If you’re new to the world of sports, and weightlifting, you may have never heard of creatine before. If you’re a veteran weight lifter, you probably know that creatine helps improve your gains, but might not quite understand how or why it’s so popular. You may even wonder, “When should I take creatine?”
In this article, we’ll study what creatine does, when to take creatine and the risks involved in taking too much.
WHAT IS CREATINE?
Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical compound which is produced by the human body. Your liver naturally produces .07 ounces (or 2 grams) of creatine every day.
You also get creatine from the meat in your diet. Creatine is not a steroid nor is it a performance-enhancing drug, because it is a naturally occurring amino acid that your body produces on its own.
WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE CREATINE?
Creatine provides the body with a variety of benefits, including:
- Increased strength, power, and force
- Improved Agility
- Increased performance
- Increased endurance
- Improved sprint performance
Not only this, but creatine has been found to help improve performance in some specific, exercise-related areas. For example, tests have shown that creatine can help improve cycling abilities. It has also improved muscle strength and ability during certain Olympic-style lifts. It has also improved test participants’ squats too.
If you’re looking to improve performance and endurance, you should consider supplementing your body’s creatine and give your muscles more of what they need to become more effective.
WHEN TO TAKE CREATINE – BEFORE OR AFTER WORKOUT
When it comes to taking creatine, most people fall into one of three camps: Taking creatine before a workout, taking creatine after they workout, and taking before and after their exercise. Here’s the philosophy behind each of those three camps...
CAMP 1 – TAKE CREATINE BEFORE A WORKOUT
People who take creatine do so because of something called adenosine triphosphate or ATP. Basically, ATP is how your body creates energy. Creatine can help increase ATP.
By that logic, more creatine means more ATP, which means more energy flowing to your muscles while working out. That’s just to say that your workout becomes more effective. The reasoning here is, the more energy you have when working out, the more efficiently your body can do each exercise, which translates to more gains.
CAMP 2 – TAKE CREATINE AFTER A WORKOUT
People who take the after-workout approach look at things a bit differently. When you work out, you use up a lot of your body’s resources - especially when training for a new sport or exercise where the muscles haven't yet been built. You’re basically weakening your muscles with intense physical activity and depleting them of nutritional resources. Because of this nutrient depletion, most muscles are starved by the end of a workout.
People who take creatine after their workout are doing so with the hope that their starving muscles will consume more creatine than they normally would in other situations. The assumption is that these people will ultimately see greater gains as a result of good supplement timing.
CAMP 3 – TAKE CREATINE WHENEVER YOU WANT
This group of people says that the specifics don’t really matter. If you take it before your workout, then you’ll get some more ATP, but you’ll have drained muscles. But if you take your creatine after your workout, you’ll have fuller muscles but less ATP.
This group believes that it doesn’t really matter when you take creatine because there are positives and negatives no matter which strategy you use. Basically, they’re saying it all comes out the same in the end, and timing doesn’t matter. For them, as long as the creatine makes it to the muscle ... that's enough.
WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE CREATINE
In general, the research shows that Camp 3 is right. The best time to take creatine is whenever works best for you. There are plenty of studies out there that show slight increases for those who take creatine both before and after their exercise routine.
But each of those studies is measuring creatine’s usefulness in a very specific way. Creatine is helpful no matter what time you take it. Do it before your workout or afterward. Some even recommend that you take your creatine with your meals.
No matter what you do, ask yourself why you’re taking creatine, and whether your consumption habits are helping accomplish those goals. Take time to decide what your goals are - if you’re looking for more energy, then you better take it before your workout. If you’re looking for a faster recovery, then you should take it post-workout.
Either way, you stand to benefit from taking creatine supplements.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS WITH TAKING TOO MUCH CREATINE?
Too much of anything can be a bad thing. That’s true for calories, protein, creatine, exercise, food, and water.
Read the label. If you don’t take creatine as instructed on the supplement bottle, you could experience stomach cramps and muscle cramps. Most of these side effects are due to the fact that creatine forces your body to absorb and retain more water than it normally does on its own.
An easy fix for these problems is by simply drinking more water. If you give your body more water, it can absorb and retain increased amounts while still having enough to stay hydrated.
Either way, it’s important to take your creatine and pre-workouts as the instructions tell you to. Misusing supplements can be just as damaging to your workout as improper form. It’s more important to do things right once than doing them wrong multiple times.
IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR CREATINE WE HAVE WHAT YOU NEED
We stand for quality. We offer fantastic creatine products such as Micronized Creatine Monohydrate and Endura-Formance. We know that our products will help amplify your strength, delay muscle fatigue, and increase muscle cell volume.
Whether you’re wanting to increase ATP, improve your recovery time, or simply supplement your natural creatine uptake, 1st Phorm can help you meet your goals.
With proper diet, exercise, and the best 1st Phorm creatine supplements, you can really take your workouts to the next level and improve your body’s performance.