Truth About Creatine and My Personal Experience Using It

Out of all the supplements on the market these days, I don’t believe there is one that is more misunderstood than creatine. I don’t even think people understand the truth about creatine. I’ve heard so many people say how afraid they are of creatine, almost treating it like steroids. People will even just get upset and claim how much weight they heard it makes people gain.

I can’t remember the first time I implemented creating into my supplementation. I do remember how it felt though. I did a lot of research at the time, and even today I enjoy researching about the benefits of it and other ingredients. My goal is to help you understand a little more about my experience with creatine, and what the reality is rather than myths or rumors that cause creatine to be grossly underutilized.

First of all, if you look up creatine you may read that it is a “nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in vertebrates”. What does that even mean? Well let’s break it down into something more applicable to fitness. Just picture creatine as a molecule. This little guy bonds itself to a phosphate molecule and is stored in your muscular system. Why is that important? Well your muscles use something called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) as energy or fuel. When your muscle exert force, they use up this ATP which is converted into ADP (adenosine diphosphate). In order for that to be used as fuel again, it needs to convert back into ATP. That’s where creatine comes into play. Creatine phosphate so generally donates its phosphate molecule over to the ADP so that it can happily become ATP once more to be used again by your muscles. This increases your body’s capacity to lift, run, bike, swim, or anything else that uses your muscles. Imagine you have a car that has a 12 gallon tank. If you were to install a bigger tank you could drive further, right?

Well think of the truth about creatine as a bigger tank. You may gain weight when using creatine, but it isn’t much. You can picture it as the extra fuel your body has to utilize! I think one of the biggest misconceptions about creatine is that the weight is bad or it makes you bloated. That’s precisely what enables it to do what it does, and be so effective for your endurance and strength training!

I also have to include a few articles here for those who may want to do some deeper research or see the results of studies on creatine itself.

The truth about creatine is that it works for almost everyone, but may have varying levels of effectiveness. For individuals who already have a high concentration of creatine in their body, the effects will be less performance related and more that of decreasing ATP loss during heavy exercise. [1]

A typical usage of creatine consists of 25 g per day for 7 days followed by 5 g per day thereafter. This has been seen over a 12 week period to result in lower fat mass, increased strength, and increased muscle size. [2]

When it comes to side effects creatine is not one you’ll necessarily have to worry about. There have only been a few reported incidents with regards to the use of creatine. Any adverse consequences were typically tied to improper dosages or a history of prior health concerns. [3, 4]

My personal experience with creatine, specially when it comes to weight gain or loss can be found in this analytical article. It talks a lot about my body fat percentage and weight before, during, and after creatine consumption.

I felt a lot of strength increase while taking creatine as well as endurance. I was able to do one more rep, one more set, or add more weight each time I worked out. I also felt a more intense “pump” when using it. I would highly recommend creatine to anyone who’s doctor doesn’t say they shouldn’t take it.

I’ll also be starting a series on my YouTube channel to showcase all the different ingredients, such as the truth about creatine, that supplement companies use, why they use them, and what they’ll do to benefit (or hinder) your fitness.

References

[1] Casey A, Greenhaff P. Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance? Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72:607S–617S. [PubMed] [2] Volek J, Duncan N, Mazzetti S, Staron R, Putukian M, Gómez A, Pearson D, Fink W, Kraemer W. Performance and muscle fiber adaptations to creatine supplementation and heavy resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31:1147–1156. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199908000-00011. [PubMed] [Cross Ref] [3] Yoshizumi W, Tsourounis C. Effects of creatine supplementation on renal function. J Herb Pharmacother. 2004;4:1–7. [PubMed] [4] Thorsteinsdottir B, Grande J, Garovic V. Acute renal failure in a young weight lifter taking multiple food supplements, including creatine monohydrate. J Ren Nutr. 2006;16:341–345. doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2006.04.025. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

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