Author: Scott Smith
If you are doing any type of resistance training, you should strongly consider adding “creatine” to your supplementation/nutrition plan. If your trainer has not discussed this with you … he or she is slacking.
What is creatine? Creatine is an organic acid our bodies already create for our muscles to supply the energy needed for short and fast muscle contractions (approximately 0-10 seconds … hey, that’s about the time length of a very intense lift, jump, or sprint … interesting). Levels of creatine in the muscle can be increased through ingesting certain foods (primarily animal food sources) or by supplementing with creatine monohydrate (or the various other synthetic spin-offs).
If my body already makes creatine, why do I need to supplement more? Well, you don’t need to, however, the overwhelming number of studies on this supplement are pretty clear. Those who supplement with creatine will have significantly improved performance in these repeated short burst movements, and therefore reap the benefits of the body’s need to adapt. In short, you can weight train at a higher level and absolutely build more lean body mass. This is fact.
Side effects? None. Let me repeat this! Creatine monohyrdate, one of the most studied nutritional aids in history, has not been found to have any significant side effects. Any research stating otherwise would be in the less than 1% minority. The only debatable drawback of the supplement to date has been the increased amount of water retained in the muscle cells (which most guys like, because it makes their muscles look bigger, but most women don’t because … you know, the scale).
I am also of the belief that supplementing creatine could potentially lead to dehydration of an athlete if water consumption is inadequate and training intensity is high.
But is it expensive? It can be if blended with various delivery systems, but I can find 500 grams of pure creatine monohydrate (100 servings) for 10 bucks and mix it with juice for equal gains. (Sugar helps deliver creatine to the muscles).
What if I don’t want to get big? Well, don’t eat so much. That is the only true (legal) way to get bigger. I still don’t understand why men and/or women are afraid of getting “bulky” from lifting like it’s some easy thing to do. I blame bad information put out by fitness magazines and other media.
The point of weight training, in my opinion, is to increase muscle size and performance. This helps maintain lower levels of body fat via increased metabolism (among other things). If you add 4 pounds of lean muscle and lose 4 pounds of body fat, you will still be smaller in size. This is also fact. So let’s not worry so much about gaining muscle. That’s the whole idea of touching a dumbbell to begin with.
There has been no legal supplement as beneficial as creatine for the purpose of increasing strength and improving one’s body composition. It has literally been transformational in my own life. A true game changer, and when combined with proper training, creatine will give you an edge over those who choose to ignore it’s scientifically backed efficacy.