Are you using your Creatine correctly?
In this post I am going to be talking about one of the most researched supplements on the market today Creatine. We will be going through the What, Why and How to use this supplement and how it can help you reach your athletic goals.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a amino acid produced naturally by the body at a rate of about 1-2g a day. It is also found in foods such as meat, fish and eggs. It’s also degraded into creatinine and excreted in the urine at a rate of around 2g a day. Creatine is stored in the muscles as 60% phosphocreatine and 40% creatine and is used by the body as a reserve power source for your muscles during high-intensity exercise. Sometimes your body will run out of fuel to power you through those heavy workouts or sprint sessions and a little energy top-up is needed. This is where supplementing with creatine comes in.
Why use creatine?
Creatine is most beneficial during high intensity anaerobic training and explosive training such as interval training, heavy weightlifting and plyometric training, but has be shown to have little to no benefits for long slow cardio training like long distance running, swimming and cycling, That being said creatine could help during short burst during a race such as passing another competitor during a race or a last minute spring to the finish line.
Creatine is shown to promote weight gain largely because creatine is hygroscopic and encourages water retention you will gain around 3-6 pounds in the first week of use, but long-term use can stimulate protein synthesis so any weight gain after the first week or so will likely be muscle so it will work if you stick with it.
Studies into creatine have found users can increase one-rep max strength by 5% and strength endurance by 14%. This can be very beneficial in sports such as Crossfit where the difference in a workout can come down to seconds or reps and olympic weightlifting where the 1kg can mean first or second place.
Recent studies into creatine have also shown it can also improve mental performance – your brain uses creatine phosphate during intense bouts of activity, so if you’re doing, for instance, lots of calculations, glugging a scoop could help you stay focused.
How to use Creatine
Now to the part you have all been wanting to hear HOW BEST TO USE CREATINE. There a plenty of options when it comes to creatine supplements ranging from straight creatine monohydrate powder, creatine ethyl ester, Liquid creatines and pre or post workout supplements that include creatine and it can all get a bit confusing, but at the end of the day you can't go far wrong with your basic creatine monohydrate powder. Liquids creatines and creatine ethylestars are not only more expensive but are also show to be less stable in the blood stream. Creatine It’s hygroscopic, which basically means it acts like a sponge – it can draw water into your gastrointestinal tract and bloodstream from surrounding tissues and away for muscles. This means it's probably best to avoid pre workout supplements with creatine in them.
Pre loading creatine is also not required and is a waste of your creatine. Also there seems no reason to cycle creatine due to the fact that you produce it naturally and your body does not cycle its own production so they seems to be no reason to cycle your supplementation.
Now let's get to the most effective way to take creatine
Try to take it around the same time every day
Take 5g per Day. higher doses (up to 10g day) may be beneficial for people with a high amount of muscle mass and high activity levels.
Take it after training sessions with your protein shake and some carbs preferably around 10g carbs to 1g of creatine
Your carbs are best being simple sugars to raise insulin and help increase creatine uptake.
It’s also important to mix your creatine fully and avoid drinking it with some of the powder still visibly floating around. At this point, it hasn’t fully dissolved and that means it’s going to suck water from the places where water is supposed to be.
So there you have it a rather simple but effective way to use your creatine the most effective way and also a very simple and effective way to increase your athletic performance and get you to your goals that bit quicker. With that being said, like all supplements creatine is not a magic bullet you will still be required to put in the the hard work and training to get you where you want to be.