We’ve all heard the countless theories everyone has about Creatine and there have been times where I’d just want to rip my own ears off listening to the ridiculous rumours people choose to believe in about Creatine. Let me tell you one thing: It is way safer that the copious amounts of alcohol you ingest every week!
Anyway, so lets settle this once and for all and actually learn what Creatine Monohydrate is all about:
- What exactly is Creatine Monohydrate?
It is a NATURAL Ergogenic Supplement. Creatine Monohydrate is the most cost effective dietary supplement in terms of muscle mass and strength gains. It’s present in all our bodies naturally. Over 90% of the creatine present in the human body is found in muscle. It can be found in small amounts in animal food and can also be produced by our liver and kidneys from amino acids.
- How does it work?
Well, to quite simply put it: it makes protein synthesis a much more efficient process. Protein synthesis, for those of you who don’t know, is essentially muscle building and growth. The more efficient you can make this process, the more efficiently will you make your muscles grow.
- What are the benefits of Creatine Supplementation?
Taking Creatine Monohydrate as a supplement in the right dosage increases physical power and mechanical edge. It will increase instant energy output, which can be very beneficial for those doing a high intensity training regime. Furthermore, it boosts fat burning and improves metabolism and claims to increase strength in the elderly.
Some research also suggests Creatine supplementation may serve as a buffer in the muscle and may decrease muscle lactate accumulation, enhancing performance in sport events dependent on the lactic acid energy system.
- What are its side effects?
Here’s where most of you tend to go wrong. The ONLY proven side effect of Creatine after being studied for decades is that it throws off your body’s electrolyte and water balance. This can very easily be countered by upping your fluid (mainly water) intake when undergoing Creatine supplementation.
It is also important to note that within the first two weeks of starting your Creatine supplementation, you’re like to gain 2-4 pounds in water weight, which is completely normal. You are NOT becoming fat!!
It’s from week 3 onwards that you’ll start seeing muscle growth and strength gains.
- What kind of Creatine should I take?
Powder is the way to go. Studies show that liquid Creatine and Creatine ethyl ester (CEE) are unstable and break down in your blood system. Don't bother with them.
We recommend 100-percent pure Creatine Monohydrate powder. Some companies add electrolytes and other ingredients, but tests indicate those do little to improve performance.
Save money and buy Creatine powder and [mix it with] fruit juice.
Fruit juice? That's right—the sugar in the juice raises insulin levels, which helps increase Creatine uptake into the muscle.
You need about 70 grams of simple sugars for every five grams of Creatine. Look for a drink or supplement with 60 grams of Carbs per 100 grams of product.
Note: To ensure your body maximizes the benefits of Creatine, buy the best stuff you can afford. It's your body—this isn't the time to get cheap.
You'll know the powder is of poor quality if it's hard to dissolve and there's residue at the bottom of your glass after you drink it. You want the powder in your muscles, not in the glass. If this happens, try a different brand.
- When should you take Creatine?
To maximise the complete benefits of Creatine, it is recommended that you take it immediately after your workout. Before or during your workout, Creatine intake is not recommended.
Note: Caffeine may negate the benefits of Creatine by inhibiting Phosphocreatine re-synthesis, which takes place in the recovery phase of exercise. So avoid taking Creatine along with caffeine.
- What kind of training regimen best complements Creatine supplementation?
It is shown that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Heavy Weight Strength training (6-10 rep range) best complements Creatine Supplementation to achieve optimal levels of muscle growth and strength gains.
That’s it! You are now fully equipped with all the knowledge you need to decide whether Creatine supplementation is the right move for you. Should you decide to take it, just remember to up your water and electrolyte intake to counter it’s side effect. The next time you hear some ignorant remark about creatine supplementation, you can either correct that person or smirk and walk away knowing that it’s not true. Your choice! All the best!
- Prateek Lata
Williams, Melvin H. (1998). The Erogenics Edge: Pushing the Limits of Sports Performance. Champaign: Human Kinetics.
Schwarzenegger, Arnold. (1998). The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. New York: Fireside.