Creatine – Should You Be Taking It And Why?
Creatine, that white powder you see people scooping into shakes that looks like cocaine.
It gets bandied about as the numero uno when it comes to getting stronger and building muscle.
And if you’ve been hanging about a gym at all, you’ve probably heard it been mentioned.
Or maybe a trainer has attempted to sell you on the idea of it.
But you weren’t really sure about it.
So, should you be taking creatine and why?
Let’s have a look.
The Role Of Creatine
Now, at some point you may have heard that creatine will make your kidneys explode and shoot out your arse.
But the good news is, that’s not true. (unless you already had kidney issues).
Creatine is possibly the most researched and test sports supplement there is with endless amounts of studies.
And, the consensus from research shows that there is a definite benefit to supplementation.
So, what is it?
Creatine is a molecule that is naturally produced in the body from amino acids.
Creatine is used in the phosphocreatine energy system as it stores high energy phosphate groups.
This energy system us what powers the first ~ 10-12 seconds of activity.
It’s used in regenerating ATP which is the main energy carrier in the body.
Due to the short duration of energy output, it’s mostly relevant to intense, explosive physical activity.
That’s why it’s popular in gyms and with those who do resistance training.
You want to have maximum energy to explode that weight up in a Squat or Bench press without fatiguing.
So it comes into play by helping replenish that energy system.
Now, when I mention Creatine, I specifically mean Creatine Monohydrate.
By supplementing with CM, it aids your ability when performing strength and power exercises.
It also has reliable results when it comes to increasing strength, power and muscle mass when used in the longer term.
(It has shown potential small improvements in sprinting performance).
Why Supplement And How Much?
We already produce creatine in our bodies due to the ingestion of animal products.
However, the cooking process actually ends up degrading the creatine content.
So to ensure we get sufficient amounts for performance, we probably should look to supplementation.
For the majority of active people, a guideline of 3-5g/day would be required in order to bring creatine stores up to the point where you will see improvements in your strength and power production. And in the longer-term, increase in muscle mass.
For high end strength athletes with higher bodyweights and a lot of muscle mass, you could potentially be needing higher.
Aim for 0.04g/kg of bodyweight.
When you begin supplementing, it will take a couple of weeks for you to reach supplemental levels of creatine.
Once you reach that, it’s just a case of keeping it topped up.
Due to this initial period it takes to hit that supplemental level, you will see many companies recommend a loading phase.
The sole role of this loading phase is to saturate yourself so you reach that supplemental level sooner.
But beware, higher amounts of creatine can leave you feeling bloated or slight digestive distress.
And keep in mind, it retains water so the more you take, the more your weight will increase.
You can happily just take your 3-5g/day and hit the required level, it just might take a little longer.
But, your weight should stay stable and it probably won’t feel like a chore trying to ensure you’re taking enough.
Creatine is a very safe and well studied supplement with proven benefits.
If you’re focusing on strength and power goals, then it may be something you can consider adding into your supplementation.
Monohydrate is the only one you will need to buy as this is the one that WORKS.
It’s also super cheap too!
You don’t need to take it with carbs, or pre/post workouts.
Just add it into your daily routine to build up those stores and see if it works for you.
There are a small amount of “non-responders” when it comes to using it.
Remember, water is stored with it, so you will possibly see an increase on the scales.
And please keep your water intake high!
Hope this helps.