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Monday, February 15, 2010

Creatine and Training

By: Alex Liska

FIRST OFF I WOULD LIKE TO ANSWER THE FOLLOWING POPULAR QUESTION TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY:
Q- Where does Creatine come from? 

A- Creatine that is normally present in our muscles may come from 2 different sources: dietary (animal flesh), and/or internally manufactured. Whatever creatine is not present in our diet can be easily made by our liver and kidneys from a few amino acids (arginine, glycine and methionine). About half of the creatine that we use up daily is replaced by our DIET and half is synthesized/produced on its own inside of us (endogenously). The external intake of creatine from supplement sources appears to show negative feedback on our body's internal/it's own production of creatine (this means, more creatine present in the diet means less production by the body, so taking supplements can actually inhibit or stop your body from producing its own creatine as efficiently or often as it should). Creatine is eliminated from the body by our kidneys either as creatine, or as creatinine, which is formed from the metabolism of creatine.

Today, I wanted to talk a bit about my own personal experience with Creatine... A few people have asked me if i use it when training and trying to gain lean muscle mass... I HAVE tried it before once or twice and I've also done a bit of research on it and asked a few other bodybuilders that have used it what they think of this supplement.
For about a decade or more now, there have been various studies that have shown that creatine supplements can enhance short-duration, high intensity activities for some athletes, BUT! the exact dosage is yet to be determined. 
One study that i came across actually showed a group athletes (12 males and 12 females) consumed an avg. of 7.7grams/day (0.1gram per kg of lean body mass) of a creatine supplements and they showed an increase in their high intensity exercise performance ability. The group also performed the bench press until exhaustion and were able to perform more work than the group that had not consumed any creatine supplements.
There are many many MANY examples of studies like this one, however I think it is very much up to each individual to test the waters when it comes to supplements like Creatine, Nitric Oxide and even Whey Protein/Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's) etc...
I tried taking creatine a few years ago... i tried 1/2 of the receommended serving of Creatine Ethyl Ester, mixed in water and I am going to be honest with you, I did not feel any different during or after my workout. I was not able to lift heavier, do more reps...and I decided i was going to use this supplement for atleast 2-3 weeks before putting it away. This is exactly what i did, i consumed 1/2 a scoop in water before each workout for 3 weeks, maybe even a month and the most i observed was that I was retaining water and had gained a few pounds (of water weight obviously). My pants were tighter on me, especially around my legs and my arms were bigger but not as defined. I actually felt quite bloated. I decided to stop taking creatine and i lost the excess water weight and my measurements went back to what they had originally been.
After having asked a few other trainers, bodybuilders, friends on different forums and having done my research, what i can conlude is that creatine MAY or MAY NOT work...but the bottom line is that when you take a supplement like this the results are short-lived. You may gain a few extra pounds because the creatine draws water to your muscles and makes them appear fuller, you may even think you are stronger in the weight room; BUT! once you stop taking it you are back at square one...
You have to ask yourself "Why am i thinking of taking creatine supplements...Is it to gain size? Strength? Increased Energy?"
There are NO shortcuts in the gym... the best way to gain lean muscle mass and even strength would be to manipulate your sets/reps and use different exercises, use different angles when training, focus on the negative portion of the lift, use a variety of different equipment/dumbbells/barbells, play around with the speed and tempo of each rep... I could think of many ways to shock your body and get it to react along with a very goal-specific diet!!! Diet plays such a huge role in the development and outcome of your training regimen that it is almost impossible to move forward and move past plateaus by just adding in an extra supplement here and there. If the foundation (training and general diet) is not on point, there is no supplement out there that can make up for this.
If you are needing extra energy I would have to say do it the old fashioned way, have a coffee w/ some stevia if you like it sweet and you can even add a splash of cream in there! I have even tried having a large bottle of filtered water w/ the juice of one lemon, a 1/4 tsp of sea salt and Stevia/Splenda in it to sweeten it. The salt provided my body with electrolytes, and for some reason this beverage (served super cold) woke me up and got me pumped for my workout!!!
SO, to conclude this topic i would say, I wouldn't personally use creatine again, as I would be setting myself up for fictitious water weight gain, bloating, water retention and it is also costly... I will stick to coffee, green tea or sugar-free lemonade w/ a pinch of salt (my alternative to Gatorade) when i need a boost. The rest, i will leave up to the weights, being focused on my workouts and sticking to my diet :)
I will definitely keep you posted on any supplements i may randomly happen to sample and like or dislike... Keep checking my site for new updates and coverage on different Fitness/Health topics!

Best of luck with training, Yours in Good Health,












-Alex L.

9 comments:

  1. great article Alex and I completely agree with you. I tried a lot of supplements last year and some of them were effective, but as you said as soon as you stop taking them you lose whatever effect they have had on you.
    Creatine was one that I tried and (speaking only for myself) never noticed any increase in strength or intensity with this one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for your comment Dave:) i like to get feedback on matters like this!! it helps a lot...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can se at you'r not just a body but a complete person in maind and soul as well
    is great to have people like you XOXO
    from norway ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I had similar experience with Creatin (Kre-Alkalyn)
    Just got bloated, thicker but not defined
    And i did gain strength after one month of using it

    But i wouldn't take it again,
    i have a endomorph body type and creatin makes us just bigger and not nice and crispy :)

    if you are a rather ektomorph (or mesomorph) body type, preatty lean and you have troubles gaining weight, then i think it could be useful, as motivator
    but you have to take it over three months and then once you should have a break from it, to give your liver and body a rest.

    much love
    Karaviro

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've wondered the same thing, and many male friends in the gym will verbally state- "they have to take Creatine". My response was why, it pulls water to your muscles but I didn't see any gains in strength either so couldn't figure out the purpose. I gain water once a month as is for a week- I don't need a supplement to help me for the other 3 weeks! :p

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