I’m gonna start by saying that I’m a girl, and I supplement with creatine.
The supplement gets given a bad rep for “causing you to retain excess water” and “making you bulky” or “harming the kidney and liver”, well none of that is true. Creatine can be really beneficial for strength training when, so there’s absolutely no reason to shy away from it.
Creatine is an amino acid, produced naturally by the body in the kidneys, liver and pancreas (1-2grams/day). It can be stored in the muscle cells, but 1-2 grams is excreted from the body in our urine per day. So unless we eat a lot of red meat or supplement with creatine, not much is being directed to our muscles.
Short, rapid, powerful movements such as sprints or heavy lifts are powered by ATP (adenosine triphosphate). We all have a little bit of stored ATP in our muscles, but only enough for a few seconds of action. In order for it to be put to work, ATP breaks down into ADP by removing a phosphate- to make more ATP, this missing phosphate needs to be replaced. Creatine phosphate will donate that necessary phosphate so that the ADP becomes ATP again. Tah dah! Our bodies can then push through whatever movement we’re doing for a little bit longer.
Therefore, supplementing with creatine will help us improve performance during high intensity exercise. However it won’t do a thing to improve performance in low intensity activities, that rely on a totally different energy system.
The best form of creatine to take is creatine monohydrate, as creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine can’t pass through cell membranes. Creatine monohydrate is the most effective at increasing muscle mass, improving body composition as well and strength and power.
I find that when I’m consistent with my creatine intake, I just feel stronger. It’s legal, it’s safe and it’s not going to make you blow up like a balloon.
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