Have you ever asked yourself “should I take creatine?” Apart from protein shakes, Creatine — pronounced cree-ate-een, in case you didn’t know! — is quite probably the world’s most used supplement.
But despite it being widely available, there’s still loads of confusion surrounding the stuff.
How long should you take it for?
WHEN should you take it? What does it actually do? And is it worth your cash?
Here is everything you need to know about creatine and it’s muscle-boosting, cell-volumizing, energy-increasing effects.
What exactly is creatine?
First up, what actually IS creatine? And what does it do? Here’s the science: Creatine is essentially a fusion of three different amino acids —glycine, methionine, and arginine — which are usually found in foods like fish and lean meat.
Creatine regenerates something called ATP, or adenosine triphosphate — basically, the energy that’s stored in your muscle cells.
Sounds pretty impressive, right? Wait, there’s more.
Creatine can increase ATP energy when you work out, so you get the maximum amount of the stuff in your muscle cells.
Here’s the bit that will blow your mind: Creatine, when taken on a regular basis, can give you a much-needed boost in the gym.
But if you are looking to pack on some monster mass, lean up or get shredded, creatine won’t perform miracles, but it can give you an extra burst of energy when you need it most. It will definitely give you that extra push to perform more reps or do more intervals on a treadmill at high intensity.
How do you take it?
Here’s the complicated bit: There’s a lot of contention about how much creatine your body actually needs and when you need to consume it.
The general school of thought is that you should take about three to five grams of the stuff every day, preferably before your workout, as well as on non-training days.
Should I take Creatine With Water or Juice?
It doesn’t really matter how you take it but I prefer to take it with a glass of water. All you do is scoop a serving into into a glass or shaker, add water or juice and drink it.
It doesn’t really taste of anything (certainly not anything overpowering) and depending on the brand you opt for, should mix pretty well.
Some Athletes and pro bodybuilders advocate what’s called “creatine loading.”
This is when you consume a lot more creatine — anywhere up to 20 grams — for about a month to “load” your body with the supplement.
The reason behind it?
Well, the theory goes that the cell-volumizing effect of creatine (it effectively draws water into your muscles, giving them a denser look) happens quicker during the loading process.
There’s studies to support both methods of taking creatine and there’s not really a right or wrong answer. Do your research and decide what’s right for you.
What’s creatine monohydrate?
You might have seen the term “creatine monohydrate” before. This is just one of the many types of creatine (there’s creatine ethyl ester, or CEE and creatine serum to name just two) but it’s generally considered the best.
Unlike some other varieties, creatine monohydrate has finer particles and mixes well.
If you haven’t taken this supplement before, you might want to start off with a creatine monohydrate product.
It’s been used for years and there are loads of scientific studies that document the effects of the supplement.
Which brand should I go for?
Not all creatine brands are created equal. Some have a chalky, lumpy texture that’s difficult to mix while others are super expensive and essentially do the same thing as cheaper brands.
Some whey proteins and pre-workouts are formulated with creatine though most people purchase this supplement separately.
One of the most popular brands out there is Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder, which contains 3.4 grams of pure creatine monohydrate in each serving to help increase muscle power and endurance in your workouts.
The supplement has a smooth taste that doesn’t feel gritty or lumpy on the tongue and mixes well with juice, water or protein.
Plus, it can be taken at any time during the day. Whether you want to do high-intensity training, squats or deadlifts, creatine can give you more stamina when in the gym.
Basically, creatine is one of the best supplements on the market, restoring ATP energy levels and drawing water into the muscles.
If you’re struggling in the gym, creatine can give you an energy boost — turbocharging your workouts. Creatine can produce more strength and more effective workouts.
Looking for a brand that gives you more power?
Have you ever tried creatine before? If so, which brand? Has it helped you perform better workouts? Would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below!