Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Creatine Supplementation Explained

Q: Melissa said...     
        "I've been doing some reading about creatine supplementation. What is your opinion about this supplement and would you recommend it for those who think they need that little extra push? Or do you not believe in supplements at all?"

A: AP FIT says...
         Hi Melissa! Thank you for your question and my apologies for taking a little long on my response. Let me begin by saying you present a very valid question and are doing the right thing. You are researching before consuming and that's the best way to stay healthy for years to come. When in doubt, read it out!

First, allow me to explain what creatine essentially is. The body has two main reserves of energy. The main one used is ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and the secondary being CP (creatine phosphate). ATP and CP are mainly used in any activity where short bursts of strength and energy are required such as weight lifting, sprinting, martial arts, etc. Your body will first tap into ATP and then CP as a reserve. Think of these energy vaults as power plants.
When you do weight training or any activity that demands use of ATP or CP you essentially deplete these power plants. Usually between 1-2 minutes of rest these power plants are up and running again but as you put more strain on them throughout the course of the acitvity they receover less and less each time. What that means to you is that at the end of your workout you have a lot less energy than when you started. This is where creatine supplementation comes in.

People use creatine supplements to develop that extra bit of energy to either push more weights longer or harder than usual. The real question for you here Melissa is, how on point is your nutrition? While I do believe in supplementation and cycle creatine throughout my training it is important to know that supplements are absorbed by the body at a much lesser rate than nutrients from food. If you need an "extra push" you need to ask yourself why, where and how? Are you not feeling any advances in strength? Are you getting tired throughout the day? Feel sleepy often?

Here is the deal, before you jump on creatine I recommend answering these questions to yourself and hopefully you return here to share your answers. If you feel like you just need a bit more energy then eat some carbs before your workout, preferably about 30-45 minutes prior. Carbs are your main source of energy along with fats (with fats containing the most energy). This is where ATP gets its energy from so essentially you are feeding your ATP power plant instead of the secondary CP power plant. Try eating some almonds or a bit more extra carbs right before a workout and tell me how that works.

If your goal is weight loss, then adding extra carbs and healhty fats may not essentially be something you want to do and I understand but it doesn't hurt to try. You will be surprised by what an extra 30 carbs can do for your energy levels. If you are absolutely sure your nutrition is spot on and you're now already eating over six times a day (my case) then feel free to try creatine supplements but make sure you pick creatine monohydrate which is the purest form found. Also, please make sure it is patented because if it has a US patent it has been tested and approved by the government therefore you know you're not feeding your body with "lord knows what".

If you do use creatine (which I would say would be your last resort) then start with half servings pre and post workout and go from there. It is also important to note that creatine supplements help build muscle but also add to water retainment. This will more than likely affect your weight. So, if weight is your big concern record the changes before and after creatine use so you do not get unmotivated.

Also, notice how I said earlier that I cycle creatine. What I mean by that is that I'll use creatine on an on/off cycle for a few months to reset my body. Your body is the smartest machine ever built and it adapts quickly. Take creatine for too long and it won't matter anymore. Which is why it is important to take it for a few months or so have your body put it to use, then cut it off and see how your body performs. If you're not able to keep up with yourself then your creatine use was in vain as it helped you with no real gains.

Sorry for the long response but creatine is a very interesting topic. I hope I was able to help and ultimately the decision is yours but as I always tell my clients, nutrition before supplementation. Explore all your avenues Melissa and track your progress.

One of my personal favorites creatine supplements is in powder form and patented:

Stay Focused. Stay Strong.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Use the comments section to join in the discussion or submit a question you want answered. You can also use your Facebook account to submit comments at the bottom of this page...