If you are a bodybuilding enthusiast in a true sense then by now, you would have probably heard about creatine for hundreds of time. Your gym partner, your trainer and even your gym nemesis brag about uses of creatine so much that you had to look for why’s and how’s about creatine and you eventually ended up here like you always do. So, my dear friend, without further ado, let’s get your queries sorted out once and for all. But before we begin, here are couple of handy fundamentals about creatine that you should know –
- Simply put, Creatine is a nitrogenous acid produced in the liver and helps in supplying energy to cells across the body.
- You can simply call it as an energy currency of the body which is transporting emails blood flow to different muscles in the body.
Uses of Creatine Supplement Powder
Several studies conducted by various institutions on creatine supplementation have shown people to achieve following –
- Production of Additional Energy: Supplementing with creatine can help your body produce additional ATP molecules. The ATP molecules thus produced are used as energy during your workout. So, ingesting creatine monohydrate supplement may improve your performance during a high-intensity workout.
- Anabolic Effect by Cell Volumization: Creatine is well known for its cell volumization effect wherein it increases the water content of your muscles which will eventually make your muscles look bigger and fuller. Many times, this kind of cellular swelling creates an anabolic effect on the muscles which leads to increase in muscle protein synthesis and thus relentless gains. A handful of studies has also shown creatine to reduce the level of a molecule namely myostatin which is responsible for stunting muscle growth.
- Effective for Every Fitness Goals: Beyond doubt, creatine is the most effective supplement available to build muscle. It’s not that just we say, but this study has rightfully proved it. Creatine supplementation works wonder for short-term as well as long-term fitness goals. Initially, it helps muscles look fuller by retaining the water within them and gradually over the period it aids in adding size and mass to the muscles.
- Aids Post-Workout Recovery: Besides providing the muscles with additional ATP molecules, other creatine powder uses include increasing dopamine levels which can help in reducing the feeling of tiredness. Creatine may also help in reducing fatigue levels caused by strenuous workout sessions.
Apart from major benefits outlined above, here are other uses of creatine supplement:
- Can improve memory and brain power
- May reduce blood sugar levels
- Studies conducted on animals show creatine to help fight several neurological diseases
How to use Creatine Monohydrate Supplement Powder
Now that you know the reasons to why use creatine supplements, it’s the time for us to know how to use creatine monohydrate for maximum muscle gains.
- First things first – Consuming creatine supplement along with a high GI food/drink is going to get to your muscles way quicker than ingesting creatine alone. It is due to the insulin spike caused by the high GI food that helps cells to absorb the nutrients at a faster rate.
- You can consume your creatine supplement with your favorite juice be it grape, orange or any other fruit. However, we recommend you to take creatine monohydrate supplement with a high-quality fast carb source like Dextrose Monohydrate.
- Summing up this section, grab your creatine monohydrate supplement powder with either your post workout shake (that should necessarily consist dextrose) or with protein and carb packed post workout meal. This way it will help creatine to get properly absorbed in your body devoid of problems of stomach distress.
Best way to use Creatine
Next up, let’s see the most effective way to use creatine for better muscle growth –
- Loading Phase: Briefly, a loading phase is when you intentionally saturate your muscles with creatine by consuming over 15-20 grams of creatine per day evenly distributed in 4-5 servings. Loading phase should usually last for a period of 5-7 days.
The sole purpose of a loading phase is to ensure that your intramuscular stores of creatine are topped up to the maximum level as fast as possible. A maintenance phase then follows a loading phase.
- Maintenance Phase: In this phase you will have to consume almost half to one-fourth of creatine (5-10 grams) that you ingested during the loading phase. Here the purpose is to saturate the muscles with a much smaller daily dosage.
You should continue maintenance phase for at least 3-5 weeks.
- No Creatine Phase: After the maintenance phase over and you are about to get started with loading phase once again, you will have to go through a no creatine phase for at least one week. Here, you will completely shut off your creatine supplement intake and thereby deplete your intramuscular creatine stores.
How often to use Creatine
As discussed above, the best way to use creatine monohydrate supplement is to load the muscles with creatine first up and then deplete them gradually before loading again. So, here’s two of the most commonly followed creatine supplementation cycle by athletes that shows how often you should use creatine per day –
- 4-week cycle
Week 1 – Loading – 20 grams (4 serving of 5 grams each per day)
Weeks 2-4 – Maintenance – 5-10 grams per day
Weeks 5-8 – No creatine
- 9-week cycle
Week 1 – Loading – 20 grams (4 servings of 5 grams each per day)
Weeks 2-7 – Maintenance – 5-10 grams per day
Weeks 8-9 – No creatine
When to use Creatine
We get a lot of emails from our followers asking – When should you use creatine? Is it before or after a workout?
The answer to this question is no-brainer. If you are taking creatine monohydrate as a supplement, you may get the maximum benefit out of it upon consuming it 30-45 minutes before workout and right after in your post workout protein shake.
Are you sorted out with your creatine queries now? Tell us in the comment section below. And do not forget to subscribe to MyFitFuel for more fitness and bodybuilding related guides and articles.
Also published on Medium.