If you’re looking to build up more lean muscle mass, one question you might begin asking yourself is does creatine work?
There’s no questioning the fact that you’ve likely heard a great deal about creatine powder before.
It is by far one of the more popular supplements that those in the muscle building industry are using, so does that mean it will be right for you?
Before assuming that this supplement is the answer to your muscle building prayers, it’s important to know some of the creatine facts so you can assess whether it’s right for you.
Let’s have a look at what you need to know.
What Is Creatine
The first thing that you need to understand is what creatine is. Whenever you perform a high intensity form of exercise such as weight training or sprint training, the body is going to rely on a source of fuel called ATP to help power you through the movement.
The precursor to this ATP is a substance known as creatine phosphate, which is where the creatine supplement comes into play.
By using creatine on a regular basis, you can be sure that this high energy compound is continually produced as you go about your workout session so you can sustain higher intensity activity for longer periods of time without suffering the typical fatigue you normally would.
When creatine stores run out in the muscle cell, no further ATP is able to be produced and this has a dramatic influence over the intensity in which you sustain the remainder of the session.
Benefits Of Creatine
To help you assess whether creatine is right for you, you need to know the main benefits that creatine offers.
The first primary benefit, as mentioned, is that it will help to delay the onset of fatigue during intense physical activity. This means you can do more work total per workout, thus bringing about a greater growth response in the body.
In addition to that, using creatine right around the workout period will help you speed up the recovery process since the muscles are most sensitive during this time so the creatine will move rapidly right into the cells where they’re needed during recovery and repair.
These two factors working together will then help you gain additional muscle mass and strength.
Creatine Side Effects
Many people often wonder what the dangers of creatine will be as this is typically a concern of theirs before using the product.
The primary side effect to note about creatine is that it will likely cause some bloating to occur. Creatine does tend to make the water storage in the body go up, so especially when you first start it you’re likely to gain a few pounds of extra water.
Some people make the mistake of thinking that this is rapid rates of muscle growth, so just be sure that you don’t come to believe that. If you do, you may be disappointed when the accelerated weight gain doesn’t continue.
After you’ve been on creatine for about a week your body should level off in terms of how much extra water it’s holding so then you won’t see the scale going up so dramatically.
Another side effect some people do experience when first starting is muscle cramping. This again is typically due to the increased water storage in the body and should subside with regular use.
Using Creatine Properly
So now that you have the answer to the question, ‘does creatine work’, the next thing to make sure you know about is how to use creatine properly.
If you’re not supplementing with this product as you should, you won’t see ideal results.
The first thing that you’ll want to do is start off with a loading period. This quickly saturates the muscle cells so that you’re able to quickly see all the benefits it offers.
To perform the loading period, aim to take in 20 grams per day over the course of five days. Divide this 20 grams up into four even doses of five grams each and make sure that you take one before or after the workout session.
There isn’t going to be a great difference if you choose to take your creatine before or after the workout – both times will work very well, so it’s simply a matter of personal preference. As long as you’re consistent with taking it, that’s the main thing.
You also want to try and take your creatine with a fast acting source of carbohydrate around the workout because this is what will spike the insulin levels the most, driving that creatine right into the muscle cells.
Most people who are heavy into their training will already be consuming a simple carbohydrate source around the workout period so this shouldn’t be too difficult to incorporate. Just add the creatine to your pre or post workout shake and you’ll be set.
Note that if you don’t want to do the five day loading period as you find that the bloating on 20 grams per day is just a bit too much to take, then you can also do a ten day loading period where you’ll consume 10 grams per day instead.
Once the initial five day loading period is up, then you can move into a maintenance period where you consume five grams per day around the workout thereafter.
Some people mistakenly believe that they should cycle their creatine use on and off, but really there’s no benefit to doing this.
Creatine isn’t something that your body is going to adapt to and stop responding from as it’s very similar to any other nutrient entering the body.
You don’t cycle protein over time so there’s no need to cycle creatine. If anything, cycling it may be a hindrance as this would then cause you to experience that initial bloating period all over again when you started back up again.
So there you have everything you need to know about creatine powder. When used properly, it can definitely enhance your workout performance and this can translate into greater muscle growth for you.
For more help putting together your very own program to help advance your muscle building results, please see the No-Nonsense Muscle Building Program.
You’ll learn the in’s and out’s of every supplement that you should be using for maximum success.