When Is The Best Time To Take Creatine?
A popular buzzword among strength training and bodybuilding athletes is creatine but what is it? Creatine is an ergogenic aid that promotes fat-free mass (FFM) by readily creating small amounts of adenosine triphosphates (ATP). This allows for rapid and short bursts of energy which is needed for muscle growth. It is known to fight off fatigue and to allow for greater performance capacity. Creatine is naturally occurring and is fuel for the cells of the body. Adding proper amounts of creatine to your nutrition regimen can assist in building muscle strength and power. Creatine is best utilized as a training aid as it can provide additional energy to enable you to lift a few more reps at a few more pounds. By doing so, you increase muscle mass.
However, opinions differ on when and how much creatine should be added to an athlete's overall diet. Since creatine supplementation combined with strength training produces more FFM, it is important to understand how to add creatine to your training regimen.
We know that creatine is best used in sports with high energy, short burst type of activities. Creatine should not be used for low energy, endurance sports as creatine pulls water into the muscle fibers, and without appropriate activity, will turn to water weight. Athletes who misuse or misunderstand creatine will discover quick gain in total body weight (TBW) with little positive effect.
The original school of thought had athletes taking several doses of creatine to achieve 20 grams a day, for a 5 to 7 day loading cycle, followed by 2 to 5 grams per day for maintenance thereafter. Today, some research suggests, that the loading cycle could be stretched from 10 to 20 days at 5- 15 grams per day split among smaller doses, and then 2 to 5 grams for maintenance. Training intensity, quantity, and the size of the athlete will affect the dosing and cycling protocol.
Furthermore, creatine should not be taken 365 days a year. It should be cycled to help peak performance. The objective is to inundate your muscles with creatine and not allow it to be expelled in the urine, which could be the case for higher and faster loading dosages. More recent studies seem to indicate that the longer loading cycling method works better.
Unfortunately, no longitudinal studies of creatine exist which is one reason why sport science has not resolved the proper dosage and timing components. Until more studies occur, the best way to use creatine is to saturate your muscles but not to the point that it is eliminated from the body. Further, cycle creatine so that you can peak at the right time. Using the purest form of creatine is best and at Champion Performance our protein is as close to pure as you can get. We use Creapure®, one of the most pure creatine monohydrates available at 99.99%. This prevents ill effects and allows higher and faster absorption rates.
As with any training regimen, you should know and listen to your body. If you are interested in starting or changing your creatine intake, you need a superior product. Then choose Champion.
Written by Jennifer Rendfrey, MS Exercise Science