Creatine, what is it? How does it work? And who can use it?
These are the most common questions asked regarding this sport supplement which has been around for decades. Is it only safe to use for bodybuilders? Can women use it as well? Will it make me bulky and bloated? In this article we will answer these questions and explain the importance behind why creatine is so beneficial.
What Is Creatine?
When performing any physical activity, the body utilizes various substrates as a source of energy namely, phosphocreatine, carbs, fats and protein. The most immediate energy source which the body requires to perform is Phosphocreatine (creatine). Phosphocreatine is converted into creatine to provide the body with energy (ATP) to produce movement for any activity lasting less than 20 seconds. Thereafter, the body will tap into other energy pathways. Creatine can be synthesized via the liver and kidneys, but most of the creatine in the body is obtained via the consumption of primarily red meats.
Why Take Creatine?
As mentioned, creatine is the primary energy fuel required for short burst or explosive movements, therefore supplementing the body with additional creatine will assist in the following ways:
• Improved strength
• Improve power
• Improved muscle recovery
• Improved muscle growth
• Improved IGF-1 levels
• Injury prevention
The above-mentioned factors clearly reinforce the reasoning behind the popularity of creatine; and as to why so many fitness and sports athletes regard creatine as a “must have” in every muscle performance stack. Creatine is best suited towards those fitness athletes focusing on strength, speed or power training. When it comes to endurance-based events, the body will use primarily carbs and fats for energy to fuel the movements required. Therefore, creatine will not be as beneficial for endurance athletes as it would be for muscle building, strength or speed seeking athletes. Creatine is not suitable for under 18’s.
How To Use Creatine
There may be a few misconceptions as to which way is the best method in using creatine. According to Kreider R.B, a 5-7 day loading phase, comprising of 4 x 5g (or 0.3g/kg body weight) servings each day, proves to be highly successful in saturating creatine stores (normal creatine muscles stores are only at 60-80% capacity).
The loading phase can speed up the muscle-creatine saturation process, in comparison to a general 2-10g daily approach which can take up to 3 weeks before stores have become completely filled. The significance behind reaching optimal/maximal levels of creatine is to ensure that you can obtain the maximum benefits from creatine in your training. Once the loading phase has been completed, you can adopt a 2-10g daily dosage for maintenance purposes. Ideally it is best to split your maintenance servings as follows:
One serving before workout (+- 5g)*
One serving post workout (+- 5g)*
*serving size is dependent on body mass
In addition, it is always great to consume creatine with a high GI carbohydrates source, as this will assist in spiking the uptake into the muscle tissue.
In summary, creatine has a great potential in improving your training performance abilities and helping you reach your desired goals. Always remember that creatine is more beneficial for those athletes focusing on high intensity, power, speed and strength training. Stick to the recommend dosages and reap the rewards!
USN Creatine options:
USN Pure Creatine
USN Creatine HCl
USN Hyper Cell Anabolic
USN Creatine Transport