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Creatine

Creatine is a metabolite produced in the body composed of amino acids. Approximately 95% of the concentration is found in skeletal muscle in two forms: creatine phosphate and free chemically unbound Creatine. The remaining 5% of the Creatine stored in the body is found in the brain and heart. The body of a sedentary, inactive individual metabolizes on average, 2 grams of Creatine per day. An athlete or a person who is very physically active can use up to 4 times that amount due to their high intensity training and muscular development.

Creatine is generally found in red meat, but can also be found in certain types of fish. However, it would be extremely difficult, and expensive, to get the amount of Creatine necessary for performance enhancement through food. Consuming 2.2lbs of steak or tuna is not practical, not to mention they are best eaten raw since Creatine is destroyed with high heat. Therefore, the best way to get Creatine is through powder or capsule form.

How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine more recently has been bonded to different organic compounds, including ethyl ester, malate, di-malate, gluconate, and a ph balanced alkaline form. It is commonly accepted, whether it's in the aforementioned forms or the monohydrate form, Creatine's effects are due to two mechanisms:
-Intra-cellular water retention
-Creatine's ability to enhance ATP production

Basically, once Creatine is stored inside the muscle, it attracts water surrounding the muscle cells, thereby enlarging it. This is known as cell "volumization". These super hydrated cells result in increases in strength and fuller, rounder muscles. Since muscles are over 75% water, greater protein synthesis and decreased catabolism are direct benefits.

In addition, Creatine provides for faster recovery between sets, and allows for greater increases in workout volume. It does this by its ability to minimize lactic acid production. More volume, strength and recovery equals more muscle (assuming nutrition an rest are adequate). Creatine also seems to allow for better pumps during a workout, since it improves glycogen synthesis.

How do I use it?
Creatine should be taken at the following two times in order of importance:
1. Postworkout- 3- 5 grams should be included in a postworkout drink. Add 30-100 grams of high glycemic carbs such as dextrose or waxy maize starch.Including 30-50 grams of whey protein and 5-10 grams of glutamine greatly improves protein synthesis and creatine uptake.
2. Preworkout- 3- 5 grams in a preworkout drink. Mixing it in meal replacement powder or mixed whey shake will improve energy and endurance for a workout.

Pre-mixed Creatine Formulas
Follow label instructions. The newer ethyl ester formulas typically are carb free due to their permeability across cell membranes. These are the products of choice for a cutting cycle or low carb diet. Sensitive stomachs may prefer the Kre-akalyn or capsule forms since risk for gastric upset is minimized.

Summary of Benefits
-Increased Strength and Endurance
-Stronger Muscle Pumps
-Quicker Recovery Between Workouts
-Increased Muscle Size, Fullness and Density