Creatine supplementation the Builder way

Creatine supplementation the Builder way

27-10-2014
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There are a lot of misconceptions and a good deal of uncertainty about taking creatine. It is probably because there are several ways of taking it. Let’s see how we see this question, let’s see a creatine course a’ la Builder!

In a nutshell

  • Always take the creatine before your carb meals.
  • Don’t get crazy, eat dextrose only after workouts.
  • Your creatine course should last for at least 2 months, preferably longer.
  • If it worked last time, or if it is your first course, then take the monohydrate version – it is the one science knows best.

What is creatine good for?

Creatine monohydrate is one of the most popular and definitely the most effective nutrition supplement for athletes, and especially for body-builders. Creatine has gained an undiminishing popularity in the last 30 years, as a great majority of people using it suffer no side-effects yet it promotes outstanding muscle and strength development.

Traditional creatine course or continuous consumption?

So should we take it as an intermittent course? There is an endless debate on this. Traditionally creatine should be taken in larger doses for a short ‘loading’ period, then comes a limited period of maintaining creatine levels, and you should stop taking creatine for a while before starting over as the body tends to “get used to it”.

There is some truth in it, but then it is misleading as well. We recommend you to take creatine for longer, a minimum of 2 or 3 months period (and a loading period is not necessary either), as there is no way to achieve significant and real muscle gain faster. Confusing? Read on then!

Effects of creatineEffects of creatine in your body

It is essential to know what creatine does in our body, to understand the mode of action that makes it so effective for nearly anyone.

Energy

During full tension workouts the energy demand of the first 6 to 8 seconds is covered primarily by depleting the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stores in our body. The phosphate group disbands, and the huge amount of energy stored in its bonds is released, and used up by the muscle contraction. Studies found no increase in ATP levels in rest periods for people taking extra creatine, but when explosive exercises are performed(like workouts with weights) the creatine phosphate (CP) stored in the muscles also disbands its phosphate group, and resynthesizes ATP (from ADP). So creatine can help replenish the ATP stores that were used up during workout.

ATP » ADP+P+energy » muscle contraction

CP+ADP » C+P+ADP » ATP

Moreover the phosphate provided by the creatine-phosphate supports the regeneration of ATP even during the rest period, so it enhances recovery.

In other words: creatine helps you to regain some of the energy you used up during workout.

Effect of increasing cell volume

Another effect of creatine that is favoured by all is the so called ‘cell volumization’ – meaning: effect of increasing the cell volume. This means that creatine can hydrate muscle cells, draw water in them, so that their volume is increased. Besides muscle cells getting bigger and stronger, this hydrated environment supports protein synthesis as well. In other words: gaining muscle is easier if the muscle cells are well hydrated. This is the feature of the creatine that some people interpret as ‘bloating’.

What does it leads to? Well, if you don’t take creatine long enough for your body to promote protein synthesis (that is gaining muscle mass), then at the end of your short course, when you stop taking that extra that made your muscle cells bigger and stronger, you would suffer significant loss of strength and mass.

500 gr. 
 
20%   12,47 €  
9,97 €

Why? Because the gain was achieved by the water retention effect of creatine, and not from real muscle development. So you should always follow longer periods of courses, so that your muscle growth would come from real development, and not just water retention! Please note gaining volume would certainly get slower and slower over time, but that has nothing to do with getting used to creatine.

What type of creatine to take?

Is this your first creatine course? Then it is definitely monohydrate that you should take. If it is not your very first course, then the choice is simple: if monohydrate worked, stick to it. If it did not work, then you might start experimenting with designer creatine products or other creatine formulas with different type of chemical bonds. These are not higher performing formulas, but some people can utilize them more efficiently, and they are more tender on the stomach (if that was your problem).

How to take creatineHow to take creatine

So there are two ways to take creatine. The first method is the traditional load-maintain-stop course style, the other one is the continuous creatine consumption for months.

When taken as a course you should do a creatine loading for 5 to 10 days: divide your body weight by three, and take that amount of creatine in grams each day (on rest days too). So a 60 kg man would take 60/3=20 -> 20 grams a day. In the period of maintaining CP levels – that is usually a 2 to 3 months interval depending on demands and feasibility – the amount is the half of this (10 grams in our example).

In case you choose continuous creatine consumption you should take the maintenance dose for longer periods (half a year or even more).

There are different views on ‘loading’. Studies show that it is necessary, practical experience shows that taking the maintenance levels will get you exactly where you would be after ‘loading’ in 3 to 4 weeks. So ‘loading’ means that you start with a development boost, and then get on with gaining mass and strength slower, while taking maintenance doses from the start would set you on a slower, but more steady course of initial development that eventually gets you to exactly the same level as with the ‘loading’.

Optimum times to take creatin

We usually recommend taking creatine 10–20 minutes before meals that contain carbohydrates. You don’t need to stick to the ‘dextrose way’ – the “traditional” school teaches that you need to take each dose with glucose, so that the insuline reaction it triggers would help transporting the creatine to the muscle cells. This is very likely to work – there are studies that prove it effective.

On the other hand we don’t encourage this sugar intake. Just think about it. A 30 g/day creatine loading means 180 grams of sugar a day, if you take the creatine in 5 gram doses. This induces unwanted stress in your pancreas, and it can even mess with your stomach if you are susceptible to such things. Such a high sugar intake can also promote that aforementioned ‘bloating’ process. Large quantities of sugar can do that as each gram can bind 4 grams of water. You can do the math...

A much less stressful way to follow if you take that creatine before the meal with carbohydrates in it. We think that your health is much more important than being smiley over ounces gained every day – not to mention that these ounces mainly come from the water accumulated because of the excess sugar.

It is only after workouts when you should take dextrose. Avoid using it any other time of the day!

It is advisable to distribute the daily amount into 5 gram doses, but those with really sensitive stomachs should take even smaller doses at a time. Some can handle 10 grams per meal, but we recommend you to stick to that 5 gram dosage.

Let’s see what an ideal creatine course looks like for a 60 kg person.

Creatine loading

6.00 am: 5 g creatine
10 minutes later: 30 g 100% Whey+80 g oatmeal
9.00 am: 80 g eggs cooked, 50 g whole wheat bread, vegetables, Multi-pro plus
11.50 am: 5 g creatine
12.00 pm: 70 g rice, 70 g chicken breast fillet, vegetables
2.50 pm: 5 g creatine
3.00 pm: 70 g rice, 80 g chicken breast fillet, vegetables, 1000 mg vitamin C
6.00 pm (post-workout): 50 g 100% Whey, 50 g dextrose, 5 g creatine*
7.00 pm: 80 g rice, 80 g chicken breast fillet, vegetables
10.00 pm: 100 g cottage cheese, 30 g 100% Whey
*: On rest days this dose of creatine can be swallowed before one the afternoon meals.

Maintenance

6.00 am: 5 g creatine
10 minutes later: 30 g 100% Whey+80 g oatmeal
9.00 am: 80 g eggs cooked, 50 g whole wheat bread, vegetables, Multi-pro plus
12.00 pm: 70 g rice, 70 g chicken breast fillet, vegetables
3.00 pm: 70 g rice, 80 g chicken breast fillet, vegetables, 1000 mg vitamin C
6.00 pm (post-workout): 50 g 100% Whey, 50 g dextrose, 5 g creatine*
7.00 pm: 80 g rice, 80 g chicken breast fillet, vegetables
10.00 pm: 100 g cottage cheese, 30 g 100% Whey
*: On rest days this dose of creatine can be swallowed before one the afternoon meals.

That is all. Of course you need to adapt this diet to your actual body weight, and you don’t need to eat this each and every day. Any pure and bodybuilding food can be used in your diet, that “chick-n-rice” is just a summed up name!

So let’s see our recommendations again in short.

  • Always take the creatine before your carb meals.
  • Don’t get crazy, eat dextrose only after workouts.
  • Your creatine course should last for at least 2 months, preferably longer.
  • If it worked last time, or if it is your first course, then take the monohydrate version – it is the one science knows best.


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