Creatine is one of the most well-researched and tested supplements on the market today, but what exactly is creatine and how does it work?
Most athletes know that creatine can help with endurance and with muscle recovery, but there’s so much more to creatine than this. Here, we’ll take a look at what creatine is, how it works, how it can support your workouts, and how to use it on your journey to achieve your goals.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid that’s produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas, and it’s naturally present in the brain and in our muscles, where it’s used as a source of energy.
The body breaks down some of its natural creatine stores every day, so it’s important to make sure you’re replenishing your stores via your diet or via supplements if you’re working towards specific exercise goals.
Creatine is found in foods like red meat, fish, and poultry, but many athletes prefer to use creatine supplements to boost their intake, as it can be easier, quicker, and more convenient than having to buy costly ingredients and spend time on food prep.
Creatine supplements are also a good option for vegetarian athletes who won’t be consuming dietary creatine from animal products.
Is Creatine A Steroid?
No, creatine is not a steroid - this is a common misconception. As creatine impacts exercise performance and endurance, some people assume it’s a steroid, but this is not the case.
Taking creatine can cause side effects for some users, so you should always speak to your GP and personal trainer if you have any concerns about incorporating creatine in your fitness routine.
What Does Creatine Do?
Taking creatine as part of your training routine increases the amount of phosphocreatine in your muscles. Phosphocreatine is needed in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the body’s main source of energy. This means that creatine powder can play a key role in making sure your body has enough energy to keep going during an intense workout, so you can power through and smash your goals.
As well as helping the body to rapidly produce energy during intense activity, creatine can help to support muscle recovery between sets. This makes it an ideal supplement to support weight training, Crossfit, circuit training, or HIIT workouts, particularly if your progress has plateaued and you want to push your body to the next level.
The support that creatine can provide with both energy levels and muscle recovery can help to:
- Increase your endurance levels
- Improve your post-workout recovery
- Improve your resistance to fatigue, helping you to train for longer
It’s important to bear in mind that taking creatine can cause your muscles to retain more liquid than usual. This can increase your muscle mass, so you may notice some weight gain when you step on the scales. This extra liquid your muscles are holding onto could result in soft, flaccid muscles if you’re not working it off - only take creatine if you’re going to exercise soon after if you want to avoid this result.
What Are The Benefits Of Creatine Supplements?
Creatine is scientifically proven to help improve your strength and power, subsequently enhancing your workouts, helping you to train for longer and smash your goals. It can help to boost your endurance, and help your muscles to recover in between sets.
However, it’s important not to rely on creatine too much; although it gives you extra energy so you can make the most of your strength, it doesn’t actually give you extra strength - only you can do that. You need to put the work in and make sure your fitness levels can support those heavier weights or extra reps - creatine alone can’t do that for you.
Speaking to Men’s Health, Andreas Kasper, performance nutritionist at England Rugby, explained: “Creatine monohydrate supplementation is not a magic powder that turns fat mass into muscle mass.
“Dosing with creatine can help increase our muscles’ store of the metabolite, which is linked with repeated bouts of high-intensity performance, such as sprinting and lifting weights.
“When we resynthesise at a high rate, it means potentially we can exercise more readily, and may even have a higher intensity session with shorter rest period required, which hypothetically would aid with hypertrophy. However, you still have to lift the weights, and bigger muscles do not always equal increased strength.”
What’s more, there is some evidence to suggest that creatine may also help those who struggle with sleep deprivation. A study carried out in 2006 found that creatine supplements had a positive effect on the mood of participants who had been deprived of sleep for 24 hours. Taking creatine was also found to improve their ability to perform tasks that place stress on the prefrontal cortex, such as memory, impulse control, and cognitive flexibility.
Complete Strength Creatine
Complete Strength Creatine is a versatile food supplement that’s designed to help promote increased muscle cell volume and endurance.
Our creatine supplements are unflavoured, so they won’t affect the taste of any protein drink they’re added to, but they do contain sweeteners. Complete Strength Creatine is available in 2kg tubs, each containing 100 servings.
This formula provides an easy, convenient way to incorporate creatine into your workout routine, and you can be sure you’re getting the highest quality ingredients in the game when you choose Complete Strength. All of our supplements are made by athletes, for athletes, and are designed to help you get real results at affordable prices. Try them for yourself and #BelieveTheHype.
How To Use Creatine Supplements
Creatine supplements can be taken either before a workout to help provide your body with extra energy, or after you’ve exercised to support muscle recovery.
Whenever you choose to use creatine, it’s recommended that you take it with protein powder - such as our Complete Strength Whey Isolate Protein Powder - as this can help the creatine to find its way to your muscle cells. Complete Strength Creatine is also suitable for mixing with our EAA Supplements to provide your body with additional essential amino acids.
To make a pre- or post-workout shake using creatine:
- In a shaker, mix one serving of creatine powder with your preferred choice of milk (either dairy or plant-based), and the other powders you’d like to use
- Shake thoroughly until all of the powder has dissolved
Whatever your fitness goals, you’ll find a sports nutrition supplement for you at Complete Strength. From glutamine to protein powder, and from thyroid supplements to tudca capsules, explore our full collection here, or contact us if you have a question about any of our products.