Americans are readily trying to lose weight, and they are shelling out the big bucks to do so. Every year, the 45 million people trying to lose weight spend a shocking 33 billion dollars on weight loss supplements. Most people overlook some supplements, like creatine, because they feel like it can cause them to lose weight. This isn’t always the case, and creatine is an excellent way to aid in your weight loss. Here’s how it works, and why you should give it a shot!
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is most often used as a supplement, designed to help bulk up your muscles and assist in muscle repair after a hard workout. It is found in the muscles naturally and gives you a boost of energy during your workout. Condensed mostly in the muscles at a rate of 95%, it is also found in the brain and liver.
There are a few factors that can affect creatine in your body, and how it is stored. Many of these are dietary choices, such as eating meat. They also include increased exercise and hormone levels like testosterone. By consuming creatine, your phosphocreatine levels are raised, helping your body produce the critical work out molecule, ATP. This helps you to get a good workout in and heal the muscles afterward.
In short, creatine is found naturally in the body and is responsible for increasing ATP and building healthy muscles. So what is its place in weight loss?
How Does It Work?
Many people avoid creatine when trying to lose weight, not furthering their investigation into the supplement after they hear that it pulls water into the muscles which lead to bloating. While this is true and can cause a very brief weight gain, the overall effects are very beneficial. The short term bloating is minimal in comparison to the long term weight loss and health benefits that creatine has to offer.
The University of Saint Paulo in Brazil put these beliefs to rest during its study of 2 groups. One group was given 10g of creatine each day, while the other group received a placebo pill. The results confirmed that creatine does help in losing weight, although you do have to make it past the first weeks bloating period.
The group of individuals who had been given the daily creatine supplement found success in weight loss. This is because it helps lower glucose levels in the body. It lowers these levels by capturing glucose from the blood stream and puts it into the muscles.
While the science behind it may be confusing, there is a common sense factor as well. Creatine helps athletes and weight trainers by offering a boost of energy, allowing them to maximize their workout time. It also helps to repair their muscles faster, meaning fewer breaks between the gym. This leads to increase in muscles mass and lowered levels of body fat.
Not only is this backed scientifically, it is supported by the ability to workout for longer periods of time which aids in weight loss.
Is It Right For Me?
As with any supplements, there are people who are not a good candidate for creatine. If you suffer from any type of dysfunction in the kidneys or diabetes, make sure you consult with a doctor before taking it and receive regular check-ups while you are taking it. If you use a concomitant nephrotoxic agent, you will need to check with your doctor about any possible negative side effects as well.
Creatine is excellent for adults who are in good health, interested in losing weight, improving their gym performance, and bulking up muscles. While there has been some controversy regarding creatine and its side effects, it has been deemed safe for consumption and very effective for those who want to reap the benefits of this supplement.
So, you’re sold on the idea. How do you incorporate creatine into your workout or daily routine? There is a schedule you can follow to reap the most benefits out of adding creatine to your diet.
Days 1-5: The Saturation Period
Start out with 20g daily of creatine. You can mix this in with a smoothie, shake, or just add milk and stir. There are also some great creatine recipes online that you can get creative with. The first week of your creatine schedule is designed to saturate the muscles with creatine in order to speed up the process.
For those with gastric upset, it may be advisable to skip the saturation or phase, as it can cause bloating and discomfort. If you decide to skip this phase, extend your intake from five days to 10-14 days, consuming only 10g of creatine. This is also good for those who want to avoid potential bloating altogether.
Day 5 and Beyond: The Maintenance Period
If you chose to take advantage of the saturation period, it is now time to start cutting back on your creatine intake. Consume 2-3g of creatine a day, ongoing. This is not a good supplement for taking whenever you feel like it. Creatine needs to be consumed regularly in order to reap its benefits. Vegetarians and others who limit their red meat intake can benefit greatly from adding creatine to their diet.
Do not consume more than 20g of creatine in one day. This can lead to formaldehyde production.
The verdict is in. Creatine is an excellent dietary supplement, aiding in weight loss and muscle toning. For those who want to lose weight and tone up, this is one of the best options on the market.
While many articles have been written trying to debunk the benefits of creatine, none have withstood the experiments and rigorous testing that this supplement has gone through in order to be deemed safe. If you are looking to shed pounds and tone your muscles, consider adding creatine to your diet.