Packing on muscle mass and gaining strength are the results you look for when going to the gym… And those results are oftentimes, more quickly realized when you’re able to choose the right supplements to nourish your body, one of those being creatine!
Creatine has been around for a long, long time as a supplement. In fact, I took it almost 20 years ago when I was playing football, and still take it to this day to supplement my workout routines!
All the studies and information available on the internet though, may add up to one big conglomerate of gibberish… Which is one of the biggest reasons why beginners give up on taking creatine and benefiting from all of the things that it does for your body, your strength, and your physique.
So, let’s try to break things down and make it easier to understand so you can get the most out of your creatine supplement.
What is Creatine?
First of all, as a beginner you need to know what exactly is creatine and how it can benefit you.
If you didn’t already know, creatine is probably the most used sport supplement for mass gain. It is used by over 40% athletes from 20 NCAA sports. The percentage increases to 75% when looking at weightlifters and other athletes.
Creatine is already in your body as a product of your liver. It is a nitrogenous organic acid that helps your body cells (especially muscle cells) to get more energy. The substances travels through your blood stream and gets used by the brain and muscles in need of high energy.
In its composition, creatine has 3 amino acids:
How does Creatine help you?
The benefits of taking creatine supplements vary from healthy muscles to a well working brain.
What we know for sure is the presence of various studies providing excellent insight on how creatine boosts muscle growth. For example, one study performed at the University of Queensland showed how powerlifters gained between 6 and 11 pounds of lean body weight in four weeks while taking creatine.
Creatine has other benefits like slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease, helping people with muscular dystrophy or even help with depression. The supplements can also be used to improve your brain functions by offering a significant boost to memory and intelligence.
What is NOT Creatine doing
There are some people for which creatine doesn’t provide the best results and specialists urge you to have precaution and consult a specialist before using any supplements. People with kidney disease should avoid taking creatine but here is where the studies on side effects end.
The popular belief is that creatine makes you to look soft or bloated due to water retention. This is false. When taking creatine you get bigger muscles but don’t look “soft” and the water isn’t stored beneath your skin but inside the muscle cell.
How should you take creatine to get the most of it?
Creatine comes in several forms such as monohydrate, citrate, ethyl ester, liquid, nitrate, buffered and more. While some of them may present other benefits than others, as a beginner you should really consider taking creatine monohydrate.
- While many new types of creatine appear on the market, big companies tend to spend huge amounts of money to make it look better. In some cases you could spend more to get the same results as using creatine monohydrate.
- An overwhelming percentage of health studies regarding creatine were done exclusively on this type of supplement – monohydrate, making it the most studied sports supplement available.
- Using creatine monohydrate for a short period of time (2-3 weeks) can result in a full creatine saturation of the muscles, helping you get more lean muscle mass.
To achieve the best results with creatine you should take 3-5 grams per day for a period of 2 to 3 weeks (depending on your body). Here are some true and false facts regarding creatine usage:
TRUE: If you take a lower dose of creatine over a longer period can help your body to better adjust to the creatine intake and to save some money along the way.
FALSE: Your body doesn’t need a “creatine rest” or a “creatine cycle”. You don’t need to stop taking creatine then starting again. The un-saturating and re-saturating of muscles doesn’t provide any additional benefits.
Wondering on when and how to take creatine. Well, it doesn’t really matter if you take it in the morning or in other parts of the day. Creatine works when your body achieves a full saturation level. You can take it with plain water or with a sugary drink. As long as the creatine gets into your body, you’re all set.
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