Creatine was first discovered by Michel Eugene Chevreul back in 1832. However, it wasn’t until the 1990's that this popular supplement started to gain traction. Fast forward to today and creatine has become one of the most effective and best selling sports supplements on the market.
In this week’s article we’re taking a deeper look into creatine and how this explosive supplement can help you achieve your fitness and health goals. But first, let's start with the basics:
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound our body creates naturally that can be used for energy during high intensity activities such as weight lifting or sprinting.
On average people have around 120g to 160g of creatine stored in their muscles. Smaller amounts can also be found in other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, liver and brain.
When you're not overly active (e.g. sitting around or sleeping) your body only harnesses a small amount of creatine. It's when your body is under high stress that creatine really starts to kick in.
Generally this includes activities like sprinting, weight lifting, or sports where quick bursts of energy are required. This is because your body has different “energy pathways” based on the type of activity you're performing.
For example, an activity like long distance running, where your heart rate stays at a moderate range, your body utilises oxygen and gives you “aerobic” energy. Compare this to sprinting, where your heart rate is sky high and your body gives you “anaerobic” energy via the energy molecule known as “ATP.”
Forms & Brands Of Creatine
Creatine monohydrate is the most researched and affordable form of creatine. However, creatine hydrochloride (HCL) is also popular thanks to its superior absorption and water solubility. Better absorption means you can take smaller doses and there’s less need to cycle or load. Water solubility also results in less water retention, bloating and stomach discomfort for those who don't tolerate monohydrate well.
When it comes to brands, most creatine monohydrates are largely the same. The only difference is that some are micronised (which means they allow for better absorption), and others are “creapure” trademarked - which guarantees 99.9% purity on every batch. In general, most trustworthy brands and companies will offer at least 99% purity.
The Benefits Of Creatine Supplements
1.Improve Your Performance In The Gym
Creatine improves performance by increasing the amount of ATP the body can produce. Essentially this allows athletes to handle larger workloads for longer periods of time.
Creatine can also help reduce dehydration and cramping as it draws more water into your muscle cells.
2. Noticeable Increase In Size And Mass
When supplementing with creatine most users experience a noticeable increase in size and weight. This is largely due to the water retention process that takes place when you use creatine.
Basically creatine pulls water into your muscle cells and they remain swollen as long as there is an excess of creatine in your body. Along with the noticeable size difference, the excess water also helps with muscle growth, performance and recovery.
3. Limit Muscle Damage and Fast Track Recovery
To help rebuild and repair themselves your muscles require amino acids. Creatine is made up of three amino acids: methionine, glycine, and arginine. This means the more creatine you have stored in your muscles the more your body can use the present amino acids for recovery.
In the long run this is going to help you get back in the gym faster following those high intensity workouts.
How Often To Take Creatine
The ideal dosage for creatine monohydrate is 5g per day (or 1.5g for HCL). We recommend you take it after you workout and combine it with simple carbohydrates if possible. This could be a post workout supplement, or a source of fast absorbing sugars like bananas or fruit juice.Taking creatine post workout will also help increase your bodies natural process of utilizing insulin to store amino acids in the muscles if they’re depleted.
When it comes to cycling with creatine, it’s recommended you take a 1 month break every 3 - 4 months (using 5g per day). Loading with creatine is not generally recommended. It may give you effects faster, however your body usually cannot handle (and efficiently absorb) the larger dose.
Supercharge Your High Intensity Activities with Creatine
Looking to be more explosive in the gym or on the field? Check out Sportsfuel’s great range of creatine supplements today.