Why Aren’t You Taking Creatine?
Why Aren’t You Taking Creatine?
A report by the International Society of Sports Nutrition stated that: “Government legislatures and sports organizations who restrict and/or discourage use of creatine may be placing athletes at greater risk.”
Now that may seem to some like a bit of an overstatement for such an organization to make about a workout supplement. However, after years of evidence from performance studies that made their report, creatine deserves every bit of praise it has received.
Creatine helps the human body maintain its supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s primary source of energy. Creatine creates a readily available source of ATP and the human body is able to perform at significantly higher levels of intensity.
Based on the ISSN report, the body needs to replenish about 1-3 grams of creatine daily. Eating red meat and seafood will provide about 1-2 grams, which contain that amount per pound (naturally), but at that rate, to maintain your muscles’ creatine stores you would have to eat over a pound a day. With creatine supplementation, it makes it much more convenient and much easier to reach that daily threshold.
The report also noted that vegetarians usually have lower creatine stores and that they can benefit specifically from adding creatine to their daily nutritional program.
What are the Benefits?
According to the ISSN report, you can also see an increase high-intensity exercise performance, prevention or reduction in the severity of an injury, the ability to tolerate heavier training loads, and a reduction in the occurrence of cramping, muscle tightness, muscle strains, and pulls. Creatine even has the ability to reduce gastrointestinal upset and improve the body’s ability to retain water in hot, humid environments.
This report also points to a large amount of scientific evidence that proves that creatine supplementation gives athletes the ability to increase the performance of high-intensity and repetitive exercise by 10%-20%. Additional benefits even include an increase in bone density, improvements in glucose metabolism and brain performance, and a reduction in oxidative stress.
How much Creatine Should you Take?
The ISSN report shows that significant health benefits will be shown to people who consume about 3 grams of creatine a day. For people who train intensely—and especially for people with a larger frame—you should probably take more like 5-10 grams of creatine daily.
If quickly increasing the amount of creatine your muscles can store is your goal, ISSN would recommend a loading phase of 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, 4 times a day for 5-7 days, that is followed by a maintenance phase that consists of 3 grams a day. If you need some help figuring it out, Arnold Schwarzenegger knows how much creatine you should be taking.
What are the Downsides?
Taking creatine has been associated with liver damage by some people, but several studies that are cited by the report’s authors concluded that taking even as much as 0.8 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight per day for 5 years—which is upwards of 50 grams a day—”poses no adverse health risks and may provide several health and performance benefits.”
Helping your body retain water is something that creatine does best, which helps maintain hydration but may also cause you to gain weight. As with almost all nutrition supplements, creatine will work best if you are staying active. Refrain from half-ass workouts and sitting on the couch all day and you will be able to reap all of the benefits that creatine has to offer!
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