I have been getting more and more interested in researching various supplements and creatine has been on the top of my list. If you’re not using creatine within your flexible dieting plan, then you may be missing out of the added benefits for a healthier lifestyle and gains within the gym! Our bodies are wonderful machines but sometimes we need some extra help to create a better, optimal environment for it. See what I found out about creatine and the recommendations how one should utilize creatine within their flexible dieting plan.
What is creatine [monohydrate] and how does it work?
Creatine [monohydrate] is a highly reliable chemical stored within our bodies (specifically skeletal muscle) that is involved with the creatine-phosphagen (CP) energy system. This energy system is primarily used for immediate energy activities such as a 100-meter sprint or a one-repetition max lift. Creatine is extremely important for the re-uptake of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in order to help maintain high energy output when we perform short-term, high-intensity activities that typically last less than 30 seconds. It lessens our fatigue levels so we can keep grinding through our short exercise bouts! Who doesn’t want to be less fatigued during workouts?!
How should I dose my creatine within my nutrition plan?
Current research from the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends proper dosing of 1-3 grams per day. If you’re first starting to use creatine [monohydrate], it is advised to perform a “loading phase” of five (5) grams taken four to five (4-5) times per day for five to seven (5-7) days and then begin a maintenance phase of three (3) grams per day there on out. Creatine is commonly found in fish and red meats; however, it has been stated that you’d have to eat about a pound (if not more) of fish/red meat to day to just hit the daily recommended dose of three (3) grams! Therefore, it is highly advisable to incorporate creatine [monohydrate] via supplementation and can easily be done by a pill or powder form. One of my favorite ways to obtain this is drinking the new post-workout drink: Rx-FitAid + Creatine!
What are the benefits and risks of supplementing with creatine?
Benefits commonly include:
- Decreased fatigue
- Increased energy/muscle +bone strength
- Improved athletic performance
- Increased training load tolerance
- Improved concentration
Risks may include:
- GI distress
- Initial weight gain (i.e. water retention)
- Muscle cramping
- Increased dehydration
Creatine used in studies – can it help with certain disorders of the body like diabetes or depression?
There has been some speculation of supplementation use of creatine to aid in depression, diabetes management, lung disease, heart failure, or even neuropathy! However, the research is scarce and further studies are warranted at this time. It has been shown to be effective with proper dosing in children with movement disorders, seizures, or creatine production dysfunctions; however, again there needs further on-going research on this topic.
Creatine monohydrate supplementation has been proven safe and effective for sport performance, improved brain activity, and even neuro-protective benefits from concussions! I found some fantastic articles from the ISSN journal and I highly advise you to read them for your own sake (see references below and click on the links)! After reading this research, I am bound to start utilizing creatine monohydrate within my nutrition plan – I will most likely look into ordering my supplements online at bodybuilding.com soon! I hope this helps you zone in on your nutrition journey – happy eating and remember to enjoy the process!