Creatine – What’s It All About & How Can It Improve Training?

What is Creatine?

You have probably heard of creatine by now, if you’re not using it already. It’s name has been bandied about as ‘the best nutritional supplement for athletes and bodybuilders alike’.

 It isn’t new – in fact, it exists within all of us already. Creatine is a naturally occurring nitrogenous organic acid that helps to recycle the energy currency of cells in muscle and brain tissues.

Perhaps surprisingly, it only caught the public’s attention as a workout supplement in the 1990s, when famously British athletes Linford Christie, Colin Jackson and Sally Gunnell all used the powdered form to help them win Gold.CREATINE MONOHYDRATE

The human body produces creatine at around 1-2mg a day. It is produced mainly in the liver, and in smaller amounts in the kidneys and pancreas, and is stored within the skeletal muscle. We absorb around 1g per day of creatine naturally within our diet through sources such as meat and fish,

How does it work?

Creatine helps the conversion of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. So the more ATP is available for the body to use, the more energy becomes available for intense exercise.

By supplementing your body with additional creatine, it allows the body to be ready for intense bouts of exercise faster than it would be without it.

How does it help?

There is a lot of hyperbole around the power of creatine, but does it live up to the hype? Is it the ‘wonder supplement’ that some claim, or does it have its limitations?

The Truth

As a supplement, many studies have shown benefits on increasing strength, power and lean muscle tissue.

In controlled studies creatine appears to have improved average sprint time, and resistance to fatigue during repeated sprints of around 30 seconds.

Longer term studies have also shown marked increases in sprint performance, strength and power, muscle size and lean body mass.

The benefit of being able to perform resistance exercise at high intensity for a longer time means that gains in lean muscle mass can be achieved much easier.

This is ideal for weight training because it provides huge benefits for short-duration, high-intensity exercise.

In terms of increasing high- intensity training capacity and muscle mass, it does seems to be unrivalled by any other nutritional supplement.

SCI-MX athlete Daniel Ventura often supplements his workout with Creatine Monohydrate;

“Supplementing creatine has given me that extra boost I need to make the gains I want in my workout. I’ve definitely seen my muscle mass increase since adding creatine to my daily training diet”

The Limitations

Creatine increases the flow of water to the muscles which can cause unnecessary water retention within the muscles. Whilst this is unlikely to cause any health problems , it can lead to muscles appearing soft rather than firm.

Like any supplement creatine does have some reported side effects in some people including muscle cramps, upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness and elevated blood pressure.

If you have a naturally high level of creatine already, taking a normal creatine supplement may not improve your performance.

Thankfully our advanced creatine supplements such as Creaplex Hardcore which stack creatine monohydrate and pyruvate with chromium and alpha-lipoic acid for enhanced uptake – plus muscle supporting HMB, glutamine, taurine and glycine

How do I use it?

It is easy to include creatine as part of your daily diet. Taking 3-5g of creatine a day in a powder supplement such as Creatine CT-MX either before or after a high- intensity workout can take your training to the next level.

Taking it with fruit or a fruit juice or smoothie such as our Very Berry Super Shake has also been shown to improve absorption.

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