Creatine quickly gained popularity as a bodybuilding supplement after it was revealed that champion athletes in the 1992 Olympic Games included supplements such as creatine powder in their training regimen. Counted among these stars are Linford Christie, who won the gold for Great Britain in the 100-meter dash, and Sally Gunnell, who also garnered another gold medal for the British Empire in the 400-meter hurdles.
About Creatine Powder
Nowadays, it is a standard supplement taken by athletes and professional bodybuilders who want to gain muscle mass quickly. The most common forms are creatine powder and capsules.
Who should use creatine powder? Athletes in any sport where bulk and weight are considered major advantages, such as American football, rugby, weightlifting and others. Scientific evidence has shown that short term use of creatine powder increases performance in high intensity repetitive exercises such as circuit training sprints and multiple sets of weightlifting. Maximum power increases by 5 to 15 percent. Single sprints or single-lifting of heavier weights also benefits from creatine powder, with an increase in power of 1 to 5 percent. Although the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) prohibits schools from procuring and distributing creatine powder to their students, athletes are allowed to purchase their own supplements for personal use.
By simply using creatine powder, the average beginner is capable of easily gaining 6-12 pounds within 2 weeks. However, some studies have been undertaken to suggest that this is simply water weight. Luckily for people who are thinking of using creatine powder, these studies are matched by research showing that it increases the activity of satellite cells, making rapid growth of muscle cells possible. In other words, yes, creatine powder will legitimately make you gain weight in the form of muscle!
How do you use creatine powder to increase muscle mass? You can follow either of two scientific methods of supplementation. The first option involves a loading period. 20 grams are taken daily for one week, after which a maintenance dosage of 3-5 grams are taken daily for 2-3 months. The second option does away with the loading phase, where you simply take 3-10 grams of creatine every day for 2-3 months. Note that these figures are in grams of creatine. Depending on the formulation of creatine powder that you purchase, you may have to adjust the amount of the powder that you use to prepare your supplement drinks.
Creatine powder is recommended to be taken with simple carbohydrates, as this has been found to increase the rate and efficiency of absorption – not to mention, make your creatine powder taste better!
Choosing A Creatine Powder
With the numerous creatine powder products available in the market, how do you choose which is the best for you?
1. Take note of the formulation. Your creatine powder may have 100% pure creatine, or lower percentages. Pure is best, but depending on your purposes you may also opt for the less concentrated versions.
2. Consider the speed of results. Ask your fitness advisor about the track record of each creatine powder product in terms of helping customers achieve their weight goals.
3. Is the product safe? Creatine is not considered a regulated drug, which is why athletes can use it legally. But be sure to purchase from reputable manufacturers to ensure that you won’t suffer any ill side effects.
4. Consider prices. Some products on the market come up with fancy marketing terms so they can charge more. On the other hand, if it is too cheap, you may be getting useless fillers in your creatine powder.