Effects Of Creatine

effects of creatineCreatine is probably one of the most popular and most studied supplements out there.  It’s been around for 20+ years, so they have been able to do many studies on it an determine the effects of creatine.  In general, it seems that some people love it and some people hate it.  Some think it gives them big gains in the gym while others think it’s harmful for your body.  And Beachbody just released a new creatine supplement as part of the Body Beats Supplements.  Since it is such a popular supplement I wanted to cover some basic info on the effects of creatine.

Effects of Creatine – What Is It?

Before diving into the details of the effects of creatine, I wanted to cover what it actually is first.  First off, creatine is a naturally occurring substance in everyone’s body.  It’s produced in the kidneys and liver and then transported to the muscle.  Roughly half of the creatine naturally in your body comes from eating meat.  So it’s not something foreign to the body.  Basically the effects of  creatine help your body produce energy faster which allows you to train harder and longer.  It also causes your muscles to retain more water.  So with creatine, you only experience the gains in strength or size if you actually go to the gym and do the workout.  Otherwise you’re just gaining water weight.  Just taking creatine isn’t going to build muscle, it just allows you to work harder during your workouts which helps you build muscle and get stronger.

Effects of Creatine – Is It Safe?

This is probably one of the biggest questions surrounding the effects of creatine.  Is it safe?  Will I be damaging my kidneys or liver if I take a creatine supplement?  There are people out there that will try to say it’s unsafe, but the research doesn’t agree with that.  Any idea that creatine is dangerous for your kidneys or liver has been scientifically refuted and it has been shown to have no adverse side effects, even at a rate of 5-20 grams per day.  Taking too much of anything for a prolonged period of time can have adverse side effects, but if you’re taking the recommended serving of any creatine supplement you should be fine.  The other worry is that due to creatine causing your muscles to hold water you could more easily become dehydrated or can cause your muscles to cramp, but recent studies have also dis-proven that.  I know some people report a bloated feeling when taking creatine, but that often seems to be due to the particular brand or type they are taking.  So, for adults, according to the research creatine is safe to take and you should not worry about any adverse side effects.

Who Should Use Creatine – Effects of Creatine

So now that you know a little more about the effects of creatine, a natural question is, “should I use it?”  Keep in mind that this really only applies to adults, I would advise anyone under 18 to not use supplements or talk to their doctor first.  But for adults, my answer is that it depends.  It depends on what your goals are and what type of workouts you’re doing.  I think the people that will see the most benefit from using it are those that are looking to build muscle, increase size, get stronger and are mainly doing resistance training.  So if you’re looking to get stronger and put on size with a program like P90X, then it’s probably a good idea.  I personally do a lot of resistance  training and take creatine because one of my goals is to increase my strength.  I find the creatine to be helpful in that area.

If you’re not looking to build muscle or aren’t worried about getting a ton stronger, then creatine is probably unnecessary for you.  If you’re doing a program like Insanity or TurboFire and your main goal is to lose weight, then creatine really isn’t a good idea, because creatine will naturally cause you to gain weight.  The effects of creatine don’t really help you if your main goal is to lose weight, so I would recommend not taking it if that is your primary goal.

Effects of Creatine – How To Take It

With any supplement, it’s important to follow the directions on the label as to how to take it.  That is going to give you the best information on how to use the product as it was designed.  That being said, I personally don’t like loading phases because you’re consuming a ton of creatine which I don’t like for a couple reasons, one being that you just go through the product much faster!  The label should also give you an idea of what a serving size is.  Most creatine monohydrate supplements will suggest you take 5-10 grams per day.  Personally, this is how I use it:

-5 grams 15-30 minutes before my workout
-5 grams in my recovery drink immediately following my workout
-Cycle the use 2 months on, 1 month off

So that is a schedule that has worked well for me while taking creatine monohydrate, but always make sure you read your labels and follow the directions there because they designed the product.

Bottom Line – Effects of Creatine

The bottom line is that the effects of creatine can be very helpful if you’re looking to get stronger, put on some size and build muscle.  If those aren’t your goals, then creatine probably isnt’ really that necessary for you to take.  But if you are thinking about it, it’s important to do your research.  And the research I’ve seen says that it’s safe when taking the recommended serving sizes.  It has worked for me personally, but with anything you have to make sure it lines up with your goals and fits your budget.

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