Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Creatine?

If you regularly train using cardiovascular workouts and a weight resistance routine while taking nutritional supplements but are not paying attention to basic nutrition than you are essentially throwing away a good portion of the benefits you are gaining from your workouts.

Basic nutrition is absolutely essential to making the most of your sports training.

Food calories supply energy and nutrients to the body during exercise. Without proper basic nutrition you loss energy more quickly resulting in a less intense workout. While simple sugars are used up almost immediately, complex sugars or complex carbohydrates provide prolonged energy to the muscles during exercise. Protein is composed of amino acids which support growing muscles. In fact, basic nutritional deficits can cause you to lose hard earned muscle to muscle tissue breakdown or catabolism.

According to Joel Marion, prior Body for Life 2001 Grand Champion, not only are the foods you eat important but proper timing in relation to workouts plays a vital role in maximizing your performance, optimizing fat loss, and minimizing muscle loss. The intensity of your workout is directly related to the amount of calories and fat you burn. You can not be at full intensity if you are suffering from lack of proper nutrition.

In addition, intense exercise can increase muscle loss in people who are not meeting their caloric needs.(1)

There are six nutrients needed on a daily basis. These include: water, vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates and proteins. There are three types of calories including: carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Carbohydrates are converted to sugars during exercise. Complex carbohydrates are what your body needs to perform at optimum levels. Fats also fuel the body for exercise. Saturated fat is what you should strive to avoid while monounsaturated fat is the least detrimental to the body. Protein helps build and maintain muscle mass.

Foods high in protein include chicken, egg whites, lean beef, beans and skim milk.

It is recommended that your daily diet consists of 50% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 20% protein. If you exercise regularly you may want to increase your carbohydrates and protein intake while slightly decreasing your fats.

To improve your nutrition you should try to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, drink eight glasses of water (more if you are consuming a lot of proteins and complex carbohydrates), eliminate junk food and unnecessary fat like in whole milk, and consume only lean meats. If you want to maximize your work outs while eliminating unnecessary muscle breakdown, it is recommended that you consume a nutritional supplement before and after workouts to restore glycogen and creatine levels, decrease muscle tissue catabolism, and encourage muscle tissue growth.

1. Marion, Joel. Active Nutrition. http://www.eas.com/nutrition/articles.asp?cmsID=1038

Monday, September 11, 2006

Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation

Positive Side Effects

Now onto the good stuff. Do you ever feel fatigued or tired? Do you wake up and decide you don’t want to work out because you’re too tired to lift weights or go run? Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions then creatine is for you. Creatine is an energy booster. It’s not like drinking coffee or an energy drink, by taking daily creatine supplements your body will get used to having more energy throughout the day, leaving you enough energy to wake up, hit the gym, and provide that boost you need to lift an additional rep.

Another positive side effect of creatine is how it will make you look bigger. I am assuming that is a look you want if you are reading this blog. When you take creatine your body retains more water, making you look fuller. It will make your chest and arms appear to be bigger because of the water in the muscles.

By taking creatine you will be able to work out longer and lift more reps than usual. This is a very positive benefit of taking the supplement. You will gain weight (some water weight but most muscle weight). If you are a skinny person now and are looking to bulk up, then it is highly recommended that you take creatine along with other supplements to help speed along the process. Not only will you increase your weight rapidly, but you will gain more confidence as you watch your body bulk up.

If you take Creatine Monohydrate and begin experiencing any serious negative side effects (I’m talking about chest pains or something), I recommend that you stop taking it immediately and consult a physician. Overall creatine can be a very safe and productive supplement. It is one of the few out there that have little to no negative side effects.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Creatine Kinase

Despite what all the moms say about creatine, it is actually one of the few supplements out there that works and doesn’t harm you in the process if used correctly. Your body uses creatine whether you put it in your body via powder form, pill form, or red meat. Creatine simply gives you more energy that allows you to push that extra rep or two up. Those extra few reps will produce bigger gains over a length of time.

The first step in taking creatine is the loading phase. I would take what the creatine bottles say with a grain of salt. Always read the directions on the package before you use anything, but also realize that these companies are out to make money. They sometimes fudge their dosage amounts so you run out of product faster and have to order more.

Creatine is used in cycles. The typical cycle will last about 8-10 weeks depending on the individual. The first week of ever cycle consists of what we call a loading phase. During the loading phase, you will take more creatine than usual to get your body ready for it. It is recommended that you take 20 grams/day during the loading phase. You can break this up into 4-5 times a day depending on when you eat your meals and when you work out. It is also important to take creatine up to 2 hours before you work out because it will take time for the muscles to absorb it.

There are several ways you can take creatine. Some people take it in the form of pills, while the majority of us use the powder form. I always buy flavorless because I generally put the scoop right into my mouth and wash it down with a tall glass of grape juice. It is also ok to mix creatine with protein or to put it in shakes or a glass of water. The problem with creatine is that is doesn’t dissolve well. That’s why I recommend you just put the scoop on the back of your tongue and swallow it, that way you don’t lose any of the creatine in the bottom of your cup.

Packages might tell you to take more than the daily loading phase dosage, but don’t listen to them. The body will just excrete any excess creatine and it will be wasted. Creatine can be a great tool in aiding you in your journey to get in shape. The loading phase is very important in the cycle, so be sure to follow the recommended dosage amounts and try not to skip any servings. If you miss your morning scoop, do not take 2 scoops at the next scheduled time.