How Effective is Creatine For Building Muscle?

Creatine has been a bit of a mystery in the world of sports and fitness celebrities. Professional athletes provide endorsements and bodybuilders often sell their own brand of creatine supplements. Some people talk so highly of it, creatine seems magical to those who are not familiar with it. People accuse fitness celebrities who use creatine of steroids or other illegal substances, when in reality creatine is a natural and important part of fitness and athleticism. The truth is very clear and I hope to explain exactly what creatine is and how you can use it properly.

Creatine is a naturally occurring substance which can be found in many animals. As a chemical, it is used to recycle adenosine triphosphate molecules, or ATP. Creatine is produced in the liver and kidneys, and also obtained as part of a normal diet through meats. A healthy body will provide around 1 gram of creatine per day from your body and an additional gram from a normal diet. A diet high in red meats can provide amounts greater than this. However, supplementation of creatine is very common and can lead to improved results in athletes at a much lower cost than adding red meat to your diet. When your body exercises, it uses the ATP stored in the muscles to provide short bursts of energy. Having large amounts of creatine allows your body to replenish the ATP used in your muscles and allow you to push harder, run faster, or lift more weight. Creatine does not increase your strength or speed, but allows you to train harder and make faster progress because of that. Due to the short burst nature of creatine and ATP, supplementing will have better results for short duration exercises like sprints or heavy lifting.

Using creatine is a very easy process because you take it for your body to store. Creatine supplements can be taken all at once, preferably before a workout to ensure there is creatine able to be absorbed by your body as you use it. The most common form of creatine is creatine monohydrate. When you take creatine monohydrate, your body absorbs the substance into your muscles and adds water. Sometimes, you can see this additional water weight on the scale but as long as you stay hydrated with lots of water, the weight will drop back off. Creatine monohydrate has been around for many years, and is a very cost effective way to supplement the creatine you get from your diet. The rule of thumb is to ingest 1 gram of creatine for every 25 pounds of body weight. For a 150lb man, this would be 6 grams of creatine every day. Keep in mind that at first, your body will be able to absorb more of the substance and so it will take a few days to reach maximum effectiveness. If you choose to supplement your diet with creatine, be sure to be consistent to make sure you get the maximum effect from your supplement. This means daily intake, including any days where you do not exercise at all. Following this creatine supplement plan will allow you to get the best results from your workouts, but this may not be as much as you had hoped.

The common use of creatine, mostly in the form of creatine monohydrate, across bodybuilders and other fitness celebrities, has led to many exaggerated claims of what the substance is capable of. Creatine, as a naturally occurring substance, does not have any magical properties to make you significantly stronger, blazingly faster, or increase the size of your muscles quickly. Supplements like creatine monohydrate allow you as an athlete to work harder during your workouts. This will lead to faster progress, but only if you train seriously. Many advertisements for creatine make the supplement seem like the only substance that the fitness celebrity uses in order to get in and maintain the amazing shape they are in. What the advertisements do not show you are the hours dedicated to a gym every day and years of consistent effort including a meticulously planned diet and regimented supplementation, including but certainly not limited to creatine monohydrate. Adding supplements to a lackluster fitness routine will not improve your results without additional effort. Remember, creatine only increases the ability of your body to do work. The progress from creatine is from the additional work you are able to put your body through.

Creatine monohydrate supplementation is a very important part of a well-rounded fitness supplementation routine. Other factors which play into fitness progression are providing your body an excess of protein to regenerate muscles with and a planned routine which targets all fitness elements targeted to your goals. The fact that creatine is a naturally occurring substance should ease concerns with adding creatine to a fitness regimen. It is no different than taking protein powders throughout the day. In fact, creatine can be much healthier than eating large amounts of red meat because some meats can be high in fats or cholesterol. Taking 1 gram of creatine monohydrate per 25 pounds of body weight in a glass of water is a quick and cheap way to ensure you are progressing towards goals as fast as possible.

Having The Proper Amount of Protein Daily Is Key

Of all the diet plans out there, from the Atkins diet to fat reducing diets, none recommend that you reduce the consumption of protein, which highlights the critical role that it plays in your body and its development. Understanding the role that protein plays in the body can increase your attention to consuming it and in making sure that your body has sufficient protein to meet your life goals.

Fuel for the Body and Muscles
Protein is one of the most critical needs for your body and has many uses that can help your body’s functions. Protein is used to build and repair muscle and is therefore a critical component to prevent and recover from injury, as well as to develop the strength needed for the various jobs that you need accomplish. Since your body doesn’t store protein the way it does carbohydrates and fat, you need constant supplies of protein to be healthy.

Certain parts of your body are comprised almost solely of protein such as your nails and hair, though all of your cells have some protein included in them. Protein is also used to make the hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals that your body needs to in order to operate. Protein is one of the major building blocks of your bones, muscles, cartilage, and even your blood. Protein therefore plays a critical role in your endocrine system to keep your body functioning effectively.

Protein has other health benefits as well including weight loss. Eating protein reduces your appetite and fills you up, helping to contribute to a tighter waist. If you are on a diet and trying to lose weight, eating protein will help to prevent your body from using the muscle mass that you have as part of a catabolic process. Adding muscle mass and strength is important for weight loss as your muscles burn more calories than fat does, thereby leading to a healthier or slender you. Since muscle mass and strength is built with protein this is important for your body’s development

Side Effects of Insufficient Protein Consumption
One of the best ways to understand the role that protein plays in the body is by understanding what will happen to your body and what risks insufficient protein consumption plays. Without sufficient prote consumption your muscles will wither and additional stress will be placed on your bones and joints. Ou will experience a reduction of strength, energy, and stamina with insufficient protein consumption.

Recommended Levels of Protein Consumption
The amount of protein your body needs will fluctuate widely based on your age, size, and lifestyle. Men and women also need different levels of protein consumption. Individuals who are looking to add muscle to their frame will need more protein than those who have a less active lifestyle. As such, understanding the amount of protein that you need is challenging and is best done with a nutritionist or other medical professional. The United States Government recommends that the average adult consume .36 grams of protein per day per pound of weight..

Sources for Protein Consumption
Your body generally prefers to get their nutrients from food rather than from supplements as they are easier to process. Foods like lean meats and fish, eggs, tree nuts, legumes (chickpeas, peanuts beans, and peas), and tofu are all great sources of lean protein. Of course, other meats like beef and pork also contain lots of protein, but are saddled with fat and other side effects.

Individuals who find it challenging to meet their protein needs via their diet, without loading on additional calories and fat, are often best served adding protein supplements or shakes to their diet. These products can quickly add protein to your body quickly and timely, often to support the repair and development of muscles after a workout. Protein supplements are typically designed to inject protein into your body without the sugar and additives that may have other side effects on your body. Quality protein supplements are also helpful for individuals who simply are not consuming sufficient levels of protein in their diet due to other health problems, vegetarianism, or even financial limitations. Consider the need to add protein supplements into your diet and consult with a doctor or nutritionist if needed.

Protein therefore plays a critical role in your body and individuals are best served by monitoring the quantity of protein that they consume. Understand the needs of your body, the sources of protein that you commonly get, and consider ways to supplement your consumption of protein with protein shakes or supplements if needed. Sufficient protein can help our body to develop a maintain its strength appropriately and provide health benefits throughout your life

An In-Depth Look At Weight Loss Stacks

Weight loss stacks are supplements taken orally, hence increasing body temperature to burn off excess fats. In addition to adopting these pills, working out is mandatory. Weight loss stacks may sometimes contain ingredients that may hinder nutrient intake, decrease appetite or increase metabolic rate. Before delving into weight loss stacks, it is imperative to understand that these stacks should not be taken as substitutes.

Fat-burning supplements contain ingredients that facilitate weight loss. It is important to know what each ingredient does, how much should be taken and when to take it. Some of these ingredients are yohimbine, caffeine, capsaicin, raspberry ketone, green tea extract, synephrine, and Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ).

Yohimbine is a stimulant compound derived from plants. When taken before a workout session, it fastens fat-burning activity (lipolysis). It works best in the absence of insulin. To avoid overdose, yohimbine should be carefully monitored. Yohimbine dosage varies by body size. The sufficient dose for fat loss is approximately .1-.3mg/kg of body weight. It should be taken 20-30 minutes before working out, preferably on an empty stomach.

Caffeine is an alkaline organic substance found abundantly in tealeaves, cocoa, coffee beans and other plants. Caffeine acts as an inhibitor hence slowing down the breakdown of some enzymes. Additionally, caffeine intake before a workout session increases athletic performance capacity. Being a drug, caffeine intake should be minimized to avoid overdose because high intake of caffeine can be lethal. To assess caffeine tolerance, it is advisable to take it an hour before work out session.

Capsaicin is the compound found in peppers. According to research, capsaicin increases metabolic rate, hence positively affecting fat oxidation. Capsaicin dosage ranges between 2-3mg each time and can be taken three times per day. It is advisable to take capsaicin during mealtime since it may cause gastric irritation when taken on an empty stomach.

Raspberry ketone is an aromatic compound found in red raspberries. Its chemical structure is similar to that of capsaicin. Raspberry ketone inhibits absorption of dietary fats in the small intestines by suppressing pancreatic lipase. Raspberry ketone dose ranges from 200-400mg per day with at least two doses, preferably 30-60 minutes before a work out session.

Green tea extract is a popular ingredient in many fat-burning products. This is because of its ability to raise caloric disbursement. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is an antioxidant present in green tea extract responsible for this metabolic effect. EGCG acts as an inhibitor of catechol-O-methyl transferase enzyme. It also enhances the activity of neurotransmitters, which positively affect the fat-burning process. For efficacy, EGCG dosage is about 150-250mg per day and should be taken 30-60 minutes before a workout session.

Synephrine is a stimulant compound found in Citrus aurantium tree leaves. It stimulates beta-adrenergic receptors hence activating lipolysis. Synephrine dosage is similar to that of yohimbine and should be taken 30-30 minutes prior workout.

PQQ is a natural compound extracted from fermented soybeans. PQQ increases production of irisin, a hormone released due to physical activities. Consumption of PQQ should be 20-60mg per day.

It is important to understand that losing weight requires commitment and discipline. Weight loss stacks are designed to help one achieve the desired body size. Therefore, weight loss stacks should be taken in conjunction with proper diet and exercise, and not in replacement of poor dietary habits and lack of proper training. For efficiency, it is also advisable to get a training and nutrition regime on track before using fat-burning supplements.

Choosing the Right Nutrition Bar – A Few Simple Tips

Nutrition bars have become a “go to” snack for many health conscious individuals. They are convenient, require no preparation, and are easy to store in a desk or take along in a purse or backpack. They require no refrigeration and come in a wide variety of flavors to suit every taste and palate.

Depending on the bar, they can function as a snack or as a meal replacement. There are literally hundreds of brands, recipes and flavors on the market which makes it hard to choose the best one for you. They vary wildly in terms of caloric content, ingredients, and Protein/Carbohydrate/Fat ratios. And, some of them are not much more than expensive junk food bars. All of this leaves you wondering, just how healthy are these bars?

If you want to choose a healthy bar, and one that works for your particular needs, you have to understand that it is all about the ingredients. And, you have to learn to read labels. Whether you are looking for a healthy snack, a protein boost, a carbohydrate fix or a meal replacement, you need to understand what is in the bar if you want to get the benefits you desire.

A good place to start is with the ingredient list and the nutritional facts label. Every bar has one, and just reading these two labels will tell you everything you need to know.

Regardless of whether you are looking for a nutrition bar that is high protein, high carbohydrate or a combination, there are certain ingredients that are simply not healthy for you.

For a nutrition bar to be healthy, it should not contain a significant amount of added sugar. Dried fruit such as dates, cranberries, apple etc should provide enough sweetness. If however there is added sugar, it should not be among the first 3 or 4 ingredients and it should not contain corn syrup of any sort. Nor should it contain any “sugar” with a chemical sounding name. Natural sugars such as honey, agave or brown rice syrup are healthier as long as they are used in small amounts.

While you do not want a nutrition bar to contain a lot of fats, there are good fats and bad fats. The body needs fat to function properly. Nuts and seeds are high in fat but these are good fats. They are good for your body and regulating metabolism. Bad fats include any product that contains hydrogenated fats. These should be avoided.

While it is beyond the scope of this article to provide detailed nutritional counseling, certain basics apply. Carbohydrates are digested quickly and give a quick burst of energy. Protein takes longer to digest and thus helps one feel fuller longer. Fats slow down the digestive process of carbohydrates and help with metabolic and brain function. Fiber helps move waste and toxins through the body ad any calories not used are stored as fat.

Based on their specific needs, you should look at the amount of fiber, calories, protein and carbohydrates in a whichever nutrition bar you plan to choose. Each of these items serves a particular purpose. So the individual needs of each consumer come into play here.

Perfect for runners, bicyclists and other athletes, anyone needing a burst of energy should opt for a high carbohydrate nutrition bar.

Many people are following a high protein or zone diet should pay attention to the Carbohydrate to Protein ratio. If the goal is to use the bar as a meal replacement it should contain about 1/3 each of carbs, protein and fats.

Nutrition bars can be a great addition to a healthy eating program. They can curb cravings, help level out blood sugar, give you a quick burst of energy or, in a pinch, act as a meal replacement. Choosing wisely can help achieve weight loss and good health. However, if you don’t pay attention, you may be buying very expensive candy bars.

What You Should Know About Pre-Workouts

 

Pre-Workout-SupplementThe pre-workout frenzy is reaching a new high but the opinions on the benefits of such products are divided. Some can’t live without them, others use them occasionally as a pick-me-up and others still say they’re a complete marketing ploy. So let’s take a look at what we really pay for and what we can and should expect from pre-workout supplements.

What Are They Really?

You probably already know (the clue is in the name) that these supps are designed to improve focus and energy. Most of them contain stimulants and other ingredients such as creatine, beta-alanine, and citruline malate, as well as nitric oxide boosters such as agmatine and glycocarn. Some products exist on the market that don’t contain strong stimulants for those who don’t like that feeling of caffeine ‘high’

What They Contain

You should really look into the ingredients before consuming a pre-workout (or any other supplement). Some may contain doses too high for someone unaccustomed or can influence medical conditions or drugs. Here are some of the most common ones.

Caffeine: A stimulant found in most pre-workouts and fat burners. Dosed correctly, it can promote increased attention, physical performance and increased muscular recovery. Needs to be used with caution – especially for people with health conditions. Used late at night can cause trouble sleeping.

Methylhexanamine: strong stimulant included in many pre-workouts. It causes a strong energy rush, improved endurance and it can enhance your mood.

Creatine: It promotes and helps maintain strength by replenishing ATP during exercise. Creatine is the most tested supplement which has proven time and again to support strength and muscle gain.

Beta-alanine: Helps maintain energy and decrease fatigue. A known side-effect of it is the so called paraesthesia, also called ‘the tingle’. It may feel strange but it is harmless and many people like the sensation.

Citruline Malate: Present in most pre-workout supps it is proven to improve aerobic performance.

Agmatine: stimulates the release of hormones such Luteinizing Hormone and Growth Hormone as well as Nitric Oxide (improves blood flow – the so called ‘pump’).

Taurine: improves physical performance, reduces muscle pain and acts as a cell volumiser by hydrating the muscle.

Arginine: Helps stimulate production of Growth Hormone and Nitric Oxide.

How To Choose The Right One

Choosing whether or not to use them or which pre-workout to pick may be hard. The market is truly flooded with fancy products. But don’t let marketing fool you. Firstly analyze if you have any health risks or contraindications. If not, test a few brands and see what works for you a great pre workout that I like is Rule One Pre-Train
. Some people with low tolerance feel the effects strongly and others need to use more to feel anything. Go for a smaller dose when you start with any given supplement. You don’t want to stay up for the next 3 days, trust me! Also, to avoid building up a tolerance, don’t use them every day. Alternatively pick the weaker ones or ones without any stimulants.