132. Creatine. What you Need to Know.
If increasing lean body mass and / or increasing high-intensity exercise capacity is a priority for you, then continue reading to find out why creatine monohydrate is the most effective nutritional supplement available.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound produced by the body and is also found in some high-protein foods such as fish and red meat. Creatine plays an essential role in allowing you to train harder and longer by replenishing your body’s energy source (ATP). ATP (Adenosine tri-phosphate) is responsible for driving every bodily process there is via a process called ATP hydrolysis. Water (hydro) is used to split apart (lysis) ATP to create ADP (Adenosine di-phosphate) and release energy in the process. Great! Your body can now use that energy for whatever bodily process is required – like flex that booty or making your pecs dance. However, your now left with ADP, which in contrast to ADP, is mostly useless. Luckily, creatine is a generous fella and donates its phosphate group to ADP allowing ADP to return to ATP – increasing your ATP stores! You can now continue to train at a high intensity for longer!
Why Supplement Creatine?
In a normal diet that contains 1–2 g/day of creatine, muscle creatine stores are about 60–80% saturated (Likely less in non-meat eaters). Therefore, dietary supplementation of creatine serves to increase muscle creatine by 20–40%. Supplementing creatine, therefore, allows you to work harder for longer. This increased work performed during sets will provide beneficial increases in muscle mass and strength over time! Creatine is not just for the gym goer who’s looking to pack on muscle. Creatine allows you to perform at a high intensity for a longer duration, for both single and repeated efforts! You won’t be stumped to find a sport where repeated high intensity efforts are not a huge determinant of success.
Is Creatine Safe?
Yes! It’s not uncommon to hear people speaking about creatine like it’s an anabolic steroid. As aforementioned, creatine is produced naturally in the body and found in some high-protein foods. Creatine has been a popular supplement since the early 1990s and been studied over 1000 times since. Creatine supplementation has consistently shown to poses no adverse health risks and may provide several health and performance benefits.
I’m sold! How do I take it?
Creatine Monohydrate is the most effective and cheapest form of creatine, so no need to fork out extra money on more expensive options. The most common protocol for creatine supplementation is to consume ~0.3 g/kg/day of creatine monohydrate for 5–7-days followed by 3–5 g/day thereafter to maintain elevated stores. The initial loading phase is not essential but will speed up the initial performance effects.
The research on creatine supplementation for performance and beyond is vast and impossible to cover in a short post. If you have any questions post them below or ask me when you see me in the gym!