There are certain supplements which are staples no matter what kind of training you're currently doing and Creatine Monohydrate is up there!
Creatine not only helps to enhance your sports performance but can also help to increase the intensity of your workouts, leading to more muscle mass - always a bonus! It's one of the most popular sports supplements and in a recent survey we found that it is your number 2 supplement, being pipped to the number 1 spot by the mammoth supplement that is Whey Protein! Studies have shown that Creatine can improve sports performance, strength and endurance if taken at appropriate times. Our recommendation is to supplement 30 minutess pre-workout and immediately after with around 5g of Pure Creatine.
What is Creatine?
Creatine Monohydrate is composed of amino acids Arginine, Glycine and Methionine and is produced naturally by the liver, kidneys and pancreas, meaning that it's a naturally occurring compound utilised by the human body in the production of energy. The energy produced and used by the human body is called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). When you exercise at an average of 70% intensity, the lactate system produces ATP. That “burn” you feel is Lactic acid, which is the by-product of your lactate system producing ATP. Those of us who are serious about building muscle will know that we need to work our muscles to failure. Working at 100% intensity causes change and muscle growth but the lactate system cannot keep up with the additional energy demands. In order to provide extra fuel, the phosphocreatine system creates ATP by rejuvenating it from ADP. If you train hard, supplementing with creatine will increase your creatine phosphate stores and allows you to train harder and thus stimulate even more muscle growth. Due to Creatine’s muscle building properties it is most famously used by bodybuilders. It's not the second most used supplement across the sporting world for nothing! Creatine also occurs naturally in food and can mainly be found in beef, chicken and fish. Despite what you may read in some ill informed articles, Creatine is not a steroid; it can be found in two forms. In both Creatine Monohydrate Tablets and Creatine Monohydrate Powder. They're easy to take and the powder can be taken simply by being added to your shake or even add it into a 0% fat yogurt as a bedtime snack - our range can be found here.
As with any other supplement, we are constantly asked various questions about Creatine so we're going to answer what we have found to be the 3 most popular questions that we tend to get.
1. Will creatine cause water retention?
This comes from the fact that Creatine is a type of molecule that attracts water and this causes cell volumisation. Cell volumisation is slightly different to water retention as it occurs inside of the muscle, rather than outside. Creatine draws water into the muscles which initially makes them look bigger but sadly, you wont actually gain muscle fibers until you start to work out... So what can you expect after the water weight gain? In a study conducted by Tarnopolsky of 20-year-olds taking creatine and doing weight training, it was found that some gained an extra 2 pounds of muscle after water weight gain but yet another gained 17 pounds of extra muscle. The study worked by giving participants the same amount of supplement and the same training. Although the results came back slightly varied, all participants did in fact gained some degree of extra muscle. In short, yes you will retain some water but Creatine gives you more energy for training – promoting muscle growth and weight loss. If you utilise the extra energy that it gives you then you will start to see the results and muscle growth that you're after.
2. Can Creatine make me stronger?
In short, YES! If you supplement with Creatine Monohydrate, you will increase your levels of Creatine phosphate. Increased levels of Creatine Phosphate means that you can work out for longer periods of time and complete say ten reps instead of eight. With the ability to handle an added workload over the course of say a month leads to increased lean muscle mass, heavier lifts and in turn a stronger you.
3. Does Creatine need to be loaded? What Is Creatine Monohydrate loading?
Now, you don't need to load your Creatine as there are numerous studies that use Creatine Monohydrate and see results without a loading phase. However, loading your Creatine may help you see results faster. In order to load your Creatine, start your supplementation by taking 20g of Creatine per day, for around 5 to seven days, then drop this to 5g per day. If you are going to do a loading phase, its always a good idea to check with your Doctor to ensure that you don't have any pre-existing medical conditions which may be worsened by an increase in both Creatine and physical activity.
As with any popular supplement, you will always hear myths surrounding the validity of the product, whether it's actually any good and if it really does what it says on the bright orange packet - so lets clear some up!
"Creatine Is A Steroid"
No. No it's not! Whether you're looking at the term steroid by it's very definition or by the broader meaning of the word, it doesn't describe Creatine. Firstly, the structure of a steroid in comparison to Creatine is completely different. A steroid is also essentially an illegal drug that helps you gain size without having to put in too much effort. Creatine on the other hand doesn't help you gain muscle unless you work for it.
"It's just water weight"
As mentioned earlier on, yes, you do gain a little water weight! However, Creatine gives your body the energy to increase the workload you put your body through in a training session. It means that you can handle more and will therefore lead to greater muscle mass.
"It's dangerous for your kidneys"
As with every supplement we always recommend that you check with your doctor to ensure you don't have any underlying medical issues. However, if you have healthy kidneys there's absolutely no reason why Creatine would cause them any damage. There was even a study done recently specifically on Creatine and the effects on the kidneys. In this study a man that had one kidney took 20g of Creatine a day (this is 4 times the recommended dosage) and there were no damages found.
Creatine is an awesome supplement that can help you in various ways from losing weight to improving your brain function and we would always recommend it. In particular if your diet lacks in certain meats such as Beef or Chicken as this is where Creatine can be found.
If you have any questions just post a comment on the blog or message us on social!