THE SCOOP ON CREATINE FACTS AND USES
Unfortunately most performance-boosting supplements are nothing more than a scam to get your money. The problem is not that these ergogenic aids
have no effect on the body. They do have some effect, but it's miniscule at best. The sad fact is, most supplements cannot deliver what they suggest
is possible because they aren't designed to actually work with the body in the way they claim they can. Supplement producers approach their research
correctly, according to what the body does-or what people think it does; however, it doesn't necessarily follow the same behavioral pattern in
assimilating other ingested supplements. Just because A, B and C act a certain way under one set of circumstances, can we assume the body will
always act or react in that manner? Absolutely not. That's faulty logic.
I'll give you an example of faulty logic. It's particularly apropos to cite when nonsensical inferences are made about how a substance will act in
the human body on the basis of meaningless peripheral research. It goes like this: "A dog has four legs. A chair has four legs. That must mean a dog
is a chair." Catch my drift here? This is the kind of faulty logic supplement companies use every time they come out with a new supplement. They
imply that because a substance acts one way in the body, another very similar substance should behave in much the same fashion. Herein lies the error
of the supplement industry When creatine came on the scene some years ago, those of us who know the supplement industry makes big dollars on erroneous
assumptions thought that, like everything else, it would be a flash-in-the- pan product. Creatine has been on the market now for those years (and
been worked on by every manufacturer of supplements and his brother, resulting in a hundred versions of the same product), and has been put to good
use by many bodybuilders and strength athletes with surprising results. Of all of the supplements on store shelves creatine has earned a superior
reputation for delivering on its many claims. The biggest reason those athletes still use creatine is that it works. It acts like glycogen in muscle
cells, and, as everyone who trains knows, a store of glycogen makes strength gains possible with faster recovery times.
Whereas carbohydrate-loading produces extracellular water gains, creatine provides intracellular water gains. This hyperhydration of the muscle cells
makes bursts of strength and even endurance gains much more feasible. When creatine was introduced in this country in early '93, not many people
believed it was capable of producing such miraculous results. Because it was a zero-calorie supplement, it seemed unlikely to be effective. But creatine
delivered on its promises, and muscle gains of five and ten pounds within weeks were routinely seen in bodybuilders who trained at the level required
to ensure those results.
Creatine, when taken properly, can be one of the most effective ergogenic agents on the market. Though many studies support this statement, I can
personally attest to its efficacy from firsthand experience, both with myself and with some of the pros I train. Finding the correct amount for each
person may take some time, but gains of this sort are possible.
When I recommend creatine to an athlete who doesn't have much experience with it, I first ask him to try smaller amounts so that we can assess how his
body responds to it. Results depend greatly on the brand of creatine you select - and no, I'm not going to mention specific brands. Some products claim
to be purer than they are, and others are as pure as they claim. The best approach to finding the right brand is to ask which brands others have used
I generally advise the average 220-pound man to begin with five grams of creatine per day for a week to determine its effectiveness and test the
subject's tolerance to the product. After that one-week trial period - if he experiences no leg cramps (usually caused by poor creatine mixtures) - I
tell him to go ahead with 20-25 grams daily for a further five to seven days. Then, if he wants to Continue, I suggest using anywhere from 2 to 25 grams
a day for up ho 50 days. After that period of time most people will be able to ascertain whether creatine has worked well for them or not.
Creatine increases the body's capacity for strength. Bodybuilders who have not been able to gain size or strength in several months have tried creatine
and to their amazement have made strength gains worthy of an extra 25-pound plate on each side of the bench-press bar. If you consider that most guys
take months to add that much to their max, the effects of creatine appear to be no small potatoes. Even the most cynical of researchers agree that
creatine really does work.
Now, everyone knows that steroids work. That's been a proven fact for decades. Anabolic agents increase strength, boost muscle size and speed recovery
through the utilization and uptake of nearly every gram of protein taken with comprehensive resistance-training regimens. However, anabolics can be
dangerous if used improperly, and are illegal to say the least. That's the beauty of creatine. It works by filling the muscle cells with intracellular
water, enabling a bodybuilder to lift heavier weight and make greater size gains. It also enables the muscles to have enough endurance to perform any
number of physical feats without the early onset of lactic acid.
Flesh-eating civilizations, such as the early Paleolithic tribes and the ancient Greeks, unwittingly discovered this most powerful of ergogenic aids
centuries ago. Red meat contains the highest concentration of naturally occurring creatine of any protein source. No wonder that when a bodybuilder
loads his physique on red meat, instead of an abundance of carbohydrates, the steak makes his physique nearly as full as carbs, but without the risk
of holding water. (Protein cannot bind with water to be transported into the muscle cells as it does with carbohydrates.)
Some people have attributed isolated deaths of athletes to creatine. That's a shame because there has been no substantial proof to tie it in with these
unfortunate fatalities. They don't mention in these instances that besides creatine use the athletes in question were also practicing unhealthful habits
such as diuretic abuse, withholding fluids and starvation, all in an effort to make weight for a particular sport. Making creatine the scapegoat is a
typical reaction of placing blame. Rather than studying all the facts, people point the finger at an innocent substance that has done nothing but enhance
the lives of athletes the world over. In fact, the only reportable side effect creatine can claim as its own is weight gain. But isn't weight gain what
a bodybuilder is seeking by using creatine? That goes without saying.
FACTS ABOUT CREATINE
o Creatine was discovered in meat extracts in 1832 by a French scientist named Chevreul who named it after the Greek word for flesh. In 1923 scientists
discovered that the human body contains over 100 grams of creatine, and that 95 percent of it is stored in muscle tissue.
»One pound of beef contains a whopping two grams of creatine.
»One pound of salmon contains two grams of creatine also.
» One pound of herring contains three grams of creatine. Just don't have the cream sauce.
» The avenge person metabolizes a minimum of two grams of creatine daily.
» Creatine is not a new nutrient. It is naturally produced by the body, and can be found in the foods we eat every day, particularly beef
» Creatine users should consume at least 120 ounces of water a day and drink an additional 16 ounces of water for every pound of bodyweight lost during
» Taking creatine with a simple carbohydrate such as glucose greatly enhances its effects.
» When creatine is stored in muscle cells, it enhances the hydration of the cell. When a cell is hydrated, it may significantly improve protein synthesis.
» Creatine is manufactured in the liveL It is formed from the amino acids arginine, methionine and glycine. Researchers believe it maybe manufactured in the
kidneys and pancreas too.
» Significant results can be achieved by starting with a loading dose of creatine. Start by taking 20 grams per day - broken down into four five-gram doses
throughout the day - for five to seven days. Maintain your results by using 2 to 10 grams daily.
» Studies focusing on participants (men and women) between the ages of 32 and 70 show that creatine markedly improves blood lipid profiles, suggesting it
could minimize the risk of heart disease.
» This must mean beef isn't as bad as Oprah said it was!
» Creatine is the single most popular sports supplement on the market today.
» Creatine promotes weight gain and nitrogen balance - basically what steroids do. The onset of fatigue during exercise may be delayed by increasing the
level of creatine in the muscle.
» No significant adverse effects have been documented.
» Creatine produces fat-free mass provided you don't catlike a pig while you take it!
» Even chronic creatine usage (20 grams daily for five days plus 10 grams maintenance for up to 50 days) shows no effect on liver and kidney function.
» Make sure your creatine powder is dissolved before ingesting it. Undissolved creatine can cause bellyaches.
» University athletes routinely use creatine to enhance performance.
I hope this brief outline helps you to understand the benefits, history and uses of creatine. If you culled only one piece of information from this column,
it's worthwhile because creatine is emerging as a wonder supplement. If you haven't yet tried it, follow my advice by loading with creatine for a short time
and then doing a maintenance dose up to 50 days - and then tell me you didn't put on size!