|You don't need creatine to reach your goals. Here's my story. I'm 18 years old, and last September I came to the US as a foreign exchange student. My bench press was 200 pounds, and I had never lifted weights before. I'm 5'10 and I weighed 203 pounds. Obviously, I needed a change in my lifestyle. So I started working out 3 times a week, concentrating mostly on chest, tricep and bicep exercises. (A couple years ago, I had a back injury and doctors told me that my lower back is going to be a problem for the rest of my life and I should avoid certain movements like sit-ups, deadlift, squats, and power-cleans. That's why I don't do those exercises.)
I decided to beat the school bench press record, which is a 1RM 350 pounds. Now it's been about 7 mongths since I started, and 6 weeks ago I benched 330 pounds and I'm quite sure that in a few more weeks I will be able to bench 350-355 lbs. (too bad I'm not in high school anymore, so my record can't be official, but I don't really care if my name is going to be on the record sheet or not).
I used creatine monohydrate for 6 weeks about 3 or 4 months ago, and I had good and bad experiences. I'll start with the bad ones: I gained 18 pounds. I lost muscle definition. The first week of loading phase (20 grams per day) gave me the worst headaches of my life after working out. I couldn't sleep at night until 1 or 2 a.m.
Good experiences: my reps increased by 50 percent on the leg press and 30-40 percent on bench and curls. I was hyper through my entire 2 hour workouts. I cut my recovery time by 50 percent, which allowed me to work out every day. Then soccer season started and I wanted to loose some weight because I weighed 220 pounds. So I stopped using creatine and I lost 25 pounds in 2 months, but I didn't loose any strength. Then in June, at the end of season, I tried to increase my energy for the soccer games by taking creatine between 2 games. It gave my stomach aches and diarrhea, so I got rid of it.
In conclusion, I think I shouldn't have spent $40 on 2 pounds of creatine. If you are willing to trash your body in the gym every single time you lift, you won't need creatine to get strong. If you are not, creatine won't help. Finally, some tips:
-lift 4 times a week (Mo-Th) then take Fr, Sa, Su off
-don't eat before lifting
-change your workout every 3 or 4 weeks, that way it won't get boring
-don't lift for more than 2 hours at once
-have 2 different workouts that are exactly the opposite of each other for upper body:
Day 1 and 3: chest, biceps, forearms, abs
Day 2 and 4: upper back, shoulders, triceps, lower back
-use free weights rather than machines
-use dumbbells rather than barbells
-use heavy weights and reps between 3-8 for strength
-use lighter weights and reps between 10-15 for mass-building
-run a mile at least twice a week
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