Monday, October 24, 2011

Creatine: The Old School Powerhouse!

I'm going to go on a creatine cycle next month, so I figured why not post a related article?

Few muscle building supplements have been around for as long as good ol' creatine monohydrate.  It has been a staple in bodybuilding, strength training, and the entire fitness world in general for quite a while (the early 90's is when creatine was introduced as a supplement.)  But what is creatine exactly?  You may have heard quite a few stories about the stuff, and hopefully this article will clear up your understanding of that powdered powerhouse.

First thing's first, creatine is a natural element of food.  It's found in all sorts of meats, like beef, turkey, chicken, and fish.  It's composed of three amino acids, arginine, glycine, and methionine.  Those are some powerful muscle building blocks right now, and you should already be starting to see how useful creatine is for packing on lean body mass.

But if you're getting some creatine in your diet already (in your food, though I bet you didn't know you were until now), why should you spend your hard earned cash to get some more of that pricey powder?  Well first of all, creatine monohydrate, which has been proven time and time again to be the MOST effective form of creatine, doesn't cost much.  In fact it'll probably be less than half the price of that expensive whey.  And let me get this out of the way, it will NOT replace your protein supplement, in fact creatine is meant to assist in the more effective absorption of all that extra protein into your muscles.

But what will creatine do?  Creatine will cause fluid to be drawn into your muscles, causing them to bloat slightly and grow noticably.  I'm betting you didn't pay for a temporary "fake" muscle builder though, so keep listening.  Your muscles absorb nutrients and protein MUCH more effectively if they are hydrated, and that's where creatine does its job well.  It will pack your muscles full of water, making them ready and willing to take in as much of that extra protein as they can.

Creatine will also give you more anaerobic energy.  In simple terms, as your energy stores become depleted, creatine can donate part of it's molecular structure to allow your body another short burst of energy when you really need it.  This energy will be evident in anaerobic situations such as heavy max lifts, sprints, and other short, high intensity exercises.  If you want ravaging muscular power, I suggest trying out some creatine very soon.

How do you take creatine though, that's the real question.  There's been a lot of debate on this one, but the method I've used consists of a loading phase, followed by a constant dosage phase, followed by a cycling off.  What this basically means is that for one week, you will consume 15-25g (3-4 tsp) of creatine pre or post workout to completely saturate your muscles with creatine as quickly as possible.  If you just start off with a smaller, constant dosage, it will take longer to see benefits.

After this week of loading, you back off on the amount you take, trying now only to maintain your creatine stores.  Take 2-5g (.5-1 tsp) a day pre-workout, and that should be enough.  Keep on this pattern for a month, then stop taking creatine and allow your system to flush out. The reason for this is that there's rumors creatine can be damaging to your kidneys, however there is still a lot of controversy. People agree though that it's better to be safe than sorry.  ALWAYS drink lots of water with creatine, both to load your muscles up and to help flush out your system.

Like with any supplement, your body can get used to the extra creatine, and you won't see the effects after a while.  That's another reason to cycle off creatine every other month, to keep gaining for as long as possible.

If you're looking for a new, cheap, and easy way to build a little more muscle, before you buy 70$ worth of pills, try some creatine.  It's old school, and it works.  It'll pack on muscle, and make you feel powerful as the hulk himself (well, maybe not quite, but I like creatine...=]).

Load up, lift hard, and as always, good luck!!!


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