|I am 23 years of age and I started bodybuilding seriously at the
age of 14. I have a degree in kinesiology and biology, plus I am
a certified personal trainer. I am currently studying dentistry.
I have also experimented with almost all kind of supplements such
as creatine. It is funny since I have a very positive attitude towards
creatine, however, my knowledge, background and my personal experiences
obligates me to tell you the truth.
Fact 1: Creatine works, and specially if it is consumed after an intense work out on empty stomach with plenty of sugar and water. Most people can put on as much as 8 to 12 pounds with creatine. But the results do vary and some won't even gain a few pounds.
Fact 2: Side effects of creatine are not extensively researched. The longest study done on creatine lasted only five years. Now you do the math, knowing that most people who take creatine are healthy athletic individuals in their primes. So do you really think that taking creatine is as bad as smoking? Of course not. So given enough time (i.e. couple of decades), we will have whole bunch of ailments as a result of taking creatine.
Fact 3: Creatine is not as natural as it is advertised. Creatine is structurally very similar to amino acids (building blocks of proteins), but I do call it a modified amino acid. Now think about it; when you are loading up, you are taking as much as 30 grams a day, in other words 30,000 mg. Now, do you remember that you have taken any such amount of any amino acid in its most purified state in one day? I guess not. You need 66 pounds of red meat to get that much creatine! Besides, you can not tell me that taking 5 grams of creatine a day as a maintenance dosage is safe since you find 5 grams of creatine in as much as 11 pounds of meat. Bottom line, it is your decision.
Fact 4: You will piss it all out as soon as you come off, or
in another words, no muscle building advantage! Although it might
allow you to train harder by increasing your muscle cell phosphocreatine
pool, but it is highly unlikely that it results in a great deal
of muscle formation.
Fact 5: Most of the gains of creatine are through osmosis. So while the solute concentration of the muscle cell increases, water follows through and myofibers get hydrated as the result.
Fact 6: It tends to get stored in kidneys and liver and testes. Who wants that! Remember that whenever we force any excess exogenous chemical that is also produced in the body, we will end up with inhibition of that pathway. Your kidneys can get really inefficient if they lose their glycolytic capacity as a result of creatine suppression. Kidneys produce ATP, which is essential for their function, and creatine can potentially hamper their capacity to do so in some people.
Fact 7: Creatine does elevate creatinine levels in few people. It happened to me (as a healthy 19 year old) after using creatine for 2 years. It also happened to my other young friends. Now see, that is not natural. In fact, that is terrible. High creatinine/urea levels are signs of kidney inefficiency or malfunction. Now who wants that? Because there would be whole bunch of other physiological ailments associated with that. Creatine can potentially play havoc with your pancreas and liver as well. My take is that you should take moderation and common sense into consideration.
If you want to grow bigger: 1) Work out heavy (high intensity: 8-12 reps). 2) Don't do more than 2 exercise per body part (if you are natural) so avoid over training. 3) Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day with at least 30 grams of protein per meal. 4) Don't consume more than 25% fat. 5) Get plenty of sleep (7-9 hours). 6) Do three cardio sessions (25 min. each) but no more than three per week. 7) Take a week off after 8 weeks of continuous workout. 8) Don't stay in the gym for more than 90 min. and remember the important workout principles: PROGRESSION, RESISTANCE, VARIETY, SPECIFICITY, ADAPTATION AND F.I.T. (FREQUENCY, INTENSITY AND TIME).
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