If you’ve done any research on fitness supplements recently, or even if you’ve just heard someone else talking about fitness supplements, you’ve probably heard about creatine, or creatine monohydrate. But just what is this stuff, and why is everyone talking about it?
Creatine is a natural chemical which is found in some foods (notably red meat and seafood), and in our own bodies—in our muscles and even in our brains. And it’s a good thing we have it there, too, because creatine is used by our muscles to make the energy that they need to function. 1 The energy from creatine is especially important with high-intensity exercise or heavy lifting: creatine helps your body make more ATP, a molecule which acts as an important form of energy for our bodies and can improve workout performance. 2 3
Because creatine has this important function, creatine supplements can increase the benefits and levels of your body’s natural creatine (It’s especially helpful if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or don’t eat much meat!). 4 Supplementing with creatine can help you add bulk, increase strength, and enhance performance, increasing muscle output and reducing muscle fatigue. 5
Creatine supplements are especially helpful for improving your results with high-intensity bursts of exercise such as sprinting and weightlifting. One study done on weightlifters found that when they used a creatine supplement, the creatine “increased muscle fiber growth 2–3 times more than training” without using the supplement. 6 It’s obvious that creatine can help you out with a lot of your fitness goals!
Of course, like any supplement, creatine needs to be used wisely; a recommended regimen includes a week-long “loading phase” of 20 grams of creatine consumption a day, followed by six weeks of about 5 grams of creatine a day. 7 This helps your body reach its full potential.
If creatine sounds right for you, it’s useful to also consider the benefits of using a creatine stack, or creatine combined with another supplement. One combination that could work well is to use creatine with BCAA, a supplement offered for workout recovery. The creatine will help you during an intense workout, allowing your muscles to build more energy and improving your endurance, and the BCAA supplement will help preserve lean muscles and improve your recovery by stimulating protein synthesis in muscle tissue, helping to reduce their breakdown. 8
So, if you were curious about creatine, now you know what it does and how to use it! It’s a powerful supplement for intense exercise that helps you build muscle and endurance, and it’s one of the most popular supplements available right now. If you’re still curious or want to use creatine for yourself, give it a try here!