Creatine, isn’t that a drug?!

Creatine, isn’t that a drug?

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So like the entire fitness industry itself, if you’re new to this world, it can definitely seem daunting!

A lot of questions I get asked are about supplements- which do I take, which do I need, what do they even do?!

Whenever I mention creatine to those who aren’t too familiar with it- most people look at me blank faced, ask what it is or assume it’s some sort of steroid..

My favourite response of all time has to be; ‘Creatine.. isn’t that a drug?’ definitely made me giggle 😛

As it is such a massive topic, i’m going to do a short and sweet post with all the basics for you!

So what actually IS creatine?

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Creatine is a naturally occurring acid in all our bodies, It is mainly produced in the liver from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine (building blocks if you will), it then travels in the blood to the muscle cells.

So what exactly does it do?

Creatine helps produce ATP which is basically a small molecule in our body which provides energy, think of it like the ‘energy currency’ of the human body.

Why is it beneficial?

Creatine is beneficial in a number of ways;

1.It increases energy to muscles during contraction, therefore reducing fatigue

2.It reduces the build up of lactic acid in your muscles by acting as a ‘buffer’

3.It also increases what’s known as ‘anaerobic capacity’ which you may understand as oxygen-less exercise (high intensity bursts etc)

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Who should take creatine?

So that’s all well and good, it sounds like something incredibly beneficial right? The truth is however, only a small minority of us actually really need it– bodybuilders and strength endurance athletes. The fact is, unless you’re pushing your body to the absolute extreme during your training, lifting the maximum weight you possibly can, doing powerlifting/weightlifting style training, your average gym-goer has enough creatine within their body naturally to tide them over.

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So I shouldn’t take creatine?

I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t take creatine as a supplement. What i’m explaining is simply why it benefits the body and how it may or may not be of benefit to you and your training. If you’re someone who trains hard- incorporates powerlifting style movements or participates in crossfit style training then yes, I would 100% recommend creatine as part of your sports nutrition. It will help with power, recovery, energy and strength- all of which studies have proven over and over.

On the other hand, if you’re someone simply exercising and enjoying the gym as part of a healthy lifestyle, then no, you absolutely do not need it nor will see any major benefits from taking so except maybe enhanced recovery however, good rest and nutrition will also ensure that happens also!

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Why I take creatine

The reason I personally take creatine is because I love powerlifting style training; anyone who knows me knows that this is the style of training I choose to do daily. As I am training a compound lift in every lifting session (compound lifts being squat, deadlift or bench) I definitely notice a difference in energy, strength and recovery.

How to take creatine?

The beauty of this supplement is that originally, it was speculated you needed to ‘load’ the powder and only have it before or after your workout however, now we know this is not the case. It does not need to be loaded;

A female typically should take around 3g per day

A male, 5g per day

It is also totally personal whether you choose to take it pre, intra or post-workout!
For convenience, many take it with their post-workout shake, I personally take it intra-workout, that way I ensure I have it whilst I train along with keeping hydrated in my workout 🙂

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Some final points to note..

You may start looking up more about creatine and notice different ‘forms’ exist, if you’re unsure- stick to Creatine Monohydrate, this is the best source for us to consume

Most importantly, creatine has been associated with water retention therefore it is ESSENTIAL you drink plenty of water daily to avoid this!

So it seems it’s not a drug/ steroid after all..

Male or female, training depending, it can potentially be of some benefit to you!
Like I said, this is a very simple introduction to a massive topic within the fitness indstry, I hope it is of some benefit to you and if you have any further questions, you know exactly where to find me 🙂

Lots of love,

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References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC155510/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17685691

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14636102

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