Creatine: an underrated supplement
Whether you want to improve performance or your overall health, there are TONS of supplements out there for you. Each one claims to do something magical for you, but what are the most important ones??? How can you get the most bang for your buck without having a meal of pills and powders every day??
One supplement that yields great results for performance and body composition with minimal effort is creatine! We know, there are tons of myths out there about creatine – it causes kidney problems, it causes water retention, and that it’s an anabolic steroid are among the few. But we are here to tell you that the research shows that creatine is not only safe, but when taken in the proper dosage, helps muscle hydration, performance, recovery, and cognition.
What is Creatine?
When you’re performing an intense workout, your muscles need energy to contract. That energy comes in the form of ATP. Creatine is a compound that gets broken down to create ATP. By increasing the amount of energy available for muscular contraction, your work capacity goes up.
In short, it’s a molecule made from amino acids and stored in your muscles for energy. It’s used when physical and/or mental demand is high. Creatine is produced by your liver and kidney and can be found in some foods, mostly meat and fish.
Why take it?
The most obvious reason for taking creatine is to increase your output during intense training sessions. It has been shown to increase work capacity and power in weight training and sprinting. By supplementing with creatine, you decrease the perceived effort, allowing you to work harder at the gym. As a result, you’ll see lean body mass increase and fat decrease.
Additionally, there may be some cognitive benefits to supplementing with creatine. While the cells in your muscles have a high energy demand during intense physical output, so do the neurons firing in your brain. This equates to faster muscle activation and recovery for heavy lifting days that are neurologically taxing. Other cognitive benefits that have been shown are improvement in memory, brain function, and mood disorders (such as depression).
If you’re trying to gain muscle mass while losing body fat, creatine could be a great tool to help you achieve this goal. This is a huge benefit for women athletes who generally tend to have more slow-twitch muscle fibers.
Creatine is one of the most effective supplements on the market. To give it a try for yourself, take 3-5g daily of creatine monohydrate. Let us know about your results!
Avgerinos KI, Spyrou N, Bougioukas KI, Kapogiannis D. Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Exp Gerontol. 2018;108:166-173. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2018.04.013
Branch, J. D. (2003). Effect of creatine supplementation on body composition and performance: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 13, 198-226.