By James De Medeiros Men's Fitness
If you’ve spent any amount of time in a sports nutrition store, you’re familiar with creatine powder, pills, and liquids. Over the last couple of decades, creatine has emerged as a supplement staple for guys looking to build strength and lean muscle mass. But, while its popularity endures, many are still unfamiliar with what creatine truly has to offer. The short answer: Plenty. We’ve come up with a list of the six best reasons why you should consider adding creatine to your daily regimen.
Are you trying to build strength and find yourself doing a lot of high intensity interval training? Have you peaked? If so, creatine might be able to boost you to the next level. A California study indicates that by consuming creatine, you may be helping your muscles build phospocreatine, which gives you the ability to perform better at shorter, intense strength-building exercises. If your gym time consists of many explosive, heavy lifts for shorter rep counts, consider taking a creatine supplement and ditch the pre-workout chicken in favor of foods higher in creatine such as pork, salmon, tuna, or beef.
Sometimes all it takes to succeed in life is a good start. While that may not be true in politics, it could certainly help you in the world of sports. Italian researchers discovered that jumpers and sprinters who supplemented with creatine significantly improved the first 30 seconds of their performance by roughly 10%. If seconds matter, or if you’re just looking to gain the early advantage against your buddies in a sprint or on the courts, a creatine shake could prove to be a difference-maker.
Unfortunately, once you reach your thirties, it’s common for your testosterone levels to decline. You may experience a decrease in energy, endurance, strength, mental sharpness, and sex drive. One solution is testosterone replacement therapy such as injections or a daily patch. Something else you could try is creatine. A New Jersey study found that following a 10 week resistance training program, participants who took a daily creatine supplement significantly increased their resting testosterone levels. If you’re concerned about your testosterone levels, ask your doctor to set up a blood test.
Are you feeling confused, forgetful, or lacking in focus? If so, you might be interested to know that Australian researchers gave 45 study participants five grams of creatine supplements daily for a six-week period and found that many of them had improved neurological performance. More specifically, they determined creatine supplementation helped study participants more quickly process information and they also benefited from an improved memory. The next time you find yourself walking back to the car to retrieve your forgotten shopping list, consider purchasing a creatine supplement at one of the mall’s sports nutrition stores.
Do you always delay doing housework until you get one of your wife’s many status update calls indicating she’s only minutes away from home? British researchers may have found a way to make those precious few moments count. They discovered that according to kayak ergometer readings, kayakers who received creatine supplementation were able to get significantly more work done. Whether it’s paddling in a kayak, working at home or in the gym, if you want to make the most of your time, consider following this study’s example and supplement with 20 grams of creatine for five days.
It’s true: In some cases size does matter. In fact, for many guys, building bigger muscles is the key reason to go the gym. Of course, consuming protein is critical, but according to Washington State University researchers creatine supplementation can also make a difference. Their study determined that participants supplementing with creatine were able to gain significant muscle mass and strength in myogenic satellite cells, which are important in the regeneration and overall maintenance of skeletal muscle. There’s a reason that bodybuilders and powerlifters love creatine, and this is it.