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Get Mean, Eat Creatine!

March 30, 2009

I use creatine every day.  I take in about 5g per day, and I have definitely seen positive effects.  It seems to be one of the more “controversial” supplements out there.  By that I mean, I hear people talk about it like it is steroids.  Rest assured, it is not the devil.

Creatine Dosing and FAQ (Easy read that explains everything you need to know.)

All About Creatine at Precision Nutrition (A little more science.)

Biotest Creatine, Top Notch.

Biotest Creatine, Top Notch.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Ben Hubbard permalink
    March 31, 2009 6:44 am

    Creatine makes your muscles bigger. The bigger muscle isn’t the “strength” muscle you’re looking for though, it’s just extra size because of increased water intake combined with the supplements science aspect. If you want to be a lean quick athlete, this muscle is going to weigh you down and make you slower. It’s kinda like extra fat.

    • March 31, 2009 2:07 pm

      Creatine increases ATP regeneration and availability. ATP is the energy system the body uses for short bursts of strength and power.

      “This is where creatine phosphate comes in. It takes one for the team by donating its phosphate so that ADP can become ATP again, and so you can finish that sprint.

      Because creatine plays a major role in this system, more creatine means more potential ATP, which translates into improved performance on short-duration, high-intensity tasks. Because long-duration, low-intensity activities rely more on a different energy system, they are not typically enhanced by creatine — in other words, creatine will help a sprint but not a marathon.”

      When lifting in lower rep ranges and lifting heavy, the main benefit is strength gain. Even at your current body weight you can drastically increase your strength without gaining weight. In this way creatine directly affects your ability to get extra reps, extra sets, and extra strength.

      If you do see a size gain in your muscles while on this type of program, you are experiencing the right kind of hypertrophy. This is called Sarcomere Hypertrophy. Basically, this means the muscle fibers actually grow instead of the tissue surrounding the muscle fibers. The other end of this is called Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy. This is the result of size gains from the tissue surrounding the muscle fibers and does not contribute directly to strength. This is why body builders train differently than athletes, to emphasize size over strength.

      Now you can experience a “bloating” sort of effect from creatine. This can occur if you have too much body fat and/or if you dose to heavily right away. Which is why 5g per day is usually the right way to go when you start using it.

      “When following high-dose creatine loading strategies, body mass can be increased by nearly 2 kg (over 4 lbs) in just 7 days. This is mainly due to increases in total body water. However, these rapid water gains are not necessarily associated with lower dose creatine use.”

      Also, we should note it doesn’t affect everyone negatively in this way. If you start to experience too much water retention slow down your dose a bit and continue on. The “bloat” should pass and you can start to see some positives.

      Now, if you want “to be a lean quick athlete” I have a couple recommendations.

      1. Stop eating bullshit. Eat clean and work hard in the gym. Body fat is going to weigh you down more than anything, and reducing it will allow you to move quicker.

      2. Lift for maximum strength and train to improve your rate of force development. Basically, increase the amount of weight you can move, and then focus on moving it as quickly as possible. This is a recipe for a quick and powerful athlete.

      And in conclusion, muscle gained from creatine enabled workouts, can be functional and is not “kinda like fat”. Not to mention this doesn’t even cover all of the positives in the articles.

  2. Ben Hubbard permalink
    March 31, 2009 5:57 pm

    You win this round Matt Ellsworth.

    So from what I’ve read from your post and online, Creatine gives you a higher capacity output of energy via ADP and ATP during workouts and ultimate Frisbee games. I’m figuring that the muscle fiber growth comes from being able to do heavier weights with a higher intensity during workouts, am I right?

    I guess that whenever I’ve heard about people gaining weight while on Creatine, it comes from the “bloating” effect.

    What I don’t understand then, is why do some people substitute Creatine as their muscle supplement instead of protein powder? I’m starting to understanding the concept of Creatine working to promote muscle fiber growth and strength, but it seems to only make the process work better and more efficient. Is it smart to use Creatine with other muscle supplements such as protein powder, or other amino acid supplements that are not in Creatine?

    • March 31, 2009 6:56 pm

      You are right in your observation that creatine is NOT a replacement for protein powder. Protein supplementation provides your body with the additional resources needed to rebuild and repair your muscles. Every time you train, you are tearing your body down, and protein is needed to build it back up. Creatine can enhance protein synthesis as well. This means that more of the protein is actually absorbed and used by your body, so you are right to say that it makes things more efficient. Additionally, creatine is already found in the body and through supplementation you are just filling up the remainder of stores available.

  3. Ben permalink
    March 31, 2009 7:36 pm

    What other supplements are you taking? Let me guess. Surge and metabolic drive?

  4. Anon permalink
    April 1, 2009 8:14 pm

    Lift for maximum strength and train to improve your rate of force development. Basically, increase the amount of weight you can move, and then focus on moving it as quickly as possible. This is a recipe for a quick and powerful athlete.

    You lost me at ‘focus on moving it as quickly as possible.’ It might be better to do the heaviest bench / dl you can do under 8 seconds (2-5 reps), then do plyos (clap push-ups / box jumps).

  5. April 2, 2009 2:14 pm

    Creatine is somewhat over-rated. Don’t get me wrong, I think its great… but its not a magic supplement. In the short term it makes a big difference, but not in the long-run. If you take the same guy and make him eat right, lift heavy, and run hard… in a year, he will be pretty much the same with or without creatine. However, Do that for 1-3 months and there will be huge gains with the creatine. I have taken it on and off for many years. I have more trouble staying properly hydrated than I do putting on muscle. I hate waking up having to piss like a racehorse and still having cottonmouth…

    I am just saying its not for everyone… especially not in the long run.

    I also think it might not be a bad idea to supplement before a tournament with it b/c it increases your ATP reserves; however, dehydration becomes an issue again.

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