Creatine, a must for the gains

Creatine, a must for the gains

READING TIME: 10 MINUTES (Worth the knowledge!)

Creatine is perhaps the most commonly used supplement by bodybuilders after protein powder. That is for a very simple reason: creatine works! Creatine has been researched for countless years, so we now know exactly what it does, what it doesn't and what the possible disadvantages of creatine are.

However, creatine use can seem like a big step for novice athletes. That is why we tell you everything about this supplement in this blog. You will soon know everything about how creatine works, how to use creatine and which creatines are the most effective!

Okay, what exactly is creatine? The famous dietary supplement creatine is in fact a substance produced by the body from three amino acids: arginine, glycine and methionine. This substance plays a major role in the energy supply of your body. Your body makes this itself in the liver, pancreas and kidneys, but you can also supplement creatine through food or supplements. A healthy 70 kg person has about 120 grams of creatine in his body.

In addition to the fact that the body produces creatine itself, creatine can also be obtained from outside. Red meats such as steak in particular are relatively rich in creatine, but even of that you would need to eat a pound or more daily to get all the potential benefits of creatine. The other option, which is much more efficient in practice, is by taking a creatine supplement in powder or pill form.

Now you are probably curious about how creatine works in your body? Creatine can be used by the body to produce energy and therefore strength. Creatine is converted to creatine phosphate (CP) by the enzyme creatine kinase. This creatine phosphate can in turn supply a phosphate group to adenosine diphosphate (ADP), which can form adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

ATP is a unit of energy needed to produce movement and power, so muscles cannot be activated without ATP. This together forms the ATP-CP energy system. No oxygen and lactic acid are involved in the energy supply by creatine, which makes this energy system anaerobic and alactic. This immediately explains why the ATP-CP system is only active with short-term, explosive exertion of about 15 seconds at the most.

After this, the creatine stores are exhausted and the body switches to another energy system based on carbohydrates and/or oxygen. This is what makes creatine so popular with strength athletes, while it is of little added value for endurance athletes.

Okay, now you know how creatine works and that you can get more out of your strength training by using creatine. But how should you use creatine for optimal results?

Creatine use is actually very simple. At an amount of 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day, stores in the body were found to be completely filled and thus the maximum effects were obtained. With most creatines this is equal to 1 scoop per day.

Take creatine preferably with breakfast or before or after training. You mix a scoop of creatine powder with water or with a carbohydrate-containing drink, such as fruit juice. You can also opt for creatine capsules instead of powder.

In the past, the creatine loading phase was recommended. This is a period of 5 days in which 20 grams of creatine is taken daily with the aim of increasing its effectiveness. Divide this amount over 4 portions of 5 grams. However, creatine loading seems to be quite outdated and has never been shown in studies to actually provide better results.

The use of creatine brings several benefits. As you could already read, the use of creatine ensures that your muscles create an extra supply of 'fast' energy, which you can use during your strength training. Because your energy supply is larger, your muscles will acidify less quickly during your training.

This means that you can go just that little bit further, you can squeeze out just a few extra reps or you can just grab that heavier weight. And who wouldn't want to be able to lift heavier?!

Creatine therefore ensures better performance during your training. The fact that you get more out of your training naturally ensures that you will see results faster! In this way, the use of creatine can help you achieve faster muscle growth or strength gains. But what do scientific studies say about creatine supplements?

Increase in maximum strength by 5 to 15%.
Up to 15% increase in maximum number of repetitions per set with a given weight.
Small positive effect on sprint performance 1 to 5%.
increase in fat free mass. (more muscle, higher metabolism)
Stronger drive and motivation due to an increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

Creatine does not have many side effects. One of the biggest side effects is that creatine causes your muscles to retain water. This makes it seem as if your muscle mass increases, making you appear 'fuller', but your weight also increases. This can also make you look a little less dry. If you as a bodybuilder have competition ambitions, this is something to take into account.

Furthermore, the use of creatine can cause stomach and intestinal complaints. Often, however, the cause of this is not directly due to the use of creatine, but in too high a dose. If you get stomach or intestinal complaints due to the use of creatine, adjust your dosage.

No studies have shown that creatine use is harmful to your body. It therefore has no adverse effect on your kidneys, liver, cardiovascular system and does not cause muscle disorders.

Do you want to buy creatine? Then you will come across different types, such as;

This is the longest lasting and most researched form of creatine. A good creatine monohydrate supplement is extremely pure and preferably micronized for improved absorption. For most people, this is a good basic supplement to get acquainted with creatine. For the majority, this will be the only form of creatine they'll ever need, although a mix with other products can provide benefits.

While creatine never has harmful side effects, creatine monohydrate can cause you to retain more fluid than you would like and suffer from muscle cramps. In that case, creatine in Kre-Alkalyn form is the perfect solution for you! Kre-Alkalyn has an optimal PH value so that it is absorbed more efficiently in the body.

Creatine ethyl ester (CEE) basically has the same effect as creatine monohydrate. However, 'esters' have been added to this form of creatine, so that the creatine can be absorbed faster by the body. An ester is an organic acid, such as acetic acid or malic acid, that is formed from a reaction with alcohol.
The advantage of CEE is that it is absorbed faster. However, because of the extra processing, the price is a bit higher than that of creatine monohydrate. CEE also dissolves slightly less well in water than creatine monohydrate.

This is a mixture of creatine monohydrate and nitrate. The creatine monohydrate ensures better performance with explosive power efforts. Nitrate is a substance that is also often added to pre-workouts.

Thus, creatine has many benefits, is safe to use and has few to no side effects. Creatine powder is one of the most commonly used supplements and for good reason. It can help you deliver more explosive power, reduce acidity and contribute to building lean body mass. This makes using creatine a must for bodybuilders and strength athletes!

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