What is Creatine?
Since Creatine entered the sports nutrition market people have been in awe of its ability to improve performance – as a matter of fact, precisely because it works so well is why it has been surrounded with a LOT of negative press, which for the most part is COMPLETELY UNSUBSTANTIATED! To start off, Creatine is a substance that is found in decent amounts in both meat and fish (so much for it being dangerous!).
How does it actually work?
The reason why athletes use Creatine is because when you perform quick bursts of action in explosive manners – such as say a heavy bench press or a squat – your body often times does not have enough time to undergo glycolysis! WTF is glycolysis?
“So much damn ATP right now…I’m going to sprint my ass off!”
Glycolysis is when your body can convert the carbs you eat (bread, pasta, fruit, beans, potatoes) into energy. Because these carbs are not readily available, your body turns to another energy source: ATP that is stored right in your muscles! The thing is though, when ATP gets used, it splits into two and turns into two useless strands, no longer useable by the body!!! Ta-Da, Creatine to the RESCUE!
Creatine when ingested by the body, can donate another “useful” strand to these “useless” strands, and all of a sudden, you got a super strand, ready for action once more by turning them back into ATP! All of a sudden, you have more energy available, which means one more rep, one more rep, and another rep! More reps = more muscle!
But that’s not all! By adding more ATP into your muscles, Creatine increases the amount of protein you can utilize. In addition, this increase in ATP will draw more water in your muscles (yes, your muscles and not your belly) and you will get a fuller, denser look to your muscles. Yeah Buddy.
Will Creatine make me bloat like a whale?
Nope. Creatine does cause you to store water but almost ENTIRELY inside your muscles. This is a fantastic thing! Creatine almost never gets stored under your skin! So why the fuck do you feel like a whale after taking Creatine?
For one, most people use Creatine during their “bulking phase” and take it when they eat high amounts of calories and carbohydrates; thus making them very likely to get a lot of bloating. However, this bloating is due to all the food and water, and NOT the Creatine. For all you Law School Enthusiasts: Correlation does NOT EQUAL Causation.
Is Creatine Unsafe?
“Just holding some water from Creatine.” -James “I Over-Eat” Johnson
No. Creatine has never been proven to cause any harm to the kidney, liver, or any other organ. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the only muscle building supplements that is allowed by every major sporting organization – from the NCAA to WADA to FIFA or the ICC. This is pretty rare!
Moreover, as mentioned in the beginning of this article, Creatine is found in meat and fish! Chances are you have gotten your daily dose of Creatine today already! If all the rumors on Creatine were true, you would already be a fat, bloated penguin with kidney disease!
IS CREATINE IS ONLY FOR MEN?
Unless you think females could not use extra energy and muscular endurance, there’s no reason why women should not be able to enjoy the benefits of Creatine. This is just bullshit.
Many studies use either a straight dose of 5-10g daily, or even smaller amounts (2-3g). This method is called “just taking Creatine.” Loading Creatine, which means taking higher doses of Creatine in a sequence – helps augment the process of ATP replenishment, but you would achieve the same result with just taking a regular dose – albeit it would take a bit longer. At the end, the effect would remain the same!
Any brand that sells Creatine in Monohydrate form will do the trick. Don’t fall prey to getting any other fancy Creatine!
Want to know more about Creatine? Check out our entire podcast on supplementation where we break down the full function of Creatine!