People who are interested in intensifying their workouts and building serious muscle know about creatine. It is one of the most popular workout performance supplements around. For many people who are committed to building muscle mass, creatine is one of the most important ways to enhance your exercise results. But there is some debate about when you should take creatine.
While the effects and benefits of many fitness supplements are well known, some of these supplements work best when taken at specific times. Creatine is one of these supplements. The kinds of overall benefits you are after will determine when to take creatine.
Another important thing to consider is that some supplements have side effects that can be minimized by taking them at certain times of the day. Creatine can give you a tremendous boost to your workout, but when you take creatine has everything to do with how it impacts your workout.
What is creatine? What are the various types of creatine? And when should you take creatine for maximum benefits? This guide will give some important information on when to take creatine.
What is creatine?
Creatine is one of the essential and natural sources of energy that makes muscle contraction possible. The word itself derives from the ancient Greek word for meat. Most of the creatine we require comes from meat, and about half of the creatine we need is produced in the liver. Creatine maintains a continuous supply of energy to muscles. Small amounts of creatine are found in the heart, brain, and other tissues.
Creatine is mainly found in food sources like milk, red meat, and seafood. A conventional diet generally provides you with about two grams of creatine a day. Since most creatine comes from meat-based sources, vegetarians and vegans may lack sufficient creatine in their diet.
One of the reasons creatine supplements have become so popular is it provides energy for muscles during exercises that involve heavy exertion. Weight lifting, for example, can be boosted by taking supplemental creatine to give more energy for this type of workout. By increasing your ability to perform these exercises, you increase the benefit of doing these types of exercises.
The increase in energy for muscle contraction has made creatine a standard supplement for athletes. Clinical studies have shown that taking creatine supplements produces measurable increases in both muscle mass and strength. These same studies showed that athletes taking creatine supplements outperformed a control group by as much as 43 percent. Creatine, it turns out, does improve strength and overall performance.
Types of creatine
Like all organic chemicals, creatine comes in multiple forms. Because these types of organic compounds can bond with other compounds, and each decomposes within a biological system, various forms of creatine exist in nature and produce varying effects and benefits. Some types of creatine include:
This is the most common type of creatine in supplement form. Creatine monohydrate has been subjected to the most study. The benefits of creatine, like improved upper and lower body strength, are largely understood from studies on creatine monohydrate.
Creatine monohydrate is basically the creatine molecule plus a water molecule. Creatine monohydrate is absorbed and made available to the body in ways that are chemically similar to other types of creatine, however, some evidence shows that creatine monohydrate works more effectively when it is stripped of the water molecule into an anhydrous form. However, there is also evidence that creatine monohydrate increases the water content in muscle cells which can lead to greater gains in muscle mass and strength.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
Creatine ethyl ester was originally a synthesized form of creatine. It was produced to increase the aqueous solubility and gastrointestinal permeability of creatine proper.
Manufacturers of creatine ethyl ester claim that it is a more effective form of creatine than the monohydrate types since it can be more readily absorbed by the body. This absorption rate is thought to increase uptake rates which leads to great benefits to muscles. Yet, studies have shown that it does not lead to the same results as regular creatine.
Micronized creatine is stripped of the water molecule and made immediately accessible to the body. This means the effects and benefits of creatine can be maximized. Micronized creatine is the most effective form of creatine for providing the energy necessary for increased muscle mass and strength conditioning.
NF Sports Micronized Creatine is free of additives and fillers. It is the purest and most effective type of creatine available, and it is backed by clinical research that it helps your performance and offers an explosive boost for your workout.
Health Benefits of Creatine
Since creatine has been subjected to thorough scientific study, the benefits of creatine are well-documented. Unlike some supplements that rely primarily on anecdotal evidence, the benefits of creatine are backed by scientific research. Some of the health benefits of creatine include:
More energy for cells
One of the primary roles of creatine is to increase the levels of phosphocreatine in your cells. Phosphocreatine boosts levels of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which provides cellular energy. ATP is what is expended during exercise and exertion. By increasing the ways your body produces ATP with creatine, you increase energy at the cellular level.
Builds muscle mass
- Boosted workload. It enables more total work or volume in a single training session, a key factor in long-term muscle growth.
- Improved cell signaling. It can increase satellite cell signaling, which aids muscle repair and new muscle growth.
- Raised anabolic hormones. Studies note a rise in hormones, such as IGF-1, after taking creatine.
- Increased cell hydration. Creatine lifts water content within your muscle cells, which causes a cell volumization effect that may play a role in muscle growth.
- Reduced protein breakdown. It may increase total muscle mass by reducing muscle breakdown.
- Lower myostatin levels. Elevated levels of the protein myostatin can slow or inhibit new muscle growth. Supplementing with creatine can reduce these levels, increasing growth potential.
Faster rate of muscle growth
Creatine increases the rate of muscle growth. Studies have shown that creatine supplements actually increase the speed at which muscle tissue grows from workouts. These studies have found measurable and significant growth increases in as little as five days.
May lower blood sugar levels and protect against diabetes. Studies have found that creatine supplements lower blood sugar levels. This effect is increased with high-intensity exercise. This effect can protect against developing diabetes. Creatine has been particularly effective in preventing short-term blood sugar spikes, but this effect extends to overall blood sugar levels.
Improves brain function
Since creatine stimulates the production of ATP—the source of energy for cells—it has the effect of increasing brain function at the same cellular level. Research has shown that creatine improves brain function. With improved brain function and healthier cells, creatine may help protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
How Does Creatine Loading Work?
Creatine loading involves taking large amounts of creating for about a week. The idea is that creatine loading increases the concentrations in your muscles for intense workouts with large benefits.
A conventional omnivorous diet generally offers about 1-2 grams of creatine per day. Your muscles store about 60 to 80 percent of this creatine. It is possible to increase the amount of creatine you store in your muscles.
During creatine loading, it is recommended that you rapidly increase the amount of creatine you take in the form of supplements for a short time, usually one week. This will saturate your muscles with creatine. Most trainers recommend 20- 25 grams of creatine per day for one week. Research has shown that this can increase your creatine stores by as much as 40 percent.
Because creatine naturally pulls water from your body to help increase the levels of water in your muscles, it is essential that you drink plenty of water during the creatine loading phase. Dehydration can be a danger during creatine loading. Remember that the purpose of creatine loading is to increase water in muscle tissue at the cellular level. This opens the pathways for ATP and it makes muscle protein synthesis possible. If you do not remain properly hydrated during creatine loading, you will not get the benefit of this process.
Creatine Side Effects
Since creatine is one of the most thoroughly studied workout supplements available, the research on side effects is extensive. These findings have shown that there are few side effects of creatine. There have been concerns over the effects of creatine on the liver and kidneys, however, research shows that there are no known adverse side effects for the liver or kidneys.
Some people have reported dehydration and cramping while taking creatine supplements. Research has shown that creatine can in fact prevent dehydration and cramping.
There is some evidence that caffeine may inhibit the effects of creatine. If you are taking another supplement that contains caffeine, you may want to think about choosing between the two supplements to get the most benefit from creatine.
Should I take creatine before or after a workout?
There is some debate over when you should take creatine. Some people claim to get the best benefits from creatine when they take it prior to a workout. However, most available studies have shown that you get the most benefit from creatine when you take post-workout. The real metabolic work of muscle protein synthesis happens after you work the muscle, and the benefits of creatine appear to be at their highest point during this post-workout phase.
What is the Best Creatine for Muscle Growth?
Depending on who you ask, some will claim that creatine monohydrate is the best type of creatine for muscle growth. However, research shows that micronized creatine is the most accessible form of creatine which means your muscle tissue gains immediate benefits from this type of creatine.
How much creatine should I take?
Since creatine is a fitness supplement, there is no specific dose as you would have with medication. Generally, though, people get the best benefits from creatine at about 10-20 grams per day. This dramatically increases the levels of creatine stored by the muscles. This level of creatine dosage is what most people take to get started. This is followed by a maintenance dose of two to five grams per day.
Creatine loading will require as much as 25 grams per day followed by a simple maintenance dose of two to five grams.
Best Creatine Supplement Product
The best creatine supplement you can buy is micronized creatine from NF Sports. Micronized creatine from NF Sports will increase hydration levels during exercise and increase intramuscular hydration. These effects create the ideal conditions for boosting both energy levels for intense workouts and muscle protein synthesis from your workouts,
Wrapping things up
There seems to be an infinite array of fitness supplements available now. Each new supplement makes any number of claims about what it can do for your health and fitness. One of the things that set creatine apart from most fitness supplements is that it is scientifically proven to produce results.
There is an enormous body of research that shows creatine can legitimately increase your energy levels for intense physical training and increase muscle mass from this training. The simple fact is that creatine works.
The benefits athletes have been seeing from creatine for a long time have now been extended to other areas of the body. Creatine can increase brain function, and it can even protect against the development of diabetes. What is more, creatine does not have any documented side effects.
For increased benefits from your workouts, and to help build muscle mass, creatine appears to be one of the best supplements available. To get the most out of a creatine supplement, make sure you are using only the finest supplements you can get. Micronized Creatine from NF Sports can offer all the clinically proven benefits of a creatine supplement.