“When do you take creatine?” “How much creatine do you take?” “Is creatine a steroid?”
Questions circle around the newbie’s mind like angry hornets circling around a bear that unwittingly bumped into their nest—and who can blame him?
Upon getting into the world of bodybuilding, naive newbies are bombarded with offers from everyone and his uncle:
It’s hard to know what’s truth and what’s bullshit in the fitness industry, so today I’m going to cover something that EVERYONE should know about: creatine.
Creatine is a compound naturally found in your muscle cells—it’s a completely normal, nature-made chemical. This in and of itself, plus the fact that it’s already naturally found in your muscles, is a good indicator of its safety.
Creatine helps your muscles create explosive energy during periods of intense interval training, and it’s been linked to a ton of physical performance benefits. So it’s obviously of interest to bodybuilders and athletes alike.
Multiple factors affect your body’s creatine stores, including consumption of red meat, frequency of exercise, weight, and testosterone levels. Overall, however, your body doesn’t produce or contain that much creatine.
This is why bodybuilders often supplement with the stuff—the most common dose taken is 5 grams a day, with some form of simple carbohydrates (more on this later). I’m not sure exactly how much creatine exists in your body, but it probably isn’t much—maybe like 1 gram or so.
So when you supplement creatine, you’re basically increasing your body’s stores by like 5 fold.
Do you see how incredibly effective that would be? Obviously the impact isn’t linear, so you’re not going to just get 5x stronger because you have 5x more creatine, but the impact is still incredibly powerful.
When you supplement with creatine, it gets stored in your muscles as phosphocreatine—this is a form of stored energy, that can be utilized during periods of intense physical exertion (like sprints or weightlifting).
Creatine also helps your body produce more ATP, which is basically the body’s energy currency. More ATP means better performance overall, whether you’re doing sprints or lifting heavy ass weights. In fact, here’s a full list of benefits:
What this translates to, is that taking creatine will make you stronger, bigger, and faster. But are there any side effects?
Well, in my opinion, the side effects are minimal, and almost non-existent. The only real side effect of taking creatine is that you’ll need to drink more water, but that’s just because when you take creatine it draws water to your muscles, which hydrates them.
So I wouldn’t even call this a side effect, because it’s actually beneficial. The only real side effect to worry about is kidney damage, but that’s only a rumor—to my knowledge there’s no negative consequences of taking creatine long term.
The argument that people propose is that your kidneys have to store excess creatine, so it’s bad for them, but your kidneys only hold about 5% of the creatine in your body. Your muscles hold a whopping 95% of it, so to say that supplementing with creatine is bad for your kidneys is kind of ridiculous.
Most people who supplement with creatine just put a teaspoon in a glass of water, stir it around, and pound it down. Unfortunately for them, this isn’t enough to adequately absorb the creatine.
See, when you take creatine, it’s ideal to take it with simple carbohydrates—things like fruit, white rice, or white potatoes. Consuming these create an insulin spike, which allows for the creatine to enter into muscle cells easier.
In addition to this, the best times to take creatine are right before and right after a workout. Here’s how I personally take creatine:
It’s ideal to take creatine before and after a workout, for maximum utilization. What’s most important, however, is consuming it after your workout with simple carbohydrates. Don’t worry so much about time of day or anything like that.
The only time where it’s actually important, and even ideal to take creatine, is right after your workout with some simple carbohydrates.
Creatine was one of the first supplements that I got on, which actually worked. Yes, I did in fact waste a ton of money on bullshit supplements that were pushed on me by sleazy GNC salesmen and mega-gym marketers, but creatine was one of the few that actually worked for me.
I don’t remember exactly when I started taking creatine, but all I remember is that it was fucking effective. Every single one of my lifts went up a significant amount within just a matter of weeks.
My bench went up, my squats went up, my deadlift went up…creatine had an incredible impact on my strength, and it was very easy to see this.
Coincidentally, this is why some people think creatine is a steroid. I won’t go into this, because it’s retarded and isn’t true, because creatine is an amino acid—but some people are convinced that it’s a steroid because it’s just so effective.
Regardless, when you take creatine you can expect to have a huge jump in your strength as well as your explosive energy. The benefits don’t end there, however. Creatine has also been shown to improve cognitive function, as well as reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s (among other neuro-degenerative diseases).
In short, take creatine. I recommend that you take 5 grams a day after your workout, with a simple carbohydrate in order to maximize absorption.
First things first, DO NOT buy pills! They’re a giant scam and cost you 10x more than powder. This is true with creatine, and it’s true with almost all supplements—when you buy the powder form, you get it for like 10% the cost of pills.
That’s why I recommend Optimum Nutrition’s micronized creatine monohydrate. It’s dirt cheap—a one year’s supply is literally like $35.
In addition to this, there’s no fillers. It’s just 100% pure creatine monohydrate, AND it’s micronized. What this means is that the particles have been split into smaller particles, so that it’s easier for your body to absorb.
“But Jon, how do I measure powder? Do I need a scale or something?” Good question, and no you don’t. For creatine the rule is that one teaspoon is 5 grams of creatine.
So, all I do is just put around 2/3 of a teaspoon in my pre-workout and 1 teaspoon in my protein shake. Consume the pre-workout at home while watching a motivational video, take the whey protein shake to the gym with you, and consume it afterwards.
It’s that simple. Don’t bother with any of this bullshit creatine that’s like $30 for a 1 month supply—it’s a complete and utter ripoff. You don’t need to cycle creatine monohydrate, either. With other forms of creatine it may be a good idea, but the creatine I recommend can be taken year-round.
In summary, take creatine. It’s one of the easiest ways to instantly start increasing your strength and progress in the gym. There’s a number of benefits to taking creatine, from increased testosterone and IGF-1, to less muscle-wasting.
It’s also dirt cheap. Get Optimum Nutrition’s powder form, and just take a teaspoon after your workout. If you’re an animal and lift weights 5+ times a week with intensity, consider taking some before your workout, too.
Don’t buy pill forms, because they’re a ripoff. Always have creatine with a sugary, simple carbohydrate meal. Take it every day. If you’re under 18, you can ask your doctor, but I started taking creatine when I was 16 and I’m healthy as a horse.
If you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to let me know. And, as always, I’ll see you next time.
After learning to successfully trade the market, build a six pack, start a social circle from scratch, and increase his IQ by 15 points, Jon Anthony has decided to teach others how they can, too. He plans to move to Las Vegas next year to invest in real estate and live it up.
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