- 1 What Is Creatine?
- 2 The Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate
- 3 How Safe is Creatine?
- 4 How Can Creatine Supplements Increase Creatine Levels in the Body?
- 5 How to Take Creatine?
- 6 What to Expect When Taking Creatine Monohydrate?
Whether new to fitness supplements or already had your share of whey or amino acids, you may have heard of creatine by now. Studies have shown that this popular supplement can increase strength, power, and muscle mass in athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the benefits of creatine and how to take it for optimal results, as well as what to expect from adding this supplement to your fitness routine. Get ready to crush your workouts and reach your fitness goals with the power of creatine!
What Is Creatine?
It’s a natural chemical in the muscle cells. When you carry heavy objects or engage in intense activity, it aids your muscles in generating energy. Regarding how it’s chemically made, creatine is similar to amino acids, vital body substances that aid in protein synthesis. The amino acids glycine and arginine can be used by your body to make creatine.
Amino acids in your liver and kidneys create most of the creatine in your body, with the remaining portion coming from the food you eat, particularly red meat and shellfish. The muscles store most of the body’s creatine, up to 95% of it, as phosphocreatine. The brain and testes contain the remaining 5%.
When you take creatines as supplements you enhance your phosphocreatine reserves. This is a type of energy that the cells have saved. It aids your body in producing more ATP, a high-energy chemical. Therefore, there are so many uses and benefits you can count on.
The Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate
Although some people use creatine to treat certain brain conditions, neuromuscular disorders, congestive heart failure and aging skin, most do it to improve athletic performance and increase muscle mass. Here are the main benefits of creatines that are supported by research and evidence.
Increased Strength and Power
Studies have demonstrated that creatine supplementation has been shown to increase the phosphocreatine levels in muscles, which can lead to increased ATP production during high-intensity exercise. That can lead to significant improvements in maximal strength and power output.
Improved Muscle Mass
This chemical can also help increase muscle fibre size by drawing water into muscle cells, resulting in muscle definition. Studies have found that creatine supplementation shows better muscle mass gains and strength than placebo. Creatine may also reduce the breakdown of muscle tissue during exercise, further contributing to increased muscle mass over time.
Supplementing this powerful amino acid can improve performance in repeated sessions of high-intensity exercises, such as sprinting or interval training. Creatine may also improve performance in endurance exercise by increasing the body’s capacity to maintain high-intensity training for extended periods. Some studies suggest that creatine supplementation may enhance cognitive function, particularly in tasks that require short-term memory and rapid response times.
Increased Energy and Endurance
The increased ATP production has been shown to reduce fatigue during high-intensity exercise, allowing for longer and more intense workouts. That can improve endurance, delaying the onset of fatigue.
How Safe is Creatine?
While creatine is generally considered safe, some individuals may experience side effects such as digestive issues, cramping, and dehydration. Staying hydrated and following the recommended dosage to minimise the risk of these side effects is essential. Individuals with kidney or liver disease, and those taking certain medications, should consult with a healthcare professional before taking this kind of supplement.
How Can Creatine Supplements Increase Creatine Levels in the Body?
Creatine supplementation involves taking creatine in powder or capsule form. When ingested, creatine is absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to muscles, where it is stored as phosphocreatine. By increasing the amount of creatine stored in muscles, creatine supplements can enhance the body’s ability to produce ATP during high-intensity exercise.
How to Take Creatine?
Knowing how to supplement creatine is essential to boost your performance and muscle growth. By following these guidelines, you can maximise the benefits of creatine supplementation while minimising the risk of damaging side effects. Remember that creatine is a supplement and should not be a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Recommended Dosage and Timing
The recommended daily dosage is typically 3-5 grams. Although you can take it at any time of the day, some studies suggest that taking it before or after exercise may be the most effective. It’s vital to follow the dosage instructions on the supplement label and not exceed the recommended dosage.
Types of Creatine Supplements Available
Monohydrate is the most common form of creatine supplement, but other types are also available, such as creatine hydrochloride and creatine ethyl ester. While these forms of creatine may be marketed as more effective or easier to absorb, little scientific evidence supports these claims. Most people consider creatine monohydrate the most effective and affordable form of supplement.
Tips for Proper Supplementation
You should take creatine supplements with plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Although considered safe in general, it can be beneficial to cycle creatine use, taking breaks of several weeks to several months only to prevent the body from becoming reliant on the supplement. If you have a sensitive digestive system, start with a lower dose and gradually increase to the recommended dosage to avoid cramps and other digestive issues.
What to Expect When Taking Creatine Monohydrate?
Short-Term Effects on Strength and Endurance
Research has shown that this supplement can increase strength and power output in the short term, particularly for activities that require short bursts of energy, like weightlifting and sprinting. It can also improve endurance for activities like running and cycling, allowing individuals to perform at a higher intensity for longer.
Long-Term Effects on Muscle Growth
When taken over a more prolonged period, creatine can also impact muscle growth. It has been shown to increase muscle mass and improve body composition, particularly when combined with resistance training.