Creatine is another one of those supplements you see with superhero-like bodybuilders on the side of the tub. If you've ever wondered what it is and how it can help you in your training, this article will interest you.
What actually is Creatine?
Creatine monohydrate is a supplement often consumed in powder form and mixed with liquid. It is a substance stored in our muscles as a form of fuel. By increasing the creatine in the body through supplementation, muscle fatigue comes much further down the line. By taking creatine, it is possible to increase muscular endurance, thus making you stronger.
Creatine causes you to retain water within your muscles, as a result they can appear fuller, and larger in volume. This is often seen as a side effect, and should settle down after the loading comsumption phase is complete. (See usage below).
The suggested method to take creatine is to go through what's known as a “loading phase”. Using this method, you saturate the muscles within a five-day period. In order to do this, approximately 20g of creatine powder is taken per day. During a loading phase, it is best to break up the dosages throughout the day, taking in around 5g at a time. Once the five-day phase is up, it is best to bring the dosage down around up to 10g per day.
This can be done for between 1 and a half to 3 months before repeating, depending on the results experienced.
While most people choose to ingest the powder with water, another method is combine it with a simple carbohydrate. The most popular example of this is mixing creatine powder with a fruit juice, such as grape juice. Opting to consume it this way makes the body’s insulin levels peak, which allows the creatine to more rapidly absorb into the muscles. It is believed that 70g of simple carbohydrates for every 5g of creatine is optimal.
Potential Side Effects
Supplementing with creatine has occasionally been thought to lead to serious side effects such as kidney damage and even heart problems. These claims are unsubstantiated and no evidence has been found to support this. However, lesser side effects like muscle cramps, dehydration, and diarrhoea are a little more common.1 It is suggested that if you experience any of the above symptoms to cease use of creatine immediately and seek professionally medical advice from a general practitioner.
Creatine is deemed a safe supplement to use to boost athletic performance, and when used correctly can help increase muscular endurance.