My Creatine is Better Than Your Creatine

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My Creatine is Better Than Your Creatine By : Creatine has become one of the most extensively studied and scientifically validated nutritional ergogenic aids for athletes. -Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2007 Without a doubt, creatine is the most effective supplement on the market today. And because of that, it's also one of the most successful supplements. Its popularity has led to an entire lineage of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gen
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  My Creatine is Better Than Your Creatine By : Creatine has become one of the most extensively studied and scientifically validated nutritionalergogenic aids for athletes. -Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2007Without a doubt, creatine is the most effective supplement on the market today. And because of that, it's also one of the most successful supplements. Its popularity has led to an entire lineage of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation creatines. Now the question still remains: are the new generationcreatines really that much better than plain old creatine monohydrate? Better, yet, are they worththe price tag? By the time you finish reading this article, you'll know the answer to both of thosequestions, plus :-If I'm a non-responder to regular creatine monohydrate, will one of the new creatinesupplements work?-How much creatine do I really need to take and when should I take it?-What kind of training works best with creatine?-Do I need to take anything else with creatine to make it more effective?-Should I cycle on/off of creatine?Let's start from the beginning.How will it make me bigger?What is the fundamental principle behind getting bigger? You guessed right. The progressiveoverload principle: the constant increase in stress placed upon your body during training. Moresimply stated, increasing the number of reps, sets, or weights from workout to workout. If you benched 225 pounds for 5 sets of 5 reps this week, you better either increase the reps, sets, or weight next week. If you don't, you're not giving your body a reason to adapt and grow bigger and stronger.So what does creatine have to do with progressive overload? Your body uses energy (ATP) to liftweights. The more energy you have available, the more work you can do. Your body createsATP via 3 different pathways: the phosphagen system (creatine), anaerobic glycolysis(carbohydrates without oxygen), and aerobic glycolysis (carbohydrates with oxygen). Dependingon the intensity of the exercise and the rate at which ATP is needed, your body willautomatically determine which system it will rely on to create ATP. Because weightlifting isusually intense and brief (a set usually doesn't last more than 30 seconds without rest), your bodywill primarily rely on the phosphagen system and anaerobic glycolysis because both of thesesystems are capable of producing ATP quickly. However, the downside is that they both run out  of gas relatively quickly too. Your muscles only have so much creatine available to help createenergy. And this is where creatine comes into play...Taking creatine can increase the amount of creatine within your muscles by anywhere from 10-40%(1). That's an extra 10-40% of energy available to your muscles. With that much extraenergy available, instead of lifting 5 reps, you'd be able to lift 6, 7 or even 8 reps now. Andwhenever you're increasing the amount of weight or reps, you're following the progressive load principle, and your muscles are getting bigger and stronger.And what kind of gains can I expect?With a nearly 70% success rate2, don't write off your results as a placebo-like effect. Expect anextra 5-15% increase in strength and performance.(2) And when that 5-15% is converted to pounds, it always makes a max effort look that much better.Better yet, studies have also shown that you can expect to double the amount of muscle massyou'd expect to gain if you weren't using creatine.(3) Pretty impressive.How much and when?When creatine first hit the market in the 90s, the standard dosing protocol was 20 grams individed doses for 3-5 days followed by 5-10 grams daily thereafter. That's still an effectivedosing regimen. However, recently coaches have been recommending a slightly moreindividualized dosing regimen similar to how most prescription antibiotics are dosed. Theysuggest 0.3mg/kg/day for 3-5 days, followed by 3-5 grams daily thereafter. So for a 200lb male,that'd be around 27 grams (in divided doses) of creatine for the initial 3-5 days, followed by 3-5grams daily thereafter.The new dosing regimen makes sense. Creatine is stored primarily within your muscles. Themore muscle you have, the more creatine storage capacity you have. A 120lb beginner shouldnot be using the same amount of creatine as a 260lb professional bodybuilder. The difference inmuscle mass is huge. It's like the difference in the amount of water used to fill up a water balloonand a pool. Also, if we calculate our daily protein intake in a similar fashion, why shouldn't thatapply to creatine? But the real question is: does it matter? Yes and no. Will, in the end, bothdosing regimens give you the same result? Yes. However, the srcinal dosing regimen is justgoing to take a little longer so the results will not seem as dramatic.As far as when to take it, that's a little more un-scientific. In fact, it's largely my opinion. Duringthe initial 3-5 days, I take 5 grams in the morning, at lunch, at dinner, and before bed. I alwaystry to take it with my meals because there have been several studies that have shown thatcarbohydrates and protein actually increase the amount of creatine that gets inside your muscles.After the initial loading dose, I take 3 grams before my workout, and 3 grams immediately after.By taking 3 grams 30-45 minutes before my workout, I get assurance that my muscles are goingto have a supply of creatine waiting for them. After my workout, my muscles are usually beggingfor nutrients. With the proper postworkout nutrition, I can get more creatine back into mymuscles than at any other time.  I also recommend not cycling creatine. The theory behind cycling makes sense. For creatine toenter the cell, it must move through a transporter that scientists have conveniently named thecreatine transporter. Scientists theorized that if the transporter is constantly bombarded withcreatine, it will develop a level of resistance to the suppement, similar to how Type II diabetes begins. When it develops this resistance, creatine becomes less effective. To circumvent this,they recommended avoiding creatine intake for x amount of days to refresh the creatinetransporter. There was one study (that I know of) that supported this theory. However, it wasdone in rats, and the dosage, if extrapolated to a human dosage, would have been astronomical.There's just never been any human data supporting this theory, and it's fallen out of favor withinthe last 5 years. Bottom line: don't cycle your creatine.Will plain old creatine monohydrate work for me?A resounding YES!There are a few individuals that just don't respond to creatine monohydrate. It's because of theseindividuals that supplement companies create a new creatine every 3 months or so. Thesecompanies then try to convince the entire creatine market that their new version of creatine isvastly superior to every other version available. Their marketing ploy, Our creatine has helpedJohn Doe, who has never got any results from regular creatine, to increase his bench by 50 lbs.Just think what it can do for you if you got results from the less potent creatine monohydrate. Simply not true. To date, I have yet to see one study that convincingly finds one of the newer forms of creatine is superior to creatine monohydrate.So let's take a look at some of the newer forms.Creatine ethyl ester Good in theory, poor in results. The creators attempted to attach an ethyl ester to the creatinemolecule to make it more fat soluble. Because cells are surrounded by fatty membrane, theyhoped by increasing its fat solubility, the CEE would bypass the creatine transporter and movedirectly into the cell. Thus, in case the creatine transporter was the problem, CEE wouldn't beaffected.However, not only does it taste horrible, but it also has never been shown to be superior tocreatine monohydrate. In fact, there was a study published in the Journal of the InternationalSociety of Sports Nutrition entitled The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementationcombined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serumand muscle creatine levels. that concluded, When compared to creatine monohydrate, creatineethyl ester was not as effective at increasing serum and muscle creatine levels or in improving body composition, muscle mass, strength, and power. Pass on CEE. Your wallet and your taste buds will thank you for it.Creatine pyruvate/citrate  This time the supplement manufacturers took a slightly different approach. By combining pyruvate or citrate with creatine, not only are you adding an acid to base with hopes of increasingits bioavailability, but you're also adding another possible performance-enhancing supplement tothe mix. Both pyruvate and citrate have had mixed reviews regarding improvements inendurance training.However, even though there's a little more evidence supporting these two creatine combinations,overall the jury is still inconclusive. For every positive study, there's a negative study refuting the possible benefits. Are they worth the price tag? Absolutely not. Once again, there has yet to be astudy that convincingly demonstrates their superiority over creatine monohydrate.Creatine with sodiumThis is probably the most interesting creatine combination. The creatine transporter that wasmentioned earlier is thought to be dependent on a sodium/chloride pump. Some scientists believethat creatine requires two molecules of sodium and one molecule of chloride to enter the cell. So by adding sodium to creatine, the sodium concentration gradiant is increased (more on theoutside than the inside, think teeter-totter), and the cell is tricked into accepting creatine. Theonly problem is that we haven't had any definitive real-world feedback. Even though it makessense from a scientific standpoint, so does CEE. That doesn't mean it's going to work in the real-world. As of now, it's not worth the money. Until a study is done and it concludes creatinecombined with sodium is superior to creatine monohydrate, pass on it.Effervescent creatine and serum creatineJunk. Don't even think about it.Creatine with carbohydrates Not only is this the most effective means for getting more creatine into the muscle, but it's alsothe cheapest. The carbohydrates cause an insulin surge in your bloodstream. Because insulin ishighly anabolic, it acts like a key and makes the cell more receptive to outside influences. Themore receptive a cell is, the more creatine that can enter. Pretty simple.Side note: This is also why it's extremely important to have carbohydrates in your postworkoutshake. Not only do they replenish your glycogen stores, but they also cause a surge of a highlyanabolic hormone, insulin. That's an extremely good thing, especially if you're in a state of catabolism.A study entitled Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation duringcreatine supplementation in humans. in the American Journal of Physiology showed that byadding 93 grams of a simple carbohydrate solution, you can increase total creatine concentration by 60% compared to regular creatine supplementation. However, the question still remainsthough: Does the increase in total muscle creatine result in an increase in performance? Thatquestion has yet to be answered definitively. In my opinion, it can never hurt to have too much
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