Should you be taking creatine?
There are a lot of supplements you can take to aid in your fitness goals. Some of them have been around for a while and some are brand new. Some of them work and some of them are "snake oil."
Today we are going to talk about creatine, a supplement that has been around for a long time and has been scientifically proven to work over and over again.
Let's start with the basics.
What is creatine?
As defined by Web MD :
Creatine is a natural substance that turns into creatine phosphate in the body. Creatine phosphate helps make a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP provides the energy for muscle contractions. The body produces some of the creatine it uses. It also comes from protein-rich foods such as meat or fish.
Outside of natural sources, creatine can be taken in the supplement form. There are different types of creatine available as a supplement. We will discuss which ones you should take in this article based on research and my personal experience.
What does creatine do?
Creatine has many uses that can benefit athletes and people wanting to get in better shape. It can be used to increase muscle mass, improve strength, and most importantly, recover faster from your workouts.
By allowing you to recover faster, you gain muscle and strength at a much higher rate than people who do not use creatine.
Is creatine safe?
The best part about creatine is that it has been heavily researched and tested because it has been around since the early 1970's. Since the supplement works so well, it has received a bad rep. Some people say it is bad for your liver and kidneys.
The truth of the matter is that the research says over and over again that creatine is one of the safest supplements on the market when used correctly. In fact, PubMed Central published an article showing how creatine has been used to treat multiple diseases and health problems.
The research goes even further to prove how safe it is. One study had participants take creatine for almost 2 years. The result was ZERO adverse effects for all of the participants.
Creatine is very safe. Some people experience minor to moderate bloating while using the supplement. I have never experienced bloating while taking it as instructed but I have some friends who have. None of the side effects were uncomfortable enough to stop them from using creatine regularly.
What type of creatine should I use?
If you google "types of creatine" you will quickly get overwhelmed. I am going to make this really simple for you. There have been a lot of companies that have attempted to reinvent the wheel. Some of the other forms of creatine do work, but I always come back to the original "creatine monohydrate" for two reasons.
1. It works
2. It is cost effective
I recommend to buy "100 percent pure micronized creatine monohydrate powder" and you will be set to go. Make sure it is from a supplement company you trust.
How should I take creatine monohydrate?
I have taken creatine in many different ways. After a lot of trial and error with research, here is the method I have experienced the most success with.
1. Creatine load for the first 7 days. Take 20 grams spread out throughout the day.
2. Take 3-5 grams a day every day after that. Even on off days. This will keep your creatine stores at a good level.
Do this and workout hard. I promise you will get to new heights regardless of what else you are doing.
I have gained a lot of strength and lean muscle while using creatine. I used it as a division 1 college athlete and now as a fitness athlete. It is safe and I feel great using it. You should be using it too to help you reach your goals. Follow my tips and let me know about your experience with it in the comments or on social media.
*If you miss a day or two after the loading phase just keep going with step 2.
*If you miss 3 consecutive days start over again with a 5-7 day loading phase.
*Take Creatine as soon as possible after your workout, preferably with your protein shake This can accelerate glycogen resynthesis and promote protein synthesis.
*On off days take your creatine in the morning if possible
*Drink a lot of water while using creatine
*Consult with your medical provider before taking any supplements or starting a new workout regimen. Especially if you have a medical history or concerns
*Results may vary for each individual person