I am not an advocate for supplements. 99.99% of supplements are a waste of money. Last week I highlighted that there is not one single supplement that can increase fat loss and I genuinely believe that if you eat a healthy balanced diet there is absolutely no need for any form of supplement. However, there is one supplement that has been researched more than any other. A supplement proven to actually have an impact on performance…
Firstly, I think it is important to understand HOW Creatine helps. I will do this as simply and briefly as I can. Within our muscle cells ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) molecules break into ADP and a Phosphate (P) molecule and release energy to allow muscle contraction to happen. In order for continuous movement to occur, as a result of muscular contractions, ATP must be resynthesised (put back together) from the ADP and P. We use Creatine as the primary fuel for this process during anaerobic exercise for approximately 10 seconds i.e. sprinting, weightlifting.
The benefits of Creatine supplementation (according to research) are therefore…
- Increased power output
- Increased number of reps and possibly even sets we can perform during resistance training
Both of the above, means that Creatine amplifies the effects of resistance training on:
- and Hypertrophy (an increase in muscle size)
- a large % of people are ‘non-responders’ – The body can only store a certain amount of Creatine and some people already have optimal storage. This will mean any Creatine supplementation is just excreted.
- Water retention – According to research Creatine should NOT cause bloating. Any water retention is intra-cellular and NOT subcutaneous. However, there are cheap and or poorly constructed Creatine products on the market that may include sodium or similar substances that do and will increase subcutaneous water retention.
How to take it
Do not be fooled by marketing. The best form of Creatine to purhcase is the cheapest form, Creatine Monohydrate.
Research supports a typical loading phase:
- 5-7 days loading phase
- 20-25g (or 0.3g per kg of bodyweight) of Creatine a day, for this loading phase period
- split into 4-5 daily intakes
followed by a maintenance period:
- 3-5g a day, or 0.03g per kg bodyweight
It has been shown that ingesting carbs and or protein alongside the Creatine will promote better Creatine retention.
Creatine is found in red meat, which is why supplementation is something you may consider. It is unlikely that you will eat red meat daily. Supplementation is especially recommended for vegans and vegetarians, even if they ingest other foods containing good sources of amino acids such as arginine, glycine, and methionine, which are used to produce Creatine it is almost certain they can increase Creatine stores and thus performance.
Do you use Creatine? How has it affected you? Would love to know other peoples thoughts.
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