As a committed fitness enthusiast, you’re always on the lookout for something that can boost your workouts. With equal parts training, good nutrition, proper supplementation and lots of dedication, you will be able to achieve optimum health. Creatine is a supplement geared toward helping you reach that level.
Creatine is a compound which is a natural component of skeletal muscle. It is processed by the human liver from a combination of the amino acids methionine, lycine and arginine. The kidney and pancreas also synthesize creatine when required.
Here are some of the things which creatine can do for your body:
1. Creatine rebuilds ATP—this stands for adenosine triphosphate, the chemical in the body which powers your muscles. When you are lifting weights, ATP helps your muscles contract. With each contraction, the ATP in your system diminishes. Creatine’s job is to replenish those diminished ATP levels. This translates to more energy and longer workout durations.
2. It stimulates muscle growth—by taking creatine, you perform more as a result of additional energy. This leads to increased protein synthesis which in turn results in muscle growth.
3. It increases your ability to store glycogen—you need adequate glycogen levels to help your muscles recover after an intense workout.
4. Muscle volumization—creatine allows your muscles to attract and retain water. Because of this, your muscles will have a fuller appearance.
5. Creatine increases cardiovascular activity—creatine actually helps increase the amount of aerobic activity your perform
6. Treatment of serious disorders—one lesser known benefit of creatine is its ability to treat serious ailments. It lessens hearts spasms and thus benefits patients who have congestive heart failure.
Creatine also treats muscular dystrophy, hardening of the arteries, stroke and other neuromuscular disorders
How to Take Creatine
There is an initial phase known as the loading stage. For new creatine users, the idea is to consume 20-25 grams of creatine broken down into two to four servings daily for seven days. Your body’s ability to use creatine will be intensified, yielding faster results.
On the other hand, you can also skip the loading phase and go straight into the maintenance phase if you are not in a rush to see results. Certain studies reveal that taking the same amount of creatine for the loading phase over a longer period of time also gives you the same results. The choice of whether to go through the loading phase is ultimately up to you.
For the maintenance phase, the suggested amount of creatine is five to ten grams daily. Start with five if you have never tried it before.
In terms of timing, most studies suggest that creatine is most effective when taken after a workout.
Creatine is known for not having major side effects but there have been reported cases of weight gain, muscle cramps, muscle strains and pulls, upset stomachs, diarrhea, dizziness, high blood pressure, liver dysfunction and kidney damage among some users. People with high blood pressure as well as kidney and liver diseases should not take creatine. For best results, consult with your physician before you take creatine.
You are now equipped with first-hand knowledge about creatine. Don’t just absorb it. Put it to good use and see for yourself the wonders it can do for your overall fitness level today!