Creatine is a natural compound processed in the body which helps create more muscle energy. It is made by combining certain amino acids, meaning it is a derivative of those amino acids. The body by itself produces around 1-2 grams of creatine daily. One of those amino acids is found only in meat and fish, but still the body can produce it by combining other amino acids. This is why vegetarians have usually a smaller amounts of creatine in the body.
Creatine is naturally found only in fish and meat, especially red meat. As a supplement it is powdered. Luckily for vegetarians, this supplement is not produced from meat.
Supplementing with creating increases the ability of the body to quickly produce energy. This doesn’t mean that creatine will wake you up like coffee does. Creatine gives muscles greater endurance and strength when they are used.
Increased muscle energy enables you to have greater explosiveness while performing exercises. Explosiveness is key to muscle growth.
Effects of creatine:
- Gives volume to muscles.
- Increases muscle strength.
- Increases muscle energy for activities that require explosive efforts.
Creatine is considered to be most effective when used for high intensity training and explosive physical activities as bodybuilding or other weight training and sports which require short but explosive bursts of effort – sprints, soccer, swimming, etc.
The first effect with creatine is increasing the body weight and muscle volume. At first this is because of the water holdup in muscles. Around 1-2 kg is held in the first week of use. Subsequent increase of muscle volume is slower and it’s actually an increase of muscle mass (if you increase your training weights or intensity and have proper nutrition).
Creatine brings water in muscle cells and this speeds up the process of muscle growth.
Creatine accumulates in the body – it gets stored mainly in the muscles.
If you cease using it for a few weeks you’ll notice your muscle volume and mass decreasing. It needs a few weeks to be eliminated from the body. This doesn’t mean loss of pure muscle mass but lowered water content in the muscles. No need to panic, muscle mass is not as readily lost.
When and how much to take?
As creatine has a cumulative effect in the body, 5 grams daily intake is sufficient. It doesn’t really matter when you take it. It can be in the morning, before or after workout – as the body will have stores of it in the muscles. You can take it in the morning, before or after your workout.
Beside some rumors circling around – that it’s no good to consume creatine more than a few months in a row, if you drink 2 liters of water a day, in our experience there is no need for breaks. You could do a one-month break to see what will be the difference in your strength or endurance. If you notice lowering, try to continue without creatine until you achieve an increase of strength and endurance. Creatine isn’t intended to be used as “stilts”.
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