Increasing performance through physical and mental capacity
Similar to helmets and pads, athletes need protection to prevent injury and maintain performance in the game. But what most athletes do not focus on is the internal protection, or what their own bodies can do for them to heal and recuperate. Creatine, being one of the most well-renowned sport nutrition supplements, has more protective effects than one is aware of. Regardless of the negative reputation or the falsely claimed side effects, creatine is one of the most highly researched supplements in the field of sports nutrition. Both enhancing performance and decreasing fatigue, creatine affects the body in multiple mechanisms. Being one of the safest supplements for any athlete at any age, creatine can help push you further.
The Inside Scoop on Creatine:
Creatine is a magic compound, or what us science nerds consider an “ergogenic aid” —meaning it enhances performances while decreasing fatigue. It is, in fact, a compound that is naturally found in steak and fish but can also be used in supplement form. Something to keep in mind, one would have to consume approximately 12 ounces of meat in order to provide 1 gram of creatine; hence, it is easy to see the convenience of creatine supplementation. The human body naturally produces creatine in the liver and pancreas. It is then stored in muscle tissue and in small amounts in the brain and testes. creatine is essential in providing energy to cells, specifically for high intensity situations and sports such as football, weight lifting, sprinting, and hockey, to list several examples. Essentially, this phenomenal supplement has the ability to help the human body go harder for a longer period of time and can significantly increase strength and aid in performance. Creatine creates the potential to push the body further than what it is accustomed to. Creatine monohydrate (CrM) is the most researched and proven form of Creatine to legally enhance performance. Recent studies have also shown the benefits of creatine and brain health.
Creatine and the Brain:
Similar to glucose, creatine has the potential to boost brain performance instantly. Studies have shown positive effects on creatine and the increase in mental training and a decrease in mental fatigue. reatine not only allows athletes to increase muscle performance, but recognition memory as well. What will determine an elite-performing athlete are not only what they are able to do physically, but also their instinctive movements while playing the game—how quick can they move, remember a play or make the right decision. These aspects of performance are not determined by how much they can lift, but by their millisecond choices made by a top-performing brain.
Furthermore, new research has shown therapeutic effects of creatine supplementation in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Huntington’s disease. According to a study done by the Center of Disease Control in 2012, NFL players are three times more likely to develop a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s than the average population. Taking into account the numerous blows to the head an NFL player receives, simple neutraceutical interventions may help prevent or exacerbate permanent damage. Creatine can not only affect physical performance, but can affect life after the game as well.
Creatine: Pros & Cons:
Creatine monohydrate has proven to be an active contributor at improving performance. However, it is important that pros & cons be noted about this natural supplement.
- Muscle mass increase
- Strength increase
- Faster recovery time
- Higher intensity during training
- Reduced muscle damage
- Sprinting faster
- Lifting longer
- Jumping higher
- Decreased inflammation (inflammation may slow down recovery)
- Better brain function
- A nicer looking body (keep in mind that beauty is in the eye of the beholder)
- In a healthy human, there are NO SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN SIDE EFFECTS TO USING CREATINE MONOHYDRATE.
Wait, there is ONE. The only clinically proven “side effect” is weight gain, which is typically 2-4 pounds of water during the first week of use. The additional weight gain is due to increased muscle because of better training abilities. You’re welcome.
There have been false claims stating that creatine is bad for your kidneys liver, and that it will cause cramps. None have been proven by scientific studies, only reported by the local nutrition store employee. The International Society of Sports Nutrition (www.sportsnutritionsociety.org) released a full position stand on creatine. That means these science experts really sat down, read and reviewed the studies, and basically put everything in black and white for the rest of us. This can be found at www.jissn.com.
Follow the real science, not the “Bro-Science!”
Keep in mind that science is a process that follows specific steps to prove something works.
Bro-Science is… well, not real science. Media, uninformed professionals, and those who listen to them, tend to make claims about supplements, including creatine. These claims have not been proven through real research. Real research refers to scientific studies that have a population larger than two people who are monitored and follow strict, specific guidelines to prove whether or not something works as well as it should. It is then reviewed by many intelligent people and eventually may be considered as “peer-reviewed.”
Bro-Science refers to statements and suggestions made by individuals (such as media and more commonly the guy checking himself out in the mirror at your local gym) who have not read peer-reviewed scientific studies. At the end of the day, do your homework. Know what’s worth taking and what is not. Creatine monohydrate, the former bullied supplement, is now getting the justice it deserves.
Regardless of the negative stigma creatine may have, there have been several proven studies of the phenomenal benefits it may provide. If you are an athlete or someone looking to increase performance, ask yourself, “Why haven’t I used creatine?” It’s a no brainer and will promote a healthier brain at the same time. Not to mention, further metabolic testing, customized nutrition and advanced blood panels can take an athlete to next level in performance. To current knowledge, no professional sports organization has banned creatine as a performance-enhancing drug—however, that is exactly what it does. Creatine enhances performance, safely. It can easily be considered the “avengers” of all supplements—it does it all. Moral of the story: purchase some creatine monohydrate and thank us later.
- Drink 1 gallon of water each day,
- Train hard!
Erik Bustillo RD CPT:
Erik is a Registered Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist, and Certified Personal Trainer at Elite Fit Forever. He works with a variety of athletes from weekend warriors to professional athletes. Erik’s passion is helping people reach their goals and make gains in their performance and health. He is a graduate of Florida International University and an active member in the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN). Feel free to contact Erik at Erik@elitefitforever.com or www.elitefitforever.com.