The low down on Creatine

Creatine has been around for years and years- and it has been pretty controversial. Let’s debunk the myths and break them down to see what creatine is really all about!

What is Creatine?

Our body’s liver, pancreas, and kidneys also can make about 1 gram of creatine per day.  Creatine is an amino acid that helps muscles create energy and is located in your body’s muscles, and in the brain. About 95% of the body’s creatine is stored in the muscles- mainly in the form of phosphocreatine. When you supplement with creatine, you increase your stores of phosphocreatine, which is a form of stored energy in the cells. This helps your body produce more of a high-energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The more ATP you have, the better your performance is in the gym. When we exercise, we use energy and creatine. Once we use it, it decreases the creation of ATP, which leads us to feeling tired after a workout.  

Where do we get creatine from? 

We get some creatine from our diet, mainly from animal products such as meat, fish, and poultry. Because creatine is naturally found in animal tissue, vegetarians and vegans will have to supplement creatine in their diets. Creatine supplements are naturally vegetarian and vegan friendly.  Those who eat animal protein can supplement with creatine as well to get the benefits below. 

Benefits of Creatine:

  • The main role of creatine is energy production in the body. When you supplement with creatine you get more power, energy, and longevity in your workouts. Because creatine can increase phosphocreatine levels and therefore increase ATP energy production, it is one of the few supplements repeatedly proven to increase strength and power in your workouts. In this study, adding creatine to a training program increased strength by 8%, weightlifting performance by 14%, and bench press one-rep max by up to 43%, compared with training alone.

Creatine is not the same as a pre-workout that contains caffeine. As mentioned above, creatine helps to increase your stores of phosphocreatine which results in more ATP being made in the body- AKA, creatine can give you that extra boost your body needs when exercising. Caffeine/pre-workouts are stimulants that make your nervous system more alert thus creating a quick energy burst for a workout. These can be used together if needed. 

Creatine may also help you recover quicker, creating a domino effect of benefits in the gym. 

  • Mental benefits. Creatine is found in your muscles AND brain, so creatine supplementation does have some benefits on your cognitive health as well! The brain needs fuel and energy! Creatine creates more energy in our muscles and in our brain. Research suggests that creatine can also aid older adults and vegetarians’ cognitive function. Creatine supplementation has also been shown to improve cognitive functions in those who have Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, brain/spinal cord injuries, and those who suffer from memory loss. According to this study, creatine supplementation may also improve short-term memory of healthy individuals.

Vegetarians tend to have lower stores of creatine due to the fact they do not eat meat, which is where creatine comes from in our diet. In this study, vegetarians supplementing with creatine saw a 50% improvement on a memory test and a 20% improvement on an intelligence test! That’s an incredible cognitive improvement! 

How to take creatine:

Creatine is a powder that you mix into your water. Check out the one I use here!

Also, check out how I use creatine in my daily supercharged water here!

Some people will do a “loading” phase of creatine to saturate their muscles more rapidly, then will back down to the suggested serving of 2-5g every day after. However, this is not necessary for the clients I work with. Simply starting a creatine supplement and follow the directions of taking 5g each day. This will be more than enough to begin fueling your muscles with more phosphocreatine which in turn makes more ATP for sustainable energy, endurance, and power in the gym. 

In the first week or so of taking a creatine supplement, you may notice a slightly bigger muscle “pump”. This is due to the fact that creatine will draw in water to your muscles. You may notice a slight increase on the scale but this is not fat! This is purely water weight and will subside as you are more consistent with your daily dose. Be sure to keep up excellent hydration to flush out excess water in your body and to keep working in the gym to use your muscle’s energy! 


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