Creatine is not just a fitness supplement. It is found naturally in our body, and is also contained in meats and fish! There are many different types of creatine on the market, created by many different companies. The most tried and true type is Creatine Monohydrate. Not only is it the most used, most common, it is also the most studied.
A creatine supplement supplies the phosphocreatine system with energy. This energy system is used for quick, rapid movements such as sprinting, heavy barbell exercises, or jumping. These movements are considered anaerobic. As such, creatine has been shown to increase performance of the phosphocreatine system, therefore increasing strength, fat-free muscle mass, and anaerobic power output, among others.
A typical athlete will take 5g of creatine per day (about 1 tablespoon). It is best to take a creatine supplement with carbs, as these carbs (Gatorade, for example) will better transport the supplement in the body to the working muscle cells. Creatine may be taken pre or post workout.
Many creatine supplements require a “loading phase”. This typically consists of a 7 days period where a higher consumption of creatine is prescribed. That is, instead of taking 5g per day, 20-30g may be taken. However, there have been studies that show a loading phase adds no benefit and not doing so will not diminish the effectiveness of a daily consumption of 5g.
Creatine is not just for the high-performance athlete! If you are looking for a stronger squat, bench, deadlift, or to add lean muscle mass, you may consider adding creatine to your diet.
By Jared Bradford