What is creatine? How do I take creatine? What are the side effects of creatine? What is the best creatine? Unless you just arrived from another planet, you should know that when it comes to muscle building supplements, creatine is the king!
To date, creatine has proven to be the most research-proven sport supplement on the market to day. Creatine has collected hundreds of clinical studies that show increased lean muscle mass, improved energy levels, increased muscle strength and size and improved exercise performance. There is even a new batch of research showing creatine supplementation having a significant effect on memory and intelligence, as well as immune function. Bigger, smarter and healthier, not that’s a solid combo!
What is creatine?
Creatine acts by supporting the reproduction of ATP (fancy term for energy) in muscle tissue resulting in cell volumization which can create a more optimistic cellular environment for muscle growth. By having more energy reserves in the muscle tissue, you now have the ability to train harder at higher intensities. This means more reps, more sets, heavier loads, more explosive power and quicker recovery. Each of these stimulus are key requirements for continual muscle growth. Creatine is simply a mechanism that allows you to work harder and out do your previous workouts.
How do I take creatine?
To load or not to load, that is the question! You have three research-proven options to choose from. Each method will appeal depending on a variety of reasons:
- Method 1: Six day load at 20 grams a day plus a maintenance of 2-3 grams a day afterward.
- Method 2: 3-5 grams a day for the long term.
It was once thought, that a loading phase was required to maximize the effects of creatine but there is countless research that shows you don’t have to go through all the hassle of loading. This will appeal to the individual who experiences gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea and other problems with higher dosages.
Personally, I have found the best time to take creatine is 15 minutes BEFORE a workout and AFTER a workout with a liquid protein and carbohydrate drink. As well as first thing in the morning on non-training days.
What kind of creatine should I buy?
With all the fancy bell and whistle creatine supplements out there, a lot of people of forgotten about simple, powdered creatine. All you need to know that the best creatine manufactured is sold to companies in the form of Creapure. So as long as you see the that the creatine bottle you have bought, as Creapure as their source of creatine, that’s the good stuff.
There has much debate about creatine purity and it is not accepted that not all creatine is created equal.
Creatine ethyl ester is a new form of creatine. It is made up of a creatine, alcohol and acid meaning the absorption rate into the tissue is better. Manufacturers claim it does not cause bloating, cramping or stomach discomfort and gets into the muscle faster resulting in better results. Due to it’s chemical structure, it might result in greater stress on the liver. Although it does seem to have potential, wait for more research and rely on the time-tested powdered creatine.
Should I take creatine with sugar?
Stimulating insulin release by consuming high amounts of sugar has been shown to enhance the transport and uptake of of creatine into the muscle tissue. However, insulin is also responsible for fat storage. Therefore my recommendation would be to only consume your creatine with simple carbohydrates if it is before or after your workout. On non-training days, creatine would be be better shuttled using insulin mimicking compounds like alpha lipoic acid and D-pintol which can help improve creatine transport and retention without the excess sugars.
Creatine, is by far the king of the jungle when it comes to muscle building supplements. I have only included the information I believe to be the most critical and useful. Your take home message is to use powdered creatine, year round before and after your training workout and in the morning on your non-training days. Make sure your creatine says Creapure and don’t get caught up wasting any more time or sleep on the academic debate associated with creatine use. Just do it!