Creatine isn’t a steroid, or a dangerous chemical —
it’s as natural as your body,
and can ramp up your muscle and strength BIG TIME.
Since this supplement was popularized in the early 90’s,
Creatine is often the first thing guys try when they want to bulk up with lean muscle
— and it definitely has its value when taken properly.
It helps hydrate and ‘bulk up’ muscle fibers,
making longer and heavier workouts possible,
— thereby (indirectly) helping to build permanent lean muscle.
The strength and weight trained athlete has the most to gain here.
Those involved in high cardio , endurance activities will not see nearly as much benefit.
Five grams per day is more than sufficient;
–any more than that and the body converts the excess into creatinine
(a semi-toxic by-product made in the gastroentestinal system)
— thus creating nothing but expensive urine.
Some users suggest cycling 90 days on/ 90 days off
and using ‘loading’ doses at the start of each cycle;
— but loading seems unnecessary according to recent studies.
As for cycling itself, well, I think that makes some sense.
After using it for a while, you’ll probably start noticing some bloating and water weight…
– and the edge will start to wane as well..
….. so a rest period might be called for.
Like many sports supplements,
you will have to use your own judgement about what works best for you.
Be sure to use the powder though; never the liquid.
Creatine loses its effectiveness very quickly after it is diluted,
— so mix it and drink it within 15 minutes.
Most guys I know take it right after a workout.
A lot of gyms will sell it by the scoop at (what is euphemistically called) the ‘juice bar’, and even mix it for ya.
“Barkeep.. another sasparilla with a creatine chaser, and make it strong this time.”
As for specific brands, well, as long as you’re buying it from a trusty source like Vitamin Shoppe, SupplementWarehouse, ProSource, National Discount Nutrition, etc.,
— you’ll find very little real difference in effectiveness of the brands they carry.
I like 1 scoop of MuscleTech ‘Cell-Tech’ orange flavor,
because it mixes well with orange juice…. it’s relatively expensive, though.
Feel free to ignore the loading and 2 scoop directions..
— as I said previously, 5 grams is plenty.
(I bet they sell a hell of a lot more that way….. )
I also like to use EAS Phosphagen HP when I’m on a budget.
For about 20 bucks, you’ll get about a 45 day supply, and it goes to work right away.
Creatine works best when taken with a 10:1 ratio of simple carbohydrates…
so some guys mix it with grape juice for this reason.
Hell buddy, if it works, why not champagne?
That’s just fancy grape juice ain’t it?
Make that stuff taste a whole lot better and go down a whole lot easier, too.
(Pay me no mind)
OK, maybe not.
I just throw the Creatine Mix in the blender with 5g of pharmaceutical glutamine, 5g BCAA and 1 scoop of ‘Glycerlean’ slow absorb protein mix and I’ve got me the worst tasting Creamsicle shake you’ve ever tasted.
(Take a deep breath,
then drink it all down in one gulp and you’ll barely even want to throw up.
So why bother, you may ask?
Man, I didn’t put it first on my supp list ’cause I like spellin’ it…
It really does seem to help me work out harder and longer.
And I am definitely STRONGER – maybe 10% stronger.
Yep- it does make a huge difference in my bench press.
I have done the cycle thing enough times to know.
Now, I just stay on it.
I can’t afford to give an inch (or a pound) to the competition.
But, if you don’t want to work out hard, you don’t need it…
… it won’t do a blessed thing for you except give you cramps and water bloating.
OH… did I mention very minor but noticable side effects?
Well, them’s iz it…
-and gas like a methane plant only with no blue flame on top of the tower to burn it off with.
(It’s ‘hey, kid.. pull my finger’ on your dad’s worse day… kid you not!)
Used in moderation, there are no serious side effects I am aware of.
… And, if you’re using one of the newer formulas,
you might see a reduction in these,
however, the Ethyl Ester form is less effective than monohydrate,
so it kinda washes out.
One thing, though…
creatine usage absolutely requires one to insure proper hydration at all times:
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER! (At least 8 glasses a day.)
As previously mentioned, there are several varieties of creatine supplements available.
Creatine AKG- (Creatine Alpha-Ketoglutarate) is one of the newest varieties.
Those who use it claim it reduces the GI side effects, while increasing absorbtion.
I take Glutamine along with my Creatine mono, so I’m not sure the additional cost is worth it, but if you’re not using Glutamine, it might be a good choice.
Creatine Ethyl Ester is an invention of pro-hormone chemists who thought the ester form would be easier to absorb… but it’s probably just a waste of money.
Oh… and did I mention the results of the latest study on Creatine?
It can make you healthier and live longer.
It serves as a potent anti-oxidant, preserving the integrity of cells that would otherwise be damaged by normal aging, stress, and especially, intense workouts.
To sum it all up into language even I can understand,
—Creatine gets a 9 on my ’10 is impossible scale’.
It works when you work.
Your mileage may vary.
But probably won’t.