Creatine is one of the most popular and well-studied sports supplements on the market. Widely used for assisting muscle growth, creatine does in fact provide an array of health and fitness benefits.
When incorporated as part of an exercise regime, creatine can help to maximize your fitness potential and assist you in reaching your goals.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a natural compound made up of three amino acids: arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine is one of the amino acids that naturally occur within your body as you break down proteins. As a result, it plays a vital role in the improvement of strength, skeletal muscle mass, exercise performance and power output during resistance exercise, leading it to be a crowd favorite amongst bodybuilders and gym goers alike. However, the body typically only produces 1 gram of creatine each day, thus supplementation is of great benefit.
In supplementation form, creatine is a powder that is odorless and flavorless, making it easy to mix into other supplements or beverages for convenient consumption. The most popular form of creatine is creatine monohydrate.
Why should I take creatine?
Although creatine is naturally found in the body, the low production rate coupled with the fact that creatine levels rapidly decrease during exercise, means that supplementing with creatine is highly advantageous to counteract low creatine levels and stimulate health benefits.
Creatine offers a range of scientifically supported health and fitness benefits such as:
- Increased muscular strength and power
- Increased muscle growth
- Reduced fat mass
- Greater improvements of 1 rep max
- Improved anaerobic and endurance exercise capacity
- Reduces lactic acid build up
- Boosts muscle recovery
- Helps restore muscle glycogen levels
These benefits are highly advantageous for those who regularly exercise, as creatine can help boost exercise performance, recovery, and assist in reaching your physique goals, whether it's fat loss and/or muscle gain.
How do you take creatine?
Creatine is best consumed when mixed into water and taken on a daily basis.
If you have never taken creatine before, or you are starting to take creatine after a break, then the first week of taking creatine is referred to as the ‘loading phase’.
During the loading phase, you need to consume a higher dosage of creatine. This is to supersaturate the muscles with creatine so that the benefits can work to a greater extent.
The loading phase is one week long (the first week you use creatine). For the loading phase, mix 10g of creatine into 8oz of water both pre and post workout.
After the first week, reduce the dose to 5g of creatine mixed into 8oz of water and consume once daily. People creatine is best taken immediately after finishing an exercise session, however, you can consume it pre or during the workout if you like.
Does creatine make you bigger?
Creatine does make your muscles appear bigger. This is because creatine draws more water into the muscles, making them seem fuller. When combined with exercise, creatine can help to increase muscular strength and size.
Does creatine burn belly fat?
Creatine is not a fat-burner. However, when combined with regular exercise, creatine does help to reduce fat mass. This is because creatine influences fat tissue metabolism which helps to reduce fat stores all around the body. Creatine does not target belly fat specifically, however, a reduction in overall body fat levels will naturally reduce the amount of fat accumulated around the stomach. The key is to continue to follow a consistent training routine and consume a well-balanced diet.
How quickly do you see results with creatine?
You may start to experience the benefits of creatine fairly quickly, especially if you take the higher dose during the loading phase. Typically within 7 days, you will start to notice some benefits like bigger looking muscles (due to the water retention), and potential exercise performance benefits. Most people notice the best results after 1 month of use.
When should you take creatine?
Research is mixed about when the best time of day to take creatine is. Most of the research suggests that creatine is most effective when consumed immediately, or very soon after exercise. However, many individuals like to take creatine pre-workout, or even during a workout. Timing is less crucial when it comes to creatine supplementation - consistent use is more important.
Does creatine build muscle?
Creatine does help to increase muscle mass and size when combined with resistance training. Creatine draws water in the muscles, which helps optimize muscle cell function. Additionally, creatine may increase IGF-1, which is a hormone that can help stimulate muscle growth. Creatine also has the ability to improve exercise performance, allowing you to lift heavier and perform more reps. All these mechanisms help to improve muscle strength and increase muscle mass.
Should you take creatine every day?
Yes, you should take creatine every day, even on non-training days. This helps to maintain high levels of creatine inside the body, which will help avoid getting into a creatine-depleted state. You can consume creatine any time of the day on non-training days.
What is the best creatine supplement on the market?
EHPlabs Crea-8 is one of the most well-formulated, cleanest creatine supplements available. Crea-8 is a pharmaceutical grade creatine, with NO stimulants, sugar, carbs or fillers. Additionally, Crea-8 is HPLC testes, and highly bioavailable for optimal absorption.