Should I take Creatine?
Short answer: If you’re lifting weights, and have a goal of gaining muscle or strength – YES. You would benefit from taking creatine.
Scientifically, creatine is stored in the muscles, and allows you to generate extra Adenosine TriPhosphate (ATP) during strenuous exercise by making an extra phosphate group available.
Practically, what this means is that you’ll be able to do 10 reps with your current 8 rep max. Booyah!
Creatine has also been shown to aid in recovery. A study showed that a group that did biceps curls to exhaustion and supplemented with creatine had less muscle soreness the next day than the group that didn’t take the creatine.
Creatine has also recently been shown to help with sending more nutrients to the muscles post workout.
When Should I take Creatine?
Based on the most recent studies involving creatine, it would be ideal to take your creatine in the post workout window, so if you take a shake during this time, add it to that.
It doesn’t make a HUGE difference, but I’ve found that taking creatine before a workout has made me feel more dehydrated/thirstier during the training, but that’s like just my opinion, man.
There’s no best time to take it though, because at the end of the day the important part is that you have extra creatine in your muscle cells. So if you’ve been taking it for 3 months in the morning, you won’t notice a difference by switching to the afternoon, or by skipping a day.
What Kind of Creatine Should I Take?
There are a million different types of creatine out there, and for one reason only. The most effective, most studied, most beneficial type of creatine is also dirt cheap.
Creatine Monohydrate is the best stuff you can get, and the most widely studied sports supplement in the history of ever, and it’s incredibly inexpensive. I buy mine HERE from True Nutrition. (they don’t pay me to say that, I just like it.)
If you’re looking to find an experimental and expensive type of creatine that may or may not work, try Creatine Ethyl Ester, DiCreatine Malate, or any type that comes as part of a “Proprietary Blend”.
Does Taking Creatine Cause Water Gain?
Creatine helps with muscle gain, and since muscle is almost 75% water – yes. Yes it does.
And since one of the big features of creatine is cellular volumization, yea, you’ll probably gain 1-3lbs just from the extra saturation of water in the muscle fibers. It wont make a difference though, and you’ll actually feel better through your muscles, joints and tendons if you’re super hydrated all the time.
That being said, make sure you’re drinking enough water to volumize your cells. If you can’t drink at least 1/2 your body weight (in lbs) in ounces of water – don’t take creatine.
Creating Dosing: Do I Need That?
Most people advise a 3-5 day “loading” stage where you take up to 20g of creatine before dropping down to 5g per day.
This is fine. I’ve started without loading, and with loading, and I did not notice a difference either way. If you’re ready to take it to the limit, or if you’re an ALL OR NOTHING type person, do a 3 day loading phase, then drop to 5g.
If you’re loading, don’t take all 20g at once. Try taking 5g 4x per day with juice or a shake.
Is Creatine Safe?
As the most studied supplement, there have been several studies highlighting just the safety of creatine. There are no studies showing that you need to cycle creatine, or go off it at all.
With the many benefits that it offers as well, I would have my grandparents take it.
Questions? Comments? Did I miss something? Hit me up