What is it?
The function of creatine is to supply the cells and muscles in our body with energy. This has made it a favourite supplement amongst those looking to build upon their physique, as it aids in giving you that extra boost to push yourself during a particularly intense workout.
Why is it useful?
Research into creatine has been extensive and has concluded that the supplement helps increase both muscle growth and strength by around 10% each.
There is a common misconception that the muscle growth encouraged by creatine is merely water weight and while it is true that it does indeed draw additional fluid into the muscles, it does so in a manner that stretches the cell membranes to trigger a process known as protein synthesis (where damaged proteins are removed or repaired and new ones are established in their place) which in turn allows for long term, healthy muscle building.
The fast acting hit of energy means that the muscles can be pushed beyond their normal capabilities to help strengthen them, while also speeding up the recovery process. All in all, this means that taking creatine often allows for the completion of harder, longer workout regimes, making it ideal for those looking to improve their resistance level.
How much should you take?
The exact amount will differ depending on which form you choose but generally speaking, the recommended intake of creatine is 1-5 grams both before and after a workout, alongside a helping of whey protein.
Some people champion what is known as a ‘loading period’, which consists of purposely taking a higher dosage than normal for the first week or so to get the creatine into your system so that you are then maintaining it and essentially topping it up rather than starting from scratch with each dose. This would typically involve taking around 5 grams with each meal, alongside your pre and post exercise intake.