What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found primarily in red meat and seafood, and can be synthesized by the human body. On average, your body can make 1-3 g of creatine per day.
95% of creatine is stored in the muscle as phosphocreatine (PCr). This is what provides the energy to maintain ATP availability (ATP is your body’s energy currency for muscle contractions). PCr is the primary energy source for short, high-intensity anaerobic exercise – think sprinting and weightlifting.
Supplementing with creatine can increased muscle phosphocreatine stores by 10-40%. This allows your body to work at those higher intensities longer and enhance your ability to resynthesize phosphocreatine between bouts.
Supplementing with creatine has shown to increase performance by 10-20% in high intensity and/or repetitive exercise.
Supplementation with creatine monohydrate has shown to:
- Improve maximal strength and power
- Improve sprint performance
- Increase muscle mass and strength during training
- Increase work capacity
- Enhance recovery
Additionally, supplementation of creatine may also offer neuroprotective benefits, but more research is needed.
Who Should Use Creatine?
Athletes who participate in sports that are considered explosive or power/strength-based sports as well as in endurance sports where there are embedded sprints, during or at the end, can all benefit from creatine supplementation.
What Form is Best? How Do You Take It?
Creatine monohydrate is the most effective, and researched, form of creatine.
Consume 5 g of creatine monohydrate daily from a third-party verified product from groups such as NSF Certified for Sport or Informed Sport. This ensure that the product is free from illegal and banned substances.
Ready to Start Creatine Today?
Supplementation with creatine monohydrate has shown to be safe and should be considered once an athlete has committed to a quality and consistent training program and has established solid nutrition practices ensuring adequate nutrient and fluid intake.
The International Society of Sport Nutrition’s provide more in-depth information on creatine in their position paper here.