CREATINE… let’s talk about it!
1. What is it?
I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there of what creatine actually is.
Some TikToker’s preach it as the holy grail to getting absolutely jacked.
Some think it’s “synonymous with taking steroids.”
You might even hear “It’s not suitable for women”.
No, no, and no.
When you think creatine, I want you to think… ENERGY. By supplementing with creatine, you can increase your muscles energy stores.
Ok so... To understand what creatine is we need to have a basic understanding of ENERGY and the relation to fitness/sports performance.
ATP and Creatine.
ATP- supplies energy for most of the body’s hundreds of physiological functions.
Creatine- an amino acid, produced in the body, acts as a phosphate shuttle which is used in the process of regenerating ATP in the body.
Cool… why should you care?
Increased creatine stores in the body → increased capacity to produce ATP.
More ATP = more energy output leading to increased work output during exercise.
More work in a shorter amount of time .. say hello to quicker strength gains.
But hold on....if creatine is already being produced in my body and I can get my creatine fix from some foods (seafood, red meat) … why is there a need to take creatine as a supplement?
It is much more practical to supplement with creatine than seeking to obtain an optimal amount of creatine from whole foods alone (animal protein) from both a convenience and cost effectiveness standpoint. Not to mention this isn't an option for vegetarians and vegans.
Additionally, your ATP stores are quickly depleted within a matter of SECONDS of high intensity activity. So, by supplementing with creatine you have more energy to supply to your working muscles allowing you to maintain optimal athletic performance for longer.
Why supplement with it? Should I start taking creatine?
Creatine is one of the most widely studied supplements.
It is used to build strength and muscle mass and improve exercise capacity. Creatine is proven to increase strength and power output in shorter duration high intensity exercise, not endurance performance.
Type: Creatine monohydrate is known as the most effective with a daily dosage of 3-5 grams (1 tsp = 5 g). There are no proven benefits to loading with creatine by taking more than this amount and undergoing phases of "creatine cycling" .
* Remember, supplements are meant to fill in gaps! Creatine is not the magic bullet or a quick fix. Make sure you’ve got a strong foundation built first …
If you’ve got the following in check:
Training (a solid understanding of how to train, program and plan workouts, proper techniques, and push yourself)
Nutrition (consuming food throughout the day based on workload, understanding total calories should increase as workload increases, eating enough protein and total calories, and keeping up with hydration needs)
Recovery (optimizing sleep quality and quantity, physical/mental stress management, taking rest days and not overtraining)
Then maybe supplementing with creatine could be beneficial for you!
Sources: ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) *ISSA Certified Personal Trainer