The Bulletproof Quick Guide to Creatine
A lot of rumors, myths, and non-scientific knowledge has been surrounding this important supplement. Let's dive into a proper approach on what is creatine, how it works, and how (and if) should you take it.
What is creatine?
While we naturally produce creatine, supplementing might be a good idea. It is an organic compound (C4H9N3O2) that is mainly stocked in our muscles (95%) also in our brain and, in males, testes as well.
In our body, it is created from glycine, arginine, and methionine and your main function is to create one more ATP as there is a specific energy system derived from this compound.
How it Works
From the moment we require extra energy - especially for explosive movements, one molecule of phosphocreatine (which is the way creatine is stocked in our body) attaches itself to one ADP, creating one ATP, which is our energy currency. Pay attention: ATP is our energy currency, we depend on ATP to perform basic activities and working out. As you are more conditioned, your body is more capable of creating ATP faster.
We already have creatine in our body, but supplementing can increase this amount, which will increase the number of creatine phosphate within our muscles, which will then generate more energy (ATPs) for our workouts, which will make you work out harder (and heavier) and thus increase your results.
So basically, that's what happens:
Increase Creatine > Increase Creatine Phosphate within Muscles > Increase ATP Generation > More Energy for working out > More intense sessions > More results
This is the most famous (but indirect way) that creatine can affect your results. There is a not very known direct way which is by activating satellite cells in our muscles which makes them multiply themselves, creating more muscle fiber, generating hypertrophy. Well, it basically creates muscle.
What about water retention?
Yes, many people talk about water retention when taking creatine and this is due to just reading half of the information - don't make this mistake. Yes, creatine will drive water to where it is, but 95% of it is inside the muscle cells, which then will bring good water retention for our body (inside the cells), giving the muscle a better look. It doesn't increase extra-cellular retention (bloating). This water also activates that satellite cells, so all good!
Is it actually safe?
Creatine is the most researched supplement you can find in the market - with researches been done with children to elderly people. It doesn't cause you any kidney/liver problems. If you already drink enough water, there is no need to increase the amount of water in your daily intake. The only side effect found - on very high elevated doses - is nausea and diarrhea.
What about creatinine?
There is one indicator in our body called creatinine - which can indicate that you have a kidney problem. But, 2% of your creatine becomes creatinine - so if you do a blood test while taking creatine, this number will be higher than normal, but it is not due to any kidney damage, it is due to the creatine you take - a natural process. Make sure you tell your doctor that you are taking a creatine supplement so he/she doesn't make any decision ignoring this important information.
How to take it?
You can do it 2 ways - a saturation stage where you overload your body and then just keep it to maintenance levels (quicker to see the effects) or just use the maintenance levels until it saturates (longer to see effects).
If you go to the faster route, 0.3g/kg of body weight to 0.7g/kg of body weight for 5-7 days and then 0.03g/kg to 0.1g/kg of bodyweight afterward.
So for an 80kg person, 24g - 56g per day for 5-7 days and then 2.4g - 8.0g day.
If you go for the slower route, just keep the 0.03g/kg to 0.1g/kg (results will be expected to show in 4 weeks' time.
There is absolutely NO NEED TO CYCLE CREATINE. You can keep taking it - while losing weight, gaining weight, etc. Even rest days, don't need to stop.
And the best time to take it is any time of the day.
If you stop using it, your creatine storage will be back to normal in 4 weeks' time.
Should I start taking it today?
Even though there is no scientific study showing any risks of creatine, check with your doctor/GP about the right dose for you.
If you have checked and want to start it today, click on the image to buy the high-quality creatine from Optimum Nutrition.
Hope it has helped you. If you need extra help, get in touch today.
Stay safe, and keep working hard.