For being one of the most-studied, cheapest and most effective supplements out there, you'd be surprised how much misinformation is swirling around about creatine. It's like steroids! It trashes your kidneys and liver! You get HUGE. Your maxes go up by 50 pounds!!!
I wish my maxes went up 50 pounds, but I digress.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is not a steroid or a scary drug. Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical, like an amino acid, which we get through diet. It hangs out in the muscles and aids the synthesis of ATP. ATP is the actual chemical in your muscles that gives them the short-term energy required for power and performance. (Think the energy required to perform a set before you have to take a rest to replenish the stores and go again.)
Loading your cells with creatine provides extra stores of energy in your muscles. Basically, you can perform more strenuous workouts because your muscles don't fatigue as easily. Performing these workouts helps your body build lean mass. Lean mass helps you burn fat and become bigger, stronger, faster, etc. It is still you doing the work required to achieve this, however. If you simply took creatine and sat around, or didn't do much, you'd just gain some water weight. Nothing else.
Why would you use creatine?
Creatine is good for embarking on a serious hypertrophy program or a challenging powerlifting cycle. It also may be good for vegetarians and vegans who do not eat the meat required to have enough in their body. If you are feeling sluggish, it is something to consider because it provides energy without the rush of stimulants. Use creatine to build up your muscle mass. It won't be a hindrance to leaning out, as long as you stick to a proper diet and your lifting program.
Who Shouldn't Use Creatine?
Although many studies have proven oral creatine to be quite safe at 3-5 g daily (plus more, but that's the effective dosage) and not affect the liver or kidneys, you don't want to take it if you have kidney or liver disease. You don't need creatine if you aren't really going hard in the gym. It isn't a miracle energy booster, nor will it promote lean mass if you aren't busting your ass to build it, in the first place. If you are currently cutting weight for a sport or competition, hold off until you are done. Creatine does cause a little water retention and will not help you to make a weight class.
MTS CREATINE MONOHYDRATE
I have been using MTS creatine since it came out. Before that, I was using a different brand of German Creapure creatine. I never used fly-by-night brands, because I am choosy about what I put into my body.
I do not take creatine all year. I take it when times get tough and shit gets real, aka when I have goals to hit. When I go off creatine, I more or less retain my gains. I do not feel suddenly zapped. My lifts don't tank. They might stagnate a bit more, or I'll feel like I have to work a little harder, but it's not a crash and burn, by any means. I take 3g (a little over half scoop) with my BCAA's near the end of my workout, daily. I try to drink between 2-3 liters (70-100oz) of water every day while I'm on it. (This includes the water in the BCAA/creatine drink and my morning coffee, etc.) On my off days, sometimes I just slug it back with 8oz of water near the time I'd usually take it at the gym. I do not cycle onto it, I simply start off by taking the recommended dose. I feel it within a week. Also, I do not drink much alcohol at all while I'm on it. Maybe a beer on the weekend, but I'm very careful to stay hydrated and on task.
I have never felt nauseated or experienced gastrointestinal upset. Again, I don't overload it to cycle on. The only bloating I typically experience is the initial push to chug a ton more water than I'm used to. It lasts a few days and then my body adjusts. I pee a lot more. It can be mildly annoying to have to pee in the middle of your workout, but that's about all the discomfort I have ever felt, so I really can't complain.
MTS Creatine is unflavored and made to be mixed in with preworkouts or BCAAs as needed. You could mix it into a protein shake or water or anything else. It's a little gritty by itself in water, but it goes down easily.
I notice improved energy within a week or so. I just went from struggling under my former 10 rep weight for sets of five, to bringing up my old weights without much of a problem. The kind of energy it provides is only muscle energy, there is no speeding up the heart rate or jittery, stimulant-like effects, whatsoever.
I also notice a mild pump in my muscles and I look a little fuller, but not much - not yet.
I was bloated for the first few days due to the amount of water I was drinking and now I am back to normal, no weight gain.
I really love creatine when I need it. And I use MTS because I trust their quality. MTS rigorously tests their products and uses only the highest-quality. They are completely transparent about everything in their products and on their labeling. It isn't cheap-ass junk being cobbled together in someone's kitchen and having someone slap an INSANE X-TREME label on it.
How do I know it works? I feel it. I lift without dying in between sets. I can perform better. Plus, I feel great - pumped but no anxiety.
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