Creatine A New You
It seems no matter whom you talk to, they have an opinion on creatine. Some of which strongly side with supplementing it, others firmly think it’s a placebo effect at best that renders results, and of course you have the indifferent person who can almost always recite what they’ve been told. Where do we draw the line?
Creatine in the body serves as a fuel source for ATP, ATP being our go-to chemical source when triggering bursts of speed and power. The fact that our body naturally gets it through diet and utilizes it should be proof enough that proper supplementation could render great benefits. You might ask yourself why one wouldn’t rely on diet alone to get the amount of creatine needed, and while it’s a good question, it’s also easily answered – we likely can’t. It isn’t to say the normal person who exerts normal amounts of energy and lives the most normal life known to man couldn’t get the appropriate amount of creatine through consumption of beef, poultry, and/or fish, but this site and lifestyle isn’t geared towards those people. Beyond looking at certain levels of activity alone we need to also realize that creatine is easily broken down under high temperatures. This makes the amount you get after cooking it under high heat, a bit of a crapshoot. Fish turns into a beaming candidate as a primary dietary source of creatine. The fact that fish can be eaten raw serves as the best preservation possible for potential amounts to be consumed. A typical serving size of herring can render 6-10g of creatine, which is perfect for the person who can eat fish everyday and not bat an eyelash. The point is, can you get the daily amount? Unless you measure out a teaspoon of creatine (which typically is 5 grams) and take it as directed, it can be a guessing game when talking food-sourced creatine alone. Really it just boils down to preference. If you choose not to take supplements, by all means there are ways to get your creatine, you just need to be diligent about the sources you seek out.
Now that we’ve covered the optional ways to source your creatine, how do you take it if you decide to supplement it? In understanding how we take it, it should first be made evident that it isn’t similar to things like caffeine, in that you feel the effects once taken. Instead you have to maintain a steady level for your body to efficiently prolong the explosive and powerful output of ATP. It is for this reason that a weeklong loading phase is suggested, taking anywhere from 15-25 grams per day. This isn’t 15-25 grams in a one shot deal, instead it is 5-10 grams spaced out during the day, often before and after a workout. Once the loading week has run its course you can move into the daily-suggested amount of 5-10 grams. Again, while it can be taken anytime of the day, often it’s centered around the workout of the day. Personally I prefer to take it before and after a workout, ideally with some high glycemic index carbohydrates – this goes hand in hand with the “anabolic window” and getting an insulin spike to drive sugar into the cells and utilize protein (and now creatine) to its full potential. In any event, keeping a maintenance dose in your system with a daily regimen means you’ll be in a surplus regardless of timing.
Creatine strengthens the muscular contraction of fast twitch fibers. This ultimately gives you more bang for your buck by allowing more reps and longer output, translating to strength and endurance gains. Google creatine and you can find a list of benefits from the above mentioned to increased brain function and glucose tolerance. Considering the body genuinely wants the stuff because it allows us to run at higher speeds for longer time, it makes sense that it can touch so many things in such a positive manner. On the other hand, there are no actual documented side effects that prove detrimental when taking creatine. The biggest concern is with staying properly hydrated. Creatine draws water from the surrounding cells and moves it into the muscle. Knowing this makes sense that we should keep hydration as a key ingredient when supplementing this wonder-stuff. I encourage people to do their own research before jumping onboard with any sort of supplement, but I can guarantee the world wide web and books alike will support all the things touched on during this rundown.