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A Beginners Guide to Using Creatine Supplements

If you are serious about your training programme, you may be considering adding a Creatine supplement to your diet.

There are many different kinds of supplements on the market but Creatine is one of the original, and still the best, when it comes to providing results you can see.

Whether you are looking to pump up your muscle growth, ease the burn or simply boost recovery time, Creatine can help. Here’s an introduction to Creatine for beginners who have never used it before.

Creatine can help take some of the pain out of your workout, allowing you to work harder and longer for better results

Creatine can help take some of the pain out of your workout, allowing you to work harder and longer for better results

What it is and why it’s important 

Creatine is a naturally occurring substance which is primarily stored in the muscles all over your body and can be either metabolised by the liver by combining three separate amino acids, or eaten as part of your diet.

Creatine plays a vital role for any athlete who needs an explosive burst of power, such as a bodybuilder or a sprinter. This is because it transforms an inactive substance in your body (ADP) into ATP, the compound the muscles need to be able to contract. Although fat and carbohydrates can also provide energy, the process needed to extract it is too slow for sudden demands on the muscles.

Without Creatine, the muscles quickly run out of ATP and become too fatigued to work. And for athletes of any kind, this means the end of training for the day. With no exceptions.

As well as being the ball boy for your muscles energy requirements, Creatine also works by preventing lactic acid from building up. Lactic acid is one of the reasons your muscles start to burn when you have been pumping them to the max, and can also spell the limit of training.

And if the above wasn’t enough, Creatine also helps to boost protein synthesis, the building blocks of muscle growth.

So to summarise, no Creatine means a limited workout due to a lack of energy, the nasty hot burn in your limbs and poor muscle growth.

So how do I increase the levels of Creatine?

Your body will continue to manufacture a certain amount; this is determined by your overall body weight and also your muscle mass.

However, you can give it a helping hand by eating Creatine-rich foods.

As Creatine is stored in skeletal muscle of all vertebrate animals, the best foods to eat to up your intake are red meat and fish. Wild boar, deer and other game meat contain the highest levels but this is expensive and much more difficult to obtain that regular steaks. Therefore, the easiest way to increase consumption of creative is by eating more beef, pork, steak and fish, although the latter is by far the healthiest option. Salmon, herring and tuna contain particularly beneficial levels of Creatine.

But the Creatine demands of an athlete on an intensive training programme will be far higher than can be consumed solely through a Creatine-rich diet which is why many people opt to take a Creatine supplement.

Venison is a particularly rich, if expensive, source of Creatine

Venison is a particularly rich, if expensive, source of Creatine

 

Is Creatine safe?

Although Creatine can revolutionise your workout, the important thing to realise is that the impact is part of a natural process using substances produced by your body.

Creatine does not affect your hormone levels in any way so you won’t get any mood disturbances or skin problems that are associated with some of the less desirable supplements and drugs. Creatine has been used as a sports supplement for many years and countless studies have concluded that it is safe.

Of course, like anything, if you choose to ignore the dosage instructions and deliberately take too much, especially over a prolonged period of time, you could experience some problems. Any excess Creatine not used by the body needs to be excreted. If this is excessive and sustained, you could get complications with your kidneys and liver as they become strained with overwork.

How to use Creatine

With Creatine you are looking to reach the point where you see a difference for the minimum dosage because anything above this will just be excreted anyway.

For many people, an effective dose when taken as a powder is around 5g per day; if you use it in serum form then 2.5g may be sufficient because of its superior absorption rate.

With some supplements, experts suggest ‘loading’ when you first start using it. This means taking a much bigger dose to start with to get it into your system. This hasn’t proven to be effective with Creatine; studies have shown that after four weeks you end up with the same results either way (although gains in the first week may initially be quicker they soon flatten out). So all loading does is put more money in the pockets of those that sell it! If you are looking for a reliable online supplier visit www.supplementsmegastore.com/ for a range of Creatine products.

Cycling is another questionable area. With some supplements cycling is essential in order to give the body a break as it involves stopping taking the powder or pill for a short period regularly. No conclusion has been reached yet with Creatine about whether cycling is beneficial or necessary so the choice is entirely yours.

Conclusion

Creatine is a best-selling supplement which has been an essential for many athletes for a number of years. With no harmful side effects when taken correctly, the potential gains for any athlete needing explosive strength plus the power and endurance to be able to train harder and longer make it a very valuable addition to your training programme.

 

Image credits: Elido Turco – Gigi and Ewan-M

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