Creatine is a popular ergogenic food supplement among athletes. It is believed to boost your athletic performance and endurance. It has been the subject of scientific research for more than 200 years and is very well trusted.
Creatine enhances the production of energy in the cells of your body. Cellular energy is primarily found in molecules known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which depletes quickly during exercise.
Your body naturally produces creatine. About 95% of it is stored as creatine phosphate in your muscles. This helps to replenish ATP levels, giving your muscles more energy and helping to have more endurance.
It has been concluded that creatine is one of the most effective supplements on the market when it comes to high intensity exercises, such as running.
In the studies that have been conducted, athletes showed a 1 - 15% improvement in their performance. This is when compared to their performance without a creatine supplement. Over time, creatine supplements can increase the stores of creatine in your muscles by up to 40%.
Is creatine good for runners?
Creatine has been shown to have the most positive impact on high intensity but short duration exercises. This means that while it may still have a positive impact on endurance runners, the results will be much less. This is because exercises that test your endurance tend to be a lower intensity over a more prolonged period.
This means that these processes do not require the constant and rapid regeneration of ATP in the body. This is the primary benefit of a creatine supplement. This means that you may not notice effects that are as beneficial if you are an endurance athlete.
That being said, it can be used during your training sessions to improve your overall endurance. If you do a lot of sprint or interval training, a creatine supplement is well worth considering. It is also hugely beneficial to weight training, if this is something that you do to improve your overall athletic performance.
Creatine has also been shown to increase your lactate threshold. This means that you can run at a higher pace for longer without having to stop due to lactic acid build up. Creatine can increase this threshold by up to 5%, which is hugely significant in terms of running.
Creatine additionally helps with muscular recovery following periods of exertion. This is very useful for athletes. Faster recovery means that you can get back out and train again sooner. Over time this can lead to some serious athletic gains.
There are some downsides to creatine supplementation. It has been shown to increase levels of water retention. This can be an issue with runners as it means you will need to carry more weight around and could potentially be uncomfortable to exercise.
Some people have also complained about muscular and gastrointestinal cramps following creatine intake. This is not a claim that has much scientific evidence to support it, but is something that should be considered before you begin supplementation.
Should I take creatine before or after running?
Creatine monohydrate is the most effective form of creatine to take. It has been rigorously tested for many years and has been proven safe and effective for human consumption.
Creatine is a supplement that should be taken on a regular basis. The best way to get optimal results is to initially take a loading dose. This means that for 1 to 5 days you will take in excess creatine supplementation. This allows your body to get a shock drop of the supplement, and then as you reduce your intake, the levels will decrease.
We recommend starting off your creatine supplementation with a loading dose of 20 - 25 grams of creatine monohydrate daily. This should be taken in portions of 5 grams. Once the first 5 days have passed, drop down your supplement intake massively.
This is the fastest way to see the beneficial effects of creatine. If you supplement at the rate of 5 grams per day, it will take close to one month before you see any changes.
You can also use kinetics to your advantage, allowing you to do the entirety of the creatine loading dose in one day. Take 1 gram every hour over a period of 20 hours. Follow this with the 5 gram maintenance dose the following day.
From here onwards, you will only need to take 3 - 5 grams per day. The exact requirement for you can be worked out by using the value of 0.3 grams creatine per kilogram of body weight. The upper limit, so closer to 5 grams of creatine, supplemented daily is where people begin to report water weight gain.
Supplementing 3 grams of creatine should be sufficient to improve your athletic performance and recovery time, without increasing your weight. If you are vegetarian or vegan, your creatine requirements are likely to be slightly higher.
You should take your creatine supplement before and after you go on your run, particularly during the loading phase. You should take your creatine supplement about 30 minutes before beginning your workout.
The levels will be high enough to see a positive impact on athletic performance after one hour. These levels will remain high for a further hour and a half, before beginning to decline again.
Your creatine supplement must be consumed with some form of liquid carbohydrate such as fruit juice. This is because creatine can be absorbed by your muscles more readily in the presence of insulin, with a bioavailability of over 95%.
Creatine monohydrate supplements come in a variety of forms. These include as a powder, as capsules, tablets, and in energy bars. The powder form is the most effective, however the kind you take really boils down to personal preference.
There are no proven long-term harmful impacts associated with creatine monohydrate supplementation. When and if you choose to stop supplementing, creatine levels will slowly begin to drop in your muscles. It will likely drop to their natural levels in roughly 4 - 6 weeks.