There is nothing like seeing gym gains. Nothing. The work you put in at the gym, on the track, and in the kitchen (80% of your success) is visible, and the rewards extend from your ego (hey, you know it's true) to your love life to your doctor's visits (hopefully always good news).
When we're trying to bulk up, we've learned over the years that supplements can enhance and speed up the process.
Creatine is one of the most popular supplements on the market to build strength. Not surprisingly, it gets its name after the Greek word for...wait for it...meat.
Let’s jump into the facts so you can decide if creatine is the key to your Schwarzenegger dreams.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in muscle cells that help your muscles create energy during intense workouts. Your body makes its own creatine but you’d need to eat extreme amounts of protein to hit the level available in most creatine supplements.
Creatine is taken in the form of a powdered supplement or pill. If you’re taking creatine supplements correctly, science largely considers it safe and effective for strength and muscle gain.
It boosts short-burst performance and increases muscle mass by encouraging water uptake into muscles. You get bigger muscles because you’re getting more water in your muscles, making them bigger and fuller.
Creatine use leads to more strength during your workout, while regular protein leads to more muscle repair after your workout.
In other words, creatine supplements should be taken complementary to consuming protein, not a replacement.
What Are the Benefits?
Many people who take creatine supplements are involved in power sports like football, wrestling, rugby, and bodybuilding. Creatine creates “quick burst” energy and increased strength, which improves performance but has little effect on aerobic endurance. Creatine also contains no calories and has no impact on your fat metabolism.
Here are some of the other benefits that creatine can provide:
- Increased workload
- Improved exercise performance
- Increased anabolic hormones
- Improved cell hydration
- Decreased protein breakdown
- Reduced myostatin levels
- Increased fat-free mass
- Prevent or reduce severity of injury
When to Take Creatine?
Studies show that men who take creatine after working out gained more lean mass and increased their bench-pre-one-rep max more than men who took the supplement before working out.
Creatine isn’t something that will have an immediate effect on your performance. You’ll want to keep your muscles saturated with, it which means you should take creatine on rest days as well. Combine it with a meal that contains carbs and always drink plenty of water.
Can Creatine Be Dangerous?
When you lift more weight, you’re creating more muscle fiber tears that your body will need to repair and rebuild. Analysis of creatine shows that it can modestly improve upper and lower body strength by bigger and stronger after workouts.
Short-term use is generally safe but doctors have cautioned that creatine has only been studied in adults. Kids under 18 should avoid creatine since they are still in a growing phase and doctors aren’t sure what impact creatine has on muscle and bones as they grow.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate nutritional supplements. Creatine products sold in stores may vary in quantity of creatine supplement, quality, and additional ingredients. Read labels and be advised that experts recommend taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate with your workout shake to help you get bigger and stronger.
Any Side Effects?
Creatine affects everyone differently. If you are taking creatine in the recommended dosage, you are unlikely to experience any side effects except for tee shirts that don't fit in the sleeves.
However, some have reported weight gain because of water retention in the body’s muscles. It can also take up to 28 days to see energy effects depending on how much creatine you already have in your body.
Keep an eye out for:
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Kidney stones
- Weight gain
- Muscle cramps
- Digestive problems
- Compartment syndrome
Why Are We Telling You This?
Kill Cliff products mix very well with raw creatine, especially Kill Cliff line of Energize x Recover beverages. Each of the five delicious flavors is packed with electrolytes and slow-releasing carbs for sustained endurance. They also boast 25mg of the cleanest, non-spiky, non-crashy caffeine available.
And NO sugar.
Try an ice-cold Kill Cliff Energize x Recover drink mixed with with 5 grams of creatine monohydrate. You won't lose any of the delicious Kill Cliff taste, but you'll get the great benefit of consuming creatine.
Now, let's get swole.