What is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound occurring naturally within the body. It is also found in meats and fish and is popularly supplemented by bodybuilders and anyone looking to gain lean muscle mass.
What are the benefits of using Creatine?
Creatine energies the body’s muscle cells, allowing you to work harder for a longer period of time. Most users will notice a loss in fat and gains in lean muscle mass and energy.
How does Creatine work?
Creatine hydrates the muscle cells, which means they can endure a lot more than usual in training routines.
How much Creatine should I take per day?
Everyone is different, but the average dosage is about two to five grams per day. Your brand of Creatine should specify dosage amounts on the label. If you’re a new user, start off with small doses and increase gradually.
Are there different types of Creatine available?
There are a few types of Creatine on the market today. The most common is Creatine Monohydrate; however, Creatine Ethyl Ester, Creatine Malate and Creatine Kre-Alkalyn are other options.
At what point in the day should I take Creatine?
Creatine is best taken 15 minutes after a workout; however, you will still experience the benefits if you consume it at any other time in the day.
If I take more Creatine will I see faster and greater gains?
No. Taking more than the required dosage will only saturate the muscle cells and the left over Creatine will be excreted by the body as waste.
Is the Creatine loading phase essential?
Creatine loading is not essential, but it will increase your body’s Creatine levels quite rapidly. Without loading it may take between four and six weeks to get to the same level.
What is Creatine cycling?
Creatine cycling involves stopping Creatine intake for two weeks and then resuming use once more. Many Creatine users believe that after six to eight weeks of use results begin to plateau. Cycling is said to break this plateau so that you can continue to make gains.
Is Creatine a banned substance in official sports or bodybuilding competitions?
Creatine occurs naturally in the body and is not a banned substance. In fact, many Olympic athletes also use Creatine to prepare for sporting events.
Should I use Creatine everyday or only on days that I workout?
Usually your brand of Creatine will suggest the appropriate dosages and times on the label. There is no right or wrong, but most users will consume Creatine daily, even if they haven’t worked out.
Will taking Creatine produce any side effects?
Some Creatine users report bloating, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, muscle cramps and stomach cramps as side effects; however, these can usually be reduced by decreasing your daily dosage. There have been no reported long term side effects of using Creatine.
Is it a good idea to stack Creatine with other supplements?
Creatine provides your muscles with the energy to work harder than usual, so stacking it with a muscle recovery supplement such as Protein or Glutamine will be beneficial in reducing muscle damage. You may also see benefits from taking a pre-workout supplement such as Nitric Oxide.
Is Creatine unstable in solution?
If you mix Creatine in a shake, sports drink or just with water it is advised that you consume it within six hours. After this amount of time it will turn into waste that will be of no use to your muscles.
Creatine Doses and Loading
Creatine dosage varies greatly depending on the user; however, a basic guideline is about 2 to 5 grams per day. There are also various ways to consume Creatine. The two most popular methods are:
Creatine Loading and Maintenance
Creatine loading involves consuming a higher than normal level of Creatine over a week long period. For example, instead of a regular 3g dose per day, you may consume 20g split into 5 separate 4g dosages throughout the day. This method is used to boost initial Creatine levels within the body. After a week of Creatine loading you will be in maintenance phase, which means taking a regular dose (around 2 to 5 grams) per day to maintain your increased levels of Creatine.
This method skips the loading phase, which means that increasing your Creatine levels can take a bit longer. However, you will ultimately end up with an equal store of Creatine within 4 to 6 weeks. To start, just begin taking a regular dose of Creatine each day. This is on average about 2 to 5 grams. If you’re new to Creatine start on a low dose and slowly increase this as your body gets used to it.
Some users also like to ‘cycle’ their Creatine intake. This means stopping use after 6 to 8 weeks then starting back up 2 weeks later. Or just simply continuing use, but reloading every 6 to 8 weeks. Most users believe that cycling stops the body from getting too used to Creatine and prevents a plateau.
When to take Creatine
Creatine is best taken after a workout; however, consuming it at other times throughout the day won’t cause you to lose any benefits.