If you have been lifting for around three months, chances are that you have some knowledge when it comes to sports performance supplements. It could be due to your own curiosity or your trainer or coach trying to sell you questionable stuff for muscle building through a discount code or a dealer they know.
Usually, a lot of these muscle building supplements are questionable as they are either useless or over-priced.
If you are aware of supplements, you would have heard of a supplement called Creatine. Luckily, it does not fall in the useless or the over-priced categories.
Creatine is the most studied supplements in terms of its safety and efficiency with over 600+ studies done on humans.What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a molecule that is produced by your body. It is also found in food items such as raw meat and fish. The reason supplementation is preferable is it is present in very low quantities in food and on cooking, it gets denatured.How Does Creatine Work?
Your body has energy systems to produce ATP.
ATP is known as the energy currency of your body.
The phosphagen energy system produces ATP the quickest from creatine phosphate and produces rapid and extremely short bursts of energy.
By supplementing with creatine, you can saturate your body's creatine levels and thus have more ATP produced when doing short and intense work like a heavy set of bench press, a heavy set of squat, or a sprint.How Does Creatine Help Build Muscle?
With over 300 studies done looking at the effects of creatine on strength and performance, it has been constantly observed that supplementing with creatine increased maximal strength and power ranging from 5-15%.
It has also been shown that these increases have not been just observed in beginners, it has been the same with subjects over 6 years of training.
This means, when your strength and power increases, you lift more weights and more volume with time. This increases in strength and volume translate to more muscle built over time.Which Creatine To Take?
The supplement industry has been trying to push Creatine HCl and Creatine Ethyl Ester as superior products, but none of the studies done so far have shown them to be superior to Creatine Monohydrate.
Fun fact: Creatine Monohydrate costs less than a third of the prices of HCl and the Ethyl Ester variants.How Much Creatine To Take?
You could either just start with a standard dose of 5 grams per day or do a loading phase of 20 to 25 grams per day for a week followed by a 5 grams dosage.
The loading phase leads to a quicker saturation of Creatine stores in the body and in the long term, it does not make a significant difference.
Studies have also shown that athletes taking Creatine continuously for over 21 months did not face any ill health effects. These findings suggest that there is no reason to cycle creatine off.
So go ahead and supplement with Creatine Monohydrate if your goal is to build more muscle and strength.
Pratik Thakkar is the co-founder and director of GetSetGo Fitness, an online fitness company and the founder of Mars Nutrition, a nutrition supplement company. Both his companies are geared towards providing you with the right information and products without any false or fake claims. You can reach out to him at email@example.com and follow him on Instagram.