Should You Be Using Creatine Supplements?
We’ve all been there, the new guy in the gym with no idea how any of the equipment works or what weights we can lift. To make it even harder you’ve now got to get your head around all of these new supplements you should be taking. You’ve only just started using protein powder but now you overhear the really buff dude at the gym talking about creatine… What the hell is that?!
Fear not, in this simple guide I’ll walk you through what creatine is, what it does, the benefits and drawbacks and if you should take it!
What is Creatine
Creatine is a nitrogen-containing organic compound which is naturally produced in the human body by the liver and kidneys. It’s produced in the body from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine and is primarily stored in skeletal muscle.
Creatine can also be obtained through a balanced diet. It is primarily found in animal and fish products. However, only about 1g is consumed from these sources per day. By increasing creatine intake the amount stored in the muscles as CP (creatine phosphate) will increase, and this can lead to some pretty big changes!
The science, in a nutshell, is that CP causes the conversion of ADP into ATP at a faster rate resulting in more energy being available in less time. See here for more information
What does Creatine do
Creatine has been proven to be one of the most effective supplements at improving performance during intense exercise. It helps to increase the body’s ability to produce energy rapidly. This means that with more energy, training intensity is increased leading to faster results and thus greater muscle mass.
Intense exercises include weight training and any sports that require short bursts of effort such as training. If you can lift one or two more reps, or explode a little faster off the start line you will get better and stronger. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to support creatine improving endurance performance or aerobic capacity.
Creatine has also been shown to increase muscle mass as well as diminish the decline in mental performance when fatigued.
Drawbacks of Creatine
Creatine sounds like a supplement that is too good to be true. Should I definitely take it then? Hold-up, although there aren’t any major drawbacks, there are still some you should be aware of…
You will inevitably gain weight… Yeah, not what you wanted to hear. Creatine will cause you to put on about 2 to 4 pounds (1 – 2 kgs) within the first week. Don’t freak out just yet, it isn’t fat, its just water weight. Creatine basically pulls water into the muscles which enhance protein synthesis. Although any weight gained after this time will be muscle mass.
People have also experienced some of the following: Kidney failure, cramps, bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort. This is not very common however as all have been isolated cases, there is also no scientific evidence to link creatine as being the cause…
If in doubt please consult your local doctor prior to use.
Should I take It?
The basic answer is yes, creatine will really help your performance in the gym with noticeable results. Remember that this isn’t a magical powder, however, you still have to put in the work as it won’t transform you by itself.
There are multiple types of creatine, in either pills, powder or liquid. I would personally recommend taking in a powdered form as it can be mixed with water to ensure you are staying hydrated. On top of this most companies provide flavoured versions so they taste pretty good. Regarding which form of creatine to take the most proven form is Creatine Monohydrate, however, find the form which gives you the best results.
It doesn’t matter too much when taken, a lot of companies will suggest taking pre and post workout but just ensure that you are taking enough creatine consistently (5g/day) and you will be fine.
- Improves – Strength + power, Sprint performance, Rate of development, Muscle size and lean body mass
- Good for – Lifters, sprinters, high-intensity athletes | Not so good for – Aerobic/long duration activities
- Weight gain due to increased water retention
- Consult health professional if unsure or organ problems
- Powdered creatine monohydrate
- Take pre or post workout
What we think, we become – Buddha
If you have any thoughts on this or would like to recommend a specific brand let me know down below or hit me up on social media!