We’re continuing down the ingredient list of pre-workouts and highlighting the ones that are worth taking, bringing us to Creatine. Creatine Monohydrate is the most effective performance enhancing nutritional supplement when it comes to increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training. While there is still some controversy around this supplement, there is no scientific evidence that short- or long-term use of creatine has any detrimental effects on otherwise healthy individuals.
How does creatine work? Creatine helps with anaerobic exercise. Your body harvests energy to fuel anaerobic exercise by breaking ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) and using one of the phosphates. The leftover product is called ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). Creatine is a substance that carries loose phosphates which can be supplied to ADP, turning it back into ATP, which can then be used for more energy. You can think of supplementing with creatine like providing your muscles with extra battery boost packs!
To reach supplemental creatine levels, you will want to consume about 0.04 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. So, for a 175lb individual that is about 3.2 grams, or a little less than a teaspoon. While most creatine supplements suggest a loading phase, they are not necessary to get the benefits of this supplement. Timing doesn’t matter either, as long as you are taking creatine every day. So, choose a time that is convenient for you to remember (like tossing it in your post workout shake, or purchasing a pre-workout with creatine).
Lastly, there are a lot of variants of creatine on the market these days, all claiming to be the best and charging a premium price to match the claim. Creatine Monohydrate is by far the most tried and true, affordable, and effective of all of these.
If you liked this post and want to learn more about how nutrition can affect your performance in and out of the gym, reach out to our Registered Dietitian Eddie Fitzgerald at Eddie.Chaineffect@gmail.com!
by Eddie Fitzgerald, RD, LDN, Performance Dietitian