Creatine. It is without doubt the most studied supplement in history. In fact, creatine monohydrate has actually been looked at and studied for nearly a century. While it is found naturally in the body as well as in certain foods (such as meat), supplementing with additional creatine has many health and fitness benefits.
Creatine monohydrate has the ability to improve strength, enhance recovery time, build muscle quicker, and allows you to stay 100% natural with your fitness and physique goals. Due to the fact that creatine monohydrate can increase protein synthesis, it gives you an edge when it comes to adding quality lean muscle mass to your frame.
Time get a smidge nerdy!
So, what does creatine monohydrate really do in the body? Well, creatine increases the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is an energy source that our bodies use during short intense bursts of energy (such as weight lifting and explosive movements). Additionally, creatine monohydrate helps pull water into the muscles which allows them to have a much fuller appearance and look (think of the “pump” you get during workouts).
It can even reverse muscle tissue loss!
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle tissue as part of the natural ageing process. Muscles wither and the ability to do simple tasks vanishes. It’s when old people truly become infants. Weight lifting is an obvious answer, however, studies have found that creatine supplementation alone – without resistance training – was enough to reverse sarcopenia to some degree. Obviously, this creatine-induced reversal of muscle wasting worked a lot better when used in conjunction with resistance training, but the fact that it worked to any degree by itself is pretty remarkable.
And what about your ticker?
As anyone who’s ever read an article on creatine knows, it leads to increased production of ATP, the body’s energy currency. Among the types of cells that rely on adequate levels of ATP are heart cells, but these levels are invariably low in people with heart failure. This is typified by low energy levels and tiring quickly.
But when researchers give creatine to heart patients, they get stronger. Their energy increases.
While studies haven’t shown creatine to affect the ejection fraction (how well blood is pumped out of the heart) of patients either way, creatine appears to be a cheap, easy way to make the lives of heart patients better and maybe, just maybe, a little longer.
And more benefits!
Creatine can lower blood sugar, particularly when combined with exercise. This suggests it may have a nutrient partitioning effect, i.e., it may help preferentially store carbs in muscle as opposed to fat.
Creatine can increase the formation of osteoblasts (cells that make bone), which can help with bone formation, bone repair, and even osteoarthritis formation.
Creatine can help reduce fat accumulation in the liver for people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Creatine can help people with fibromyalgia (who have chronically low creatine phosphate levels, and ipso facto, low ATP levels).
Creatine monohydrate is safe and effective and can be used by anyone, regardless of your age, athletic ability, and gender. It should be noted though – as mentioned above, creatine benefits those who engage in “short bursts” of energy. Someone such as a marathon runner or endurance athlete wouldn’t truly get the most benefits from supplementing with creatine. However, it’s their choice if they would want to utilise creatine monohydrate to implement into their training or not.
How to use it?
The old-school thought when using creatine has been to have a loading phase where you would take upwards of 20 grams per day to saturate the muscle. This, however, has been debunked and researchers have found that you can take the normal “maintenance” 5 grams of creatine monohydrate each day and your muscles will eventually become fully saturated in that fashion versus the need to hyper-load or front-load.
The ideal time to take creatine is immediately after your workout in your protein shake or in a small amount of juice immediately after training.
There was a recent study involving 19 lifters split into two groups. Both groups did the same workout five days a week for 4 weeks. One group took 5 grams of creatine before their workout and one group took 5 grams of creatine after.
After a month, the men in the after-workout creatine group gained TWICE as much lean body mass as the pre-workout creatine group. The after-workout group also lost about 1kg more fat than the pre-workout group, in addition to being able to bench press a couple of kilograms more than the pre-workout group.
At Real Fitness you’ll find the highest quality creatine monohydrate on the market by ATP Science.