Who Should Take Creatine? This Killer Supplement’s Effect on Muscle Growth

Creatine can improves muscle growth and strength by 3-5% annually. This makes creatine particularly helpful for athletes who intend to grow muscle and strength in the long term. Creatine has never been shown to conclusively have any negative side effects for anyone of any age.  

So you may have seen many people at the gym taking a white powder substance and attributing it to increase muscle growth or muscle size. Hopefully and chances are that this white powder is a supplement called creatine. Creatine is very common and used in many broad areas of fitness, weightlifting, and exercise. The supplement has been known to increase muscle growth and recovery between 3-5% annually depending on the individual. Now the question you might be asking yourself after hearing this fantastic statistic is who should be taking creatine? Are there people that shouldn’t take it? Are there certain demographics of people that don’t need to take it? Is creatine really useful for everybody or is it necessary for anyone at all? Or maybe you’ve heard that there are even different types of creatine adding more to the confusion and the questions you might have. Of course, with any supplement or any medication for that matter, there is a limit to how much you should take and a rough average of the most efficient amount you should take. All these questions are extremely important to understand especially if you take your fitness and nutrition seriously.  But first before answering all these questions for you and myself, I would like to make a small introduction.

So, for many years now I’ve been enjoying going to the gym and learning about fitness and supplementation. I started just the same as everyone else. A gym noob. Someone who doesn’t know a lot but still enjoys their time in the gym space. From that starting point I learned many things from personal trainers to mentors and let alone the many forums and YouTube videos I consumed in my free time just because I truly love this topic. To me working out and fitness is not just a hobby it is a lifestyle and is something I truly love and enjoy. As I was saying earlier you might be wondering all these many questions about creatine or you might be wondering if you should take it or if someone you know should take it or what it even is. These are questions I wondered myself in the past and now I’m here to answer them for you.

So, who should take it?

So as I mentioned earlier you might be wondering yourself who should be taking creatine. Well, that is an excellent question considering that creatine has exponential benefits for people who work out and exercise. The simplest way to put is that creatine is very useful for people who are interested in increasing muscle size and or strength. So the first people that come to mind that would be interested in things like these would be any of your gym goers who work out to gain muscle and get in better shape. This would be better for people who have a long-term goal. Someone who is not just looking forward to losing weight and then calling it a day there. The main benefit of creatine is adding as I mentioned earlier, 3 to 5% of muscle in addition to what you would gain naturally without taking the supplement. This being the case creatine really doesn’t help with the process of fat loss and can even artificially make you gain weight. However, this weight gain is not fat but instead water and muscle. 

A good example of people who would benefit the most from creatine is bodybuilders. Bodybuilders love to take creatine because it is extremely useful after a year, two, five, or even 10 years of lifting. As mentioned creatine can cause an additional 3-5% muscle gain in one year. So let’s say after 5 years this will add up to an average of 20% extra muscle gain than you would have without creatine. I’m no mathematician but that’s a lot of percent. If someone was to gain let’s say 15 lb of muscle over four years naturally, with the use of creatine they would gain an additional 3 pounds of muscle. Of course, 3 lb of muscle doesn’t sound a lot but whenever you put it on the frame of someone about to step on a bodybuilding stage it can make you stand out.  Whenever you’re standing next to your competition 3 lbs can make the difference between a win and a loss. Of course, if someone is a comfortable 20% body fat 3 lbs of muscle won’t look that much different than another person who has 3 lbs less muscle. However, this is not the case when there is next to no body fat on a person. 3 lbs of muscle can make a massive difference especially if it’s located in the most advantageous spots like shoulders or arms for example.

What about Strength Athletes?

Not only is creatine useful in gaining the size of the muscle but also the strength of the muscle. Yes, strength and size do go relatively hand in hand but in terms of a sport like powerlifting or weightlifting,  strength is not just linearly associated with the size of the muscle. If a person can weigh less but still lift more they would be able to outcompete the people in their weight class. So this is why creatine is helpful even for strength athletes. Not only does creatine allow the muscle to grow more but if you train in a fashion that allows the user to gain more strength rather than size (ie lower rep scheme) it allows the muscle to output more force resulting in more strength. In the same way, that person could gain three to five percent more muscle in a year, the same lifter could gain that much or even more on average in terms of their strength. This lifter who would gain “x” amount of strength in a year would gain x + an extra 5% or even closer to 10% strength in that same year. 

How much should you take?

Should be taking creatine next question that arises is how much creatine should those people take? Well, the answer is actually pretty simple whenever you break it down to the science and the math. To put it simply creatine is a form of protein that is very scarce in food and maximizes our muscle performance and recovery. In the same way that you only take a few pills for vitamins a day you don’t need to eat that much creatine at all. In reality, you only need to consume about three to five grams of creatine a day to meet your maintenance. However, a lot of people like to do a practice with creatine to speed up their body’s acclimation to the new supplement. This process known as loading is more or less a series of a few weeks where you take a lot of creatine. maybe triple or in some extreme cases quadruple the amount that you would need to take just for maintenance. In this case, people might take 20 g a day for a week or 10 g a day for two or three weeks depending on the person and their weight. After this loading phase the person no longer needs to take this extreme amount any longer but can instead downsize to three to five grams a day to maintain the creatine stores in the body and in the muscle cells. 


Things to remember in regards to your creatine intake and supplementation is your water consumption. As we know or as we should know whenever you exercise your body requires more water to recover from the exertion that you put forth and exercise itself. What this means is whenever you run more or work out more and drink more water. This is especially true for people who supplement their diet with creatine.To give a rough estimate, an active person should consume depending on the size of the person a few liters of water a day, and if you have problems drink more. Obviously, these results vary depending on the person and because everybody has a different body. In the same way, you should drink much more water than usual if you are taking creatine. Instead of drinking a few liters a day, you should drink closer to a gallon a day. So to put a rough estimate to it roughly 10-20% more water than usual. if a person does not do this they can have severe dehydration caused by creatine soaking up the water in the body and putting it in the muscles. 


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