Ever heard of Creatine? Ever wondered what on EARTH it was?
Well, I had been supplementing with creatine for around 7 months. I just recently stopped taking it due to an empty bank account. Also, I often found myself contemplating whether or not it is a performance enhancing supplement or not, and I find myself habitually in a moral dilemma. I do not condemn people who indulge in performance enhancing drugs like steroids; however, i personally cannot take them. It goes against my philosophy and if I did take, say anabolic steroids (which have fat cutting properties), I would be turning my back on myself and I know I am not ready to betray myself. I also feel like steroids give you temporary results and I want to look ripped forever, not just a season or a few months. And the side effects just don’t seem worth the chiselled abs.
I remember the days when people mentioned creatine and I would say “NO WAY am I going to take that! I don’t want to look like a huge muscular monster!!” Wow was I wrong! Education is such a brilliant part of life and I am so happy I educated myself in this area. Women are always afraid to take creatine because people tell them they’ll get HUGE, well guess what?! Creatine works differently on women than men. We are lucky because we get all the muscle building goodness without gaining the unwanted body fat. When men load on creatine they gain weight but fortunately us women don’t!
Basically creatine improves our anaerobic threshold (hello HIIT), reduces muscle damage, enhances recovery, and preserves that lean muscle we work so hard at. It also functions as an antioxidant with absolutely no effect on your hormones or insulin! It is an awesome supplement because it lets you push harder and train at higher intensities and volumes – this is probably why we think our muscular strength and power increases, but in reality we are just able to push harder, hence increasing our strength and power and creating lean muscle. It allows one to do more reps of the same hefty weight. This is because when our muscle cells are nice and full of creatine we can do more work before our muscles give out. Every contraction can be more powerful and dynamic! O and did you know that creatine can be pushed into cells with the help of our friend and foe SALT; thus improving protein synthesis! Just a fun fact I thought I’d share but please remember that the maximum recommended daily dose of salt is 2,300 mg per day (that’s a little over a teaspoon)!
I know many people will argue this, but from my research “loading” is all a bunch of bull crap. Basically loading consists of consuming 20-25 grams of creatine every day when you first start off. This overload insures that muscle stores are full till the next loading phase. Studies suggest that just taking 5 grams a day will replenish stores more sufficiently.