What, Why and How to Use Creatine
Over the last 30+ years, Creatine has become the most widely researched nutritional supplement on the market. And, with very good reason.
If you are someone looking to increase your lean muscle mass (do not read GET BIG ladies), Creatine MUST be a staple of your supplemental regiment.
Read on to learn What, Why, and How to Use Creatine.
What is Creatine?
Before we get into the why and how, let’s provide a little insight into just what creatine is.
Naturally found in muscle cells, Creatine is a substance that helps the muscle produce the energy required to create a contraction or movement (think exercising or heavy lifting). This enhanced exertion ability is the primary reason creatine, as a supplement, has grown very popular over the years.
Obviously, anyone and everyone, looking to gain more muscle, improve workout performance, and boost their overall strength levels, is immediately attracted to this potential upside.
Now, to be clear, our bodies do naturally create Creatine via the combining of the amino acids arginine and glycine. Does this mean supplemental Creatine is unnecessary? Not at all. Quite the contrary.
Creatine supplementation helps directly increase the levels of phosphocreatine (more on this in a moment) in the body.
Several factors affect both the body’s natural Creatine levels, as well as, one Creatine’s needs. One’s diet, exercise levels, muscle mass, hormone levels, namely IGF-1 and testosterone, all play a role.
When you consider that about 95% of the Creatine in the body is stored within muscles as phosphocreatine while the remaining 5% is stored in the brain, liver, and kidneys, it should be easy to see the role played in exercise and performance.
Now, as promised, onto phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine is a type of stored energy in the cells that help our bodies produce higher levels of ATP. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the most basic form of energy in your body’s cells. It plays a fundamental role in metabolism and muscle function.
In short, the more ATP in your muscle cells, the better your body will perform.
Why Would I Use Creatine?
As noted above, Creatine has a direct impact on your source of energy at the cellular level.
This translates to better performance in a few different ways.
Not only will Creatine increase the levels of phosphocreatine in the muscles resulting in greater energy and power output, but the additional energy created will increase the overall workload ability as well. In other words, you can do more, for longer, with heavier weights or greater resistance.
When one is attempting to build lean muscle, more power, more strength, larder workload, leads to greater gains.
In addition, by improving cell signaling, Creatine supplementation can aid in muscle repair as well as raise anabolic hormone levels and improve the hydration of cells.
Some Additional Benefits of Creatine…
- a reduction in muscle breakdown, retaining more muscle during high-intensity exercises.
- a reduction in myostatin levels. High levels of myostatin, a protein, is known to slow or stop new muscle growth. Regular use of creatine supplementation can lower these levels, thus increasing the potential growth of new muscles.
- can improve the health of the brain and reduce the risk of any neurological diseases.
Studies Show Creatine Can…
Again, being the most widely researched nutritional supplement, Creatine benefits have more than been proven at this point. Studies ranging from the elderly to the sedentary, to professional athletes all show it’s effectiveness for both long-term and short-term muscle gain and retention.
For example, a 14-week study was conducted on older adults, adding Creatine to their weight training program. The results showed that there was a significant increase in leg strength and overall muscle mass.
Another 12-week study with weightlifters concluded that Creatine increased the growth of muscle fiber by two to three times more than those who trained without creatine. The lifters’ body mass also increased twice as much as those not using supplemental Creatine.
Think Creatine supplementation only impacts resistance training? Not even close.
A study using professional athletes supplementing with Creatine for 28 days showed an increase of 15% in cycling performance. Yes, even endurance style training can benefit from Creatine supplementation.
In addition to all of the above exercise-related benefits, scientists also believe that Creatine can help improve conditions in those who suffer from…
- Poor memory and brain function (nootropic)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Brain or spinal cord injuries
- Ischemic stroke
- Huntington’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Motor Neuron Disease
While more research is needed to confirm the definite impact on the above, one six-month study on children suffering from traumatic brain injury showed that there was a 50% reduction in dizziness and a seventy percent reduction in fatigue.
If these studies continue to prove the initial findings, Creatine could very well impact not just the power, strength, muscle size, and recovery of exercise enthusiasts, but alter the lifestyle of hundreds of thousands of afflicted individuals as well.
We hold out hope the research continues!
How Should I Use Creatine?
When creatine first hit the market some 30 odd years ago, the consensus was the need for a loading phase of 10-15 g per day, for 5-7 days. That’s a lot of Creatine!
Thankfully, that is no longer the case.
Creatine use is simple, straightforward and inexpensive. Those looking to use Creatine to enhance muscle growth and performance output will be thrilled to hear, a single serving of 5-10g, post-workout, is all that’s needed.
Whether one mixes Creatine directly into the post-workout shake, or mix it separately, is completely personal in choice.
For those fitness buffs, our rationale for including your Creatine intake post-workout is also relatively simple.
30-60 minutes post-workout is well-known to be the window of greatest opportunity as it relates to nutrient absorption and uptake. In order to properly replenish your Creatine stores, which were almost certainly depleted during your training, this window provides the most effective Creatine intake opportunity.
If you are someone looking to utilize Creatine for its potential nootropic (brain-related benefits) or condition-related issues, a single serving, first thing in the morning, will do just fine.
3D Labs Nutrition to the Rescue
At 3D Labs Nutrition, we strongly believe certain products should make up the foundation of your supplementation regiment. CreaMode (Creatine) is one of those “foundational” supplements we think all who partake in routine exercise should include.
FYI…CreaMode is not just the highest quality Creatine, but it is also the most affordable. The cost vs reward of Creatine inclusion is truly a no-brainer.
Make one small scoop of CreaMode a part of your post-workout Nutrition and see the impact on your power, strength, max lifts, and more in just a matter of days.
You only have one life to live, one body to live it in, so take care of it. Progress, not perfection. Good, better, best with your food intake and some form of movement daily. Get your nutritional foundation from food, supplement where necessary, and drink plenty of water. We are here to help so feel free to drop us comments or questions as often as you’d like and always consult your physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise regiment.
Live a 3D life…Decisions Determine Destinations!