Creatine has been available as a workout supplement for over 20 years. It is the most researched supplement on the market in terms of it’s muscle enhancing benefits. It is manufactured in the liver, kidneys and pancreas. Your body makes creatine from 3 amino acids at the rate of about 1 gram per day. 95% of Creatine is stored in muscle tissue.
Creatine is also found in red meats and fish. About 2 pounds of red meat will give you 5 grams of creatine. However, you body can only store a certain amount of cratine. To really get some muscle building benefits you need to supplement with creatine.
Why Take it?
Creatine will increase your muscle strength. This enhanced strength will allow you to light more weight and, therefore, place more stress upon your muscle cells. When fed and nourished with muscle building protein, the muscle will grow and get bigger.
Creatine will also allow you to recover more quickly between workouts and give you more energy for longer, harder workouts.
Creatine will increase lean body mass by increasing the fluid content of muscle cells. This, in turn, makes the muscle cell more anabolic. A study out of the Institute of Sports Medicine in Copenhagen, Denmark showed that creatine supplementation increased the number of muscle satellite cells in response to strength training. The number of satellite cells is a major determinant of the body’s ability to increase muscle mass.
Creatine has also been shown to have a number of beneficial effects to the brain. It allows you to study better, think more clearly and have greater powers of concentration.
How Does it Work?
When you lift a weight, cellular energy from your anaerobic system kicks into play. The energy used is called ATP. When we reach our maximum capacity, a phosphate drops off of ATP, restricting your performance. The ATP has now ben turned into ADP. Creatine has the ability to return the dropped phosphate, restoring ATP. As a result, you will be stronger and more explosive.
Once your form of exercise exceeds two and a half minutes, your aerobic system takes over the effects of creatine will be diminished.
What’s the Best Form of Creatine?
Creatine comes in a number of different forms, including ethyl-ester, citrate, kre-alkalyn. Creatine starts off as the base creatine phosphate. Then it is bonded to different salts to assist it’s absorption in the body. This creates the different forms of creatine.
The best creatine supplement is the one that has the most research behind it. At this time that is creatine monohydrate. It is the only form with a stack of peer reviewed studies to back it up. The best creatine supplement will be in monohydrate form. It will also have the CreaPure brand of creatine as it’s base. Creapure is an extremely well regarded and highly researched form of creatine that is manufactured in Germany.
Not only is monohydrate the best and most researched form of creatine available, it is also the cheapest.
What about Kre Alkalyn Creatine?
Kre Alkalyn has come onto the market as a replacement for creatine monohydrate on the basis that ceratine would lead to bloating. As already discussed, however, the bloating with some creatine products was due to the abunadance of sugar that was mixed with it. Kre Alkalyn manufacturers claim that their product will not break down as much into creatanine as monohydrate will. However, at least one study shows that Kre Alkalyn breaks down 30% more into creatanine than creatine monohydrate in the stomach. The evidence on the beneficial effects of Kre Alkalyn as a substitute for creatine monohydrate is lacking. Not only is it not as reputable as creatine, it is also more expensive.
Are There Any Side Effects?
According to research, supplementation with creatine is completely safe. However, when you supplement with creatine, your natural production of it will diminish. For that reason, it is recommended that you cycle your creatine use with a 12 week on, 4 week off cycle. In the off period, your natural creatine production will normalize.
Many people think that creatine leads to bloating. The reality is that creatine will draw water into your muscle cells, making your muscles fuller, not bloated. The water is in the cells, not under the skin, so it will not impact upon your leanness or stop you from getting ripped.
If you feel bloating after taking creatine, it is possible that you are taking a low grade product. Alternatively, you may be taking a creatine product that is mixed with a sugar product such as dextrose. It is the sugar rather than the creatine that is causing the problem. The solution is to switch to the best creatine supplement option.
If you experience gastro intestinal distress after taking creatine monohydrate, try reducing your creatine intake uptake you reach a level without distress. Alternatively, skip the loading phase altogether.
When you go off of creatine, you will lose a little weight due to the water being drawn out of the cells.
How Much to Take
The first three to five days of your creatine use should be a loading phase. During this time you should take 15 to 20 grams per day. Although it’s not essential to undergo this loading phase, doing so will allow you to saturate the muscle cells with creatine to kick start the process of strength enhancement. After the loading phase, go to a maintenance dose of 3 to 5 grams per day.
Take your creatine after your workout, as studies have shown that after training, creatine uptake is maximized. On non-training days, take it at breakfast time. You can either mix it with water or throw it in with your weight gainer product.
Getting the Most from Your Creatine
Creatine that is undissolved will go right through and come out as unused, un-absorbed product. One drawback of creatine monohydrate is that it is not very soluble. It is imperative, then, that the product is fully dissolved before you gulp it down. Tests have show that creatine monohydrate will dissolve much better in warm water than in cold water when mixed with a spoon. In fact, in cold water at least half of it will sit at the bottom of the glass without dissolving at all. You should also give your creatine monohydrate at least 3 minutes with regular stirring to completely dissolve before drinking it.
Creatine has been shown to work even better if taken with Beta Alanine and HMB.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the body. It is not, therefore, an essential amino acid. It’s muscle building benefit lies in it’s ability to aid in the synthesis of carnosine, which is a dipeptide found within muscle fiber. As a result, it has been shown to reduce muscle fatigue and enhance overall workout capacity as well as boosting explosive muscle strength. With beta-alanine you’ll be able to train harder for longer.
HMB is a natural product and is used in the body and found in a variety of foods including breast milk. HMB has been found to enhance immune-system function in animals and may prevent stress induced disease. Exercise induced muscle breakdown seems to be decreased with HMB, thereby speeding recovery from exercise induced muscle damage.
Research indicates that in some cases, HMB can speed the loss of body fat HMB seems to enhance gains in strength and mass in both experienced and novice lifters.The anabolic effects of resistance training seem to be increased by at least 50% with HMB supplementation.
Cell Volumizing Stack:
The Stack: Creatine; Glutamine; l-Arginine: Waxy Maize
Several studies show that glutamine and creatine mixed with a fast digesting carbohydrate (such as dextrose, maltodextrin or waxy maize) results in dramatic increases in muscular volume (size). Unlike dextrose or maltodextrin, however, waxy maize is not a sugar. Though it’s still considered a fast-digesting carb, compared to other sources, it’s able to bypass the stomach, be absorbed by the intestines and go to work much quicker. Arginine on the other hand, is a well-known intermediary needed to promote vasodilation (widening of blood vessels). Taken together, these supplements act to rapidly and potently increase your muscle pump and enhance muscle cell volume. This effect will not only make you to look bigger while working out, but will also provide a powerful stimulus for muscle hypertrophy (growth) over the long term.
Combine 3-5 grams of your favorite form of creatine, 3-5 grams of L-glutamine, 3-5 grams of L-arginine and 30 grams of waxy maize (check label instructions as some products recommend consuming it as a stand alone supplement). Mix this with 475 mls of water (you may want to add flavor and crystals to it) or add it to your pre-workout protein shake. Consume one serving 30 minutes before training and another immediately after.
Studies have also revealed that enhanced levels of insulin in the body assists to more quickly transport creatine to the muscle cell. Some researchers, therefore, advocate taking creatine along with carbohydrates, as carbs tend to spike your insulin levels. This can be a means of increasing creatine uptake in the cells. Studies shown that carbohydrate levels between 35 and 00 grams are sufficient to stimulate insulin release. Taking creatine along with or shortly after eating a meal, may prove beneficial in speeding up it’s muscle uptake. And, while you can purchase creatine products in liquid form that have added carbohydrates, they tend to be rather expensive. The most cost effective way to achieve this result is to take your creatine monohydrate with a meal. Your best bet would be to experiment with the timing of your creatine monohydrate ingestion to see which time works best for you.
Myth: Creatine is bad for the kidneys
Reality: Creatine is broken down into creatanin in the body. If you are supplementing with creatine you will have higher creatanin levels in your body. Kidney medical analysis tests check creatanin levels. However, that in itself is not a bad thing. Studies on creatine users have repeatedly shown that the kidneys continue efficiently processing creatinine. Creatine is a large molecule that has to pass through the kidneys, but it does so without incident. People without any prior kidney conditions will have no problems if they choose the best creatine supplement product.
Myth: More is Better
Reality: If you take more than around 5 grams at a time, a large percentage of it will be wasted. A study out of St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, users who ingested large amounts of creatine (0.1 grams per pound of body weight) excreted 46% of that creatine within 24 hours. So, larger amounts of creatine will not enhance the effect – it won’t even be absorbed. Even if you have the very best creatine supplement on the market, you should stick to the recommended dosage.
Myth: Creatine causes muscle cramps
Reality: There is absolutely no scientific evidence to back this, despite the fact that more clinical trials have been done on creatine than on any other supplement. In fact, these studies have shown just the opposite – supplementing with the best creatine supplement does not lead to cramping.
Myth: Liquid creatine is best
Reality: When in powder form, creatine is extremely stable. In liquid, however, it is anything but. In an acidic environment, creatine has a tendency to break down into creatinine, which is not going to do what you want it to do. If you are going to mix your creatine with your post workout weight gainer product, make sure that you drink it straight away.
Choose your creatine monohydrate only from companies who can provide lab analysis of their products. This will ensure that what’s on the bottle is actually in the bottle. It would pay to spend the extra money to purchase a micronized form of creatine monohydrate. This improves mixability.
Creatine is a safe and effective way to boost your strength and enhance your energy levels. The best creatine supplement to take is creatine monohydrate. Start with a loading phase of 15 to 20 grams for the first 3 to 5 days, then go to a maintenance level of 3 to 5 grams. Take your creatine monohydrate immediately after your workout on training days and with your breakfast on non-training days. Dissolve your creatine monohydrate completely in warm water.