The Fuel You Need from Start to Finish
When you think of the word famous, what comes to mind? Maybe a famous athlete or a famous actor, but what about a famous sports supplement like creatine? If you’re asking what creatine is, then you have clearly been hiding under a very large rock for quite some time. Creatine is the most famous and most studied sports supplement in history and has been the poster boy for the athletic community for many years. Here is what you need to know about it and the top five reasons it’s so famous!
What Is Creatine?
You don’t jump into the deep end of pool without knowing how to swim, and the same concept goes for creatine. Before you see what it can do, you need to know what it is first. Creatine is a compound used by the body to create energy. Phosphocreatine and free creatine, which are stored in your body, make up what is called your total creatine pool. Those who increase their total creatine pool are able to increase available energy.
Load It Up
The most common recommendation for taking creatine is to “load” it for five to seven days, and then follow that up with a maintenance phase. For example, you’d take 20 grams of creatine daily (5 grams four times per day) in order to get your muscles saturated and increase the total creatine pool. Then all you need is maintenance servings to keep your creatine level elevated in your muscles. The recommended maintenance serving is 5 grams per day for those who are loading with 20 grams.
If you feel like 20 grams per day might be too much for your body, you can do a slower loading phase. You can take 3 to 5 grams of creatine once daily, and it would take a month to saturate your muscles with creatine.
When to Take It
You can either take creatine 30 to 60 minutes before your workout, or you can take it immediately after your workout. Basic thinking would suggest that if you take creatine before you train, it will have an immediate impact on your workout. The issue with that, though, is it takes time for creatine to be absorbed in the gut and then enter the muscles where it does its job. By taking it after your workout, you’re preparing your muscles for the next.
5 Reasons Creatine Is So Famous
1. Helps Build More Strength
Creatine can influence the energy levels in your muscles by acting as a backup energy source to replenish ATP levels during exercise.1 Saturating your muscles with creatine can allow you to train harder, so you can build impressive size and strength.
2. Increases Muscle Mass
One of the ways you can monitor your progress, aside from strength, is with the increase in muscle size. Taking a creatine supplement like Platinum 100% Creatine will directly increase the size of your muscles. In one clinical study, subjects using the dose of creatine found in one max serving of Platinum 100% Creatine gained an amazing 6 lbs. of muscle in just 6 weeks!1 Research even suggests that creatine supplementation along with weight training can support protein synthesis in muscles and this translates into some potential to build serious muscle mass.
3. Increases Bone Mineral Density
It’s never too early to start thinking about the strength and health of your bones. Because creatine increases muscle mass, more muscle means more strain on your bones, which is the perfect stimulus to strengthening them so they can reach their full potential. According to a clinical study, combining creatine supplementation with a resistance training program leads to greater bone mineral content compared to resistance training only.3
4. Improves Endurance
If you’re an athlete that plays a high-endurance sport, like soccer or basketball, you’re probably familiar with carb loading to help top off glycogen stores before the game. By adding a creatine supplement to your diet, it can further enhance glycogen stores. A clinical study that was conducted by researchers from Louisiana State University found that when creatine was taken five days before a carb loading protocol, glycogen content increased 53 percent over baseline levels.4 Because of the direct correlation between high glycogen stores and performance during extended exercise, creatine could be very beneficial for endurance athletes.
5. Shorter Recovery Time
During intense training sessions you can experience oxidative damage, which is caused by free radicals. Free radicals have an impact on muscle fatigue and protein turnover rates. Combine that with poor recovery strategies, and you’re looking at some serious road blocks in the gains department. How do you fix that? Take creatine! One clinical study showed that the antioxidants found in creatine reduced DNA damage and oxidative stress following a resistance training session.5 These reductions promote quicker recovery, allowing you to train harder and longer.
1 Buford et al., 2007. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 4:6.
2 Peeters et al. 1999. J. Strength and Cond. Res. 13(1):3-9.
3 Chilibeck, P.D., Chrusch, M.J., Chad, K.E., Shawn Davison, K., & Burke, D.G. (2005). Creatine monohydrate and resistance training increase bone mineral content and density in older men. Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, 9(5), 352-3.
4 Nelson, A. G., Arnall, D. A., Kokkonen, J., Day, R., & Evans, J. (2001). Muscle glycogen supercompensation is enhanced by prior creatine supplementation. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(7), 1096-1100.
515.Rahimi, R. (2011). Creatine supplementation decreases oxidative DNA damage and lipid peroxidation induced by a single bout of resistance exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(12), 3448-3455.