5 Reasons why Creatine Monohydrate is the Number One Choice

Creatine is one of those supplements that almost every wannabe bodybuilder has heard of but few actually bother to take. This is a shame because while Creatine may not seem as glamorous as some other supplements it is far more effective than the majority of them, and those that are as effective? Well Creatine usually goes well with them too!

In this article we will look at five reasons why you should be looking to incorporate Creatine Monohydrate into your diet. We will also take a quick look at what it is and how it works.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a molecule that is used to create energy, it is produced naturally in the body and can be found in the diet in red meat, eggs, and fish. When you exercise the body releases the energy created by creatine which then helps you to perform muscular contractions (i.e. exercise). Sadly we don’t get much creatine from our diet, nor do we naturally produce much, which is why supplementing with Creatine Monohydrate is so important.

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan then you NEED to start supplementing with Creatine as soon as possible. The reason is that your diet will not be providing any Creatine, this can seriously hinder your chances of exercising at an optimal rate. Luckily Creatine Monohydrate is a synthetic supplement so is completely safe for Vegans to consume.

You can take Creatine in one of two ways, a loading strategy or a set amount each day for a long period of time. Some studies have shown that loading (taking 0.3g of creatine per 1kg of bodyweight for 7 days, and then taking 0.03g of creatine per kg thereafter) is more effective, at least initially [1]. But just taking your 0.03g per kg of creatine from the start to finish is also effective and comes without any of the side effects (upset stomach and bloating) that loading can create.

Another debate is when to take creatine, with some people saying before a workout, some saying after, and some saying that it really doesn’t matter. A 2013 study by Antonio & Ciccone found that taking creatine post workout was most effective, so this seems to be the best choice [2].

5 Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate

So now you know what Creatine is, and how to take it. But what are the main benefits? Below we will give you five of the most commonly known ones.

1. Creatine can increase power

A study by Zuniga et al (2012) found that seven days of 20g creatine supplementation led to increased power in men [3]. If you perform explosive movements (Olympic lifting, power lifting, or sprinting) then taking Creatine is essential. But anyone looking to exercise would benefit from more power.

2. Creatine can increase testosterone levels

A 2015 study by Arazi et al found that supplementing with 5g of creatine for just 5 days was enough to increase testosterone levels. This is a big deal because boosting natural testosterone can increase muscle, lower body fat, improve recovery from exercise, and improve sleep quality.

3. Creatine can improve Anaerobic performance

Anaerobic exercise is any exercise that you can perform in less than 10 seconds, okay that’s a bit of a generalization but it gives you an idea of what we’re talking about. A 100m sprint is very anaerobic as the participants are working at 100% and aren’t breathing anything in until at least the 80m mark. A Clean & Jerk in weightlifting is also an anaerobic exercise.

Creatine has been shown to massively improve your anaerobic performance. Supplementing with a pre-workout that contains creatine will not only save you money but will give you that boost for your training session, whatever it may be. It is also very beneficial to understand what top ingredients should be in your pre-workout supplement as well, because if you’re going to take it why not use only the best right?

4. Creatine can speed up your recovery

Creatine seems to have an effect on post-exercise inflammation, this is basically muscle soreness. Some inflammation can be a good thing, but too much can prevent you from exercising to your full potential the next day. A study by Santos et al (2004) found that creatine supplementation after an intense 30km run led to reduced cell damage and inflammation [4]. The right post-workout supplement should have creatine in it, along with other beneficial post-workout recovery ingredients.

5. Creatine can improve cognitive function

This last one may come as a surprise to people who feel they know their stuff regarding creatine. But more and more studies are now looking into the effect that creatine has on memory, decision making, and other mental functions. Remember it is just a way to create energy, and using your brain requires that energy just like exercise.

References

[1] Hultman, E., Soderlund, K., Timmons, J., Cederblad, G., & Greenhaff, P. 1985. Muscle Creatine Loading in men. Journal of Applied Physiology 81(1): 232-7

[2] Antonio, J., & Ciccone, V. 2013. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10(36)

[3] Zuniga, J., Housh, T., Camic, C., Hendrix, C., Mielke, M., Johnson, G., Housh, D., Schmidt, R. 2012. The effects of creatine monohydrate loading on anaerobic performance and one-repetition maximum strength. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 26(6): 1651-6

[4] Santos, R., Bassit, R., Caperuto, E., Costa Rosa, L. 2004. The effect of creatine supplementation upon inflammatory and muscle soreness markers after a 30km race. Life Sciences 3;75(16): 1917-24

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