What Is Creatine and What Does Creatine Do?

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in muscle cells that help your muscles create energy during intense workouts. Creatine is widely used by weightlifters and athletes in the form of a powdered supplement with the purpose of building muscle, increasing strength, and improving athletic performance. Though used often pre-workout, studies have shown that Creatine may be best-ingested post workout to replenish the body's natural stores when they're low. 

What are the benefits?

As previously stated, Creatine can help improve your athletic performance and build muscle. For example, during a HIIT workout, Creatine will increase the phosphocreatine in your muscles, which then can be used to produce more ATP; for the non-scientist...ATP happens to serve as the primary energy source during heavy lifting and high-intensity workouts. 

Here are some of the other benefits that Creatine can provide:

  • Increased workload
  • Improved cell signaling
  • Increased anabolic hormones
  • Improved cell hydration
  • Decreased protein breakdown
  • Reduced myostatin levels
  • Increased fat-free mass
  • Improved muscular endurance 
  • Improved anaerobic power and performance

Is Creatine safe for you?

According to Jose Antonio, Ph.D., a professor at Nova Southeastern University and CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, "Creatine is perhaps THE most studied ergogenic aid in history. The science clearly suggests that there are no harmful side effects of creatine supplementation. There is no evidence that it causes muscle tears, harms the kidneys, causes dehydration or myriad other silly myths. If these side effects occur, show me the science!"

What are the side effects of Creatine?

Creatine affects everyone differently. If you are taking Creatine in the recommended dosage, you are unlikely to experience any side effects. Exceeding the recommended dosage may lead to the following side effects: 

  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney stones
  • Weight gain
  • Bloating
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Digestive problems
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Rhabdomyolysis

Will I gain weight on Creatine? Is Creatine just water weight?

It's often said that the weight you gain on Creatine is simply water weight, but that's not exactly true. Yes, you will gain water weight because Creatine causes water retention. However, Creatine also gives you more energy, which promotes muscle growth and weight loss. 

The average weight gain for adults in the first week of Creatine loading is about 1.5-3.5 pounds, though that weight gain may be due to the water retention. An athlete that is on Creatine for up to 3 months will gain up to 6.5 pounds of lean mass more than an athlete that is not training with Creatine. 

If you are worried about the possible water weight gain, be sure to cycle off of Creatine before the date you need to cut weight. All in all, you will gain water weight, but you will gain much more than just that. 

Are there drinks containing Creatine?

Yes, Creatine is widely used in many pre-workout drinks as a means to provide additional energy. While this can be convenient, you'll get the most benefit from Creatine by following an independent dosage schedule specific to your athletic goals. There are some drawbacks to consuming energy drinks that contain Creatine.  

First, you will lose control of the quality and source of Creatine included in the product. Since Creatine is a dietary supplement not regulated by the FDA, quality standards and potency of the supplement often vary widely.  Second, you need to worry about the other ingredients in the drink that make it so tasty. Ingredients like Creatine, Amino Acids, and Caffeine are intensely bitter in their natural form. Often energy drinks and pre-workout drinks that contain these ingredients use tons of artificial sweeteners to mask the bitter taste.  Typically, Sucralose is the chosen ingredient. While it is a zero calorie sweetener, it also creates an unhealthy blood sugar spike. 

Instead of trusting these artificial and sugar-filled pre-workout products, research and purchase your own Creatine. Kill Cliff products mix very well with raw Creatine, especially Kill Cliff Endure. Not only is Kill Cliff Endure all-natural and packed with electrolytes and slow-releasing carbs for sustained endurance, but also you can mix in your Creatine. Try an ice-cold Endure with 5 grams of Creatine Monohydrate. You won't lose any of the delicious taste of an Endure, but you'll get the great benefit of consuming Creatine in a healthy format. Get some now!