Creatine: a lot of us have heard about it. And yet, many people are wary of supplementing with creatine because they don’t understand how it works or what it does. Should we even be taking it at all?
A Bit of Information About Creatine
Creatine is an amino acid found in skeletal muscle tissue, the brain and various organs. It's responsible for helping regulate energy production. It also indirectly supplies the body with Adenosine Triphosphate (commonly known as ATP).
ATP is stored energy. Energy in its simplest form allows us to perform daily tasks from something as low impact like walking, to more intense activities like circuit training.
So How Can Creatine Help Me with My Training?
Whether creatine is ingested through consuming protein-rich foods (chicken, steak and fish) or taking a creatine supplement, it will increase your muscles’ phosphocreatine stores.
Phosphocreatine helps with the formation of new ATP. And remember, More ATP = more energy.
During exercise, ATP breaks down to produce energy used for muscular contraction. Once that ATP breaks down into ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate), the total amount of energy available to your muscle cells is limited due to the rate your body is able to re-synthesise or reproduce ATP.
To Summarise in Plain English...
Higher levels of creatine equate to higher levels of phosphocreatine stores in the muscle cells. And higher levels of phosphocreatine stores in the muscle cells yield more energy for the muscle cells.
Higher levels of energy available to the cells result in better workouts, stronger muscle contraction, and less fatigue during a training session. We're yet to find someone who doesn’t want more of that!
Many say they have a better pump and less soreness after training when they take creatine. This is because creatine also helps with nutrient absorption and muscular hydration.
"I’m All About Real Food, Bro. Do I Need to Take Creatine If I Eat Heaps of Food?"
The short answer is: it depends.
What Does It Depend On?
It depends on whether you are consuming the right types of food in the right quantity to absorb the equivalent amount of creatine that a creatine supplement would provide.
So what is the food equivalent of a standard 5g serve of creatine?
Depending on where you research, you will need to be consuming approximately 1.5 - 2kg of red meat to provide you roughly 5g of creatine per day. The reason we say raw is that cooking reduces the total creatine content by 30 - 35%.
Based on the 30 - 35% loss of creatine through cooking, you need to consume anywhere between 2 - 3.5kg of red meat per day just to get the equivalent of 5g of creatine per day.
I Get It Now… So What Do You Recommend for Creatine Supplementation?
For those who can appreciate logic, and who like an easy approach to increasing your creatine intake, we recommend Evolve Creatine Monohydrate.
This product is just creatine, no fillers, tasteless and can be added to any other supplement without having an adverse effect on the flavour.
Creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied and most scientifically proven supplement on the market. Many studies have shown it is safe for its long-term use. It also has exceptional benefits for both trained and untrained individuals. Creatine is also approved for Olympic athletes – if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me!
A simple 5 gram serving daily is all you need to capitalise on the benefits of creatine supplementation.
If you’re a frequent reader of the ASN blog, you might have noticed we're all about nutrient absorption and optimal performance.
Creatine is known for aiding in both nutrient absorption and optimal performance. For this reason and many others, creatine is a staple in my daily supplement regime.
Another new pre-workout staple of mine is Evolve's Pump Action. Pump Action is a fantastic and cost-effective supplement. It assists in increasing blood flow, nutrient delivery and oxygen to the working muscle while training. It also helps remove lactic acid which can help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.
When taken with a creatine supplement, Pump Action will work synergistically with creatine to help amplify the benefits of creatine and make it more effective as opposed to when creatine is used alone.