Creatine, Your Super Drug
Wait, creatine isn’t even a drug. But to me it seems to fit the description of this write up. Creatine is a substance found naturally in our muscles that aid in movement and muscle function. If you eat skeletal meat of any kind like chicken, steak, beef ect. then you are already consuming some creatine each day. When it comes to training, creatine specifically helps enhance our ability to move large loads, recover faster and execute explosive and powerful movements at higher velocities and with more frequency. See, I told you, “super drug”. There are some myths about creatine that I hope to dispel for you through this blog and also let you know that it is something for anyone and everyone who seeks to reach their specific goals through training and proper nutrition.
Creatine has a direct affect on our energy molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is something we need to perform at high intensities and the more available it is to us the better we can perform more often, regardless of the task. When we train ATP loses one of it’s phosphates and becomes ADP (adenosine diphosphate) which isn’t as useful for our next set or next rep. When we have more creatine readily available it helps us get that ADP back into ATP so we can continue on chasing our success with more energy!
Myth: Creatine will make me gain water weight and it’s dangerous.
Does creatine create a gain in water weight? Yes, it can. It can create more water in the muscles, which is not a bad thing. This doesn’t put stress on the kidneys and it does not put you at greater risk for injury of any kind. Not only that, but the water increase is minimal on the scale. The reason creatine used to be known to “cycle on and cycle off” was because it was primarily used by body builders, just like the gym in general. But as we’ve grown in knowledge and experience we know that training and the gym brings everyone of us value, just like creatine can. The reason body builders had to cycle off is due to their goals of their shows. They want to be so lean that they actual hope to be dehydrated the day of the show, so carrying water in the muscles isn’t optimal for someone who hopes to be around 4% body fat or lower. They want to appear striated and even vascular in their abs and even butt cheeks…..most of us don’t want to, and shouldn’t want to be that lean. It is not healthy. But some more water in the muscles and more available ATP to fuel better recovery and performance, everyone should want that. Myth dispelled.
Myth: I should have a loading phase of creatine and also cycle off of it.
Over time and through more and more available data we see that “loading” creatine is unnecessary. This may have even been a tool that lead consumers to use creatine faster in hopes to increase purchase rate by brands. We see clearly through studies we’ve looked into that the most studied and effective dosage seems to be 10 grams of creatine monohydrate a day (2 scoops of Rebuild). There are athletes who swear by taking even more and studies have shown no ill side effects for people taking up to 30 grams a day. But I want to caution you, more of sometihng doesn’t mean it’s better. Even when something works for you, there is a point of diminished returns. This means that while 10 grams may create a noticeable change, just because you up it to 30 grams doesn’t mean it will increase performance. There just isn’t enough data to show that yet, or we’d be designing and suggesting you take that much. We prescribe 10 grams a day for people. And you don’t need to cycle off. Creatine is already in your muscles and also in forms of skeletal meat you eat like chicken, beef, steak, ect. Creatine being a natural appearing molecule, much like protein, means it’s something we are already getting through nature and supplement it to make sure we are getting “enough” to optmize our performance or reach our goals. No need to cycle off and on. It is great for daily use. Myth dispelled.
Myth: Creatine is only for athletes
No. Creatine can be used by children, elite athletes, sedentary adults and even elderly adults. It is a product for everyone. It seems as though the more we study creatine the more we find out it is useful for. Creatine has nootropic characteristics and has been found to even aide in memory recall and brain function. Again, it is a natural substance much like protein, it is safe for children to elderly and enhances much more than your performance in the gym. With improved cognitive function and even signs of increased lean body mass this supplement seems like a go to for our aging parents or grandparents. As we age our energy, lean body mass and memory can take a hit. This happens due to lifestyle, father time and the natural degradation of the body. If we have a chance to enhance these aspects and fight off the effects of aging, then why not?! My dispelled.
Myth: Creatine is only for power athletes.
Do you want to know a harsh truth? Everyone is a power athlete. Even if you run ultra marathons, if you don’t have an element of power development in your training then you are on a crash course with slow, flat and deteriorating muscles. But I digress, even endurance athletes are using creatine and seeing tremendous benefits from it. Again remember what it does. This molecule enhances and creates more available energy for our muscles to use. Even if you are on a trail running 5 mile repeats or on a treadmill or bike doing block training to prepare for a triathlon creatine will help you increase overall power output in your workouts. If you can have stronger finishes to your workouts over time you will develop faster paces for your races. Recover and regeneration is the name to any competitive game. Myth dispelled.
Myth: Creatine will make me stronger.
I have bad news. Creatine doesn’t just make you stronger. Creatine provides you the energy and explosive power to put in the work to make you stronger. So no, taking creatine to replace hard work and commitment won’t get you jacked, faster, stronger or a faster half marathon time. But, if you use creatine and couple it with an indomitable will and work ethic you will find the words I presented at the top of this article to be true. It can be your super drug. But unfortunately for many, you have to do the work. Myth dispelled.
So what do you think? Is creatine for you? The answer is yes. You’re welcome.