One supplement that’s been proven time and time again through research as well as in practice is that of creatine. If you’re someone who is either hard in the gym training or who is participating in any sort of high performance sport, creatine can be of good use to you.
Most people have heard of creatine before, but may not be quite sure what this supplement is exactly. Some may even go far enough to think it’s a steroid and will cause great physical harm if they use it.
This is far from the case. Not only is creatine not a steroid, it’s one of the safest supplements that you could use. This doesn’t mean it’s completely side-effect free, but it’s not going to pose any long-term harm.
The few side effects you may experience from creatine include water retention as well as in some people, muscle cramping may occur if insufficient water is taken in with the creatine. Otherwise though, there are many benefits to be had.
Creatine itself is the precursor to the high energy compound, ATP, which will fuel each and every muscular contracting taking place in the body. Your ATP stores therefore will have a direct and immediate influence on how many reps and sets you can do in your workout session. Once ATP runs out, intensity will fall and you’ll be forced to call it a day.
Creatine is required in order to keep generating ATP, therefore when it runs out, so will ATP. By supplementing with creatine, you ensure that your stores are fully saturated going into each and every workout. This is how creatine exerts its effects.
Let’s now go over the top seven reasons that you should be using this supplement so that you can see why it’s as powerful as it is.
7. Enhanced Speed/Power
The first way in which you’ll benefit from using creatine is through increased levels of speed and power. If you participate in a sport where quickness is of the essence, you’ll see great results from using this supplement.
Creatine will help increase the overall speed and force that contractions can take place, boosting your overall level of power output.
If you are doing any type of tempo work in the gym, this can also come in very helpful there as well.
6. Improved Muscular Endurance
The next and one of the most noticeable ways that creatine will help you out is by increasing your overall level of muscle endurance. After using it, you’ll notice that you can fight through your sets much better, ensuring that you get those last few reps required for great progress in.
As an athlete, this can also be beneficial as it can prevent you from feeling fatigued partway through your shift in whatever sport you happen to be playing. Basically, it’ll give you that extra edge over fatigue that you need.
This is going to be especially helpful if you are ever utilizing a lower carb diet for cutting purposes because with reduced carbs you will automatically see reduced muscular endurance. Creatine won’t even the playing field again, but it can definitely help you experience less fatigue than you otherwise would.
5. Improved Strength Levels
Another way in which creatine helps out is by improving your overall strength capacity. With creatine, you should notice that you can push more weight in the gym, which in turnw ill lead to greater strength gains.
This is a combination of having that fatigue resistance as well as having more force and power behind each and every set you do. Those who take creatine for an ongoing period of time will see greater overall strength gains with their key lifts than those who don’t.
Of course, you do need to put in the work necessary to see these results. One mistake some people make is thinking that they can simply take creatine and then they will immediately see the strength gains taking place.
This isn’t the case. You can take creatine, but then in addition to that, you need to work harder. It’s that extra work that brings about the results.
4. Increased Hypertrophy Results
Speaking of increased strength gains, another thing you’ll get from taking creatine is increased hypertrophy results as well. Of course you will need to ensure that you are utilizing a hypercalorie diet for this one to occur, but if you are, you’ll see progress move along nicely.
Since hypertrophy is a function of providing an overloading stimulus on the muscle cell in terms of both the amount of weight lifted as well as the total number of sets and reps that you’ve performed, from the above you can see how clearly creatine is going to help accomplish this.
Most people will also notice an immediate size increase upon first taking creatine, however remember that this will largely be increased water retention inside the muscle cell.
While it can be great for giving you a motivational boost that you need, keep in mind it’s not real size gains. If you stop using creatine, you will lose that initial boost you saw.
That said, the gains in size you see after the initial two weeks or so of taking creatine is up will be there to stay as long as you keep providing the overloading stimulus in the gym.
3. Enhanced Fat Burning
As you go about building this additional muscle mass, you’ll also get the added benefit of accelerated rates of fat burning. Lean muscle mass itself burns more calories at rest than body fat does, so the more muscle you have on your frame, the more calories you burn on a day to day basis.
By using creatine and seeing this increased muscle, you will indirectly start burning fat faster. This is great news if you currently have fat to lose and even if you don’t, you’ll see benefits as it’ll help prevent fat gain in the future.
If you’re currently on a higher calorie diet to build muscle, this can help keep you leaner as you progress through.
With this increased lean muscle mass, you’ll also have superior insulin sensitivity as well, meaning your body will be better equipped to tolerate any carbohydrates you eat. Rather than converting them to body fat stores, you’ll shuttle them off towards the muscle tissues, helping you see even greater results.
2. Accelerated Recovery
The next benefit that you can expect to see when using creatine is accelerated recovery. How quickly you recover from each workout you do is going to play a very large role in the level of progress that’s made.
Since you can’t get back into the gym and train again until you have made full recovery, this is strictly limiting your performance.
Those using creatine will find they bounce back quicker post-workout, so this could mean the difference between getting three workouts in per week or four or five. That in turn speeds up your progress.
This accelerated recovery comes because creatine stores will be replenished far fater with the supplement than if you had to wait until food sources alone achieve a similar effect. Remember you will take in some creatine from the meat sources you eat, however the levels will never be as high as what you’d get from the supplement.
1. Improved Mental Focus
Finally, the last great benefit that you can expect to see from using creatine is improved mental focus. For those who are used to doing heavy lifting sessions, you likely already know that as soon as fatigue enters the picture, your concentration and focus takes a tumble.
Now you have this nagging feeling of tiredness prompting you to cut your sets short that you need to deal with and push through. With creatine, this feeling will be minimized.
This allows you to mentally put more into each and every rep that you do, ensuring maximum progress is seen.
So there you have some of the main benefits that you’ll experience from using creatine monohydrate. It’s definitely one supplement that is well worth the investment.
You can either start off with a loading phase of 20 grams per day, divided up into five gram dosages for five days, or you can simply move directly into maintenance, taking five grams per day on training days.
If you choose to do the loading phase you will become fully saturated much quicker, seeing results almost immediately, while if you do the maintenance phase, you can side-step the typical water retention that may occur when using creatine, but it will take you longer to see full saturation and optimal results.
Be sure when adding creatine to your day, you are increasing your water intake by two or three cups as well to help minimize the occurrence of cramping taking place.
Used properly, you will feel great about the results that you see from this supplement.