For more than a 100 years now scientists have known about creatine monohydrate and how it enhances the performance of skeletal muscles.
But what is it really? Creatine or its most commonly used form Creatine Monohydrate (which is essentially creatine combined with a molecule of water) is an organic nitrogenous acid.
No, it is not a protein. But it is an extremely easily assimilated form of nitrogen. And nitrogen as we all know is an essential building block of muscle and other animal tissue. More importantly it is also an incredibly potent source of energy and vitality for the muscles.
So what does creatine monohydrate do?
If you remember your school biology, you will know that ready energy is available to the body in the form of a chemical called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). This ATP is the fuel which powers our muscles when we do any activity. Creatine becomes an essential ingredient for the body to produce this magic chemical.
So – no Creatine means no ATP means no energy.
Creatine monohydrate is the most easily usable form of creatine. It has therefore, for almost a century, become known for as a readily available source of energy for athletes and high performers.
In fact long before we knew about creative, let alone supplements, people knew that certain foods were good for better performance by the human body. We now know that these foods are the ones which contain higher levels of naturally occurring creatine monohydrate.
Nowadays, we know. And know how to use creatine monohydrate supplements to add power to our diet.
What are the benefits of creatine monohydrate?
Hundred years since its discovery, researchers are still discovering and new ways in which this miracle molecule. Some of its benefits are widely documented and established by the scientific community.
Increase Workout Intensity and Enhance Muscle Mass
The equation is quite simple. More creatine in your system means more power, more energy to be used. Which means that you can dramatically increase the intensity of your workout.
Often enough people reach a plateau in their workout program as they reach the limit to which they can push themselves in the gym. No, it is not a lack of will power or perseverance. It is simply that some bodies are by nature build differently. When this happens one also reaches the limit to which they can increase their muscle size.
Creatine monohydrate can have an immediate impact.
The molecule increases dramatically the energy available to your skeletal muscles. The set of muscles that you use to exercise. When that happens your gym performance immediately improves and you can see its effect in a very short time.
Of course it is absolutely not easy at it sounds. You will have to complement your creatine dosage with intense levels of workout – which means you have push harder every day, and of course larger calorie intake.
What this supplement will provide you is the missing link between your effort and amazing results.
You will also find that your willpower has increased greatly and you are being able to bring more passion to your workout regime.
Another benefit of creatine, though the jury is still out on this one, is that it adds water molecules to your muscle mass. This considerably adds mass and weight to your muscles, making them look bulkier (as opposed to dehydrated muscles) and keeps them healthier.
Boosts Muscle Contraction
Every athlete knows his weapons – his muscles – and how they work. Our muscles are machines which work by contracting.
Creatine greatly improves the muscles’ ability to contract. Which means that for every athletic performance, your muscles can support you better. (Mind you if you had been taking creatine regularly the muscles would be in a better shape already.)
Another thing – because during the day of performance you will also have an excess amount of ATP at your disposal, you will be able to bring insane levels of energy during game day. And we all know that this is the very thing that makes champions.
It has been found that creatine is particularly hopeful in sports that have intense levels of activity followed by short periods of relative rest. Soccer, Football, Hockey, Basketball… you name it.
Not only will you be more intense when you need to be, you will find that you will be able to last longer and perform at the same intensity when everyone else has lagged off.
Every short break from an intense activity will be like a pit stop where your muscles refuel and become ready to go all over again.
Train more frequently
All of us who train know the importance of rest periods. It is necessary for the muscle to recuperate and get back their lost energy.
This happens because after intense exercise the body muscles especially the skeletal muscles loses creatine and are unable to produce ATP. These rests periods helps the body replenish these resources.
Now if you could speed up the rate at which your muscles recover, you could easily reduce the gap between workouts and train more frequently.
Creatine makes it possible.
More of this molecule in your system means more frequent training. This has a direct and very fast impact on how fast your muscles grow.
For example if you feel the need to rest for a few days after an intense full body workout, you may find that you are ready to go again in just a day.
This can go a long way in helping you accelerate your charted growth.
Another great side effect – you will feel far less exhausted between workouts.
Speed up your metabolism
Need I tell you about the benefits of a faster metabolism?
Simply put you will feel healthier, fitter and meaner. Even getting up from your bed in the morning will be a much easier task.
Increased ATP levels means that you will also feel full of energy and whim throughout the day. Now, who doesn’t want that?
Lose the flab
If losing those extra pounds had been easy, there would not have been one single overweight person in the world. Unfortunately some of us find it extremely difficult to shed even an ounce of weight.
If you are planning to lose weight, creatine can be your most useful wingman.
If you are consuming less calories, the whole day can be a drag. You are low on energy, your mood dips. Creatine can provide you with high levels of energy and reduce your fatigue. This can make every day so much easier.
You will also find that you are more eager to exercise and are looking for fewer excuses to put of your workout. More intense workout sessions also means more pounds shed.
Of course as we have discussed in the last point, your metabolism would also be faster. It’s actually a win win situation.
Bigger muscle pumps
What do you do immediately after a strenuous workout session? Admire yourself in the mirror, of course.
This is not just a vanity or an ego thing. You have just put in a tremendous amount of effort. And you would want to see some results. Right?
Unfortunately for many of us, the muscle pumps we get after working our hearts out are not as much as we would like. This can cause disappointment and low levels of motivation.
When you take creatine you will see a marked increase in your muscle pumps. This can give you a tremendous moral and psychological boost. Just the incentive you need to carry on with the hard work.
Often enough the muscle pump is because of water retention. There is nothing wrong with that. However when you start taking creatine you may also notice a little bit of bloating. Don’t worry. Once your body becomes used to increased creatine, this bloating will disappear.
And yes, if you want to look all muscled up and strut around in a tight t-shirt (there is nothing wrong in that), creatine is just the right thing for you. After all you deserve all the admiring glances you can get.
Helps mend bones
Athletes, whether professional or not often push their body beyond its limits. As a result injuries are quite common. Often enough there can be significant damage to the bones.
Creatine helps your bones heal faster. It can also be useful in the case of fractures and structural damage.
Increases your ability to tolerate glucose
More research is needed on this. But some scientists think that creatine just might help your body’s glucose tolerance. If this is true it can slow down the onset of diabetes and if you already have it, help you manage it better.
Nowadays more and more people are choosing to be vegetarians or vegans. Though there is nothing wrong in that, your daily diet of salads might just not have enough levels of creatine.
This can cause two problems in some people. First the obvious one – loss of muscle mass and second – loss of libido. A regular supplement of creatine monohydrate can go a long way in countering this, naturally.
Glowing skin, healthier hair
This might not be why you start taking creatine, but don’t be surprised if your skin and hair starts looking younger, healthier. This is because an important building block of skin and hair tissue are amino acids of which creatine is an important part.
Combine this with the fact that you will feel and look healthier, the change in your appearance could be significant. However be warned the effect may vary from person to person. So if you are thinking that you will start looking like Brad Pitt in a few days, you might be disappointed.
Avoid Doping Scandals
Most substances that enhance your training and sport performance are banned by sports bodies. Often enough rightly so.
Not so with creatine. Because creatine is found naturally in the body, So when you are taking creatine monohydrate supplements you are only providing the body more of what it already has.
Most sport bodies allow creatine use, and many a professional athlete depends on it. However, you would be better off finding out for sure from the official body of the sport you follow.
Whoa! Surprised you there, didn’t it? But it is absolutely true. It seems that creatine is not just good for your brawn but your brain too.
Scientists believe that creatine can act as neuroprotectant. Which is just a smart and nerdy way of saying that it protects your neurons or brain cells.
Like every other cell in your body, the brain cells too face damage and damage due to free radicals, oxygen ions and of course toxic peroxides. This greatly reduces brain performances over a period of time.
Creatine can reverse this process.
Which means that your brain becomes fitter and more quick on the uptake. Creatine greatly improves your problem solving capacity and also helps you think faster. And if that was enough, it increases your short term memory too.
Few Side Effects
As you already know by now, Creatine is completely natural and is already present in your body. Your body therefore has lifelong experience of how to deal with this molecule.
When used judiciously and in the right dosage there are few if any side effects. In fact most people can go through whole lives taking creatine without any side effect at all.
One of the most common problems that people face while taking creatine is dehydration. And the solution – it is so simple. Just drink more water and you will be perfectly fine. (If you are working out, you better be drinking enough water anyway.)
However, do make sure to get a doctor’s test – especially of your kidneys and liver before you start taking creatine. And ideally get an expert to recommend you a dosage depending on your needs.
To sum up
If you are an athlete wanting to boost your performance, creatine monohydrate is one of the safest supplements that you can take. It has very few side effects if any and its benefits are too many to mention in one place. As more and more research findings come in, we learn more about this wonderful molecule and the ways it can help us.
The best thing about creatine is that it not only has an immense impact on your athletic abilities, it can also go a long way in improving your quality of life and make you a fitter, healthier and hopefully happier person.