Creatine is quite possibly one of the most mainstream supplements available today. Creatine benefits range from increased endurance to higher strength. Anyone from runners to bodybuilders to healthy, active individuals can benefit. So where does it come from? What does it do exactly? Should you take it? I’ll walk through each one here.
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- Increases endurance
- More explosive strength
- Improved muscle size and strength
- Enhanced recovery
- Higher brain function
When I set out to research creatine for the first time I learned a lot. I couldn’t believe how many studies had been done. Hundreds are in the books to date, and the results are astonishing.
I can’t remember the first time I used it, but I know it makes a huge difference in my workouts as well as appearance. Creatine benefits are ones that I’ve enjoyed thoroughly. In a previous article I share my own data on creatine and it’s impacts.
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So how exactly does this work? There’s a lot of science behind it, but I’ll make it simpler. Your muscles use ATP (adenosine triphosphate) when they act or generate force. This ATP is what I like to consider as a “fuel” which is converted to ADP (adenosine diphosphate) when it’s used. Creatine aids in allowing there to be a higher concentration of ATP for the muscles to utilize. Many will say this is oversimplified and that I’ve “butchered” the explanation, but I don’t like going complex for this type of post. If you want a more physiological answer than a quick Google search will turn up a lot of medical papers and in-depth explanations.
Where does creatine come from? Well it’s often said that every 1 pound of meat contains 2 grams of creatine. Meats like steak, chicken, and fish are typical. You can also supplement with creatine in powder form for higher concentrations. This also makes it easier so you don’t have to consume an entire pound of meat just for 2 grams. (Or worse yet eat 5 pounds for your 10 grams of creatine).
The most common way people will take creatine is with a “loading phase”. I personally don’t do this, but you can. Loading with 30g of creatine every day helps saturate your body more quickly. (Could you imagine eating the 15lbs of meat required to get that?). This is then followed by 5-10g of creatine daily.
I personally use 5-10g daily and split it before and after my workout. If I’m only taking 5g I just take it whichever time is more convenient. When combined with proper diet and passionate exercise you can expect to see a noticeable difference when using creatine.