I’m pretty sure my first time was at about 15 or so. I was pretty new to everything and I was hanging out with some people who were older than me. They seemed so effortlessly cool. They didn’t struggle in talking to women, they were popular, and they were all huge.
So, naturally, I trusted them. Remember, I’m like 15 years old at the time. I’m gangly, super awkward, and puberty has left it’s mark by gracing me with acne the likes of which only a high school teenager can relate to.
Being cool was something I desperately needed. So I hung out with the older dudes. I did what they did. I
But, alas, I’m not talking about nose candy. Instead, we’re talking about creatine.
Creatine at it’s greatest is touted as one of the best muscle building supplements to ever be released. Said to induce growth that Arnold would be jealous of, and strength that would make the Hulk turn green with envy. At it’s worst however, creatine is seen as something that will dry your insides up like a raisin. Killing your kidneys, and just asking to be admitted to the hospital for renal failure.
So, which is it?
A brief overview on creatine:
How ready are you to get your mind blown? Ready? Good. Because here’s some shit that might just make you question life itself. Creatine is vital to you being able to survive. In fact, if your body didn’t already create creatine, it would be a required supplement that you took every single day.
Yes, you read that correctly. Creatine is absolutely, 100% necessary to live and breathe. In fact, creatine deficiency (a rare case) leads to mental retardation. Creatine is a molecule in an energy system, the creatine phosphate system. The creatine phosphate system is one that can rapidly produce energy in anaerobic activity (not requiring oxygen) via ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is your bodies currency with which it pays for energy.
Creatine works by storing high energy phosphate, and in times of extreme stress the body releases phosphocreatine for cellular energy. This is the process by which creatine aids in power output for athletes, but it also aids the brain, bones and liver. Some pretty important body parts.
All of that sounds painfully boring, doesn’t it? Yeah, I agree, and I wrote that shit.
What do the stuffed shirts in white lab coats say about creatine?
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most highly researched sports supplements in the world. In fact, there’s over 65 studies devoted to just creatine monohydrate and it’s effect on power output in athletes. All of which say that creatine unequivocally aids power output.
Now, power output may seem a bit strange, because not many people in the real world with real jobs care about power output. But power output is really just pretentious fitness phrasing that means it helps you move heavier shit faster, which in turn helps you get stronger, build more muscle, and drop more fat.
Just so we’re clear, we’re talking about that clean powder here.
If you pay attention to supplements at all, you may have noticed that I’m talking about creatine monohydrate. The good stuff. Supplement companies are making millions by selling “new” forms of creatine. Forms of creatine like buffered creatine, creatine nitrate, kre-alkalyn. These forms often sell for 4-5 times that of the original monohydrate. Yet nothing has been studied as much, or been proven to be safer than monohydrate.
And look, I’m all for experimenting and trying new shit out. Even when it comes to sketchy powders. But when it comes to trying to get stronger, build more muscle, and burn more fat, I’d much rather stick with what people have determined works.
Oh, by the way, that’s not it.
Creatine monohydrate won’t just help you lift more weight, or sprint faster, it can actually increase testosterone production, VO2 max, the amount of lean muscle someone has on their body, and hydration levels.
That last little point is my favorite. The biggest drawback to creatine has always been people claiming it will dehydrate them, dry them out, lead to cramping, etc. In all practicality, creatine leads to greater water retention in skeletal muscle tissue. More water retention means one thing. Higher levels of hydration. Which doesn’t exactly jive with the whole “creatine dehydrates me” thing.
A final note: Don’t be shy of creatine. Whether you are a guy or a girl, if you are someone looking to increase the amount of muscle you carry (for girls this is a whole different animal, don’t be afraid to build muscle) creatine is a go to supplement. In fact, I would argue that it should be THE go to supplement. There’s hardly anything on the planet that can compare to the benefits it provides, without any drawbacks. Shell out the $9-$10 on the good ol fashioned creatine monohydrate, and watch your physique, and health change for the better.