Creatine – What, Why, How?

Written by Emily Rulli

We all see these influencers on Social Media promoting one supplement or another. Today I’m not looking to promote, but rather educate. The fitness industry is filled will supplements and they can be confusing and misleading at times. The one I am going to talk about today… CREATINE!

Creatine is synthesized in the liver and pancreas from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine. You can find it in meat and fish. About 95% of the supplement is stored in the skeletal muscle. This is known as “free creatine” because your body naturally produces it. By regularly taking a creatine supplement you can saturate your cells, keeping the creatine supply available for use.

Believe it or not, it’s the safest and most effective supplement on the market today (when taking recommended doses). This supplement is most beneficial to strength and power athletes as it is used during short bouts of exercise such as lifting or sprinting. Athletes who train endurance but are adding in strength and power exercises may also benefit from it, but endurance workouts alone do not benefit, especially one such as a swimmer or jockey where light weight and speed are crucial.

It can also improve high intensity performance, increase lean body mass, and strength. Creatine increases our energy to allow us to keep working. Want percentages? I thought so! This supplement can improve your performance between 5-15%.

In terms of taking creatine, the scientific literature recommends a ‘loading protocol,’ which is a fancy way of saying its a strategy used to get your cells saturated. Option 1 is to take five grams, four times a day, for seven days, then drop to three grams a day to keep up the saturation. Option 2, you can take three grams a day, and around day twenty-eight your muscles reach saturation. When supplementing with creatine timing is not necessary. You can take it at any time of day, and it will still be effective come workout time.

Some people notice weight gain when taking it. This is because when taking creatine, it increases your total body water. Your muscles contain roughly 70% water and since creatine helps you gain muscle, it is no coincidence your weight and total body water increase slightly with the consumption of it.

As always, just because you see someone on the internet doing it or read a blog post (such as this one) does NOT mean it is right for you. Want to dive deeper? Book some time to meet with Coach Steph for a Free ‘Hungry for Help’ session!

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