Grab your cheat sheet
One of the most important things we need to get out of the way before we plan any fitness journey is the many myths that get thrown about, especially in the gym. And, here we’re going to talk about creatine.
Gym myths (including the ones about creatine) usually start with someone mishearing some advice given in good faith. Before you know it, this misinformation spreads around like Chinese whispers—creating the kind of fitness advice that belongs in the bin.
Getting the wrong advice can not only put you on the back foot—it can set you back months, potentially leading to injury and total failure.
So, let’s cut the bull and get down to it. Yes, creatine is the focus of our attention here, and it’s one of the most popular supplements on the market.
So, let’s take down the creatine conspiracy theorists and find out the real deal.
What is creatine?
Before we look at what it doesn’t do, let’s look at what creatine does. Creatine helps to supply energy to our muscle cells, and it’s used as a supplement by athletes to help with high-intensity exercise.
There’s also evidence to suggest that it helps to boost brain power and develop good old lean muscle.
Creatine contains three amino acids: L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. Around 95% of the creatine in our body is stored in muscles, and around 5% in our brain.
People use creatine as an energy source when our body demands it, which is why it’s so popular among anyone looking to push their body to new levels.
It can boost the efficiency of resistance training and help to boost muscle mass. Creatine also improves the quality of high-intensity training. Studies have also shown that creatine can help in repairing muscle damage and recovery from exercise as it has an antioxidant effect.
So there are plenty of benefits, but let’s have a look and see if we can debunk the rumours which might have been steering you away from this highly-beneficial supplement.
Read: 5 common mistakes you might be making with creatine powder to make sure you get the most from your training and nutrition efforts.
Creatine: The top five myths busted
There are so many misconceptions surrounding creatine that it sometimes makes our head spin. So, before you start taking creatine, let’s bust the five most common myths surrounding the stuff.
1. Creatine Causes Fat Gain
False! This myth usually circulates locker rooms because of the water retention that happens when you start to use creatine.
Basically, muscle tissues take in water as the creatine molecules attract it, which pulls it into your muscles.
Once absorbed, your body uses the water and you return to your regular weight. Any weight you gain from creatine is likely from muscle mass rather than body fat, especially if you use the supplement as part of a regular workout routine. Myth busted.
2. Creatine causes hair loss
No. It’s not difficult to see where this rumour kicked off. A South African study in 2009 looked at a group of men who took creatine for several weeks.
The study concluded that there was an increase in levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a byproduct of testosterone that can shrink hair follicles. This would be an alarming issue for those looking to retain their hair, but for the fact that none of the participants suffered any hair loss whatsoever.
The increase in DHT was low and remained well below critical levels, so those worried about creatine-causing thinning hair can relax.
3. Creatine is bad for the kidneys
This is one of the more popular rumours going around. And, like all good myths, it has some truthful elements mixed in with some, shall we say, artistic licence.
The science behind taking creatine is that it raises creatinine levels in your body, which is waste created by muscles. Your kidneys will filter the creatine, which is eventually excreted through urine.
If you have higher than usual creatinine levels in your body, medical professionals often see it as a warning sign. But, remember: your creatinine levels will be higher simply because you’re taking creatine supplements rather than your kidneys malfunctioning.
Providing you’re taking it in sensible amounts, your kidneys can cope with the creatine levels.
FYI: If you do have pre-existing kidney issues, talk to your doctor before taking creatine to make sure it’s safe.
4. If you take creatine, you don’t need to work out
There’s some truth in this rumour, as a recent study showed that a group of people with muscular dystrophy who took creatine regularly showed improved their strength without exercise.
But, the improvement was small and if you want to make serious gains from creatine, you need to do the work. Yes, you should work out regularly.
As mentioned, there will be some water retention when taking creatine. So, if you take it on board as a supplement and don’t work out, you’re likely to experience bloating and a weight increase that will come from water rather than muscle mass.
Creatine, combined with regular and progressive resistance training, is a powerful combination for building muscle mass.
5. Creatine supplements aren’t needed as long as you eat a healthy diet
You can find creatine in certain foods like milk, fish, beef, and pork. But (and it’s a big but), it comes in such small quantities that you’d need to eat a colossal amount of food to compete with a single scoop of creatine.
You’d have to work off the extra weight you’d be carrying. So, purified creatine supplementation is much better than eating plate after plate (after plate) or meat every single day.
Should you take creatine?
If you’re looking to gain an advantage in your workouts and enjoy real physical progression, taking creatine should be high on your list.
Taking creatine helps you use energy more efficiently and is a serious asset for high-intensity exercise.
The higher your creatine stores are, the longer you’ll be able to keep going before you tire—which means more reps and sets. Creatine will give you that extra boost of energy at the time when you most need it.
Did you know? A three-month study recently found that creatine supplements can increase muscle fibre growth threefold, double a muscle’s body mass, and boost the maximum weight someone can bench press in a single rep. It’s perfect for recovery too.
Level up your gains with Crazy Nutrition
Are you ready to get the gains you deserve and boost your workout performance? It’s time to embrace the body-boosting power of creatine.
Check out Crazy Nutrition’s CRN-5 formula: an epic supplement created to give you superior strength & stamina compared to other creatine formulas.