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Creatine Supplements for
Muscle Gain and Growth

Author:   Peter Sedesse MD

Overview of Creatine Supplement Uses

Creatine has become one of the most common supplements for those wishing to increase muscle mass.  Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found in most meat and dairy products and is also created by the liver.  Almost all Creatine found in the body is located inside muscle cells.  The best form of Creatine supplements to take is Creatine Monohydrate, which works out nicely since Creatine Monohydrate is the cheapest form available and also the form that has been tested for safety the most.

Creatine Provides Energy for Extending Workouts and Building Muscle

Probably the biggest myth surrounding Creatine supplement use is that Creatine builds muscle.  This is not true, Creatine is not a building block for  muscle, Creatine only supplies energy to allow a person to work out harder and longer.  Taking Creatine supplements and not working out will not help you build muscles at all.  Furthermore, even a modest workout may not use all the Creatine already in your body, so taking supplemental Creatine would provide no benefit.  The best example is this.  A person who normally would be able to do 8 reps of a certain exercise,  with Creatine supplements would be able to do 10-12 reps before having muscle failure.  Creatine allows your body to supply energy to muscle cells for a longer duration during a workout.  If you aren´t doing more reps after taking Creatine supplements, then it is not going to help you at all.

Creatine Causes Water Retention and a Soft Appearance

One fact many people are not aware of is that Creatine causes water retention inside muscle cells.  This is a good thing because high hydration levels lead to better metabolism and waste product transport.  This also means a person will get bigger fast, sometimes up to 5% weight gain in a week or two when the first start taking Creatine supplements.  However, this will give them a mushy and uncut appearance.

Obviously this may not be a desirable thing in some situation as many people do not want to get bigger.  For this reason, body-builders, wrestlers and boxers usually stop taking creatine supplements a month or two before weigh-ins or competitions.  For everyone else, it is just a reality that while Creatine will help you increase your strength and muscle growth, it comes at the cost of not having a defined or cut appearance.

Creatine Loading and Proper Dosage

Creatine Monohydrate has been studied extensively and is the naturally occurring substance found in many foods.  It is also the form that is produced within the body.  Also, most research shows it is the most effective form to take so there is no reason to ever take another form unless you want to throw away money and increase your health risks.  For people who workout regularly and intensely, the recommended amount of Creatine supplement to take is 3-6 grams per day.   However, fairly extensive research has shown that Creatine loading can give a noticeable improvement for many individuals.  Creatine loading is when an individual starts out taking 10-20 grams per day of Creatine supplements for the first week.  This ensures that Creatine is loaded into all the muscle cells of your body, and then after the loading week, you should go down to the 3-6grams per day maintenance cycle.

The most important point to be made is the Creatine is not a magic muscle building chemical.  You will not acheive muscle growth or strength gain unless you workout, and workout hard until you reach the point of muscle failure.  Creatine Monohydrate is nothing more than an energy source that is placed directly inside the muscle cells of your body.  If you don´t use that energy, it will do you not good.

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