Tag Archives: creatine

Creatine for Female Athletes

15 Aug

pGNC1-4505613dt[1]Although there are dietary supplements that have been shown to improve performance – in addition to training alone – including creatine and whey protein, they are often underused by female athletes.

In a Strength and Conditioning Journal article, Joan M. Eckerson, PhD, FNSCA provides information and rationale for creatine as an ergogenic aid for female athletes.

Effects of creatine supplementation for female athletes include:

  • Enhances muscular strength and power with minimal effects on body composition
  • Favorable effect on anaerobic performance and fatigue
  • Enhances recovery from aerobic exercise

Creatine is not an anabolic steroid – it is naturally produced by the body.  It enhances performance by reducing fatigue and enhancing recovery, providing for a greater stimulus of training.

Creatine increases both strength and power without large fluctuations in body weight or muscle mass.

Creatine may be especially beneficial for women involved in “power” sports – those that require short bursts of high-intensity activity (for example, basketball, volleyball, sprinters and throwers, soccer, field hockey, and tennis).

Creatine does not impair aerobic performance and may enhance recovery.

Creatine is safe and effective when taken as recommended.  Individuals with pre-existing kidney or liver problems should consult with their physician before taking creatine.

Creatine has not been reported to intensify premenstrual symptoms.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Is Creatine For You?

1 Aug

pGNC1-4505613dt[1]Are you an endurance athlete?  If so, creatine can help you recover.  Do you lift weights?  Creatine can help you do more work per set.  Are you a sprinter?  Creatine delivers more energy for interval training and agility sports, like basketball and soccer.

Creatine is your primary fuel for explosive, high-intensity exercise.  It is found in foods like meat and fish.  Your body also makes its own creatine, but supplementation can increase your supply by as much as 33%.

If you’re looking to get bigger, start with a loading dose — 20 grams per day, in 5 gram doses, for the first five days.  If you play sports that require quick movements, skip the loading dose and take 3-5 grams per day.  With regard to safety, as long as you adhere to the appropriate dosing guidelines, creatine is safe.  If you have heart or kidney problems, talk with your doctor before taking creatine.

Forget about all the designer forms of creatine — they’re all marketing hype.  Stick with creatine monohydrate.  German creatine is high quality (look for the “Creapure” seal), as is creatine made in the U.S.  Powder, tablets, and bars are all effective forms of creatine.  Avoid liquid forms.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Creatine Before or After Your Workout?

23 May

gnc%20creatine[1]Creatine is one of the few supplements proven to improve performance. And, although your body produces creatine, supplementation can increase your workout capacity, strength, and muscle growth. You should always take your creatine supplement after your workout rather than before.

Pre-Workout Creatine

Since creatine causes your muscles to “attract” and retain water from the rest of your body, you may experience muscle cramping and other side effects that inhibit your exercise. Additionally, you haven’t created much muscle demand prior to your workout.

Post-Workout Creatine

Since muscle demand is highest immediately following your workout, taking creatine after your workout will help your muscles recover fully from the workout by maximizing the amount of creatine your body stores in your muscles, and ensuring the delivery of the maximum amount of creatine (and other nutrients).

Creatine is safe and effective when taken properly. Avoid “loading” and “cycling,” and take 2-5 grams per day. Like protein supplementation, creatine should be taken within 30-60 minutes of your workout. Taking creatine with a carbohydrate — post-workout — can increase the uptake of creatine in muscle tissue. I like adding unflavored creatine monohydrate to a post-workout carb/protein shake. As with any supplement, check with your physician before taking creatine.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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The Case for Creatine

20 Jul

gnc%20creatine[1]Muscles are made of protein, so it’s important — especially for active individuals and athletes — to get enough of this nutrient.

Creatine is an endogenous (made by the body) substance that is present in every human cell. It functions as an energy storehouse.

Creatine is best known for supplying energy for muscles during short, intense bursts of exercise, as are necessary for most (speed and power) sports. Since creatine may improve muscle mass, rather than muscle efficiency, it’s usually not taken by most endurance athletes. There are various theories about the use of an initial “loading period” (up to 20 grams per day for several days), but most experts agree on a smaller, daily maintenance dose, usually 2 to 5 grams per day.

Creatine is one of only two (caffeine) supplements documented to improve athletic performance.  Several studies support that creatine improves performance of single or repetitive bouts of short-duration, high-intensity activity and/or exercise.  Therefore, it may be most beneficial for athletes engaging in speed and power sports. There are a few studies that suggest that elite athletes may not benefit from creatine supplementation as much as lesser-trained individuals do.

When used in accordance with appropriate dosage guidelines, creatine appears to be safe and effective for most people. Individuals with existing kidney disease should not use creatine. The most commonly reported side effects of creatine are diarrhea and muscle cramping, which seem more likely to occur with higher levels of supplementation.

Please see related posts:

Is Creatine for You?

Creatine Before or After Your Workout

Recommended Supplements, Part 4: Creatine

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Is Creatine For You?

12 Jun

gnc%20creatine[1]Are you an endurance athlete?  If so, creatine can help you recover.  Do you lift weights?  Creatine can help you do more work per set.  Are you a sprinter?  Creatine delivers more energy for interval training and agility sports, like basketball and soccer.

Creatine is your primary fuel for explosive, high-intensity exercise.  It is found in foods like meat and fish.  Your body also makes its own creatine, but supplementation can increase your supply by as much as 33%.

If you’re looking to get bigger, start with a loading dose — 20 grams per day, in 5 gram doses, for the first five days.  If you play sports that require quick movements, skip the loading dose and take 3-5 grams per day.  With regard to safety, as long as you adhere  to the appropriate dosing guidelines, creatine is safe.  If you have heart or kidney problems, talk with your doctor before taking creatine.

Forget about all the designer forms of creatine — they’re all marketing hype.  Stick with creatine monohydrate.  German creatine is high quality (look for the “Creapure” seal), as is creatine made in the U.S.  Powder, tablets, and bars are all effective forms of creatine.  Avoid liquid forms.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Creatine Before or After Your Workout?

19 Apr

gnc%20creatine[1]Creatine is one of the few supplements proven to improve performance. And, although your body produces creatine, supplementation can increase your workout capacity, strength, and muscle growth. You should always take your creatine supplement after your workout rather than before.

Pre-Workout Creatine

Since creatine causes your muscles to “attract” and retain water from the rest of your body, you may experience muscle cramping and other side effects that inhibit your exercise. Additionally, you haven’t created much muscle demand prior to your workout.

Post-Workout Creatine

Since muscle demand is highest immediately following your workout, taking creatine after your workout will help your muscles recover fully from the workout by maximizing the amount of creatine your body stores in your muscles, and ensuring the delivery of the maximum amount of creatine (and other nutrients).

Creatine is safe and effective when taken properly. Avoid “loading” and “cycling,” and take 2-5 grams per day. Like protein supplementation, creatine should be taken within 30-60 minutes of your workout. Taking creatine with a carbohydrate — post-workout — can increase the uptake of creatine in muscle tissue. I like adding unflavored creatine monohydrate to a post-workout carb/protein shake. As with any supplement, check with your physician before taking creatine.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Performance-Enhancing Substances

26 Sep

Performance-enhancing, or ergogenic, substances (PES) include a broad range of products – from anabolic steroids and growth hormone to caffeine and creatine.  The two main types of PES are hormones (and hormone mimetic drugs) and dietary supplements.  There are known and suspected risks of steroid use, and the benefits are not well-defined.  Reliance on ergogenic substances may distract athletes from appropriate training techniques and produce side effects that impede athletic performance.  Anabolic steroids are prohibited by most athletic organizations, with the risk of sanctions against the athlete and possibly against the athlete’s team or school.  It is illegal to possess steroids for uses other than medicinal.

Anabolic steroids increase lean body mass and weight.  They can be administered orally or by injection, depending on the preparation.  There are many different anabolic steroids used by athletes, and primary among them is testosteroneDespite the benefit of increased lean muscle mass, there is no definitive evidence that anabolic steroids enhance athletic performance.  Health and performance risks have been associated with anabolic steroids, including increased aggressiveness (which can emerge as recklessness and loss of judgment), adverse effects on lipid levels, liver tumors, and temporary infertility.

Growth hormone is secreted from the pituitary gland, and stimulates physical growth of the body.  Although growth hormone is effectively used as replacement therapy for individuals with growth hormone deficiency, there is no evidence that supplemental growth hormone enhances athletic performance in normal men and women.

There is a long history of clinical use of hormones for treatment of medical conditions, providing substantial data on effects and health risks.  The data on benefits to athletic performance are fewer and inconclusive.  There is virtually no information regarding the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements such as “steroid replacers” and “growth hormone replacers.”

Dietary supplements may be useful to athletes who have specific nutritional deficiencies or nutritional “gaps” in their normal diets.  Unfortunately, dietary supplements (and their claims) are poorly legislated, and there are few safeguards to ensure that these products are safe and effective.

Data suggest that vitamins are important in disease prevention, especially at higher-than-normal levels of intake.  There is no basis for the use of vitamins as performance enhancers in athletes who are not vitamin deficient.  Excess vitamin use can even cause health problems, especially overuse of vitamins B6, A, and D (although dosage levels would have to exceed 10 times the RDA).  Vitamins C and E are antioxidants, which reduce tissue damage caused by oxidative stress.

Caffeine and creatine are two of the few dietary supplements that are known to be effective in enhancing specific types of athletic performance for some individuals.  The ergogenic potential of caffeine has been demonstrated in several studies, benefitting strength, power, and endurance athletes.

Accurate information from Strength and Conditioning professionals and coaches can have a significant impact on athletes’ perception of performing-enhancing substances.  This information should include the risks and benefits of these products, and ethical issues regarding their use.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER (and do it naturally, safely, and ethically!)

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