Creatine is a great supplement that has been extensively proven to work within the scientific research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2048496/
What is creatine?
95% of creatine is stored in your muscle, either as creatine phosphate or free creatine. It’s availability is drawn upon to fuel short term high intensity bursts of energy, effectively to bridge the gap before more efficient systems of energy production kick in fully, that use carbohydrates and fats for fuel.
Creatine is largely in-taken through the diet and is obtained from meat.
Through normal dietary intake levels of creatine in the muscles will usually only reach 75% of that of supplemented levels.
What does creatine do?
From a sports performance perspective it increases available creatine stores in the muscle which fuels short term explosive work. Creatine usage can increase strength levels by up to 20% and also the sprint work.
Later studies have proven intake of creatine to promote improvements in recovery. Marathon runners were studied over a 30km distance and improvement in recovery was seen.
Creatine is also theorised to have to improve injury resistance and also recovery from injury and amazingly can help prevention of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
How will creatine help me?
The most common reason we recommend creatine is for clients that are looking to improve muscle mass and training performance.
Having the ability to lift heavier in the gym with more intensity, coupled with the increases in recovery, leads to greater adaptations from training than you would of had without creatine.
If you exercise regularly then taking creatine is a safe supplement to take, that will improve recovery time and decrease the chances of injury.
Is creatine safe?
One of the biggest fallacies is that creatine damages kidneys. This has been proven not to be true. There’s long term evidence that this is true. Creatine supplementation has been studied since the 80’s and has been proven to be safe with constant use of up to 5 years. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2048496/
How to take creatine?
Another topic of debate is how best to take creatine.
There’s two options with there own considerations.
20g a day loading period of creatine (4x 5g dosages). This is for 5-7 days. After that you take 5g a day.
Or alternatively 5g a day.
The first option with the loading phase is the quickest option to see results. But it is also the most expensive and wasteful as not all of the creatine will be uptake into the muscles. It also comes with an increased risk of gut disturbances.
The 5g a day option is slower to see an observable response. But is cheaper and has less chance of gut problems.
It takes time for the creatine levels to build in the muscles, this is the idea of the loading phase. Given time the 5g a day does will build up just as well.
Which creatine is the best?
Go for the cheapest option. Creatine monohydrate. You can get expensive versions of creatine but they offer no real benefit over this version.
Will I gain weight on creatine?
Yes you will likely gain weight when using creatine.
This will be water weight and not fat. If you’re watching your scale weight for any reason it’s worth noting your weight before using creatine and then being aware of the difference when you start supplementing.
If you’re an athlete that needs to make weight, try and incorporate your initial creatine strategy into the off season as to not upset the scale weight for your event.
What to do next?
If your goals are increased sports performance in or out of the gym, improvements in general fitness or to improve muscle levels then creatine is a safe and effective supplement to use.
If you need advice on adopting creatine into your nutritional strategy or if you need any other nutritional advice, feel free to contact us at TWPT.