What Does Creatine Do?

Creatine increases the body’s ability to produce energy rapidly. With more energy, you can train harder and more often, producing faster results. The ability to lift one or two more reps as a result of creatine providing the quick energy, and your muscles will get bigger and stronger. Research shows that creatine is most effective in high-intensity training, and explosive activities. This includes weight training and sports that require short bursts of effort, such as sprinting, football, and baseball.There is less support to indicate that creatine improves endurance performance and aerobic-type exercise.

If you take creatine, you’ll gain weight. While the initial gain of about two to four pounds in the first week of supplementation is due to water, subsequent gains are muscle due to the increase in the workload you can handle. Creatine is an osmotically active substance, and as such it pulls water into your muscle cells, which increases protein synthesis. Muscle fibers grow when you take creatine, but only if you take advantage of the boost in energy when you’re in the gym. Otherwise, it is just water weight.

Researchers are constantly studying creatine—for effectiveness and safety. That’s why many trainers and health experts support the use of creatine: Studies indicate it’s safe. Creatine is one of the most-researched sports supplements, and there’s no evidence to suggest it’s unsafe. There have been anecdotal reports of kidney damage, heart problems, muscle cramps and pulls, dehydration, and diarrhea, in addition to other negative side effects. Some of these conditions can be caused by consuming too much of certain vitamins, such as too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea, and too much iron may lead to stomach problems. To be safe, only use creatine if you are healthy and have no kidney problems. That’s because your kidneys excrete creatinine, a breakdown product of creatine.

Meat, especially herring and beef, have high levels of creatine, so vegetarians usually see a greater response when they begin supplementation. Those whose diets are highly carnivorous may see less dramatic results. A healthy diet is important to anyone’s muscle-building plan. If your diet is poor, there’s really no point to using creatine. You would be better served to eat good sources of carbohydrates and protein, than supplementing a poor diet with creatine

Powder is the superior form of creatine. Studies show that liquid creatine and creatine ethyl ester are unstable and break down in your blood system. It is best consumed in sugary drink like fruit juice. 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.

To ensure your body maximizes the benefits of creatine, buy the best you can afford. 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 bottom of the glass.

Happy Lifting!

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2 comments for “What Does Creatine Do?

  1. September 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    An added bonus: even the high quality versions are pretty cheap – especially compared to the other less-studied, less-substantiated supplements out there.

    I also wish girls weren’t so afraid of it. I noticed a marked difference in strength gains and endurance once I started using it.

    • Lifestyle and Strength
      September 15, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      Creatine is definitely one of the better value supplements available. It definitely helps with strength. I’m not sure why females are afraid of weights and the like as a general rule. Its not like turning into a monster is all that easy! Everyone reading this, do yourselves a favor and check out Jill’s blog, you won’t be disappointed!

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