Supplement Breakdown - Creatine
Written by, Coach Vanessa Panella
Taking supplements can only help move the needle if you are already doing everything else to get results.
If you haven't checked the boxes above creatine will not be a magical fix. Also, always consult a medical professional before consuming any new supplements.
Creatine is the most studied supplement that is currently on the market. It is also found in your own body every day and is stored in your muscle tissue. Any creatine you consume through diet and/or supplements is stored for later use. Now, to really get into how, and why, creatine works we have to know the important role it plays in our bodies. To put it simply, your muscles use energy from a few different sources. When you are doing activities such as lifting weights, sprinting, and pretty much anything else that isn't cardio, your muscles are using the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When muscles contract a phosphate group "drops off" and you are left with adenosine diphosphate (ADP).
Think back to anytime you weren't out of breath, but your muscles just didn't want to work anymore. If you've ever failed a final rep, that was your body letting you know that it was out of those stores to continue working.
* Helps to build muscle strength and size
* "Energy" boost for your muscles
* Can get you past a strength plateau
* Helps with building and maintaining bone density
When creatine is consumed you store a phosphate group that will be added to ADP to create more ATP.
This means that your muscles will be able to push past that failure point of a muscles strength by bringing blood flow to the muscle that is working. If you can push past those points in training it will send a muscle building skill to get you stronger. Therefore, it can get you past a plateau in a strength cycle. This is also the reason that creatine is take supplementally as a pre-workout a majority of the time, but can be taken at any time for good results.
Example: You can normally deadlift 225lbs for 6 reps and that has not changed for months. Supplementing creatine could help you push 225lbs for 7 or 8 reps in a workout. That gain over time will help as a compound effect over time.
Simply put, creatine can help you a little bit in the short term to make you a lot stronger in the long term. If you are trying to get stronger and have never taken creatine before it isn't something to sleep on. It will definitely help you.
Fun Fact: ATP powers most cells known on Earth. Bones and connective tissue actually rely heavily on ATP to rebuild after exercise or stress. Needless to say this is not a detail to over look when it comes to creatine being great for overall health and longevity.
However, natural creatine through diet can be hard to get. It is mainly found in red meat. For example, a 2lbs steak only has about 5 grams of creatine in it. Not the best pre-workout snack, and I know I would personally not be able to handle that much protein in my stomach. You would also need to account for the calories that the steak has as well. So, if you're trying to tone up it might not be the best option.
Creatine Monohydrate - Amazon
You can also find it in other supplement stores. I personally recommend getting the unflavored powder and putting it in something you already drink or eat. I put it in my pre-workout or a shake that I make for myself already.
Who should supplement creatine?
Anyone who is primarily lifting weights and strength training as the main focus of their workouts.
Vegetarians/Vegans will have the most drastic results in health and strength.
How much do I need?
Depends on the individual needs of the person based on bodyweight and muscle mass weight. Here is a general guidelines:
Per Day Use:
1.5-3 grams = baseline (can be met through diet if you eat red meat)
3-5 grams = maintenance
3-10 grams = loading phase (over saturation - usually done over 2-3 week period)
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to talk to me or your anchor coach if you are interested in cycling creatine for your specific goals.
When should I take creatine?
Anytime that is convenient for you so that you are consistent.
Does Creatine Make you bloated?
Yes/No. Creatine uses water that is already in the body and brings it to the cells that are doing to work. This is not the same as bloating or water retention. There will be more water in the cells that are being put to work. This will make the muscles you're using during a workout fuller and firmer. This is also known as "the pump."
Does creatine make you gain weight?
In the first week you can expect some water redistribution. Can result in 2-5lbs, but this will likely level out once your body is used to it.