All About Creatine
So, you want to build stronger muscles with improve endurance and power? How are you going to do it? Is there something you can take to help in the supplement world? What If I told you there’s a supplement that can do exactly that? Something that can lead to higher amounts of muscle mass and strength?
This is where you get introduced to creatine! Now, this may be something that you’ve heard about from some others at the gym, and that’s common. Creatine’s been around for may decades now and has found itself as a mainstay in many gym goer’s supplement routines.
Creatine is a natural substance that the body actually makes, and it’s completely safe. It’s actually one of the safest supplements on the market.
In this article we’re going to break down what creatine is, how it works, and how you can use it. Plus, you’ll learn the downsides of using it.
What is creatine
Creatine is a natural substance that is found in animal tissue or muscles. So, by consuming animal products, meat specifically, you get a natural intake of creatine. Your body also naturally makes this creatine as well. We have it in our own muscle tissue!
It can come in many forms, but the most common is going to be creatine monohydrate. This is the simplest and most pure form of creatine that you’ll find. They’ve managed to isolate the compound into a simple, easy powder form.
So, why do we even have it? Creatine plays a role in the energy system. We use it as a form of fuel when we do things. So, for example, if we’re lifting weights, we access that store of creatine in our muscles for fuel. It breaks down to release energy and allow the body to do things. The more you have, the more energy you can release.
So, to summarize, creatine is a natural compound found in animal and human muscle tissue. It plays a role in energy metabolism which allows you to do things and move. We can find it in a supplement form that will increase our stores of creatine.
How it works
Now that we know what creatine is, how does it work? So, you’re taking creatine as a supplement now. You’ve got the powder, but how is it going to work in your body. Well, creatine has to build up in the system, so that first scoop won’t do much for you. You have to build stores in the body for it to be effective (more on that later). Regardless, once you have the stores created, what happens?
When you go to exercise, the body taps into the creatine first. This is called the creatine phosphate system. It produces the most powerful and fast energy that the body can create. Yet, we normally run out very quickly. Having these extra stores allow you to continue using the most powerful part of the energy system. You keep burning through those stores, which allows you to lift more weight and for more reps. This makes the body grow larger and stronger!
In addition, creatine pulls water into the muscle. This makes it great for gaining weight and creating some really solid muscles. You will gain weight with creatine, but it isn’t fat. It’s water weight. This is good though, as it creates a very full and solid muscle.
So, to wrap it all together, creatine works to build muscle by allowing you to lift more weight more often. You recover faster and can do more of the good damage to your muscle fibers. This builds bigger, stronger muscles. It’s also going to help you to pull more water into the muscles, which will create larger, more full muscles.
How to use it
With all of that being said, you now have a background in creatine. So, how are you going to use it? Well, there are a few ways. First off, what form are you going to use?
Creatine comes in a few forms, but the most popular is creatine monohydrate. I suggest sticking to that as it’s the most researched, effective, and cost effective!
Second, are you going to do a loading phase or micro dose it and what is a proper serving size of creatine?
A loading phase just means that you load the system with creatine to get the stores where you need them faster. This will involve taking multiple servings a day, almost 2-3 times the average serving. You do this for 1-2 weeks roughly until the body is good and saturated. After that, we move into a regular schedule of a normal serving. You don’t HAVE to do a loading phase, but some people prefer to go this route.
This just means taking a normal serving on a daily basis to build a store of creatine. Instead of doing an initial loading phase, you just consistently take a serving every day. It takes roughly 2-3 weeks before the stores become significant to see a change. This is a great method because it’s super sustainable and can easily be added into a routine. This is where many people spend time with their creatine dosages.
What’s a proper dose?
A proper dose of creatine is about 5 grams. This comes out to about a tbsp of creatine powder. Now, if you were to be loading creatine, then you would be going for about 15-20g of creatine a day. 5 grams consistently throughout the week will be significant enough for micro dosing.
Do you have to cycle off?
It’s thought that you need to cycle off of creatine for a period of time. Now, you could do this if you feel called to, but there is no evidence of harm coming from long term use of creatine.
All in all, those are the highlights for creatine use and how it’s done. There isn’t much to it besides the commitment of actually taking it.
In addition to supplementing with creatine, you can also get it from food sources. All sources of meat from animals will contain some level of creatine, especially red meat. Now, the concentrations aren’t as high in a piece of meat as is in a 5-gram scoop, but it can help in this department. Plus, that brings in more calories if you’re looking out for that sort of thing. Creatine supplements are zero calories.
Creatine is a fantastic supplement and can really go a long way to help you hit your goals. It’s easy to use, and it’s extremely safe to use. It’s a fantastic place to start for a beginner or as something to add in for an experience lifter. When taking it properly, you’ll notice a massive difference in your strength and muscle gain.
Consider adding this into your supplement routine and take your gains to new heights!
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