Written and Media by Taylor Ratcliffe.
Working out but not seeing the “gains” you were hoping for? Desiring to see improvement but not wanting to take steroids? Good for you! Thankfully, there is a supplement out there that is known for a great increase in muscle mass. It is one of the most studied and controversial supplements out there: creatine.
Creatine is naturally produced in the body, but when working out, the levels are diminished; so, it’s important to replenish those levels (ATP in the bloodstream). ATP is the energy your cells have. However, creatine is a supplement that must be cycled. There are a few ways to take it:
- Take five grams in the span of six to eight weeks and then stop using the supplement for about three months before cycling back on.
- If you are hoping to load on creatine, it is recommended to take 20 grams for week one, 10 grams during weeks two through four, and to stop taking creatine for the next four weeks.
Both options are good and show results. Just remember to take creatine even when you don’t go to the gym. Like a diet, it takes about two weeks for the body to get used to the new supplement. If you forget to take creatine one day, it takes two weeks to see the full effects again.
When it comes to taking creatine as a NCAA student athlete, there is only one rule to follow: the school cannot provide it to you. This is where the controversy of creatine lies. Studies have proved that creatine is not bad for you, but many schools still believe the myths. It’s thought that creatine increases the chance of dehydration and muscle cramping. In actuality, creatine increases the amount of water a body can hold and hydrates it. There are some myths that say creatine damages organs in the body, but none of the studies are proven. In fact, no affects have been seen on organs. Some believe it may affect the kidneys and liver, but creatine is produced there and no harm has been found.
My husband and I have been taking five grams of creatine almost everyday for the past six weeks. Although we have forgotten to take it some days, we have seen a great increase in muscle growth. Just a note, we have been taking creatine AND protein. There was a study done proving that pairing the two together improves muscle growth by 12% more than taking protein alone. So, take protein with creatine if you want to see more results.
In a few weeks, I’ll be starting a study on a few Greenville Women’s soccer girls to see how creatine, and creatine timing, affects muscle growth.
Check out future articles on creatine to stay updated!