You’ve most likely heard about creatine or creatine monohydrate before. It is one of the most popular supplements for bodybuilding. Anybody searching to gain strength or muscle, lose fat, or enhance their physique and performance is mostly familiar with creatine. But what is it exactly?
Creatine, alongside other pre and post workout formulas such as protein, electrolytes, recovery drinks, and others, is a popular bodybuilding go-to because of its muscle building abilities. This supplement is usually available in powder form, but there are also creatine capsules, pills, baked goods, or chewables. It can help you get shredded or simply get in better shape. Regardless, you just can’t ignore the results of creatine. Let’s take a closer look at it first.
What is Creatine?
You may not realize it but creatine (monohydrate) is actually produced by our bodies naturally. Creatine is mostly needed when you’re lifting heavy weights during your gym sessions, mostly stored in your muscles. That’s why creatine and bodybuilding go hand in hand. The supplement also works to support the production of adenosine triphosphate (aka ATP).
ATP is something like a fuel for your muscle cells. It’s different from glycogen which is also a fuel for your muscle cells, but glycogen is used as a more general energy source. You don’t need heavy weights to use glycogen. You use it doing any type of activity. However, ATP is mostly used during anaerobic activity. That’s an activity involving sprinting (max speed) or heavy weight training.
Creatine will mostly help you during that feeling when you’re almost out of fuel. It will help your body by helping you push through extra reps, lift heavier weight, complete an extra lap during running, or have a bit of higher speed during a sprint.
You know that in order to have a successful fitness plan, you need a protein rich diet. High protein foods (such as eggs, beef, and chicken) will help support the body’s production of creatine. A higher level of this compound will aid your usual workout.
The truth is that your body only creates a very small amount of creatine. If you want to boost the results, you may want to get a decent dose of creatine. How do you do that? Creatine supplements.
Moreover, your muscles will use and will need creatine regardless if you use or not anabolic steroids. That’s why you’ll need to search for ways to boost creatine as long as you want to boost your muscle building potential.
Obviously, using both steroids and creatine will maximize your gains!
What Does Creatine Monohydrate Do?
As said, one of the main benefits of creatine is the extra power it offers you during weight lifting or other strenuous activities. Higher creatine levels will help you lift heavier and/or extra rep(s). But there’s more. It will help with more intense workouts and extra muscle growth. By increasing your muscle growth, it’ll help boost your metabolism too. And with faster acting metabolism, you’ll burn more fat, easier and faster. Therefore, it helps you achieve a fat free physique by staying lean. Another important aspect – it helps speed up the recovery times of your muscles.
But this supplement has helpful benefits beyond bodybuilding. For example, studies suggest that creatine may reduce the risk of neurological disorders later in life such as Alzheimer’s disease. And there are other benefits too.
How To Take Creatine?
If you’re new to taking creatine, you should know that there are two methods you can use. Either start slowly and continue with it throughout your entire administration, but most people choose the process referred to as the “creatine loading phase” when they first begin.
That’s a space of time where you take a higher dosage than normal, in order to stock up your stores. That’s why it goes by the name “loading phase”. So, you know what creatine does, but you need to know how much to take for it to be efficient.
The loading phase involves higher doses administered for 5 to 7 days. The perfect amount you should take per day is 20 to 25 g. But, after this period (after the loading phase), you need to maintain those creatine levels much lower – closer to 5 g per day. However, it is important to know that during the creatine loading phase, you’ll need to separate your servings throughout the day. You shouldn’t take your daily dosage in one go. Instead, space that daily amount into a 5 g dose every few hours.
Moreover, you should know that creatine works best when it is paired with a quick absorbing carbohydrate. Usually, it goes well with juice or honey. That’s because this will help you carry it to your muscle cells way faster. Also, this supplement is absorbed by your body way faster right after your workout. I recommend using this time frame in order to get the best results.
In the end, I also must mention that the creating load phase is not necessary. It’s optional. The only difference is that if you wait, you’ll need to wait longer to see results.
When To Take Creatine? Before or After a Workout?
So, now you know what this supplement does and how to take it. However, you should know the best time to take it too. Well, it can be best administered both before and after your gym sessions. If you do this, you’ll boost the endurance and strength of your muscles before working out hard, and you’ll help speed up recovery time, helping muscles get bigger and stronger after training.
Why wouldn’t you reap the benefits of creatine both ways? What can you do? Use before for better performance. Use after for faster recovery and growth. Or use both before and after for maximum results.
What Should You Know About It?
Can it have a huge impact on your workout? Yes, it can. You’re likely to see great benefits.
Is creatine safe to use? Yes, it is safe, especially because we naturally produce it. It becomes unsafe as long as you continue the loading phase (too high dosage) for too long periods.
Does creatine really work? Try it out yourself and you tell us! If it wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t have been so popular!
Can (Should) I take creatine with anabolic steroids? Another yes. In fact, you both can and actually should take it even if you use anabolic steroids. While anabolic steroids will help even more due to various factors, using both anabolic steroids and creatine will help supersize your muscle gains, simply because they work in two different ways. Same as taking anabolic steroids and protein – you still need lots of protein to see muscle growth when using steroids. In short, if you use both anabolic steroids and creatine, you’re likely to see mind blowing results and do it really fast.
However, there are a few precautions that you should pay attention to.
Creatine volumizes your muscles. This means that they will suck water into them. When you’re in your initial loading phase, this can also occur in your stomach. This may cause a bit of a bloat. You may also notice a quick weight gain because you’re likely to hold some water too. If you’re feeling you’re too bloated or retaining too much water, reducing your dosage can greatly help. For example, instead of continuing with 25 g a day, cut back to 10 g per day. If you’re still experiencing this effect, lower the dosage to 5 g a day and space the creatine dosage even further. In short, as with anything else, pay attention to “what your body tells you”. It takes a bit of trial and error to get the perfect dosage for you.
However, before you get carried away, you should also take a look at your diet. A lot of people tend to change their diet right when adding this supplement, and that diet change could be the cause of bloating. Moreover, if you eat a lot of pork and red meat – you’re already consuming a good amount of creatine. So, you may not need as much creatine as you may think. On the other hand, if you’re following a vegetarian diet, there are high chances you’ll need a full recommended dose.
Much like protein, creatine will greatly help you speed up muscle growth and help you get strong with a great endurance level. While there are some possible side effects, they are so rare and usually so mild that the benefits of creatine monohydrate certainly outweigh the creatine side effects for bodybuilding.
Regardless if you go for pills, capsules, supplements, or mostly – powders, be sure it can help you boost your gains and workouts. With very little risk of side effects.
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