Supplements

Creatine Isn’t Just For Bulking

Creatine is one of our most talked about supplements. It’s no secret that it’s a popular supplement among gym bros because of the benefits it has for growing muscle. But one consequence of this is it may have a slight image problem, with people — women in particular — thinking it’s something you take only if you want to be super-jacked. This is not the case at all.

Myprotein senior product developer, Katie Brown, is back again for another episode of Nutritionist Explains. This time, she breaks down not only the general benefits of creatine, but specifically what it can do for women. It isn’t solely for beating PBs, it can improve performance, help muscle growth and even boost overall health.

What is creatine?

Creatine is made up from three separate amino acids: arginine, histidine, and methionine. The body can produce creatine in the liver and pancreas from these three amino acids, or you can consume it in supplement form.

While meat and fish are natural dietary sources, an average diet that includes these foods provides negligible amounts.

How does creatine work?

It’s about to get a bit technical, so bear with us. In your body, creatine is combined with phosphate to form creatine phosphate. All right, maybe that bit wasn’t too complex.

ATP is the energy source driving almost every bodily function. It creates energy by hydrolysing phosphate. When it does this, ATP is converted to ADP, which is pretty much a useless byproduct.

But this ADP doesn’t have to go to waste. When creatine gets involved, it donates its phosphate grip back to ADP, which then converts it into the form we can use — you may remember this from earlier on — ATP.

Benefits of creatine

Creatine helps you to make the most of every last bit of energy in your muscles. You can then work harder, lift heavier and feel less tired. But the benefits don’t stop there. After your workouts, creatine helps you to recover faster by helping to restore optimal levels of your body’s stores, helping to regulate your body’s temperature and prevent injury.

We’re aware of the concerns women may have before taking creatine. Will it make me feel bloated? Will it make me look bulky? Will it make me put on weight? But there’s no need to worry. Here’s what the studies have to say.

One study on female athletes found that supplementation significantly increases lower-body strength without significant weight gain or bulking. Nice.

Another study found that creatine supplementation can increase upper-body strength while reducing body fat percentage. Nice, again.

Creatine for weight loss

If weight loss is your goal, creatine can support it in two ways.

Better workouts can lead to more fat loss in the short term, and the addition of lean muscle can lead to more calories burned overall.

Does creatine cause bloating?

Some women may experience some bloating after taking creatine for the first time, but don’t let that put you off. This kind of supplementation does have water-retention effects, which can lead to bloating. But usually this lessens a short time after consumption. But if it is causing you trouble, you can always split your doses over two servings a day.

While bloating is a downside, the intracellular water retention caused by supplementing is actually a good thing as far as your muscles are concerned. They appear fuller and it supports an oxygen-rich environment where your muscles can grow better.

Like most supplements, regular consumption is key. And evidence suggests that a low dose can be all you need, with proven results for physical performance from only 3g a day.

Take Home Message

Creatine is nothing to be scared of, despite what you may have heard. It’s one of the most researched supplements and has consistently proven benefits for performance with few side effects.

If you’re on the fence, there’s no harm trying it for a short while. Try taking a small dose every day to load up on your stores — if you feel the benefits in your workout, great. But if not, no harm done.

 

 

Enjoy this article?

LEARN MORE ABOUT CREATINE HERE:

Nutritionist Explains The Best Time To Take Creatine

Nutrition

Nutritionist Explains The Best Time To Take Creatine

Discover the best time to supplement for the best results.

2022-02-28 09:27:18By Claire Muszalski

Should I Use Creatine Whilst Cutting Fat?

Supplements

Should I Use Creatine Whilst Cutting Fat?

Spoiler: Yes, and it can actually help your cut.

2022-01-26 16:00:30By Liam Agnew

Your Creatine Questions Answered By Nutritionist

Supplements

Your Creatine Questions Answered By Nutritionist

Richie answers all of your burning questions.

2021-10-29 15:23:18By Emily Wilcock

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



Emily Wilcock

Emily Wilcock

Writer and expert

Emily is studying Business Management & Marketing at the University of Birmingham and is currently on her intern year. She has a keen interest in both writing and fitness, so is happy she can now combine the two. She likes to spend time with her friends, both in & out of the gym.