Creatine FAQ

Creatine is the most popular sports supplement on the market. For this reason, its very important that you know what it is, what it does, how to use it, when to use it, and is it right for you and your goals. What I have done here is accumulate a list of the most Frequently Asked Question when it comes to creatine.

First, let me tell you my experience with creatine. I first learned about creatine in high school when I became interested in fitness for the first time. I had a friend who came to the gym one day with me and said “here take this”. Let just say I was shakin like detoxing crack head! I had no idea what creatine was or how it worked, or what was happening to me that would cause me to shake like I was. What I did not realize was the creatine draws water to your muscles to repair them and essentially I became super dehydrated.  Not a really good first experience. When I got back into fitness 8 years later when I began P90X, I did a little homework. I will go into detail on the product that I use and for what reasons; I want to address the FAQ’s first though. Bare with me on the technical stuff.

Creatine Frequently Asked Questions:

1) What is creatine? Creatine is a dietary supplement used by many athletes and bodybuilders to increase exercise performance, increase strength, have larger looking muscles, increase body mass and have faster post workout muscle recovery. Creatine is also naturally produced in the human body from amino acids primarily in the kidney and liver. It is transported in the blood for use by muscles. Approximately 95% of the human body’s total creatine is located in skeletal muscle. Creatine is manufactured in the human body from 3 different amino acids: L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. Although creatine is naturally produced in our bodies, you can also get creatine from your diet and of course with supplements.

The main dietary sources of creatine will come from fish and red meat. On average, it takes about a half a pound of meat to get 1g of creatine. This just isnt feasible for most people to consume the necessary amount of meat to yield the benefits of creatine. Usually you would consume about 10g of creatine per day and unless you have an iron stomach, I dont think you will be eating 5lbs of meat per day. It is simply more practical to consume creatine as a supplement.

2) How does creatine work? To put it very simply, creatine increases the amount of energy your muscle have. There is a common misconception that creatine is this magic muscle builder. Creatine does not build muscle, it simply aids in muscle recovery so that you are able to more of the things that build muscle. Creatine will draw water from your body and retain the water in your muscles. What this allows for is a more efficient transmission of proteins and nutrients to the muscles for repair and recovery (more energy for your muscles). When your muscles are repaired faster, you are less sore and you are more likely to be able to workout with more intensity than if you were not taking creatine. The more work your muscles can do, the more weight you’ll be able to pump and the more reps you’ll be able to bust out. It’s THIS that leads to muscle building. In fact, your workouts and following the nutrition plan 100% are the only thing that actually builds muscle. A creatine supplement just helps this process along.

3) How much creatine do I take? That is going to depend on your size. For a big guys that is 200lbs plus, you might need around 10g per day. For guys who are a small to medium build, 5g is recommended. I have split my intake into a morning and an evening dosage.

4) When do I take creatine? Like I said just a moment ago. I split my dosage into a morning and evening schedule. I work out in the mornings so I take my creatine supplement right before my workout “as directed” by the creatine supplement that I use. This ensures that by the time I finish my workout, the creatine is in my blood stream and going to work for me. I then also take a dosage in the evening “as directed” in order to continue the repairing and recovery process during sleep.

5) How do I take creatine? In my opinion the best way to take creatine is with a protein shake or possibly your shakeology. There are studies out there that say you can get better absorbtion by taking creatine with something that has a high glycemic index, like grape juice or something. But for me, I would rather avoid the calories and sugars in the fruit juice, especially if I were still in the fat shredder phase of the P90X nutrition plan. If you have to room calorie wise in your diet though, go for it!

6) What are the side effects of creatine? BIG question here! Creatine supplementation has been around for quite some time now and it has been studied quite a bit. All of these studies usually have the same conclusion, that creatine is safe for the average healthy adult. What this means is that if you have a pre existing health condition (especially kidney issues), then you will want to consult your physician before you take creatine. But for the average healthy adult, both male and female, there have been no studies the show any significant side effects from the use of creatine. The side effects you will usually hear about are dehydration and muscle cramping, both of which are a result of improper use of the supplement. These side effects can easily be avoided by drinking enough water and not taking too much creatine.

7) What does Coach Todd use? I use a creatine  made by Sci-Fit called Kre-Alkalyn 1500. This is a pH buffered creatine. Normal creatine monohydrate, when it comes into contact with liquid produces a bi-product called creatinine which the body cannot use. On average when you supplement with 5g of standard creatine monohydrate, you only get the benefit of about 200-400mg of actual usable creatine. Most of the creatine is lost when added to liquid, and even more is converted to creatinine when it goes through the acidic stomach. Kre-Alkalyn on the other hand gives you a full, stable uptake of pure creatine with zero toxic conversion to the creatinine bi-product that cant be used. You get all benefits of creatine, and none of the bad. One of the other positive aspects of Kre-Alkalyn is that since it is so pure, there is no need to cycle it by taking it for 2 months then taking a 1 month break. The on again off again system of supplementing creatine is over when you use Kre-Alkalyn creatine. It is also taken in much smaller doses because of its purity…1500mg. That means less stress on the kidneys when filtering the blood stream.

I have noticed considerable gains from using this product and really really great recovery times. I get mine from Amazon.com usually for around $15 for a 30 day supply. Cant beat the bang for the buck!

Are you using creatine? What results have you experienced? Let us know in the comments!

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