Everything you need to know about creatine
Creatine is one of the well-researched and efficient supplements out there for men AND WOMEN.
What does creatine do?
Let’s start with the basics.
Creatine is a substance that’s found naturally in muscle cells. It helps provide the energy our muscles need to move, especially with quick and explosive movements.
Scientific studies have shown that creatine can increase muscle mass, strength, and exercise performance.
Creatine is not just a supplement, though. It occurs naturally in some food sources such as red meat and fish.
The Spark Notes version of the science
Muscle contraction is initially fuelled by ATP.
ATP is an organic compound that provides energy to drive several processes in living cells, such as muscle contraction, nerve impulse propagation, and chemical synthesis.
When you increase the muscle’s supply of creatine, you help increase the rate at which your body can supply ATP. The more ATP you have, the more energy you’ll have for muscle contraction.
In other words, creatine helps with muscle strength and power output during resistance training.
You may be wondering…
Many of our clients ask us if taking a creatine supplement will make them gain weight or bulk up.
On average, you can gain about 1.5-3.5 pounds of muscle initially. If you’re taking creating long term, you can gain up to 6 pounds of muscle mass. The weight gain that people experience associated with creatine use is generally because of increased muscle mass, not body fat. There might also be some water retention in the muscles.
It’s important to remember, muscle growth does not equal bulk. Growing your muscles is what will give you that “toned” look many people are after.
Clients also ask if they should take their creatine supplements on rest days. We recommend taking creatine every day—yes, even on rest days—to keep levels consistent.
Some people are concerned about losing muscle if they stop taking creatine. Fortunately, there’s no reason to expect any muscle loss just because you stop creatine supplementation. You could lose a few pounds because of the water retention that often results from creatine, but your muscles will remain intact.
Studies show that taking 5g of creatine monohydrate per day is a good general recommendation. If you don’t do a loading phase and take 5g daily, your muscle reserves can be saturated in 28 days. The amount of time it will take to notice actual muscle growth will vary from person to person.
A couple of things to remember:
First of all, creatine does not make you stronger. YOU make you stronger. Creatine helps you by allowing you to train at a higher intensity level and to recover faster.
Also, you can’t rely on creatine to do all the work. If you don’t fuel your workouts with adequate carbohydrates, you won’t have enough energy to reach the intensity that’s required to take advantage of creatine supplementation.
You also have to replenish your body with protein. Consuming protein is necessary for muscle recovery. Even with creatine supplementation, you need adequate protein to see muscle growth and recovery.
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