SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT

Welcome to Sunday Supplement!

Today I am going to talk about creatine. It's an extremely common supplement used by many fitness enthusiasts. But what is it? how does it benefit you?

Creatine is naturally produced within the body from the amino acids - glycine, arginine and methionine, and takes place within the kidneys, liver and pancreas. Creatine increases your body's ability to produce energy, therefore enabling you to train longer and harder. If you can lift more weight, or lift for longer, you will get stronger, quicker! Because if replenishes your ATP stores, it is best used with explosive movements - weight lifting or sports that require short bursts of energy. Some people do use it for endurance events, but there is far less studies and evidence backing any benefits.

So, as it helps to increase your energy production, you can clearly see that it can benefit you if you want to pack on muscle. Building muscle is hard work, and even with a great diet, some people might need that extra 'boost', and that's where creatine can help. If you start using it, you will gain a little weight (usually a few pounds) very quickly, but that is just water weight. But that isn't going to continue, so any weight you add on after, will be muscle mass (or fat if you're diet is bad). But you will only benefit from creatine supplementation if you train hard. If you start using it, and go to the gym and train 'half hearted', then you're not going to see much in return. Because of the extra energy, you will be able to train harder for longer, and that is when you will get the results. If you watch bodybuilders train in the gym, you will soon see that they don't train 'half hearted'.

There are however, some side effects.

Some people can experience an upset stomach, needing to go to the bathroom a few too many times, or both. These aren't common, but they can happen. The side effects usually happen if you take too much creatine. Some people don't follow the guidelines and think they know best, which is not the way to go - always follow the guidelines. If you stop using creatine, you can see a little drop in weight, as the fluid side of the weight gain will decrease. Also, as you won't be able to train as hard or as long, your workouts could decrease in tempo a little bit.  There have also been reports in skin reactions, but again, they are rare, and usually because those people have taken creatine incorrectly or too much.

Food sources of creatine:  The best food source is red meat (pork, beef). Fish (salmon, tuna, cod) is also a strong holder of creatine.

Supplementation is very common, and as far as studies show, it is safe to use. It's always best to get it from food, but if you are training hard, then use a supplement. (always follow the manufacturers guidelines and get the all clear to use creatine from your GP).


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