Creatine Supplementation first caught the public eye following the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Ever since then researchers have been working hard to learn more about creatine and it’s benefits, and in 1993 creatine became sold commercially. As almost everybody that works out knows, creatine has become very popular amongst almost all athletes looking to boost their training sessions. As much as you try to fight it, eventually your muscles grow tired and your strength plummets. It could mean the end to your workout, so fight back. When you supplement with creatine, fatigue may be reduced to help you get the most out of your workouts. There are ton of websites selling creatine, most dont really have a guide to the product, or their guides are too long and streched just to fill a page. In this article we will try to give you all you need to know about creatine,in the short version, and if we do not cover everything you want to know, please contact us for more information. So lets get started!
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound that supplies energy to your muscles. It is made by the human body, and also found in some foods – primarily fresh meat. Creatine is produced in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys, and is transported to the body’s muscles through the bloodstream. Once it reaches the muscles, it is converted into phosphocreatine. This high-powered metabolite is used to regenerate the muscles’ ultimate energy source, ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).ATP, is known as the main energy source for cells in the body and aids in various functions like muscle contraction and protein production. When you workout, your ATP levels drop rapidly. So take Creatine to restore the ATP levels! It is recommended that you drink ample amounts of water while supplementing with creatine. Creatine supplementation causes muscle tissue to hold more water. Drinking a less then adequate amount of water as your body is taking on creatine can lead to diminished benefits, or in some cases, mild dehydration. As always consult a doctor before taking any supplements.
Is Creatine a Steroid?
Before we go any further lets address this common myth amongst those who aren’t familiar with creatine. The answer is NO its not a steroid. Creatine is not a hormonal product. It is not a testosterone pre-cursor, nor is it a prohormone. Creatine is a naturally occurring organic acid that helps in providing energy to muscles.
Different Forms of Creatine Supplements
Outside of protein supplements, creatine supplements are the most talked about and effective muscle building and performance supplements on the planet. Creatine supplements can provide a 10 to 15% boost in overall strength, and a lean muscle mass gain of up to 10 pounds. Because of their popularity, creatine supplements are extremely cost-effective, giving an athlete the most for their money.
Creatine supplements come in powder, pill or liquid forms. Because the powder form of creatine is most popular, many creatine supplements are flavored and sold as powdered drink mixes. Common flavors include grape and fruit punch.
Creatine Powder- Creatine powder is the most popular, and common form of creatine supplement. Creatine powders are sold as stand alone products, or are sold with flavoring powders as mixable drinks.
Creatine Capsules- Creatine capsules, or creatine pills, have gained popularity over the last several years. Creatine pills are sold as either 100% pure creatine, or mixed with other supplements including vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and more.
Creatine Liquid- Liquid creatine is packaged and marketed at a more easily digested form of creatine. Despite these claims, liquid creatine is not a very popular supplement.
Creatine Blends- Creatine blends combine various forms of creatine, often with other supplements such as simple carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and herbal extracts, to amplify potency, and increase digestion and athletic performance.
What Foods Contain the most Creatine?
Though creatine is naturally manufactured in the human body from amino acids, half of all stored creatine comes from the foods we eat. Creatine is primarily found within fresh meats. Chicken does not contain a substantial amount of creatine. Creatine is very heat sensitive. During cooking preparation, a good portion of a meat’s natural creatine levels are destroyed. At minimum, it is wise to supplement with at least 5 grams of creatine per day. Below is a list of foods that contain good amount of creatine.
Herring – 3 to 4.5 grams of creatine per pound of herring.
Pork – 2.25 grams of creatine per pound of pork.
Beef – 2 grams of creatine per pound of beef.
Salmon – 2 grams of creatine per pound of salmon.
Tuna – 1.8 grams of creatine per pound of tuna.
Cod – 1.35 grams of creatine per pound of cod.
Milk – 0.05 grams of creatine per pound of milk.
Cranberries – 0.001 grams of creatine per pound of cranberries.
Creatine Forms in Supplements
Creatine Monohydrate-is the best of the creatine supplement world. It is the most inexpensive form of creatine, and has been studied exhaustively. It is popular because it works. No other legal non-hormonal bodybuilding or sports supplement can come close to the potency of creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is 88% pure creatine bound with 12% water.
Creatine Ethyl Ester- is a relatively new, but extremely popular form of creatine. It is second in popularity only to creatine monohydrate. Scientists attach an ester to creatine, allowing it to pass through cell membranes much easier. Because of this, creatine ethyl ester absorbs more rapidly into muscle cells.
Creatine Micronized-is a new form of creatine monohydrate that has 20 times smaller particles than standard creatine. There are many advantages to upgrading to this pure form creatine, so consider adding micronized creatine to your workouts and fitness. Advantages to supplementing with micronized creatine, include: Fast absorption due to smaller creatine particles, quickly mixing into shakes or liquids, reduced chance of stomach discomfort.
Liquid Creatine- is a form of creatine that is completely dissolved, and supposedly, easier to digest. Unfortunately, creatine is very unstable when dissolved, so many early liquid creatine products were failures. Modern liquid creatine products are improved, and can remain solvent for up to a year.
Who can use Creatine?
Though creatine supplements are most popular with strength athletes and bodybuilders, they are actually perfect for anyone that is physically active. Creatine has been shown to boost endurance, strength and muscle mass. Creatine also has numerous health benefits. Like strengthening muscle cells, helps combat disease, improves mental functioning, and much more. It is also a must have supplement for vegetarians who don’t get creatine from fresh meat sources.
Bodybuilders-use creatine to increase lean muscle mass, and for extra energy and strength.
Powerlifters-use creatine to help endure intense workouts, and for the strength gains that it provides.
Endurance Training-Runners, bikers, and other endurance athletes use creatine to amplify their training sessions, and for its ability to help them dig deep when they need a quick burst of energy.
For Team Players-Athletes involved in team sports rely on creatine for extra strength, and for energy when the game is on the line.
New Year Resolution Types-Creatine isn’t just for hardcore athletes. It is a staple supplement, used by many individuals who are turning their lives around, and getting back into shape. Creatine helps them get stronger, and perform better. Also, the added muscle mass from creatine allows them to burn more fat.
Vegetarians-supplement with creatine for good health. As we’ve explored, creatine deficiency can lead to numerous health problems.
Primary Benefits From Taking Creatine.
Extra Energy-Creatine supplements boosts energy, allowing you to train or compete harder, longer, and dig deep when you need a big burst of energy. Creatine works to help restore ATP levels, preparing you to work hard again.
Protein Synthesis-Creatine supplementation stimulates muscle specific protein synthesis.
Muscle Volume-Creatine supplements volumize muscles, which in turn strengthens muscles cells. With a greater muscular volume, you are generally stronger, and will carry more lean muscle mass.
Lactic Acid-Creatine works as a lactic acid buffer, delaying muscle fatigue, and allowing you to work longer no matter what form of training you are doing.
Creatine Monohydrate-increases lean body mass, muscle hypertrophy (growth), strength gains, and leads to better power output in short bursts. It has a proven track record, and is an extremely inexpensive supplement.
Creatine Ethyl Ester-gives you the same muscle, strength and performance benefits as creatine monohydrate. It also provides you with some additional benefits. Creatine ethyl ester is a faster absorbing form of creatine, and is easier on the stomach.CEE is less likely to leave you feeling bloated. It should also be noted that CEE tastes very bitter.
Creatine Blends-are supplements that contain one or more forms of creatine mixed with other ingredients, such as vitamins and minerals, amino acids, simple carbohydrates and proprietary supplements blends that work towards amplify the effects of creatine. Creatine blends are generally formulated based on the latest clinical research, meaning that they are of best quality supplements on the market.
When & How to use Creatine Supplements?
Average the human body contains 120 grams of creatine. 95% of this creatine is stored in skeletal muscle. Muscle can hold an addition 30 to 40 grams of creatine, for a total of 150 to 160 grams. Pre-existing muscle mass is help when calculating this. Most common ways to take creatine are listed below:
Rapid Loading-It involves taking 20 grams of creatine for 5 to 7 days, then taking 5 to 10 grams per day thereafter. Creatine is generally taken 5 grams at a time, in a non-acidic fruit juice, or with dextrose.
Slow loading-Is a way of gradual loading, is simply taking 5 to 10 grams of creatine a day.
Both rapid loading and slow loading are effective. It is recommended that you experiment with both approaches. Experts recommend cycling creatine. 4 week cycles are very popular. Long term cycles can be used, but should be limited to 3 months in length. Taking creatine post workout is a logical and convenient time. Creatine stacks well with whey protein. Taking creatine with a 1 to 1 ratio of carbs to proteins can increase creatine absorption.
Compare Creatine Supplements
Since it became a world wide sensation creatine has been sold in many different ways. Below is a brief overview of different way it is sold, hopefully it will help you chose the best one for your needs. Search our site for best sellers in each category.
Creatine monohydrate- is popular pure micronized powder. Contains no calories, protein, fat or carbs. More advanced products are flavored and sold as mixable drink powder. Popular flavors include grape and fruit punch. It is not uncommon for creatine products to include other added supplements, such as glutamine, taurine, amino acids blends, or even blends of numerous other creatine forms.
Creatine Ethyl Ester-is a very bitter form, still it is sold in pure powder form as well. In general, creatine ethyl ester products are slightly more expensive, but are still an amazing value. CEE products are very similar to creatine monohydrate products. CEE is sold as flavored powders. You can also find creatine ethyl ester mixed with other forms of creatine in creatine blends.
Creatine Pills-They come in a variety of price ranges and products. Simple creatine pill supplements are generally just creatine monohydrate or creatine ethyl ester in capsule form. They are easy to swallow, and in general, more convenient. Creatine pills also leave no bitter taste in your mouth, and cause little to no bloating.
Can I Stack Creatine with Other Supplements?
With Protein and Carbohydrates-Creatine taken in conjunction with a 1 to 1 ratio of simple carbs (dextrose) to protein is an optimal combination for efficient and effective creation absorption. This combination is nearly equal in effectiveness to just taking creatine and dextrose alone. Because of this, creatine stacks well with protein powders and bars.
With Pre-Workout Supplements-Since pre-workout formulas contain some form of nitric oxide. Combination of creatine and nitric oxide creates an amazingly powerful pre-workout stack. Pumps and energy will be intense. The heightened mental and physical state that comes from NO will allow you to aggressively push deeper in your training sessions.
With Intra-Workout Supplements-Since Intra-workout supplements generally include waxy maize, BCAAs, and vitamins and minerals. Some intra-workout supplements also contain creatine, so often, there is no stacking required! The stack of creatine with intra-workout formulas makes sense. Creatine is generally taken pre or post-workout. Taking creatine with an intra-workout formula can allow for fast creatine absorption.
With Post-Workout Supplements-This is the ideal time to take creatine as most trainees do.
With Fat Burner Supplemets-Creatine is a natural fat burner. Because it helps mobilize energy, and allows you to train harder, longer, and with more weight, you will burn more calories. Add a fat burner to this mix, to propel your fat loss.
Just Started Training, is Creatine Safe For Me?
Yes. Creatine enhances energy and strength, and can heighten the efforts and muscle gains of beginners.
Can Women Use Creatine?
Yes.Creatine will help then tone up and lose fat. Creatine is a perfect supplement for active, athletic women.
Does Creatine Build Fat?
No. Creatine pulls water into skeletal muscle, giving you more lean muscle.
Does Creatine Have Side Effects?
No serious side effects have ever been documented in the clinical researching of creatine. After cycling off of creatine, you may feel like you have less energy.
Is Creatine good for Vegetarians?
Yes. Vegetarians derive very little creatine from the foods that they eat. Creatine supplementation is not so much an option as it is a necessity for vegetarians.
Can Pregnant Women Use Creatine?
Consult a physician on this one.