Written by Lee Carnaby, Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist
As coaches and trainers, we often get asked which supplements are actually worth taking. Without a doubt, one of the first supplements we would suggest is Creatine Monohydrate (Creatine).
So - what is it, how do you take it and what will it do for you?
What is Creatine?
Contrary to popular belief, Creatine is not a lab-made chemical - it is a natural product which has been thoroughly tested over many years. You already have Creatine in your body - the body makes its own, mainly in the liver, from Amino Acids (the main constituent of protein).
Creatine works at a cellular level by providing more of a certain molecule (Phosphocreatine) for energy production within cells. It’s quite a complex reaction but as muscle cells generate power, they drop a Phosphate molecule and go from ATP (Adenosine TRIPhosphate) to ADP (Adenosine DIPhosphate). They then need to recycle back to ATP, ready to go again.
Taking additional Creatine makes this process easier.
There are a few different types of Creatine, but Creatine Monohydrate is used mostly for supplementation because it’s easy to digest and is relatively inexpensive. In foods, Creatine is found in meat and fish, so those following a vegan or vegetarian diet may have lower Creatine levels and can benefit from Creatine supplementation.
What will taking Creatine do for me?
Creatine supplementation may make you gain weight initially, but this is mostly because it draws water into the body with it. By taking Creatine Monohydrate, you increase the body's ability to produce energy quickly.
You should notice an increase in strength & power and also improvements during high intensity exercise which is what we focus on here at Unleashed Performance - you may see some small increases in muscle endurance too.
There is some evidence that Creatine can help with cognitive ability, but that is currently inconclusive and undergoing further research.
How should I take Creatine?
The most common and effective way to supplement with Creatine is by loading for a few days, to saturate the body - and then take a daily maintenance dose afterwards. Creatine is dose dependant so try this loading protocol from examine.com a leading supplement research organisation:
To start loading, take 0.3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day for 5–7 days, then follow with at least 0.03 g/kg/day either for three weeks (if cycling) or indefinitely (without additional loading phases).
Example: For a person weighing 82kg, this translates to 25g/day during the loading phase and 2.5g/day afterward, although many users take up to 5g/day due to the low price of creatine and the possibility of experiencing increased benefits.
Higher doses (up to 10g/day) may be beneficial for people with a high amount of muscle mass and high activity levels or for those who are non-responders to the lower 5g/day dose.
Try this protocol for a month and see if it works for you. You can then continue, or take a break and reload again (although tests show it’s safe to continue using indefinitely). Make sure, as always you are well hydrated - drinking plenty of water will help prevent stomach upset or cramps.
Creatine Monohydrate by Unleashed Performance
Unleashed Performance Creatine is formulated from premium quality ingredients with your fitness goals in mind.
Our Creatine Monohydrate is:
- Suitable for vegans
- Gluten free
- and comes in a recyclable bag
Creatine is best consumed twice daily (Before and after workouts). On non-training days consume once in the morning.
Not to be used as a substitute for a balanced diet. Do not exceed 3 servings per day. This product is not suitable for persons aged under sixteen. Keep sealed and store in a cool, dry place. Keep out of reach of children.
Whatever your fitness goal, make it happen with Unleashed Performance.
Personal Trainer / Strength & Conditioning Coach at Unleashed Performance.
Lee has been involved in the fitness industry since 1994 as an instructor and Personal Trainer. He holds a HND in the Science and Management of Health and Fitness, in addition to qualifications in Nutrition, Personal Training and Sports Therapy.