You would have heard this term “creatine” many times if you are close to some person who is a fitness freak or an athlete. Fitness freaks consume foods and supplements that provide creatine.
But why do they do so? What are its benefits and purpose? We will answer all these questions in this post today and you will get a complete overview of what is creatine? Why should one take it? the best time to take creatine and many more things so read it on.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a performance enhancer and it gives a mental or physical edge while you exercise. It is an amino acid created in our body. The main motive for athletes to take it is muscle strengthening.
You will get more energy for muscle contraction when you get more and more creatine in your body and this helps to improve training performance. This energy is achieved due to the recycling of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in the brain and muscle tissue.
It increases glycogen stores in muscles alongside carbohydrates.
This organic compound is found as free creatine in your kidney, brain, and liver. It is also found in your skeletal muscles in a vast amount. There is a regular pattern of 1% intramuscular creatine getting broken down into creatinine and that creatinine is then excreted in our urine.
Creatine generates from our diet as well and it is also taken as supplements.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Creatine?
Muscle strength increases
Muscle strength will increase with creatine and also it helps to decrease muscle damage to a significant level. The performance-enhancing effects given due to this gives a very strong inner build. Muscle recovery gets fast with a higher amount of creatine in your body.
Helps with Sports
If you are an athlete and take part in sports then it will really help boost your performance. Studies have shown that it has helped with weightlifting, sprinting, and other modes of intense exercises and sports.
Another benefit of creatine is to lower the number of injuries. Athletes who take creatine will have a lower injury rate as compared to athletes who don’t take creatine in their diet.
Heat tolerance while exercising
Athletes who take creatine in their diet have a higher tolerance to heat and can exercise well even under Sun. They can get trained well in the hot environment after taking creatine as it reduces the risk of heat-related illness.
Increases exercise intensity
You can increase exercise intensity by taking more creatine. This will help you to do the high-intensity exercises more comfortably. A combination of creatine and carbohydrates helps to achieve this.
Improves mental performance
It is seen that creatine improves mental performance in the elderly. Short term memory and intelligence have seen improvement in many people who were given creatine supplements. There is no proof of improvement in long term memory yet.
It helps to reduce mental fatigue and helps to improve mental conditions and problems. If a person is facing some mental health problems like depression or bipolar disorder then taking creatine will help.
It helps to fight against age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
What are the Disadvantages of Creatine?
Increase in weight
One may notice an increase in weight due to this. An increase of 1-2 kg is expected as you take it regularly.
Limited natural source of vegetarian food
If you are a vegetarian then you will find it hard to get a natural source of creatine. It is mainly available from meats. This is not a disadvantage but yes vegetarian people have to rely on the pills and powder forms to consume it.
In Which Form Should We Have to Take It?
There are two options available to take creatine: one is the pills and the other is the powder form. There is no superiority of one option preceding over the other. Both the options are good to go and one can take any as per their choice.
As we take pills of medicines, we can take a pill of creatine as well. Though the volume of the content will be less in pills as compared to the powder form, it is a suitable option for those who don’t like taking creatine in powder forms as they don’t like to take drinks.
Powders both come in flavored as well as unflavored form. You can choose between the flavored ones and the unflavored forms as per your choice. It contains a higher volume of creatine content. Just mix it with water and take it before you start your workout.
You can carry it with you in the gym and mix it with water in a shaker and drink it right before you start your workout and this will help you very well.
You can drink it after your workout as well.
When to Take Creatine?
You can take creatine before a workout. This will help to have a better workout. It is advised to take creatine about half an hour before you are about to start your workout.
It is advised to take 20 grams per day for the initial time like 7 days and then you can decrease it to a lower amount like 3 to 5 grams per day. The initial time period of 7 days is called the loading phase when you are loading your cells with creatine. The phase after that when you lower the daily dose is called the maintenance phase.
One of the best times to take it is after a workout as it helps to enhance muscle recovery. So, one can consider both the before and after timings and take half amount before the workout and take the other half just after completing the workout.
There is no perfect time to take this, it all depends on personal preference and convenience and one can take it anytime one wants. It is found out as per one study that people who take creatine before or after a workout have more benefits from it rather than those who take it at a more time gap from the workout.
So, you should take it near to your workout time as it will be more effective.
Also, for the rest days when you are not exercising, one should take creatine supplements as it will help to maintain a good amount of it in the body. Time won’t matter for the rest days; you can take it at any time. However, it is recommended that you take it with your meal.
Is It Safe to Consume It?
Yes, it is safe to consume it. One should consume it at a low dose. If consumed in a high dose then it can lead to some problems so better take it 3 to 5 grams per day.
What Else Can We Take with It?
Proteins, carbs, amino acids are good to have with creatine. That kind of supplement can be taken but one has to make sure that it is not there in the excess amount otherwise it will lead to weight gain. When you are consuming your diet filled with these minerals, you can take creatine at that time. There is no need to take these minerals at any extra time beyond your diet.
This helps to increase the effectiveness of creatine.
Natural Food Sources of Creatine
Following are some of the food sources of creatine:
- Herring Fillet (raw and dried)
- Beef patties (raw)
- Beef steak gravy
- Dry-cured ham
- Hot dogs
- Nestle Good Start
These foods are a good source of creatine. If you need a low dose then you can get this from consuming these foods but if you are weak and need to make your muscles strong then you either need to consume a high amount of these natural food sources or take the powder form or pill form along with that.
Also, one must note that creatine content gets reduced when you cook meat. It depends on how the cut is made and how long you cook.
So, that’s it, we have shared with you the potential information about creatine, benefits, how to take creatine, and the best time to have it. Consult with your gym trainer about the same and take their advice on it too before starting taking it. Similarly, athletes should take the advice of their coaches on the same.
It has remained effective for the people who have taken it and has helped to grow a muscular body so no need to worry about anything and just give it a try.
For more health-related information, visit Healthclubfinder.