For anyone who has seen any commercials or ads for Creatine, they should immediately know that the benefits of Creatine are turning you into a rippling hulk! But we all know there are no such things as magic pills to turn you from a zero to hero. Even the known substances that do that like anabolic steroids have some serious side effects which include their legality.
So are there good benefits of Creatine?
Yes, by far it is one of the best compounds serious athletes and bodybuilders can take. The primary benefit of Creatine is in the way it helps with the process of converting ADP (adenosine diphosphate) back to ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which results in the release of energy during intense exercise such as weight lifting. The more Creatine within the body, the more energy is available.
Since Creatine occurs naturally in the body already you are not getting a huge new boost (unless your natural levels were uncommonly low). But generally it takes the body up to 3 days to replenish stores after use so really was Creatine supplementation is doing is ensuring you have a maximum level available at all times.
Generally speaking additional Creatine in your system is going to provide added energy most notable in the gym or doing other brief, explosive activities. There will also be an increase in muscle endurance, but not for longer term endurance activities such as long distance runs. It will help with muscle fatigue because Creatine helps to clean waste out of the tissue. Also it helps muscle cells retain water which will add some immediate size to your body. However, when you stop taking so much Creatine this effect will go away.
When to Take It
For the best benefits with Creatine you need to take it at the proper times to be absorbed into the system. While there haven’t been any specific studies reported yet in this area, one would assume that there is a limit on how much Creatine the body can store at one time. It is estimated that the body wastes about 2 to 3 grams every day.
When you first use it make sure to load extra Creatine in your system over a 5 to 6 day period. You do this by ingesting 10 grams in small 2-3 gram doses for the first 2-3 days. This will let you know if your body will have any adverse affects. Then increase the dose to 20 grams in small 3 gram doses for the next 3 days. After that taking 3 to 5 grams each day should be enough to provide the entire boost you need. The powder can be mixed in to your post-workout recovery shake to be absorbed into the system at the time when most of the stores have been depleted.
The best option is just a pure 100% Creatine powder. While some companies offer additional components to their product, a more vanilla compound where you are sure what you are getting is a safer bet.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of Creatine are very real and well documented. If you are serious about getting bigger and stronger then this is one of the top supplements you can take to compliment a balanced diet and good workout program.