Easily one of the most researched, yet misunderstood supplements on the market today, creatine has been found to have many health benefits, and to be crucial for fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike. In fact, there are over 1,000 studies conducted that show creatine to be one of the top supplements for exercise performance. (1) So what are the benefits, and how can creatine be used to take your training to the next level? Well, keep on reading to find out more.
Despite the rumors that many believe, creatine has been found to be very safe to consume. I have heard people claim that creatine causes kidney damage, liver damage, bloating, blah blah and etc. I have even heard people group creatine as an anabolic steroid, claiming it should only be used by athletes or bodybuilders…YIKES. Creatine has been found to be one of the safest supplements on the market.
There are hundreds of studies which have focused on creatine’s effects. Over 70% show a positive effect, while the other 30% show a small or insignificant effect. 0% negative effects have been found.
There are many forms of creatine, unfortunately most being marketed with BOLD claims, which are unsupported by research. The most studied and proven form of creatine is monohydrate, with many studies to support its safety and effectiveness.
Creatine is found throughout your body, with about 95% being stored within your muscles. It is found externally in meat and fish, and is created naturally in your body by amino acids, however through diet alone can not maximize muscle stores. During training and exercise, creatine can help you produce more energy. To really understand how it works, you have to understand how your cells produce energy, thats a lesson for another time. In simple terms, ATP, the most basic form of energy in cells, is depleted as you exercise. Creatine gives your muscle cells the capacity to produce more energy. So, the more creatine you have, the more energy your cells can produce, enhancing performance. Although enhancing energy production is creatine’s main benefit, it offer many more that can be beneficial to taking your training and fitness to the next level.
Creatine is also used to help protein synthesis in the muscles. Protein synthesis is the stacking of protein cells in the tears in your muscles to help promote strength, recovery, and mass gains.
Creatine can be used for sprint/ endurance athletes, strength and power athletes, and those looking to improve general fitness. Creatine has been found to increase max reps, sprint time, endurance distance, and explosiveness just to name a few.
Energy production is probably one of the most researched and supported benefits of creatine, but did you know that it can offer so much more? Below are some of the benefits of supplementing with creatine.
At the end of the day, creatine is an effective supplement with powerful benefits for both athletic performance and your health.
Now that you know WHY you should use creatine, I’m sure you’re wondering not only HOW, but WHEN to use creatine. Creatine can be taken in different stages of your workout, depending on your goal. Since creatine has properties that benefit you before, during, and after training, WHEN you take creatine is depending on your preference.
To start using creatine, start with what is called a “loading phase”. A loading phase is the fastest way to increase creatine muscle stores. When you load creatine, you take a higher dose, usually between 10-15 grams for the first few days, followed by your maintenance doses of 3-5 grams every day. The fastest absorption can be provided when taken with carbs and/or protein.
Now on when to use it. The best times to use creatine is either directly before, or after you exercise. One study in particular, focused on whether the most effective time to take 5 grams of creatine was before or after you train on your training days. During this study, those who trained 5 days a week and took creatine, were found to have a greater increase in lean mass, and a greater decrease in fat when taken after your training. (7) Taking it before will help with energy production, and decrease muscle fatigue.
When supplementing on rest days, the goal is to keep the muscle stores elevated, so when you take it is quite not as important. The best way to supplement on rest days is to take your creatine with a meal.
Creatine is essential if you are serious about your fitness and training. Although WHEN to take creatine is highly debated, adding it to your diet before, during, or after training has been found to have many health benefits. When choosing creatine, be sure to stick with the monohydrate form that contains no fillers. Many companies offer a low dose with a bunch of filler and BOLD claims to get you to waste money. But here at Valor Labz, we offer nothing but high quality, PURE Creatine monohydrate, no fillers, no BS. So now that you know WHY you should be taking creatine, WHAT is stopping you?
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