What Is Creatine and how does it work?
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance that exists in every muscle of your body. It is a combination of three different amino acids: Glycine, Arginine and Methionine. Whenever you use your muscles, the chemical (adenosine triphosphate) ATP is broken down into two simpler chemicals: (adenosine di-phosphate) ADP and inorganic Phosphate. This process of ATP turning into ADP releases the energy which gives your muscles power. The problem is that your muscles only contain enough ATP to last about 15 seconds at maximum exertion. However, with the help of Creatine and Phosphates the ADP can be converted back into the very useful ATP. Creatine bonds with a Phosphate group to form Creatine Phosphate. Creatine Phosphate can then donate a Phosphate molecule to ADP to form ATP. Now you have more ATP, which means more fuel for your muscles.
Why supplement with it?
To get four grams of Creatine from food you would need to eat about 2 pounds of beef per day. Most people ingest about one gram of Creatine per day and the body makes about one gram of Creatine per day. This is where supplementing comes in. Creatine monohydrate, which is the most popular form of Creatine, is a white odourless powder that contains 5 grams of Creatine per teaspoon. Personally I would rather supplement it then consume that much meat.
The average human muscle contains between 3 ½ to 4 grams of Creatine per kilogram of muscle. Once it is used up, so are you. You then have to wait a while before your next set. Now the good news is your body can store 5 grams of Creatine per kilogram of muscle, so by supplementing with it, you can get an additional 30% increase in strength in as little as one week.
Who takes Creatine?
Creatine is taken by almost every sport you can imagine. From tennis to baseball, athletes are benefiting from it. Bodybuilders from around the world are also supplementing with it, as it is the most effective sports supplement on the market.
Can females take this?
Yes. Creatine can be taken by females and will receive all the benefits in doing so.
How old do you have to be?
There isn’t a certain age you have to be to supplement with Creatine but most companies would say 18 years of age and older simply because they have not conducted tests on anyone younger. Also, if you haven’t been training continuously for more than a year, supplementing with Creatine is not necessary since you should see how your body responds without supplements.
What is the recommend dosage?
There are two methods of taking Creatine. The first and popular method is called “the loading phase”. Just as the name implies, it involves loading up or saturating your muscles with Creatine. During the first four days to a week, take 20 grams per day. By doing this you can reach the maximum storage of Creatine in your muscles much quicker. Mix it with something sweet, such as dextrose. The reason for this is you would want an insulin spike to occur so it can transport the Creatine to your muscle cells much more efficiently. After this loading period, take a regular intake of five grams per day to keep your muscles saturated. The second method is to skip the loading phase and just take 5 grams of Creatine per day.
What are the results I can expect?
Adding Creatine to your diet can enhance performance and decrease fatigue during a workout. You can expect to see an increase of strength and muscle mass.
Another benefit of Creatine is its ability to hydrate muscle cells. Creatine pulls fluid from outside the muscle cell into the cell. While on Creatine, you should be consuming 3-4 liters of water per day to keep hydrated. This increase in water retention by the cell also causes more ions such as Nitrogen to be pulled into the cell, which increases muscle protein synthesis. This increase in muscle protein synthesis allows athletes to recover from exercise faster and in turn grow more muscle.
How long does it take to see results?
Current reports show people can gain up to 10 lbs in as little of 7 days. With the loading phase you can expect to see results within the 1st to 2nd week and by skipping the loading phase, results can appear in about a month.
What about water retention?
Since Creatine draws more water into the muscle cell some of the weight you do put on is in fact water weight. Don’t fret, the more water you drink the less you will retain.
What are the different types of Creatine?
There are three main types of the different forms of Creatine. Below is a brief description on each.
Powder Creatine is by far the most popular form of Creatine supplements. You mix the powder up with some juice and drink it down. Some of the main reasons it’s popular is that it is relatively cheap and easy to make. If you are looking for the best value, powder is the way to go. In addition, most of the studies were done using powder so it’s very well tested.
Creatine Liquid or Serum
Basically it’s Creatine in liquid form. It’s red and tastes like cough syrup. Companies who say they have made stabilized Creatine in a liquid are lying to you. Creatine degrades once it is in liquid and will be excreted in your system. One testing that was done proved that the bottle contained only 15% of Creatine on the label claim.
Effervescent Powder Form
This is the stuff that drops into a glass of water and it fizzes up. There have been some preliminary studies that show that effervescent powder may be an effective delivery mechanism.
Do I need to cycle Creatine?
First off, cycling refers to getting off a supplement for a specific period of time and getting back on it. Back then the general rule was to go on Creatine for 3 months and get off it for 1 month. People thought that if you continuously took Creatine your body would not produce it anymore. Recent studies prove that Creatine does not bind to receptor sites meaning, your body will always produce it. So the answer is no, you can take Creatine for as long as you like.
When do I take it?
With Creatine once it’s in your muscle cells it is stored there. Taking it before a workout or in the morning will not make a difference. After a workout, your body is depleted of glycogen so it would make sense to consume simple carbohydrates. Creatine does work better when it is mixed with something sweet, so by taking Creatine along with dextrose after a workout, you’re killing two birds with one stone.
Is it safe to take?
If you stay within the recommended dosage it is safe to take. There have been hundreds of studies done on Creatine that all show that it is a safe supplement. There are really very few side effects reported with Creatine use but they include: upset stomach, muscle cramping, diarrhea and dehydration. Drinking plenty of water when taking Creatine can minimize most of these side effects.
Any Creatine your body does not use is excreted as a waste product called creatinine. That is why after the loading phase; do not exceed over 10 grams per day. Your body will not be able to use most of it and will have to excrete the excess. Over time this constant excretion of creatinine can put a lot of work on your kidneys and liver, which can lead to serious problems.
What happens if I get off?
Once you get off Creatine you won’t notice a dramatic effect right away. It takes about a month for your Creatine levels to go back to normal. Once your Creatine level is back to normal you will lose a bit of strength and size. This may sound bad but the benefits you receive from taking it out weigh the downfalls.
What brand should I use?
Many supplement companies manufacture Creatine. They are all the same in terms of quality. Personally I would purchase it from a reputable company that has been around a while.
How much does it cost?
Creatine Powder can be dirt cheap if you know where to look. For example, a 1000-gram container can cost you about 40 dollars and would last about 5 months. The best way to save money is to buy in bulk.
Where Can I buy it?
You can purchase Creatine at most health stores. You can even order it on-line which may save you more money.
by: The Total Package
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