Do you have questions like What is creatine? Or What does creatine do? In this post we will discuss in detail what creatine is, how it works and how it can help you gain weight.
Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that is produced in liver, kidneys and pancreas and is found in foods like meat or fish. It provides energy to our muscle cells. In short, Creatine is used as an energy source when our body needs it the most. Because of this property Creatine is mainly used as an supplement by most of the athletes and bodybuilders. When supplementing with Creatine, the strength and lifting capabilities of a bodybuilder are increased and better recovery is seen.
Thus to end up I would say creatine is used by the body just after workout as it is in need of it the most at that time.
How Creatine Works
Creatine is a nitrogenous organic compound obtained from consumption of meat or fish by the body and is also made inside the kidney, liver and pancreas. When Creatine enters the muscle cell, it accepts a high energy phosphate and forms phospho Creatine. Phospho Creatine is the storage form of high-energy phosphate, which is used by the skeletal muscle cells. Phospho Creatine availability in the muscles is vitally important in energy production, since ATP cannot be stored in excessive amounts within the muscle and is rapidly depleted during bouts of exhaustive exercise.
What does Creatine Do?
As I earlier mentioned Creatine draws water from body to the muscle cells and supplies energy to the body after a hard workout. Due to this property creatine has following benefits:
- Improves Muscle Volume: Creatine has a property that causes muscle cells to inflate thus improving the muscle volume. While supplementing with creatine, you will bloated most of the time and your muscle size will improve.
- Improves Strength and Stamina: This is the main reason why athletes and bodybuilders use creatine. Within 1-2 weeks of creatine supplementing your stamina and strength will increase. You will be able to lift much more weight than before, will be able to work out for a longer time and you will recover faster than before.
- Improves Athletic Performance: Creatine is seen to have improved stamina as well as metabolism of the body. This helps athletes to perform better and for a longer time. Increased metabolism is also a great advantage of using creatine.
- Enhances Recovery: Another good reason why Creatine should be used by bodybuilders. You workout and build muscle tears. These tears need to be repaired. This is what recovery time means as how much time is needed for your body to repairs tears. Creatine enhances recovery thus reducing the recovery time.
How and When to take Creatine
There are two phases of taking creatine:
- Loading Phase: This is done for first 4-6 days. Take 5g of creatine 4 times a day. This is done so that you fill your ATP with creatine to maximum levels so that it is available to the body when required. There is no best time to take creatine. You can divide 20g protein into 4 parts according to you schedule. Example can be
5g during breakfast
5g before workout
5g post workout
5g before bed
- Maintaining Phase: Take 5g of creatine every day 30minute before workout or just after workout.
It is recommended that you continuously take creatine for 8 weeks and then discontinue for next 4 weeks. This is called Creatine Cycle which means 8 weeks on and 4 weeks off.
Creatine Side Effects
There are generally no creatine side effects and it is considered to be 100% safe. But prior to using creatine please read the below precautions.
- Taking more than advised serving will not benefit the person but will lead to various side effects. The excess creatine will automatically flush out of the body. Hence take only appropriate creatine dosage at a time.
- The person using creatine should not have any kidney or liver disease. Also diabetic patients and people with gastro-intestinal issues should avoid using creatine. Hence before starting creatine supplementation, consult a doctor and get a checkup done.
- If you start using creatine, avoid drinking alcohol as it can cause some side effects in the body.
- Keep your body hydrated. This is the most important step when you are supplementing with creatine. Creatine draws water from body into muscle cells hence you should always keep your body hydrated. Drink at least 3-4 liters of water every day.
I would recommend that everyone should stick to basic Creatine Monohydrate as it is cheap and most efficient creatine available in the market. Other creatine products are derived from monohydrate only but are expensive and still not efficient as Creatine Monohydrate.