Looking to give your workout a boost? One supplement you’ll definitely want to consider is creatine. It’s one of the most talked about and utilized supplements in the fitness industry and for good reason: when used properly, it works very well.
It’s also a highly researched supplement, and with so many studies to back it, it’s one that you can feel very confident about putting into your body.
If you’re on the fence right now about taking creatine, let’s take a closer look at some of the facts you need to know about it so that you can make an informed decision.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound that is needed in the creation of the high energy compound ATP, which fuels each and every muscular contraction.
When you don’t have sufficient ATP in your body, you won’t be able to continue working out at the intense pace you are aiming to, and as a result, you workout will come to a stop.
Generally most people have a certain supply of creatine in their body at all times (as you do take some in through the foods you eat), however as intense exercise gets started, you become more and more depleted.
By supplementing with creatine, you go into each workout with a fully saturated supply, reducing the chances that you ever run low.
The Benefits Of Creatine
Creatine offers a number of potential great benefits for those who use it. First, it can help boost muscular endurance. You’ll find that you can get through that extra set when you previously would have given up.
Second, it also helps enhance your muscular strength as well. Over time, you’ll see improved strength progression compared to when you were not on creatine. This added strength increase can then transfer into greater muscle size gains as well, provided you are eating a higher calorie diet plan.
Those supplementing with creatine also tend to notice improved recovery between workout sessions as well. You may find that you bounce back faster than you did before, thus you can workout sooner again. As increased workout frequency is associated with superior results, this will benefit you in the long run as well.
Finally, many people also find that they experience better overall muscle pumps while on creatine. You will get some water retention when using the supplement, however provided you are using it correctly, it will help to enhance your muscle pumps rather than giving you a bloated, puffy look.
All in all, creatine is great for improving workout performance and allowing you to do more work that will then lead to improvements in muscle size.
With all these benefits, are there any drawbacks? The biggest drawback you’ll get with creatine is when first starting. Some people, if they decide to do a loading phase may get some temporary bloating with this supplement, as noted above.
If you make sure that you are drinking enough water while taking it, this can really reduce the chances that you suffer from this, allowing you to side-step this side effect.
Additionally, some people may also notice mild muscle cramping while using creatine, but once again, this can be avoided if you make sure that you are drinking enough fluids.
Otherwise, there many side effects of creatine. It’s very safe and is one that does not need to be cycled over time.
Who Should Use Creatine?
Creatine is best for those who are participating in very intense, stop and go like activities. Note that those who are not doing intense exercise will likely not see many benefits from supplementation because they simply are not depleting their creatine stores on a regular basis.
If all you do for exercise is the odd steady state cardio session for example, you likely won’t need to be utilizing this supplement. You’ll be fine just relying on what carbs you eat combined with dietary and/or body fat for a fuel source.
If you are doing weight lifting, sprint training, or sports that utilize fast paced movement patterns however, creatine will be of great benefit.
How To Use Creatine
Finally, how do you use this supplement? You have two options: loading or not loading.
If you choose to load creatine, you’ll want to perform five days at a 20 gram dose, dividing this dose up into four servings of five grams.
Do this for the whole five days and then reduce your dose back to just 5 grams per day.
If you are not going to load, then you’ll simply take five grams per day as a maintenance dose. This should be taken either before or after your workout for best results.
The benefit to doing the loading phase is that you will get a faster saturated level, thus you’ll start to realize benefits sooner than if you don’t load. But if you are someone who is very adverse to any water retention at all, not loading is likely the way to go as this will minimize this effect.
So there you have the facts to know and remember about creatine. When used properly, it is one of the most beneficial supplements that you could use to optimize the results you see from your workout plan.
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