Hundreds of studies have been done on Creatine showing its effectiveness for increasing muscle strength, power, overall athletic performance and health enhancing properties; including losing fat.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid produced in the liver; it helps supply energy to cells throughout the body – particularly muscle cells. The compound is formed of three amino acids: L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine and makes up about 1 percent of the total volume of human blood
It helps to regenerate a molecule called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), your body’s main source of energy. It’s used as the primary fuel source during muscle contractions and supplementing it can increase the available fuel to power muscle contractions. It does this by donating its high-energy phosphate to create ATP which is used by the muscle for the rapid energy it needs for muscle contraction, such as during weight-lifting or HIIT Sprints.
Creatine does occur in small amounts in food and can be ingested naturally as a protein-like compound found in high abundance in meat and fish.
Whats the best kind of Creatine to use?
The majority of research on creatine has been done with Creatine Monohydrate. For most people, creatine monohydrate provides an extremely cheap but effective creatine supplement.
Micronised creatine tends to the best of the bunch within Monohydrate, as it’s ground down to a smalller size than other creatine monohydrates; allowing it to dissolve better in fluid, cause less stomach upset and have higher levels of absorption.
How much do I need?
The dose does depend on the formulation, but for Creatine Monohydrate, research shows that using a loading phase of 5 grams taken 4-6 times per day for 5-7 days can boost muscle creatine levels by as much as 40% in under a week.
However, research has also shown that taking just 5 grams per day can also lead to similar increases in muscle creatine levels in approximately 30 days.
This is the main reason why a loading phase is recommended for those starting to supplement with most forms of creatine. The loading phase allows you to start experiencing the benefits of creatine in the shortest amount of time. After you complete the loading phase you can opt to stick with a 5 gram dose of creatine.
I personally prefer to make it an ingredient of my Intra-Workout Shake; alongside Pepto-Pro (an instantized form of Protein) and Vitargo, a very soluble form of Carbohydrate.
Research shows that when creatine is taken around workouts, the accumulation of muscle creatine is maximised in comparison to taking creatine at other times of day and that the best way to maximise creatine uptake by muscle cells is to take creatine with high-glycemic (fast-digesting) carbohydrates and fast-digesting protein, such as whey protein.
These major nutrients boost blood insulin levels, which is critical for stimulating the transport of creatine into muscle cells.
If you don’t consume carbs during your workout, then 30 minutes prior to or after your workout is a perfect time to get it in!