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Creatine is a popular nutritional supplement among athletes wishing to help build muscle. But what exactly is creatine, which preparations are useful and what do you need to be aware of when taking it? The experts at nutrineo, one of the most experienced sports nutrition manufacturers, have spent a lot of time working on these topics. Read on for useful information on the importance of creatine as a source of energy within a healthy diet, especially when it comes to weight training and endurance sport.
A ketogenic diet aims at losing weight by improving the fat burning processes through the lack of carbohydrates. This is the reason why enjoying a piece of white chocolate is OK as long as it contains a very small amount of carbohydrates. In particular, athletes are turning to this new diet because it prepares them optimally for competition. This approach can make sense for a limited period of time because the body is forced to use its fat deposits due to the lack of s
Creatine contains carbon and nitrogen and is a compound that all muscle cells need to produce energy. The body can produce creatine itself via the liver, kidneys and pancreas using several amino acids such as glycine, arginine and methionine, which we consume through our diet. Large quantities of these acids are found in beef and pork in particular, as well as in specific types of fish such as cod or salmon.
For moderate exercise, an adult requires 2 to 4 g of creatine a day. Normally, a balanced diet that is high in protein is sufficient to create these amounts. However, especially in intense phases of stress, athletes can use an extra 3 to 5 g of creatine to quickly gain muscle mass and improve their performance.
Creatine itself doesn’t provide energy but it does play a major role in energy metabolism. In simple terms, creatine ensures energy is provided. Without creatine, muscle cells wouldn’t be able to function. Every day our body produces just the level of creatine it needs for normal metabolism, which is why healthy people do not suffer from creatine deficiency.
However, our muscle fibres can store significantly more creatine than the body produces by itself. Consuming additional creatine keeps your stores permanently full, which makes it easier to break through performance plateaus and improve performance. Greater performance leads to greater muscle mass. The more muscle cells that are available, the greater the creatine storage, which means the additional supply of creatine boosts the positive effects of intense muscle training. Without training, these benefits are wasted.
What effect does creatine have on weight training?
All athletes, who regularly enter anaerobic energy metabolism for short periods during training, could benefit from taking creatine. This includes weight lifters completing multiple repetitions with heavy weights and swimmers, expending maximum effort over short distances. For the first group, creatine can increase strength with regular training because weight lifters are able to draw on their maximum strength for an extended period, enabling two or three extra repetitions. This, in turn, results in power athletes increasing muscle in a shorter time frame.
What effect does creatine have on endurance sport?
The benefits of the nutritional supplement creatine in extended, low-intensity training sessions i.e. endurance workouts, are the subject of controversial debate between scientists and athletes. This is primarily because additional creatine intake causes muscles to retain more water, which increases body weight – an undesirable outcome in endurance sport. Nevertheless, short-distance swimmers, sprinters or cyclists, who frequently do strength and endurance training, can benefit from the positive impact. Experts recommend testing the individual, specific effect in terms of strength increase primarily with short bursts of speed, when tackling long climbs, or finish sprints.
Creatine for muscle building – is water retention harmful?
On the contrary! Increased water retention during intake makes muscles appear fuller without impeding the muscle-building effect. The built-up muscles are retained even once creatine is reduced and water retention goes back to normal.
Does creatine help with losing weight?
Generally, creatine has no impact on fat burning. By drawing water into muscle cells, it can cause a few kilos of extra weight without changing body fat. However, in practice, taking a creatine supplement while on a fat-reduction diet prevents you losing lean muscle mass. The ingested creatine also makes training more effective, which promotes fat breakdown.
nutrineo recommends an intake of 3 to a maximum of 5 grams per day. The body stores creatine from food and uses it when the muscles have to work hard while training. Creatine stores are limited, however, because they are also related to the size of the existing muscle mass. So-called loading dosages of 4 x 5 grams per day during the first week are only recommended if creatine is to be taken only for a very short time. Most athletes take creatine in cycles, i.e. they take it for 4 to 8 weeks and then have a break of 4 to 8 weeks.
The increasing popularity of creatine for sport has led to a range of manufacturers offering products in this highly competitive market. Manufacturing sports nutrition and sports drinks with creatine requires a great deal of expertise.
nutrineo, one of the leading private label manufacturers for sports nutrition, is the perfect partner! We offer
Sustainability is a particular focus for us when creating our products, such as our private label sports drinks or our protein powders. For instance, as our customer, you benefit from innovative packaging solutions and have the option of using promotional quality seals such as ISO 22000 or organic on your products.
Is there anything I need to be aware of when taking creatine?
As creatine promotes water retention in the muscles – it draws water in – it is important to drink lots. Depending on your individual constitution and fitness level, we recommend up to 5 litres of water a day. Athletes with sensitive stomachs may find creatine to be more digestible with a little added glucose.
What happens when you stop taking creatine?
The retained water disappears. Without reducing your muscle mass. However, the increased quality achieved while taking creatine is preserved. A diet rich in carbohydrates and protein helps to maintain this level.
Does creatine have any side effects?
Generally, the tolerance of nutritional supplements depends on a variety of factors such as metabolism or possible allergies. In there are any uncertainties, it is always advisable to discuss supplementation with a doctor and/or trainer.