Creatine – Friend Or Foe?

Creatine has been part of the fitness talk since the beginning of the whole fitness frenzy in the late twentieth century. This supplement has since then been both glorified and scrutinized, only to more or less fall through the cracks in the last decade or so. Still, some weightlifters and fitness instructors still use it. There are many myths about creatine that have been spun throughout the years and we will discuss some of them here so that you would know what to expect if you start using it.

One of the first things people say to put you off using creatine is that all the weight and size you will gain thanks to the supplement are nothing but water that will flush out as soon as you stop taking it in. There is some truth to this claim, though it’s massively misinterpreted.

Once you start using the supplement, it’s true that you will gain some weight rather quickly. It is also true that a big part of it is water, which shouldn’t be a surprise since approximately 73% of each muscle is actually water. That being said, it’s not hard to understand that when you start gaining muscles, a significant part of that gain is water, but that is just nature, not creatine.

However, creatine also causes cellular volumization, meaning that the supplement largely contributes to protein synthesis responsible for creating the muscle mass. In other words, when you start using it, you might be retaining more water in your body. On the other hand, this changes with time, resulting in the improvement and enlargement of muscle mass.

As for strength, creatine also offers results in this department that shouldn’t be neglected. The supplement enables your body to increase its capacity by fifteen percent when you are doing high-intensity exercises with repetitions. To put this in more practical terms, when doing an exercise, you can expect to do more reps with more weight (in case you’re lifting), which proves that creatine indeed does enhance your strength and the ability of your body to put up with more strain.

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When it comes to your recovery period, creatine is effective here as well. Some studies actually showed that those who used creatine while working out experienced less muscle soreness than the placebo group. What is interesting is that the professionals who conducted the study couldn’t quite put their finger on why the feeling of soreness was more bearable to those using creatine, but it apparently helps.

The case is constantly made that this supplement doesn’t actually work for everyone equally and that it doesn’t work for some people at all. Like with all supplements, the results can vary greatly, depending on the physical state of an individual, as well as other factors. One simple variable that can affect the results of using creatine is your diet.

If you love your meat, then creatine won’t work as optimally for you. If you’re asking why, it’s simple – your body and your cells are already supplied with creatine, so adding more of it won’t do you much good. However, if you are a vegetarian and meats are not on your menu, then you can certainly expect to see some results shortly after you’ve started using creatine.

Speaking of time, one other point should be made about how much of it should pass until you start noticing the results of using creatine. Most commonly, you will start feeling changes only after a few days and visible results will follow closely. As for measurable results, wait for a month to see your progress or the lack of it, so that you can take further action accordingly.

When you stop using creatine, you will lose some muscle volume because you will lose water, but you won’t lose the muscles that you gained while you were using creatine, which is very important to note. Don’t be disappointed or depressed when it happens, just know that similar loss would happen with pretty much any other supplement, i.e. after you’ve stopped using it.

In short, creatine isn’t as bad as people usually think. There might be some better options to consider, but using creatine is as plausible an option as any.

 

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