are smaller then the regular powder and it goes down easier. If your looking for a micronized creatine that is a "big brand" try Twinlab or AST.
That's all I can think of for now. Or check the message boards they have a lot of info on creatine people are posting about it just about every day. Later.
Chris "Bufaluphagus" Meraz