Does Creatine Really Work? Here's The Truth
Out of all of the supplements in the world Creatine is one of the most well known and researched out there.
It’s that supplement most of us first hear about in High School with it quickly becoming a hot topic of discussion between us beginning lifters. We notice those jacked football players, competitive lifters, and other elite varsity athletes taking the stuff and when they become the strongest and fastest in their respective sports we consider trying it out for ourselves.
If they are taking it, then we should be too.
In the first few weeks, we go from benching 135 pounds for 10 reps to 135 pounds for 20 reps. Our muscles begin to look and feel fuller. We realize that even after an hour of working out we still have plenty of energy left in the tank. And most importantly, our friends notice a significant change and begin to ask questions.
You realize something about that crazy supplement creatine: it’s working!
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid that is naturally made in the body. It is found naturally in muscle cells and works by helping the body produce energy for high-intensity exercises.
With that basic understanding of creatine, you can already see that we NEED creatine to function properly.
Creatine helps produce energy through its important role in the ATP making process, with ATP being the body’s main fuel source.
ATP is stored in the muscles and is depleted when we work out but when you supplement with Creatine you increase your bodies natural ability to produce and store ATP. This altered cellular process leads to strength gains, an increase in lean muscle mass, reduced fatigue, and increased recovery time.
Why Take Creatine?
Being that creatine is so well-researched and studied, it’s safe to say that its impact on performance is NOT to be underestimated.
Creatine begins working almost instantaneously, and after a few days of using it, the positive effects are noticeable. It creates an unfair advantage by allowing you to push your body past its normal limits.
And anyone from athletes to your average trainee can use creatine to increase performance, build lean muscle mass, and recover faster.
Creatines Impact on Strength, Muscle Gain, & Brain Function
- Long-term muscle growth: Creatine enables more total work done in a single training session, resulting in increased muscular growth. In other words, creatine helps increase the number of reps for strength.
- Speeds up recovery: Creatine aids in faster muscle recovery through cell signaling and cell hydration.
- Increase in anabolic hormones: Creatine has been shown to increase levels of hormones in the body, such as IGF-1, which play a major factor in the bodies ability to increase lean muscle mass, get stronger, and burn body fat more efficiently.
- Prevents muscle loss: Creatine has been shown to prevent catabolism (muscle breakdown) by increasing total muscle mass and lowering myostatin levels. Myostatin levels inhibit muscle growth, therefore, reducing these levels prevents muscle loss.
- Improved brain function: (We’re not kidding) Creatine increases phosphocreatine stores in the brain which may have a positive effect on brain health, cognitive functioning, and prevention of neurological disease.
The Different Types of Creatine
There are many different forms of creatine but their effects are all very similar. The 2 most powerful forms of creatine are Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine HCL.
Both forms of creatine amplify the effects of resistance training, such as increasing strength for reps, lean muscle mass, and endurance. They work by helping the body store high amounts of energy, or ATP, in the muscles and replenish these stores of energy rapidly during training sessions.
Along with performance benefits, Creatine HCL is the only creatine that induces change on body composition, specifically in weightlifters. It is also more soluble than other creatines and is absorbed by the body better. This translates to a drastic increase in muscular growth.
Optimal Time to Take Creatine
There is none. Most people like to say that you should take creatine 30 minutes before a workout but the time of day makes no difference at all.
Take it in the morning, afternoon, or middle of the night. It doesn’t matter!
The only thing that matters is that you’re taking a full dose of creatine every day. This ensures that your creatine levels stay high.
Stacking With Other Supplements
Most creatine supplements come standard with creatine monohydrate alone which is perfectly fine because creatine is already a powerful ingredient.
However, if your goal is to create an unfair competitive advantage against your old self and your peers then why not stop at creatine alone?
Creatine stacks well with Beta-Alanine, Betapure Betaine Anhydrous, HICA (Alpha-Hydroxyisocaproic Acid), and Magnesium Creatine Chelate (which is why we added all of these ingredients to our Origins Creatine Complex)
These supplements combined help to:
- Increase power and anaerobic output capacity
- Increase the anabolic response within the body
- Speed up muscle recovery
- Reduce muscular fatigue
- Reduce muscle soreness
- Prevent catabolism (muscle breakdown and fat gain)
- And most importantly… enhance the effects of creatine
Creatine Cheat Code
Most creatine supplements only contain 1 form of creatine which is fine because creatine is a powerful supplement on its own. But if increasing performance is the name of the game, then stopping there just isn’t enough.
Supplementing with Magnesium Creatine Chelate has the ability to enhance the effects of creatine due to its osmotic effect by increasing cellular hydration and increasing muscle protein synthesis.
It’s similar to pouring gasoline on a campfire.
Negative Side Effects
The most noted side effects of creatine include dehydration and gastrointestinal discomfort but may be attributed to creatines ability to hold on to water.
These side effects can be negated easily by increasing your water consumption to .75 gallons to 1.5 gallons a day.
Conclusion - Creatine Works
Creatine is one of the most underrated, yet powerful supplements on the market, especially for its extremely affordable price tag and if you still aren’t sure if creatine is right for you, then it might be time to give it a try for yourself because you have nothing to lose!