There have been a lot of questions about the benefits of creatine use. As a man who has taken creatine for years successfully and without any major side effects, I’d like to take the time to set the record straight on why creatine is a good choice of supplement for men.
As a fitness trainer who has prepared many women for bodybuilding competitions as well as helped them get into the best shape of their lives, I’m going to tell you why creatine is just as good of a supplement for women as it is for men.
Creatine is one of those supplements that all men and women can benefit from, no matter if they are intense athletes or just trying to build muscle or lose weight.
Here are ten things everyone should know about creatine.
Increases Testosterone in Men
I wanted to first start with the most crucial benefit of using creatine as a supplement. Studies show that creatine can give men a natural testosterone boost.
The study consisted of a group of men participating in a 10-week resistance training program. Each man took creatine daily. At the end of the 10-week program, the resting testosterone levels of each man had increased.
This is vital information to know, considering that so many men struggle to manage healthy testosterone levels.
As men age, testosterone levels tend to decrease, making it harder to stay in shape and easier to hold on to more fat.
The lower the testosterone levels, the more issues men face. Some symptoms of low testosterone are low sex drive, difficulty maintaining an erection, hair loss, decreased sperm count, constant fatigue, changes in mood, and problems remembering things.
If these symptoms weren’t enough, they make us more susceptible to insecurity, low self-esteem, stress, depression, and anxiety.
*Note: It is essential to talk to your doctor first if your testosterone levels are low and you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
Even though creatine is a great supplement that may enhance your resting testosterone levels, it is still important to speak to your doctor To get a bigger picture of your health situation and better understand possible causes and other natural solutions for low testosterone.
Enhances Your Workout Performance in Men and Women
Creatine enhances your workout performance because it helps your muscles produce more energy.
You will notice that, especially once you’ve done a full one-week creatine load, that you are much stronger during the first 10 to 15 seconds of each set. What happens is that the phosphocreatine stores in your muscles increase.
This causes adenosine triphosphate ATP, one of your muscles’ critical molecules for energy to break down.
Continuously taking breaks in between sets is one of the best ways to increase your workout performance, especially when you’re taking creatine. More sets with fewer reps is your key to getting the most out of your workout.
For example, six sets of five reps versus three sets of ten reps will increase your productivity and efficiency. You will lift more weight and shock the muscles more.
One study on women looked into the impacts of using creatine over a 10-week strength training program. All of the women exercised for one hour, three times per week. The participants loaded 20 grams of creatine for four days and five grams each day after.
After the loading phase, all the women increased and maintained their one-rep max strength for the back squat, leg extension, and leg press compared to those who didn’t take creatine.
Increases Muscle Growth in Men and Women
The main result of an enhanced workout performance is muscle growth.
The more you shock your muscles, the more they’ll grow. On the other side of things, creatine takes water from other parts of your body and puts it into your muscles, which also helps with your workout performance and muscle growth.
Most of my male clients notice a difference in the size of their muscles within one week. The longer they take creatine, it continuously boosts muscle growth and performance.
For women, creatine helps create a toned and strong physique that turns their body into a fat-burning machine. It increases their rate of weight loss which is paramount for women because they tend to have more fat composites and have to work harder to get rid of them.
Overall, creatine builds up the muscle, effectively evolving the gene expression, influencing hypertrophy and catabolism. In other words, you have achieved muscle memory, and the muscles are protected from breaking down.
You won’t lose your progress as long as you create a healthy lifestyle around your exercise by getting enough sleep, managing your stress, and eating a healthy diet.
Is Creatine Safe to Use Regularly?
Creatine supplements are safe to use regularly. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, no evidence proves that creatine has harmful effects on individuals who take it regularly. This applies to short and long-term use.
It is essential to listen to your body when taking any supplement. If you experience any symptoms, it is important to stop taking creatine or find out what is causing the symptoms to avoid them in the future. I will get into symptoms of creatine later in this post.
It’s also great to use regularly if you have a job that requires a lot of strength and energy like landscaping or even personal training, which requires one to move heavy weights all day.
Studies Show It Positively Impacts Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a result of a significant reduction in dopamine levels. An individual with Parkinson’s disease experiences tremors, speech impairment, and declining mobility or muscle function.
Studies have shown that creatine stops up to 90 percent of the decline in dopamine levels. Also, it is essential to understand that individuals with Parkinson’s disease are typically prescribed weight training.
Weight training combined with creatine supplementation increases mobility and enhances the quality of life for Parkinson’s disease patients.
Can Treat Other Neurological Diseases
Creatine supplementation can also slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and help heal individuals from stroke, epilepsy, and brain and spinal cord injuries.
Two incredible side effects of this are that symptoms of depression improve because it enhances SSRI therapy, and the progression of visual deterioration is slower.
Does It Impact Kidney Health?
Because one of the main symptoms of creatine is dehydration, people tend to wonder if it impacts kidney health. Looking at the results of 13 different studies, creatine supplementation does not influence negative kidney function.
However, if you have problems with your kidneys, talk to your doctor before taking a creatine supplement. It is better to be well informed to make a clear decision on what’s best for you and your body long-term.
Creatine Side Effects
There is a long list of creatine side effects. There have been a number of individuals who have experienced symptoms when taking creatine. While I am not a doctor, I will say that my clients who have taken creatine and experienced symptoms didn’t drink enough water.
That brings us to the most notable side effect of dehydration. Because creatine pulls water from the organs and pushes it into the muscles to enhance muscle performance, it is vital to drink lots of water. You may notice your lips or eyes becoming dry.
The more dehydrated you are, the more you increase your chances of experiencing other symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, or muscle cramping.
If you can’t adhere to drinking enough fluids, creatine is probably not a supplement that will work for you. Dehydration can cause a lot of problems and make you feel sick and tired.
As I said earlier, studies have proven that the individuals who have taken creatine short and long-term have had no adverse effects. At the same time, individuals who already have a chronic disease or take medication should consult their doctor before taking it.
The Best Type of Creatine
There are three different types of creatine that are widely used.
The first is micronized creatine. Micronized creatine is creatine monohydrate that’s been further processed for better absorption. The molecules are much smaller because they have been divided.
To feel the effects of this creatine, a loading phase is recommended. The number of days you load will depend on your personal preference. You can even do one day of loading if you choose to.
However, it is recommended that you take a scoop of micronized creatine powder four times per day for up to 5 days for better muscle absorption.
Some side effects of micronized creatine are calcium buildup on the teeth and increased water weight gain.
Be sure to read the nutrition label with this type of creatine because some contain sugar and sodium, which I’m sure is something you are limiting if you are trying to burn fat and build muscle.
HCL is a buffered proprietary blend of creatine. It’s essentially a mixture of creatine and hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is a widely used food additive. The combination is supposed to add stability to creatine, making it mix easier with other supplements and easier to consume.
It is even believed that using this form of creatine will give you better physical results. However, I don’t recommend it. One because it tends to be way more expensive. Two, it doesn’t mix well with caffeine.
Taking it with caffeine will cause you to feel even more tired than before. It also has the most reported side effects, including stomach pain, diarrhea, and unwanted weight gain.
Creatine monohydrate is a supplement that I’ve been taking for years. It is the original creatine that has been used for years, which means that most of the research you read about is geared towards it.
Creatine monohydrate is also much cheaper than most other forms and contains no additives. It is a supplement that I recommend to my clients for long-term use.
If you want to enhance muscle growth and workout performance, creatine monohydrate is something you should try to see if it works for you. But keep in mind, especially the first week that you take it, to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
The loading phase is optional. If you aren’t sure how important it is to stay hydrated, check out my article on how important water is to reaching your fitness goals.
How To Take It?
To get the full effect of creatine monohydrate quicker, there is a loading face. The loading phase is to take 20 grams of creatine monohydrate for five days. After that, take 5 grams per day which is one scoop.
I also cycle off of it every month to get my body a small detox away from it. When you cycle off of creatine monohydrate, it is important to understand that water in your muscles will start to decrease.
That’s OK. If you only cycle off of it for a couple of days there is no need to do a new loading phase. If you cycle off of it for more than a few weeks, it may be best to do another loading phase, but it is not required.
The loading phase is just to help you get the full effect faster. If you don’t do a loading phase, your body the creatine in your muscles will gradually increase over time.
Celebrities Who Use Creatine Successfully
Creatine is not just a well-used supplement by gym goers but celebrities as well. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Hugh Jackman, and Jay Cutler use creatine regularly to stay in shape.
Hugh Jackman uses it specifically to get in shape for X-Men/Wolverine movies.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stays in shape year-round. He believes that creatine is what helps you put on muscle after an intense workout. He takes creatine after his workouts by mixing it in with his protein.
One of Jay Cutler’s rules of never-ending growth is to use what works, meaning that fancy workouts aren’t needed to get results. When you train like a pro, you supplement like a pro with creatine.
I know this is a lot to take in. But I am working on creating a creatine guide to help you choose which creatine is best for you that will show you how to take and cycle off of it for optimal long-term results. Click here to be notified when it drops.
That concludes my summary of creatine use for men and women. I hope it helps you make a more informed decision on if creatine monohydrate is a supplement you want to try.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if you need help creating a workout plan to get the most out of creatine monohydrate. I’m here to help.
As always, don’t play with your body, you only get one.
Peace and Blessings