Creatine preworkout supplements are very popular among men and women that want to get in the best shape of their lives. This mixture of creatine with other ingredients has been around since the mid 90’s as a way to get more creatine loaded into the muscle cells. Early formulas used high doses of dextrose to spike insulin and use its action to force creatine into the muscle.
More recently different delivery systems have been introduced that help push more creatine into the cell. USP labs Jacked for example uses a zero carbohydrate formula and relies instead on quick passage through the stomach for it’s creatine boost. Anadraulic State GT, another popular creatine supplement for preworkouts take an approach of using amino acids and a small amount of dextrose along with cinnamon extract to force more creatine into the muscle cells. Cinnamon is very interesting since it really has an effect you can feel instantly. People are raving about the combination of cinnamon and creatine, and luckily Anadraulic State GT masks the cinnamon taste, giving you all of the potency.
Additional things are often added to creatine like waxy maize starch, a form of carbohydrate that is supposed to pull more water into the cell along with creatine. Jacked skips this ingredient and has arginine instead, feeling that a zero carbohydrate formula is superior, while Anadraulic State contains some waxy maize to help augment the cinnamon and dextrose. Either method seems to get people zinging in the gym and gives truly crazy pumps and focus, so you can’t make a bad choice.
Creatine is a substance that is naturally produced in the body and is used in muscle cells to retain energy for vigorous physical activities such as sprinting or weight lifting. Even though creatine is naturally found in the body it is also possible to take creatine supplements to give the body an extra boost. Many athletes will take supplements in order to improve their endurance and strength and it can also increase muscle size. In elderly, creatine is shown to help brain function, muscle mass and could actually have some anti-cancer benefits.
Creatine can be found in some foods such as red meat and fish but this small amount is usually destroyed during the cooking process. Creatine is not ideal for all athletes, it actually works better for those who are looking to improve short burst of vigorous exercise such as sprinters or weight lifters. There has been little or no research to show that creation has any benefits for those athletes who take part in prolonged activities such as marathon running, but anecdotal information is certainly interesting in that regard.
How creatine works
Creatine works by recharging and replenishing the stores of ATP which is one of nature’s primary ways of storing and utilising energy in the body. ATP is used during any type of physical exercise or exertion but it is especially useful during periods of high energy. Creatine ensures that the stores of ATP do not become depleted as they normally would during exercise so that an athlete can perform at a higher level for longer periods. Mixing creatine with dextrose used to be the best way to get insulin levels up, which shoves creatine into the cells. These days, insulin mimetics such as cinnamon, hydroxy-isoleucine and bitter melon do a lot of that work for you, so there is no need to take creatine with 75g of dextrose (sugar) or grape juice as was once thought.
Benefits and side effects
As with all supplements it is important to be aware of the pros and cons of the substance. The main purpose and advantage of creatine is that bodybuilders use it to build bigger muscles and athletes use it to improve performance levels. However, there are other advantages of using a creatine supplement apart from the obvious ones. One of these being that creatine helps to deliver more testosterone to the cells of the body thus leading to bigger muscle mass. Creatine supplements also work by drawing more liquid into the muscles which can lead to a 3% to 10% increase in muscle mass. It is widely known that creatine supplements can help an athlete to work for longer periods of time therefore increasing fitness levels. The supplements have also been attributed to decreasing muscle recovery time and making the muscles able to withstand more strenuous workouts.
If you are looking to increase muscle mass then creatine is the supplement for you. Increasing the amount of creatine in your body can increase muscle power during aerobic exercise and it has also been linked to an increase of muscle mass. It may be that you find it hard to put on weight naturally but with creatine weight gain will be made easier.
Creatine supplementing is a controversial subject but it is not considered to be doping and is not banned by the majority of sports bodies. Creatine is a substance that is naturally produced in the body but the ethical connotations into whether it is acceptable to enhance performance with supplements is something that remains shrouded in controversy. Still, the number of athletes that use creatine dwarfs the amount of average people who use it to help them look good.
Creatine has some very interesting “side effects” in young and old people that one might want to consider. Creatine can increase satellite cell production and reduce myostatin, making it a very important part of any successful plan to increase muscle mass. The best form is really good old creatine monohydrate, but it is OK to take more exotic forms like creatine magnesium chelate, creatine malate and creatine orotate. These should work as well as creatine monohydrate, just make sure you have some creatine monohydrate since it is the only form shown to have the satellite cell boosting effects. Some of the other effects are age dependent, but creatine has also been shown to increase DHT conversion, which is a hormone that in implicated in a all sorts of things from hair loss to increased penis size. In young people DHT can control penis size, height and hairline, since it antagonizes the work of estrogen, which signals the penis to stop growing and the closing of growth plates. So, it might be an advantage to take creatine when in growth ages to help increase penis size and height. In older men, DHT can cause hairloss, so it is a good idea to watch how much hair you are losing while on a creatine supplement. DHT can also cause aggressive behaviour, which can be an issue.
Creatine is certainly safe and effective when used as directed and in 8-12 week cycles. I feel personally that creatine should be cycled 8-12 weeks on and 4 weeks off for maximum benefits.