I just started taking creatine. Mostly to gain strength for the PURR contest. I've never taken it before, so it's all new to me.
You're supposed to take a loading dose (20g/day for 5 days) before you go on to regular maintenance doses (5g/day).
I'm on my 3rd day of the loading dose and I've only been doing 15g/day.
I weighed myself at the Y last night and I weighed in @ 174 lbs. That's 4 lbs. heavier than my normal weight range of 165-170 lbs. Probably all water weight. One of the side effects of the supplement is water weight gain. Not usually a good thing for endurance athletes.
So today I thought I'd skip my regular 7 mi. easy run and bust out a short and quick one just to see how fit I was. Managed a 6:51 pace for the distance. It's been a long time since I've hit the sub 7 mark on the asphalt, but I usually don't run in the mornings or for short distances either. Creatine? :shrug: Hard to say, could be a number of things.
This afternoon (Monday), I went for a bike ride. Did pretty much the same ride on Saturday at the same time of day and with the same weather conditions and managed a 18.7 MPH pace for 38 miles (on Saturday).
On today's ride, I felt stronger on the bike. At maybe the 10 mi. point, I noticed that I was avg. 19.2 MPH. That's quite a bit faster than I usually go at that point in the ride. I added a little bit to today's (Monday), but it was pretty much the same route as Saturday, but I managed to finish out with 42 miles @ 19.3 MPH avg.
The only differences between Saturday and Monday's rides...
1) Creatine. I started on Saturday.
2) I really kicked it for the last few miles on Monday's ride. Managed to add .2 MPH to my avg. speed.
3) doughnuts. I don't normally do doughnuts, but I think I've had 8 or 9 over the past two days.
4) Weight. I weigh 4 more pounds than I did on Saturday.
5) Saturday was ride/run brick. Monday was early run and bike later in the day.
So, was it the creatine that gave me the extra edge?
Good luck with it
only over time will you be able to really tell if there is a direct correlation between the creatine and improved performance. Never have taken creatine myself.
kickin' butt aren't ya?
i mean it helps, but the muscles aren't as good as if it was done naturally.
at least that's what i've gathered from different people.
some people swear by it too. good job on the gains though! it could be mental too ;)
I'm still undecided on whether the lifting gains are completely physical or I'm just getting a psychological boost. My bench press 1 rep max (actual) is up 25 lbs. (calculated) in just over 5 weeks though.
Creatine supposedly makes your muscles develop and recover faster, but it also makes the muscles retain some water and bulk up a little. Creatine is a salt, and most of it just gets filtered right back out by your kidneys. You should be extra careful that you get enough water. Most people agree that you should not exceed 20g creatine for 5 days during loading. After 5 days, 15g of the 20g is going right back into your urine, so there's no point (and this is unnecessary work for your kidneys). When you're taking 20g during the loading phase, you should take 5g doses 3 hours apart, otherwise, again you'll just see most of it filtered right back out by your kidneys within a few hours. What you're trying to do is saturate the muscle. After loading, take the 5g maintenance dose right after (or before) your workout. Note that there are reputable sources who call 5g overkill, and there's probably no need to take more than 2g creatine as a maintenance dose. This is mostly done to sell more creatine, but it's gotten cheap enough that nobody's going bankrupt taking 5g a day, and it's still a relatively low amount.
Most people also recommend a wash-out phase lasting several weeks. After being on creatine for 8-12 weeks, you should go off of it for 4 weeks. It just seems like a good idea, but the theory behind it is that if you saturate your body with creatine constantly, it will stop producing it on its own. This has been mostly disproven, as there have been 5-year tests where subjects (although taking less than 5g of creatine) went back to synthesizing their own creatine afterwards. Most large-scale tests have stopped after 8-12 weeks, so there are still people who say that we just don't know about the negative side-effects that could be associated with constant doses of 5g of creatine. If you have that wash-out phase, most people are confident to recommend creatine as perfectly safe. If you were going to stay on creatine constantly, you would probably need to go through another loading phase about every 8 weeks anyway, because the amount of creatine in your muscles seems to start tapering off some after 4-8 weeks of maintenance.
Most studies I've seen focus on the ability of creatine to boost fast-twitch performance and bulk up your muscles a little (though water retention of the muscle and through muscle actually gained). This is obviously good for sprinters and bodybuilders, but it seems like it could actually be detrimental to distance runners.
This means that creatine supplementation will work for athletes who's sport is based upon short intermittent bursts of activity, such as body building, football, golf, and baseball. Creatine supplementation may even be beneficial for sprinters in running events. For those athletes that participate in largely aerobic activities, such as swimming, long distance running, and cycling, creatine is of little benefit.
That said, creatine seems to help training of all kinds and speed recovery. It increases the ATP stores in your muscles, which in turn decreases lactate levels. This is good for everybody, but only becomes a major issue during bursts of intense activity.
Still, creatine isn't only found in fast-twitch muscles. Slow-twitch muscles use creatine, too, just not as much. Most people who use creatine are specifically trying to bulk up, but if you use it along with your regular training, I really can't see a down-side to it. If you're not training to bulk up, you won't. If you schedule your training so that your big events are during wash-out phases, then you can't argue that a little extra water weight is slowing you down, either.
Most web sites that talk about creatine are just trying to sell it. The closest thing to non-biased info I've seen on the difference between creatines is:
There are three primary manufacturing sources of creatine powder: China, Germany, and the United States. Companies buy creatine from one of these sources, mix it with other ingredients, package it, and make it into a product. To avoid impurities, I strongly recommend buying only U.S. or German creatine because of their high quality. It will cost you more, but it is well worth it.
At the very least, creatine helps with interval workouts and recovery.
I'm thinking about trying the stuff in early 2004.