December 11th, 2019 by Transform HQ
Creatine has been studied for decades and is considered one of the safest supplements out there, showing little to no adverse effects in healthy individuals. It’s widely used by bodybuilders and weight lifters, but creatine’s benefits can help anyone looking to take their fitness level up a notch.
We could talk forever about how much we love creatine, but instead, we will jump into the top creatine questions we’ve found on the internet. Buckle up!
Creatine phosphate helps make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is an energy-carrying molecule. ATP is what provides your body with energy to perform cellular metabolic activities, like high-intensity exercise or heavy lifting.
Creatine supports the energy process inside your body, which can mean more energy in your muscles for higher performance when exercising or competing in athletic competitions.
One common myth is that creatine is just for bodybuilders and for people who want to bulk up and put on a lot of mass.
Creatine is great for athletic performance and provides a lot of different health benefits!
Here are the benefits of creatine:
Creatine isn’t just for bodybuilders and elite athletes, everyone can benefit from creatine (from memory improvement to exercise performance)!
Years of research prove creatine to be one of the best supplements available on the market to maximize specific types of exercise including high-intensity, endurance, strength, and power.
One such study looked at over 500 cases to evaluate the effects of creatine supplementation on muscle function and exercise capacity.
Here are some of the results of the study. Creatine supplementation improved:
Approximately 300 studies out of the 500 found that 70% of them showed statistically significant results!
Simply put, creatine supplementation can help you increase your training and performance in the gym, so you can accelerate your results.
Creatine has been studied for over 200 years and has been proven to improve power and strength, sprinting, and more.
Yes! There are several types of creatine, so it can get a little confusing when you’re looking for a quality creatine product.
Here are some types of creatine you might run across:
The options listed above are just the tip of the iceberg, as different forms of creatine pop up all the time. Most will tout incredible benefits but have little research to back it up. The most well-known, most-studied, and supported form of creatine is monohydrate.
Creatine monohydrate is made up of a creatinine molecule and a water molecule (aka hydrate).
Create monohydrate increases water content in muscle cells, and this can help improve strength and exercise performance while also boosting energy levels (remember ATP?). The majority of studies and benefits talked about are from creatine monohydrate.
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most common (and researched) supplements in the world and is known to improve exercise performance.
We are going to break down this broad question into 3 more specific questions:
One study found that consuming creatine IMMEDIATELY post-workout was superior to pre-workout when comparing body composition and strength. Another study found that creatine supplementation post-exercise improves muscle strength as well as lean tissue mass.
So, according to these two studies, taking creatine after your workout is the way to go.
BUT, if you dive deeper into these studies, you might find that more proof is needed. Within the health and fitness industry, it’s still very popular to take creatine either before or after your workout.
So, when’s the best time to take creatine? Either before or after your workout. There might not be a definitive answer here, whether to take it before or after your workout, but one thing that is for certain is that it’s better to take it close to your workout, which leads us to the next question.
If your goal is to keep the creatine content of your muscles high, then supplementing on rest days makes sense, but it is not as important as taking it on exercise days!
No matter when you take creatine, your body will benefit. If you want the most bang for your buck, then take it close to when you exercise (either before or after).
Creatine is found mostly in animal products, meat, and fish, so it makes sense that vegetarians are found to have lower levels of creatine. For this reason, if vegetarians and vegans want more creatine, they will need to get it from supplements.
Creatine is naturally made in the body’s kidneys, liver, and pancreas, but it can also be found in dietary foods like pork, fish, meat, and dairy products.
Now we are getting into ways to maximize your creatine supplementation. Some creatine products will have added ingredients (protein, carbs, amino acids, etc.) to increase their effectiveness. If your creatine supplement includes carbs, then you’ll want to keep an eye on the calorie count.
Another way to maximize your creatine supplementation would be to eat it with your normal carb meal. If you’re following a meal plan or tracking macros, be careful not to add additional carbs with your creatine as you could mistakenly sabotage your fitness goals.
So, do you need to take creatine with meals? No! Since most studies (as stated above) recommend taking creatine before or after workouts, if you WANT to take creatine with a meal, then taking it on your rest day might be a good idea.
The top recommended way to take creatine is before or after your workout. But, if you want to try taking it with your normal carb-filled meals, then another option is to take it on your rest day.
Creatine is not a “men only” supplement. There are too many misconceptions out there that lead women to think that creatine is only for bodybuilders, mainly the fact that they think it will make them bulky.
But as we talked about earlier, creatine causes water weight retention, not body fat. if you combine proper training with creatine, it can lead to an increase in lean muscle building from better training sessions and quicker recoveries.
Still feeling iffy about trying creatine? Skip the loading phase of 20g for 5-7 days and start with a smaller dosage than the daily recommendation.
Creatine is definitely for women who are wanting to increase their strength, lifting performance, and lean muscle goals! When creatine is combined with effective training, it can lead to lean muscle building, better training, and quicker recoveries!
In short, yes! But believe us when we say it’s for a purpose. If you’re worried about bulking or think creatine is just for bodybuilders, then you need to read on for the breakdown.
That’s why we are fans of NSVs or non-scale victories! Forget the scale for a second and focus on the fact that you are stronger, healthier, and probably feel better when you’re eating right, exercising, and supplementing with creatine. 🙂
If you are trying to bulk, then you will need to do WAY more than just take creatine, as it only causes water weight. You need to continuously lift heavy and eat like there’s no tomorrow.
You will likely see some small weight change, but that comes with the enhanced strength, cell hydration, energy support, lean body mass, and improved exercise performance that comes with creatine.
As you can probably see, with most things “creatine,” there are multiple ways for you to benefit. You don’t HAVE to do a loading phase, but let’s explain the reasons for doing so.
Here’s what a creatine cycle might look like:
Creatine loading helps you get creatine to the muscles faster, which can come with potential small increases of strength and water retention. Taking your regular maintenance can provide the same benefits, but it will just take longer to get there. So, the real question might be, “How quickly do I want to see the benefits of my creatine?”
Creatine loading (20g for 5-7 days) helps you load the muscles faster, which can potentially come with smaller increases in strength and water retention. You can still reach that point with the regular maintenance (5g daily), except that it will take longer to get there!
In this case, we will focus purely on the taste of creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is most commonly tasteless (no flavor or smell). This is nice because it can be easily mixed in with your water, sports drinks, or shakes. You might also be able to find some creatine products with added flavor.
Creatine monohydrate is tasteless and can be easily mixed into your drink of choice.
Whew! We went full throttle into creatine. The fact that creatine has been studied, used, and loved for over two centuries gives us a lot to go on.
Let’s quickly review some main points:
Don’t let the misconceptions of creatine prevent you from taking your transformation to the next level!
There are a lot of creatine benefits, but it is widely used to help maximize exercise efforts. Looking for more work out ideas? Check out some of our favorite at-home workouts!