The passage of time and multiple scientific tests have ended up maximizing the popularity of some sports supplements. This is demonstrated by creatine, which is consumed daily by many people who do regular low, medium and even very high intensity physical exercise.
Don't forget to check out our article on the best creatine to find out about the best brands and products.
What is creatine and what is it for
Following the example of other supplements for athletes, the substance is already present in the body. Specifically, we refer to a chemical formula that contains glycine, methionine and arginine. It is about several amino acids that are used in order to synthesize proteins.
All of them affect in a very positive way not only the muscles, as we will see next, but also the brain. The psychological state in which the athlete is located is essential to be able to perform well, so in this sense creatine is also of great help.
There are numerous sports supplements that contain creatine, thus providing a certain percentage of the benefits of this substance. Among the advantages most demanded by those who do high intensity sports several times a week is that of maximizing the performance that each one is capable of giving at a physical level.
For example, an identical running route is completed in less time by the same person if he decides to take creatine, since he performs making the most of his muscles, in this case those of the legs that do not tire as much. Indeed, it is a sports supplement that is not only designed for those who do weights or other similar workouts.
If your goal is to supplement to gain muscle mass, creatine is also a good choice. And it is not for less, since it increases the strength of the various groups of muscles that intervene throughout the exercise. This way you will be able to do more repetitions and even carry a greater weight without later suffering from stiffness or injuries.
Although it is true that it is present in some foods, most athletes have serious difficulties in obtaining the dose of creatine they need to be able to keep their muscles in good condition, without fatigue and avoiding the loss of muscle mass. It is for this reason that many end up choosing to supplement.
The body synthesizes it by its own means, although it does so in a tiny amount compared to what a runner would require, an athlete who trains daily in the gym, and so on. The remaining figure has to be obtained through foods that contain a high percentage of creatine and, in case of not reaching the minimum necessary, supplements become your main ally.
How and when to take creatine
It is usual for specialists to recommend an intake of five grams each day, although the figure may vary depending on the weight of the athlete. To make the amount right for you, multiply 0.09 by the kilos you currently weigh.
If you do not do sports every day, those days in which you rest you can choose to take half the creatine. However, many people prefer to keep the daily figure.
The ideal moment depends on each individual athlete, but in most cases the best possible results are observed if the intake of the supplement to gain muscle mass occurs just after finishing the training.
On the other hand, taking into account the psychological improvement obtained by athletes who take creatine day after day, it is also advisable to take the recommended dose before physical activity. In this way, the muscles will be able to endure even at a high intensity, resisting better than before so as not to end your sports routine so tired.
Regardless of whether you do it before or after training, keep in mind that creatine interacts with caffeine. Therefore, you should avoid it in your diet or, at the very least, separate the intake of both substances. For example, caffeine first thing in the day and creatine in the evening after completing physical exercise.
Creatine side effects
Although some supplements like HMB have been shown not to have a single adverse effect, the same is not the case with creatine. In fact, it is essential not to exceed the recommended daily amount, the maximum of which is almost always five grams. Otherwise there are high chances of suffering from stomach pain.
This side effect is much more common among those who take creatine after a large meal. This is due to the increase in pH present in the stomach. Sometimes the excess of this substance that contains three amino acids not only brings pain, but also diarrhea.
When experiencing this discomfort in the stomach, it is advisable to take half the dose the next day or even temporarily interrupt the intake of creatine, until the stomach pains disappear completely.