3. You Need To Exercise to Realize Creatine’s Benefit (Duh?)
Unfortunately, creatine won’t passively increase muscle mass, converting fat to lean muscle while you play Candy Crush.
No, in order to realize creatine’s performance enhancing benefit, you have to work, hard.
Creatine works by improving your muscles ability to maintain ATP levels during muscle contraction during explosive activities. What this does is increase the time it takes for your muscles to reach a state of exhaustion or failure.
So if you take creatine, but only do your normal number of reps, the same weight as usual, you’re not going to see the gains you would if you take your muscles to complete failure for each exercise.
2. Taking Creatine the Right Way Makes a Difference
Walk into a GNC or search “creatine” on Amazon, and you’ll be presented with a slew of product options ranging in price, and claiming all sorts of benefits.
First, immediately filter out any product that contains anything other than 100% pure creatine powder. Any of the protein/creatine combos can contain hundreds of other unnecessary additives that are most likely useless, and are just driving up costs.
Look for a pure creatine solution like Optimum Nutrition’s Micronized Creatine PowderOptimum Nutrition’s Micronized Creatine Powder.
Avoid liquid creatine formulas, as the liquid is unstable and may get broken down in the bloodstream before even entering your muscles.
Another common mistake is taking creatine on it’s own in water. It’s recommended that you take creatine with fruit juice, which raises your insulin levels and improves creatine uptake into muscles.
1. Use a Loading Phase for Maximum Creatine Uptake
Despite what the label says on your creatine product, dosing is a bit tricky and you should cycle your creatine supplementation starting with a 5 day loading phase.
You have a 5 day “loading phase” which basically takes your muscles to their creatine saturation point, it’s usually recommended a 20 grams per day for 5 days, followed by a period of “maintenance” dosing at 5 grams per day, for the remainder of the cycle.
Exact dosages and how long these cycles should last is dependent on your body and your natural levels of creatine in your muscles. Check with a sports nutritionist to find out your exact dosing requirements.