All You Need to Know About Creatine
There is, and more than likely, always will be a huge market for supplements. Everyone wants to get stronger, bigger, and leaner so these avenues are going to be explored to the T. In recent years there have been numerous supplements that have come onto the scene, and while some have lasted, others have faded into the background.
Of these consistent and useful supplements, one sticks out pretty well and has been around for multiple decades.
Creatine is a popular supplement that is a staple in many people’s routine, but what is it? Why is this supplement so popular, and is it even safe to use?
These are some of the questions that you’ll have answered by the end of this post.
Let’s get into it.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a natural compound that is found in muscle tissue. We have creatine within our body, and we get most of our external creatine from any animal foods sources we consume. In addition, we can get creatine in the form of supplementation. The most common form is creatine monohydrate, which is synthesized from the compound’s sarcosine and cyanamide. These are totally healthy and real ingredients, but they don’t involve the breaking down of an animal to create.
Creatine is an amino acid by definition, and it helps us to produce energy. There are multiple cycles or processes that we use to create energy or ATP. For simple, non-energetic tasks we typically use fats as an energy source. For more long distance, or mid-range spurts of energy usage we typically opt for carbohydrates as an energy source. When we’re going for something fast, intense, and or explosive, we use creatine.
If you’ve ever attempted doing a max speed run or super heavy squat, you’ve probably noticed that you can only keep that initial pace/rep/speed for so long. Eventually it feels like you’re running out of gas to keep going, and this is exactly what is happening. You see, creatine can be utilized quickly, and you actually run out just as fast. Thus, you’re only going to be able to maintain those types of movements based on the amount of creatine you have in your system.
To put things simply, creatine is an energy source for fast, intense, explosive movements.
Creatine may also be paired with beneficial supplements like BCAA’s or other useful amino acids. This helps to provide a multi-faceted approach to energy and recovery. In addition, you want your creatine to be of the highest quality and properly dosed. With a completely open formula, you can’t beat 1UP Nutrition’s Pure Rebuild. (use code LBD20 to save $$) Not only are you getting creatine to fuel those intense workouts, but you’re getting glutamine which is a powerful amino acid for recovery. All of these things mesh to create a potent cocktail that will take you to the next level.
What Does Creatine Do?
Alright, we know that it’s a great source of energy, but what exactly does creatine do. Well, for starters, the boost in energy is going to cause the most changes. You’re going to be able to do more reps, run faster, or whatever it is you’re doing for a longer time. This helps you to increase your workable volume at a higher intensity, which will help to drive change and adaptation in your body. 5 reps at one weight is good, but 8 reps is going to drive more change. There’s a reason that creatine helps with muscle mass as well as strength, and this is it right here.
In addition, creatine helps to pull more water into your muscles – no this doesn’t bloat you – however, it does help to volumize your muscle tissue. You’ll have a fuller look all around, which many people are looking to achieve.
How Much Creatine Should You Take?
How much of a good thing is bad right? You’re going to hear a million different things when it comes to creatine. Some are scary and some are just misleading. How much to take is one of those topics.
Creatine isn’t an instant thing. It actually takes time to build up in your muscle tissue, thus, you have to consistently take it to see results. Some people will try to expedite this by doing what is referred to as a loading phase. In this phase, you consume roughly triple the normal dose to help force creatine to establish stores. You then would slowly go back to a normal dose for the remainder of the time that you are taking creatine. This does work and is doable, but you don’t HAVE to do it this way. The standard rule is to take 3-5 grams of creatine daily to build up stores and see changes. This is more achievable for most people and can easily be done by throwing it into a shake. Now it will take roughly 1-2 weeks for your body to saturate and build up enough creatine to really make a difference, but it will still make the necessary changes. The best way to keep something in your routine is to make it easy and achievable.
Is Creatine Safe?
One of the biggest questions surrounding creatine is its safety. It is thought that creatine is going to shut down your liver or cause you to become severely dehydrated, but in reality, as long as you follow the recommendations you won’t have anything to worry about. Creatine is an extremely safe product and actually has some of the highest amounts of research behind it. It’s a pretty straight forward supplement that actually provides a benefit for your progress in the gym.
Creatine may not be fancy, but it does work. It’s something that has been around for a couple of decades, and it continue to help people hit new goals in the gym. It’s simply an energy source for those more explosive, fast twitch movements we may be doing, but we only have so much of it naturally. Thus, we can bring in some help with creatine supplements to provide that energy. Creatine is totally safe and can be taken with a loading phase or “micro dosed” over a period. However you decide to approach it, just know that it’s one of the supplements out there that can guarantee a real change in your progress.