Ask anyone who uses creatine. They’ll tell you how much bigger and stronger it helped them get.
But there are many misconceptions, myths, and false safety concerns about creatine. This guide will debunk the nonsense. And it will help you learn more about this essential muscle building supplement.
Creatine occurs naturally in your muscle cells. It helps produce energy during strenuous exercise like weight lifting.
Your body creates creatine from amino acids. It’s then stored in your muscles. About 95% of your creatine deposits are in the form of phosphocreatine stored in the muscles. The other 5% is in your brain, liver, and kidneys.
Individual creative reserves vary from person to person. Your amount depends on factors like:
When you take a creatine supplement, you increase your phosphocreatine stores. That stored energy in your muscle cells is called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
ATP - essentially - is your body’s energy source. The more ATP you have, the more reps, sprints, and other athletic ability you can perform.
Creatine enhances several cellular processes that lead to increased muscle mass, strength, and recovery. For example, it increases the amount of energy your muscles have when performing heavy weight lifting. Creatine boosts phosphocreatine stores in your muscle cells. That allows for more ATP creation and more energy.
You get one more rep, one more lap, one more mile.
Researchers have found this to be true again and again. One study recognized that “supplementation with creatine has regularly shown to increase strength, fat free mass, and muscle morphology.”
It’s true that not everyone responds identically to using a creatine supplement. However, “its supplementation increases creatine storage and promotes a faster regeneration of adenosine triphosphate between high intensity exercises.” More ATP means more energy for better workouts.
A 2003 study stated that “there is substantial evidence to indicate that creatine supplementation during resistance training is more effective at increasing muscle strength and weightlifting performance than resistance training alone.”
What specific activities are most benefited from creatine supplements? “Activities that involve jumping, sprinting, or cycling generally show improved sport performance following creatine ingestion” according to a 2005 study.
Creatine is one of the most popular weight lifting supplements available. So it’s logical that many studies have been done into its benefits. A meta-analysis of 16 studies from 2002 concluded that “Oral creatine supplementation combined with resistance training increases maximal weight lifted in young men.”
Science has shown that creatine supplements can help with a variety of health problems. One study from 2010 found that “creatine supplementation could be used as a therapeutic tool for the elderly.” Why? Because it has a “therapeutic role in several diseases” of the muscle, bone, lung, and brain.
Researchers continue to investigate how creatine can help with chronic diseases. Investigators are excited about preliminary research. Creatine may assist patients with Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes.
It seems like there are new creatine supplements coming out every month. You can get liquid, ethyl-ester, micronized, kre-alkalyn, effervescent, and others.
The problem is that none of them have been proven to work better than creatine monohydrate. That's the gold standard of creatine supplements. Why?
Don’t let the marketing hype fool you – creatine monohydrate is the only type of creatine you need.
This is an oft debated topic. Some people say to take it before a workout. Others say after is best. A lot of other people say it doesn’t matter.
Research supports all three opinions. So we suggest taking it whenever is easiest for you. For most people, the simplest way to take creatine is to mix 5 grams in a post-workout shake mixed with whey protein isolate and a BCAA powder.
Want to get fast results from your creatine supplement? Take 20g per day for one week. This will saturate your cells and phosphocreatine stores in your muscle cells.
After that first week, you only need to take 5g a day. Not in a rush to see results? Take 5g of creatine a day. You’ll reach saturation and start seeing the benefits of creatine in a few weeks.
There is no reason to cycle on and off creatine. You can take it as long as you’d like without any health consequences.
Drink plenty of water and hydrate throughout the day when taking creatine. The supplement pulls water into your muscles, causing them to look bigger. If you don’t drink enough, you could end up dehydrated. So keep your water bottle handy.
Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements on the market. And still, there are many myths and misconceptions about it.
Get more out of your lifting routines and intense workouts. Add the best creatine supplement to your diet.