WHAT IS CREATINE?
When performing any physical activity, the body uses various substrates as a source of energy namely, phosphocreatine, carbs, fats and protein. The most immediate energy source that the body requires to perform is phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine is converted into creatine to provide the body with energy (ATP) to produce movement for any activity lasting less than 20 seconds. Thereafter, the body will tap into other energy pathways. It can be synthesised via the liver and kidneys, but most of the creatine in the body is obtained by consuming red meats.
WHY USE IT?
Creatine is the primary energy fuel needed for short burst or explosive movements. Therefore, supplementing the body with additional creatine will assist in the following ways:
- Improved strength
- Boost in power
- Enhanced muscle recovery
- Improved muscle growth
- Improved IGF-1 levels
- Injury prevention
The factors mentioned above clearly reinforce the reasoning behind the popularity of creatine and why so many fitness and sports athletes view it as a “must have” in every muscle performance stack. It is best suited for those fitness athletes that focus on strength, speed or power training. When it comes to endurance-based events, the body will primarily use carbs and fats for energy to fuel the movements required. Therefore, creatine will not be as beneficial for endurance athletes as it would be for muscle building, strength or speed seeking athletes. It is also not suitable for under 18s.
HOW TO USE IT
There are a few misconceptions with regards to the best way to use creatine. According to Kreider R.B, a five to seven-day loading phase, comprising of four 5 g (or 0.3 g/kg body weight) servings each day, proves to be highly successful in saturating creatine stores (normal creatine muscles stores are only at 60% to 80% capacity).
The loading phase can speed up the muscle-creatine saturation process, in comparison to a general 2-10 g daily approach that can take up to three weeks before stores have become completely filled. The significance behind reaching optimal/maximal levels of creatine is to obtain the maximum benefits from it in your training. Once the loading phase has been completed, you can adopt a 2-10 g daily dosage for maintenance purposes. Ideally it is best to split your maintenance servings as follows:
One serving before workout (+- 5 g)*
One serving post workout (+- 5 g)*
*serving size is dependent on body mass
In addition, it is always great to consume creatine with a high GI carbohydrates source, as this will assist in spiking the uptake into the muscle tissue.
Creatine has great potential to improve your training performance abilities and help you reach your desired goals. Always remember that it is more beneficial for athletes that are focused on high intensity, power, speed and strength training. Stick to the recommend dosages and reap the rewards!
USN CREATINE OPTIONS