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.