Updated: May 7
There's a ton of information/articles regarding creatine out there so I'm going to do my best to simplify the science of it and how it can help you in the gym! First and foremost, creatine does not affect men or women differently. If a man takes creatine as a supplement and a woman takes creatine as a supplement they are going to get similar benefits according to the dose they are taking.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a natural amino acid produced in the body as well as taken from external sources such as meats and creatine supplements. The body creates this amino acid in the kidneys and completes it in the liver using 3 separate amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine. Although the body naturally produces this amino acid, it's not a ton, this is why some individuals choose to consume extra using supplements. Most of the creatine we have in our bodies is stored in our muscles as phosphocreatine so it can be utilized when we are performing physical activities.
How Does Creatine Work?
When we perform physical activities our bodies use ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP summed up is our body's energy source. Think of it as a bank but with energy. The more ATP you have the more you have to break down for energy. The body breaks down ATP and that releases the energy our muscles use to perform activities. So where does creatine play a role in this? When we consume creatine it goes into our cells which eventually ends up being converted into phosphocreatine. Now that we have additional phosphocreatine in our system it can donate a phosphate group to contribute toward the conversion of ADP (Adenosine diphosphate) into ATP ( our main energy source). For simplicity purposes, think of it like this. We consume creatine and it turns into one thing that donates part of itself to contribute toward the conversion of ADP to ATP. Now if we have more ATP in our body to utilize for the breakdown of energy, we've now made it possible to go longer with whatever activity we are performing.
Benefits of Creatine
Here are a few main benefits of creatine.
You can go through a more intense workout for a longer period which will lead to the potential for more muscle mass long term.
Studies have shown an increase in anabolic hormones when taking protein. Anabolic is a good thing when we are talking about working out. Being in an anabolic state simply means you are in a position where your body is more likely to build new muscle tissues. We want more muscles!
Increased cell hydration is another benefit. This is the thing you hear most about creatine from people. Yes, it makes you hold more water but we want our body to be hydrated. A hydrated body is a healthy body and muscles function better when you're hydrated.
Studies have proven that you have less protein breakdown as well with short-term creatine use. If we have less protein breakdown, that leaves us more protein to use to build up some new muscles!
Everyone is different but typically there is a loading phase to get your muscles saturated with creatine. You'll take roughly .3 grams per kilogram of body weight for 5-7 days. Under certain circumstances, the average human can hold up to 160 grams of creatine. From that point, after a week you'll do maintenance with a smaller dosage to maintain a consistent amount in the body. The maintenance amount will vary from person to person and depending on the intensity of workouts, but roughly speaking you'll consume 3-5 grams per day.
I am in no way saying that you should or should not take creatine. Does it have excellent benefits? Yes! Is it safe? There have been proven studies that during 4 years of using creatine, there were zero negative impacts on overall health. Is it for everyone? No, not at all. Do you need it to get results? Nope.
What I'm trying to do is provide you with the knowledge to decide for yourself. Creatine can be beneficial but maybe it's just not for you. It doesn't hurt to give it a try and see what you think for yourself! If you have any questions you can email me at Brandon@blinnfitstudio.com!