I am back again with a new article about a popular bodybuilding supplement called Creatine.
Of all the talked about supplements that are out there, creatine remains a popular one. Creatine is not a new supplement, it has been around for a while now but there are so many forms of creatine that makes choosing the type very difficult.
I have had more emails about creatine than any other supplement, here are some of the questions that come in to my inbox on a daily basis…
What is creatine?
How does creatine work?
Does creatine work?
Is creatine safe?
Does creatine cause muscle cramps?
Does creatine cause water retention?
Does creatine help build muscle?
Should you cycle creatine?
Should you do a loading phase for creatine?
Does creatine help burn fat?
Does creating damage the kidneys?
What is the best creatine supplement?
Does creatine cause bloating?
OK here goes…
WHAT IS CREATINE?
Creatine is a combination of 3 amino acids (proteins) in the body, Arginine, Methionine and Glycine. These amino acids are found in foods such as meat and fish. However the amount of creatine that we get from these foods is very small, around 4 grams per kilogram of meat so you would need to eat large amounts to see any substantial increases in creatine levels hence the need to use a supplement.
HOW DOES CREATINE WORK?
Creatine help generate ATP (AdenosineTriPhosphate) one of the energy systems stored inside our muscles. Creatine helps delay muscle fatigue and quicken recovery during repetitive, high-intensity exercises by helping the body to re-supply muscles with ATP, like the KERS system on the F1 motor racing cars. Once ATP reserves get low due to exertion, the higher levels of creatine and phosphocreatine in muscles facilitate the speedy production of new ATP.
DOES CREATINE WORK?
Yes, creatine “Does Work”…
When creatine is ingested into the body and taken up by the muscle cells, it binds with a phosphorus molecule to create creatine phosphate. It is then either used during muscular contractions or stored in the muscle cells. The more phosphocreatine that is stored in your muscles cells, the more potential energy each muscle cell has available.
IS CREATINE SAFE?
Absolutely! As discussed earlier it is a combination of 3 amino acids in the body and as it is a natural substance produced by the body it is safe to use. In fact a recent study concluded that creatine is one of the safest supplements to take.
DOES CREATINE CAUSE MUSCLE CRAMPS?
There are no scientific evidence that creatine causes muscle cramps only anecdotal reports. I have been using creatine for a while now and can only speak highly of this supplement.
DOES CREATINE CAUSE WATER RETENTION?
Yes it does, but not in the way most people think. You will see a weight increase within days, but don’t worry this is not fat!! Creatine is intracellular, which means it pulls water into the cells making them more hydrated. This is the anabolic process of creatine. You can eat all the protein you like but without water the muscle will not grow.
DOES CREATINE HELP BUILD MUSCLE?
Yes it does!! By replenishing your ATP stores during the lift more energy is available to lift the weights, you can train harder and safer!
SHOULD YOU CYCLE CREATINE?
There have been no reports to show that you need to cycle it. As discussed earlier it is a natural substance in the body so you should be able to use it all year round. Saying that you don’t need to take it when on vacation or when you are not training in the gym. This can be a method of cycling to increase creatine’s effectiveness.
SHOULD YOU DO A LOADING PHASE FOR CREATINE?
That depends on you! Think of your creatine levels as a fuel tank, some are half full, some are almost full, those are called non responders meaning they don’t respond to creatine as their levels are already high levels. However you get the benefit of maximising the intracellular water going into the cells.
Both ways will work. It very much depends on how much creatine is inside your body at the time, and more importantly how deep your pockets are. If you do a loading phase (15-20 grams per day) for 5 days then it just means that you will have more creatine in your body faster.
You will get to the same stage within a few weeks so if you don’t load so it is entirely up to you. What did I do? I did not do a loading phase I just take 5 grams with my pre workout shake and 5 grams with my post workout shake.
DOES CREATINE HELP BURN FAT?
Not directly but it allows you to train harder so you are able to burn more calories.
DOES CREATINE DAMAGE THE KIDNEYS?
No it doesn’t! There have been no scientific evidence to suggest that it does. There have been numerous controlled experiments on athletes who have been using creatine for 5 years and have found it to have no adverse effects on functions of the kidneys, liver nor any effect on blood pressure.
WHAT IS THE BEST FORM OF CREATINE ?
Creatine Monohydrate is the best one out there bar none. Reason being the way you get the benefit of creatine is by saturating the muscle by creatine. Don’t waste your money on other forms despite claiming that you will not get water retention! Lol that is the anabolic process of the creatine!! This is purely a marketing ploy, what they are really saying is that their creatine product does not work as well as others. These tend to be less absorbable and more expensive.
DOES CREATINE CAUSE BLOATING?
For some people that have GI sensitivities yes it does because they have undigested creatine in their intestine they are not holding water. For those people I wouldn’t recommend a loading phase.
CAN YOU DRINK COFFEE AND STILL TAKE CREATINE?
Yes absolutely. Caffeine causes dehydration so just be sure to drink plenty of water in order for the creatine to be shuttled to your muscle cells.
OK guys, I hope this post has been informative, if you like this be sure to share it with your friends and family if you feel it will help them. As always any comments please leave them below.