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Using Creatine Monohydrate – The Facts

by other on June 18, 2011

Using Creatine Monohydrate – The Facts

Hi Ian here from Get Ripped Plan and Hardgainers Workouts. And I thought I’d write this article in order to clarify the benefits/drawbacks of using Creatine Monohydrate (CM).

Creatine Phosphate (CP) is one of the initial energy sources for all immediate muscle actions. For intense burst of energy (sprints, jumps, muscle building etc) CP is used for between 6 and 12 seconds of super high intensity effort. Any muscular work beyond that requires carbohydrates or fats or both stored in our body systems. A normal diet will provide some Creatine (especially from meat products) and other body substances make up any shortfall.

The benefits include: CM loading which enables the body to hold more (similar to carbohydrate loading) Creatine Phosphate and improve muscle contractility and recovery qualities. This is where it helps you gain and increase muscle size.

CM also acts as a ‘buffer’ to improve lactate tolerance (e.g. it staves off lactic acid build-up) this will help you recover when making intermittent efforts.

Repeated studies have suggested that the recommended dosage should be a loading phase of 5 grams taken 5 times per day (25g in total) for five to seven days. This is then followed by a maintenance phase of 5grams per day. The best time to ingest CM is post training to improve recovery and when the muscles are more permeable (receptive) to loading up. Continue maintenance for up to 6 weeks then take a 2-week ‘washout’ period.

When taking CM it is important to eat a well balanced diet, including small healthy protein rich snacks in between proper meals (4-5 meals per day). This is because the hormone insulin is released to control increases in blood sugar (glucose) levels and this also transports Creatine into the muscle tissues.

The other vital component is to make sure that you hydrate well. CM especially during the loading phase can potentially overload the kidneys and reduce its function without taking regular amounts of water or an electrolyte drink on board, also Creatine draws water into the muscle cells from blood plasma (the fluid portion of our blood), which can create the onset of dehydration.

 Research has shown that CM loading does not work at the same rate or the same effect for everyone. This is due to different people producing various levels of CP at differing rates and also due to training status (ie; are you overtraining and reducing you ability to re-synthesise CP?) and ability to absorb fluids and foodstuffs.

Different people tolerate fluids better, this can lead to CM giving the impression that you are gaining size but all you may be doing is retaining water and no ergogenic (muscle contractility/performance improvements) are taking place!

Under no circumstances should you ‘over-load with CM (REMEMBER – acute loading WILL NOT improve performance, in fact the opposite may occur) alongside the dehydration factors your body may reduce its own production of CP and during your ‘washout’ phase you may feel fatigued, lethargic and show flu symptoms (this is not flu usually but just a build up of metabolic waste in your body that needs to be removed) it may take a period of time to recover back to full CP production.

If you want to try CM I suggest that you go for it, but follow the guidelines and awareness that I’ve stated, follow a controlled training programme and a balanced sensible diet and hydration plan and you should see some great mass building and performance results.

 To you success and as usual enjoy.


 Ian Freeman is an exercise scientist who has worked with top professional athletes from Premier League soccer players, Olympic Gold Medallists through to champion cage fighters and bodybuilders.

 He also went from being a skinny, scrawny 69kg triathlete to a lean muscular 80kg Ironman triathlete using his Get Ripped Plan.


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