Before I get started with this post, I just want to point out that, despite the fact that I have my very own blog on the internet, where I use words and sentences and talk about poignant health related topics, I am NOT a doctor. I know I act like a doctor, and give advice like a doctor, but don’t be fooled, I promise, I am NOT a doctor. So take my advice with a grain of salt and feel free to do your own research and decide what’s best for you and your goals!
Every Sunday I am going to post about a different supplement – since there are a zillion supps out there its hard to know which ones to take, which ones are useful and worthwhile and which ones are a big fat waste of our precious hard earned cash money. This weeks topic…CREATINE.
What is creatine??
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino-acid produced by our bodies that is also found in foods such as meat, fish and eggs. Unfortunately, its impossible for our bodies to ilicit enough creatine, so it must be supplemented. If it weren’t for the fact that our bodies produce creatine by itself, it would probably be considered a vitamin. It could almost be considered a macro nutrient because it really is that important to our bodies. Basically, it’s a phosphate to the ADP molecule to produce ATP, which is the primary source of energy in our bodies. I know, boring, science, lame boring science shit – get to the part where you tell me that it will make me grow big muscles and look hot as hell.
Why should I take creatine?
There are a few reasons people take creatine. 1. Your coach told you to and you listened 2. You are a dude and you want big muscles, to grow abs and impress chicks 3. You are a girl and you want to get strong, but you take it sceptically, always fearful of gaining weight 4. The dude at Popeyes told you that Purple K is da bomb and that his buddy takes it and saw awesome results 5. You understand the immense benefits of creatine and see it as an essential supplement in your life. If you do in fact fall into another category, I am genuinely sorry for leaving you off this list.
Creatine, along with caffeine, is the most researched supplement in the world. One of its greatest benefits is increased cognitive function, check out the Journal of Neuroscience for more info on how! If being smarter isn’t high on your list though, there are plenty of other benefits such as: increased strength, power, anaerobic capacity, muscle volume, recovery, muscle hydration and glucose tolerance to name a few. To learn more, check out one my fave websites www.examine.com for more info.
Will I gain weight?
Since this is high on the list of questions that every girl asks about creatine, I will crush this right now. Creatine is essential for so many reasons, even your mom should take it. If you are lifting heavy or making efforts to increase muscle mass, then you will probably gain some weight, but it will be isolated to your muscles and make you look even more #jackedandtan. So, if you were worried that you were going to blow up like Roseanne Barr (funny lady but unfortunate physique), don’t worry, its not gonna happen. (Just joking Roseanne, you are looking top dollar these days). But if you thought taking creatine would put you on the fast track to Stacie Tovarville…think again, that’s a lot of hard work, diet and genetics at play.
How much should I take? Should I load/cycle creatine?
A lot of people think that they should cycle creatine and take high volume doses for a short period of time to get super pumped up and then drop down to a low dosage for optimal results, but that is some old school shiz. It’s best to just take a daily dose of creatine as prescribed by your brand, usually 3-5grams/day pre and post workout on training days and first thing in the morning on non-training days. Think of creatine like a vitamin and take it as such for the best results. It works very well for performance when combined with Beta-Alanine and Leucine (HMB). You will see this a lot in many pre-workout formulas…it’s not by accident they compound this stuff.
I am no expert, but a lot of people I know are big fans of Blonyx HMB+ which is a combo of HMB (β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate…which comes from leucine) and creatine. #PRpowder It’s high quality and paleo, but a little on the expensive side. I have taken PVL Essentials and so far so good, but there are literally thousands of brands out there, so ask around and find out what others are using. Its one of the cheapest supplements on the market and well worth the investment.
Negative side effects?
Creatine is extremely safe. If you take too much creatine, like taking too much of any supplement, you could damage your kidneys, retain water in your muscles and experience cramping therefore diminishing the positive effects. You will not lose your results if you stop taking creatine and there is no risk of going on and off creatine intermittently.
To summarize, don’t worry about getting fat or bloated and start taking creatine right meow. It will make you smarter and your muscles more powerful and those are two pretty rad qualities I would say.