Creatine 101

How does it work? And who can use it?

These are the most common questions asked regarding this sport supplement which has been around for decades. Is it only safe to use for bodybuilders? Can women use it as well? Will it make me bulky and bloated? In this article we will answer these questions and explain the importance behind why creatine is so beneficial.

What Is Creatine?

When performing any physical activity, the body utilizes various substrates as a source of energy namely, phosphocreatine, carbs, fats and protein. The most immediate energy source which the body requires to perform is Phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine is converted into creatine to provide the body with energy (ATP) to produce movement for any activity lasting less than 20 seconds. Thereafter, the body will tap into other energy pathways. It can be synthesized via the liver and kidneys, but most of the creatine in the body is obtained via the consumption of primarily red meats.

Why Take it?

As mentioned, its the primary energy fuel required for short burst or explosive movements, therefore supplementing the body with additional creatine will assist in the following ways:

• Improved strength

• Boost in power

• Enhanced muscle recovery

• Improved muscle growth

• Improved IGF-1 levels

• Injury prevention

The above-mentioned factors clearly reinforce the reasoning behind the popularity of creatine; and as to why so many fitness and sports athletes regard it as a “must have” in every muscle performance stack. Its best suited towards those fitness athletes focusing on strength, speed or power training. When it comes to endurance-based events, the body will use primarily carbs and fats for energy to fuel the movements required. Therefore, creatine will not be as beneficial for endurance athletes as it would be for muscle building, strength or speed seeking athletes. Creatine is not suitable for under 18’s.

How To Use it

There may be a few misconceptions as to which way is the best method in using creatine. According to Kreider R.B, a 5-7 day loading phase, comprising of 4 x 5g (or 0.3g/kg body weight) servings each day, proves to be highly successful in saturating creatine stores (normal creatine muscles stores are only at 60-80% capacity).

The loading phase can speed up the muscle-creatine saturation process, in comparison to a general 2-10g daily approach which can take up to 3 weeks before stores have become completely filled. The significance behind reaching optimal/maximal levels of creatine is to ensure that you can obtain the maximum benefits from it in your training. Once the loading phase has been completed, you can adopt a 2-10g daily dosage for maintenance purposes. Ideally it is best to split your maintenance servings as follows:

One serving before workout (+- 5g)*

One serving post workout (+- 5g)*

*serving size is dependent on body mass

In addition, it is always great to consume creatine with a high GI carbohydrates source, as this will assist in spiking the uptake into the muscle tissue.

In summary, creatine has a great potential in improving your training performance abilities and helping you reach your desired goals. Always remember that it is more beneficial for those athletes focusing on high intensity, power, speed and strength training. Stick to the recommend dosages and reap the rewards!

USN Creatine options:

USN Pure Creatine

USN Creatine HCl

USN Hyper Cell Anabolic

USN Creatine Transport

Reference:

https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z