There is a reason why creatine is at the forefront of this website. That reason being that it is included within almost every pre-workout supplement as well as one of the most popular dietary supplement on the market. Creatine is truly an essential supplement when it comes to working out and staying fit. This handy little amino acid, found usually in red-meats and seafood (in smaller portions), can provide you with some extraordinary results due to the effect it has on your body.
The popularity of creatine has resulted in extensive scientific research to back up the claims it makes and the benefits it provides to your fitness lifestyle. Today, my goal is show you some aspects of creatine that might reaffirm something you already know, or teach you something new entirely.
Effects It Has
For those participating in weight lifting, sprint workouts, H.I.I.T. cardio, or anything else requiring short, strong bursts of energy, creatine will assist you in many ways. First off, the creatine you consume will be stored within your muscles and is recognized as a new source of energy in your body. This improves all levels of athletic performance since your body can now use this as a form of energy.
Secondly, creatine can help increase muscle mass. Due this new burst of energy, you will be able to lift more than normal for more repetitions or more sets. This obviously increases muscle mass because you’re actually putting in more work, but it doesn’t stop there. Next it will pull the water in your body into your muscles to keep them hydrated, and can physically increase muscle mass that way (keep in mind that this water has to come from somewhere, so it is important to maintain proper hydration when participating in physical activity).
Lastly (for now), there are studies that have suggested that creatine can help treat aging skin. These are preliminary studies, and a cream with creatine in it was used, but how crazy is it that this little molecule can do so much?! The results of the studied showed that it can help fight skin sag and wrinkles.
This all really sounds too good to be true, like one of those wonder medicines from the Wild West, but the scientific research is there. Which just goes to show why it truly is the most popular pre-workout supplement, and should be incorporated into your diet AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Consumption- Finding the Right Method
There are a few ways to consume creatine, as well as two different types of creatine.
Types of Creatine: (these will be covered in a different blog post)
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Creatine HCl
Types of Consumption:
- Pill Form
- Powder Form
- Eating Way Too Much Meat and Seafood
- Trusting a Pre-Workout Supplement Brand
Consuming creatine via pill form, is a very easy and painless method. It is simple as long as you remember to take it consistently. Personally, I take creatine via powder form, and I have to say that a tiny capsule with a consistent dosage would be very helpful. I’m not trying to undersell the powder form, I love it and it’s usually cheaper, but the capsules almost always contain the same dosage, which allows you to better keep track of how much creatine you’re consuming. Not to mention you just pop them in your mouth, and drink it down with some water (which is important to stay hydrated).
The powder form is also very simple, but you have to scoop it out with a measuring spoon in order to get the right dosage amount. This method, however, allows you to fully take control over the exact amount you want to be consuming, that will be the best fit for your body and help you achieve the best results. Again, I’m not trying to down-sell the powder form, but I do have to be honest about one aspect. You’ll have to mix the creatine with water, and it tastes TERRIBLE.
–Sidenote– If you’re looking to have a little competition with your friends, have each person eat a small spoonful of Creatine HCl and see who can last the longest without drinking water… I usually lose.
Luckily, I’ve thought of a few solutions to overcome this obstacle, and I will be talking about the importance of adding “mixers” to the pre-workout drink at a later time.
Another alternative to consuming synthetic creatine, is to do it naturally: by eating lots and lots of red-meat and seafood every single day. Let’s put this into perspective though. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s website says that when you first start consuming creatine, you want to consume at least twenty grams per day to get it flowing through your system. If you weigh more or have more lean muscle than the average person, that recommended dosage increases.
Now, about three pounds of red meat or seafood will contain five grams of pure creatine. Let’s do some simple math here. You would have to eat at least twelve pounds of meat or seafood, EVERY DAY. One of the goals of this page is to help you save money, and believe me, this option is expensive. It’s also unrealistic. That is a lot of food to eat in one day on a consistent basis. That’s why synthetic creatine is much better option and more common.
Finally, I guess you could just trust a pre-workout brand to supply you with creatine within their pre-made supplements. I warn you, though, other brands have been known to not satisfy the recommended daily dose of all of their supplement ingredients, and fluff their product with unnecessary ingredients. That is why I encourage you to take control over your supplementation by buying individual supplements, and put the power back in your hands.
My Personal Experience
When I was lifting weights in high school I knew of a few other people in my school who were supplementing with creatine. I was skeptical and hesitant when they tried to get me to try some. To me it seemed like the effects of it were too good to be true, and that the product itself was really sketchy. So I never tried it.
Fast forward to my days in college, where I started to take fitness and nutrition more seriously, and I began to find that most people who were well known in the fitness industry were supplementing with creatine. I thought I’d try it out.
When I first started, I didn’t really experience any significant changes. I think that was because I wasn’t taking enough from the start because I didn’t have very much in my system. Once I increased the dosage for a few weeks, I started to notice that my muscles looked fuller, if that makes sense. Whenever I would stop taking it, like if I went on vacation or had a long week of finals, I would notice that my muscles would decrease in size as the creatine would leave my system.
When it came to my workouts, it definitely gave me energy to complete my routines. Even after a long day of work and studying, I could take my pre-workout and have enough energy to get through a workout.
Currently, as I write this, I forced myself to mix and drink my pre-workout supplement because the drink itself motivates me to got the gym. I don’t want any of my supplements to go to waste, so if I’m ever not feeling like going to the gym (which happens a lot), I just make myself a pre-workout drink so that I have no excuses to avoid the gym.
Give Creatine a Try
With all of the benefits backed by scientific research and personal claims, it can’t hurt to give creatine a try. Find out for yourself how it can help boost your workout routines and energy levels.
Creatine is an amazing little molecule. The information stated above shows why creatine is one of the most popular dietary supplements, and a favored supplement for anyone looking to achieve their fitness goals.
Keep working hard and create your success!
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