Creatine has been a popular supplement in the fitness and body building industries since the 1960s. Its longevity in the industry speaks for its efficacy but also gives plenty of time to muddy up the waters between fact and fiction. Below, we address some popular questions on this very popular supplement.
Naturally produced by our bodies when we eat meat, creatine serves as fuel that helps muscle tissue contract when exercising, helping to build and sustain muscle mass. Insufficient amounts of creatine will compromise both the time in which it takes to build muscle, as well as the actual building of the muscle mass itself.
There are two main reasons to consider creatine supplements:
Creatine’s main role in the body is to fuel muscular contractions. Two forms are found in the muscle fiber: a) free (unbound) creatine and b) creatine phosphate.
Your body can only produce about 10 seconds worth of natural high-intensity creatine, so the more creatine you can give your muscle tissue with supplements, the better you’ll sustain high-intensity exercises like weight training.
Creatine won’t hurt the average endurance athlete, but they don’t necessarily need it. Runners, for example, use body fat for energy, which means they don’t deplete their natural creatine levels as quickly as, say, the weight lifter.
Typically, 20 grams over a five-day period will do it. If this amount causing bloating or discomfort, consider breaking it down to 10 grams over ten days.
It is best to take a creatine supplement post-workout as this is when the muscles are most receptive to absorbing it into their cells.
If it’s in powder or liquid format, creatine is best taken with a fast-acting carb, so just about any type of juice or smoothie will do.
If you're currently on an intense weight lifting routine, taking creatine on your days off will help keep you stocked up. If you’re not working out at all, there is no use for additional creatine in your body, so there aren’t any benefits. In order for creatine supplements to have an affect, you need to give your muscles a strenuous workout.
Creatine WILL cause water retention, so if you’re watching the scale, you may be disappointed. Because creatine helps build muscle, and muscle burns fat, anyone using creatine while following a healthy diet and strenuous exercise routine, may ultimately lose body fat as well.
Creatine supplements do benefit women but at a slower rate and intensity than men simply because men have more muscle mass.
Creatine has been around since the 1960s and has been monitored by the scientific community since 1981. All evidence suggests that creatine supplementation is safe when taken within recommended guidelines. Consult a physician if you have any underlying conditions or concerns.
As creatine is a popular muscle building supplement, it is offered in a number of forms, such as, powder, liquid and capsule. One is no better than the other, so you can decide which is best for you.
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