If you’ve spent any amount of time looking at supplements, you’ve probably stumbled across creatine.
But what exactly is creatine, and how does it work to build muscle strength and increase hypertrophy? Can you get it naturally, or do you have to take supplements to optimize your body’s creatine levels? Get the answers to all of this and more, including where to find the best creatine, in this article.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound similar to an amino acid that gives your body the energy it needs to contract its muscles. When you move your body, whether you are just getting up off the sofa or going through an intense workout, your body burns creatine as it moves. Since this amino acid is primarily stored in the skeletal muscles, it makes sense that supplementing it would increase gains in those same muscles.
You can get creatine from natural sources, mostly from meat. Your liver and kidneys also naturally produce creatine (so don’t worry vegetarians, you’re not doomed to an energy-less existence because you have access to creatine anyway). However, even the most carnivorous diet isn’t enough to get your body the levels of creatine it needs to truly enhance muscle hypertrophy, which is why many bodybuilders take supplements.
The type of creatine that you find in most supplement stores is creatine monohydrate, which is targeted for better performance in short, high-energy burst exercises.
What Are the Benefits of Creatine?
Creatine is an energizing supplement that athletes take to help optimize their workouts. The boost in energy is one of the most important benefits of creatine. Having more energy will help you work out longer and with greater intensity, pushing your muscles beyond your regular limits and increasing hypertrophy. Creatine will not only help you build muscle mass, but it can also help you be a better, stronger athlete.
Creatine can also help your muscles recover after a workout. Amino acids such as creatine form the building blocks of repairing torn muscle fibers in your muscle cells after stimulation and rebuilding those cells into bigger shapes that lead to visible muscle definition. Getting more amino acids into your bloodstream ensures that recovery happens faster and that you’ll be ready sooner for your next workout.
Initial studies link creatine to better brain strength as well, slowing down the progression of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, but scientists need to do more studies to prove these findings.
On its own, creatine is not the ticket to automatically growing massive muscles. However, it can help you by supporting the processes involved in building muscles and by working in tandem with other supplements. Creatine supplements are particularly important for vegetarian and vegan athletes whose bodies produce some creatine but not at the same levels as people following a carnivorous diet.
How Can You Incorporate Creatine into Your Routine?
Most trainers don’t recommend taking creatine on its own, because this supplement works best in tandem with others. Once you find the right base for your creatine, you have some versatility in terms of when you can take it.
Add a scoop of creatine to water and dissolve it for an energizing pre-workout drink. Creatine will enhance the energizing benefits of your pre-workout as well as its benefits for muscular definition.
If you already have a pre-workout supplement that works for you, you can take your creatine after your workout. When you take it post-workout, creatine boosts recovery and helps your muscles feel better faster. Creatine can also help prevent some mild injuries such as muscle strains and cramps because it acts as an antioxidant.
Start with a loading phase, where you take 20 grams of creatine a day for about a week to build up your body’s stores. Then, you can decrease to a single serving a day.
Are There Any Concerns About Taking Creatine?
Creatine is a safe supplement that most people can take without any problems. However, before changing up your routine, talk to a doctor. You never know how your body might react. If you have a history of kidney problems or are pregnant, avoid creatine because its effects have not been studied enough.
Creatine will cause you to bulk up, so don’t take it if your fitness goal is to lose weight.
Creatine is perfectly legal and approved by sports governing bodies, including the International Olympics Committee.
Where Can You Find the Best Creatine?
Some of the best creatine on the market is Creatine 300 from AP Sports Regimen. This supplement is the perfect companion for intense workouts because it helps replenish your energy and restore your muscle fibers faster. Get back in the gym faster with Creatine 300.
Each container contains 60 servings, so you can always have some on hand to bookend your workouts.
Creatine is one of the most popular supplements for a reason: it speeds up recovery, boosts energy levels, and reduces injury, which are all crucial to helping you push your workouts to the limit. Incorporating a creatine supplement such as Creatine 300 into your pre- or post-workout routine can help your gains reach new heights.