This marks the beginning of a series of posts where I will be talking about muscle building supplements. It’s important to realize that supplements aren’t needed in order to build muscle, however they do help to produce faster gains. They are what they are – they supplement the body in order to build muscle more quickly than without use.
A Little About Muscle Building Supplements
Another thing I should also note is that muscle building supplements (and most other workout supplements) aren’t just for men. They can also help women to build muscle faster. Some of the muscle building supplements I will be talking about include those that help to repair muscle tissue for faster recovery. Faster recovery allows for more frequent workouts, which will also help to produce results more quickly.
First up is Creatine Monohydrate (or just Creatine). Various studies have shown that Creatine provides a host of benefits for those who take it, more so for those who workout regularly. Creatine is made naturally in the body and is also in foods like fish or meat. Taking creatine supplements simply increases the the creatine levels in the muscles.
Creatine is sold in both capsule and powder forms. Some brands provide different creatine powder flavors, such as fruit punch or grape, and others are just basically flavorless and can be mixed with juice or water. I have a hard time choking down some of these flavored drinks, so I find it much easier to take capsules. If you’re already taking a lot of capsules and you don’t mind drinks, you’ll probably like the powder better.
So What Can Creatine do for You?
- More Energy – Increased creatine levels in the muscles helps to boost overall energy, which the muscles will use during workouts
- Increase Strength – Because of the increased energy levels, this will allow you to workout longer, which can do nothing but help increase muscle strength
- Increase Muscle Size – Creatine will boost the levels of insulinlike growth factor-1 which is directly related to and involved with muscle strength as well as growth
- Improve Heart & Mind Health – In one study, male and female persons took creatine for a total of 8 weeks and found that their cholesterol levels dropped 5%
Side Effects of Creatine
Besides the positive effects that are outlined above, creatine may also produce some negative side effects. Long term studies have not been done, so it’s best to stick to the label instructions as far as dosing goes and to not overdo it.
- Water retention or bloating
- Could cause kidney stones (extremely rare)
*My husband cycles creatine so he isn’t constantly using it (and nobody should) and he hasn’t had any issues or negative side effects of any kind.
Read more on these studies that support these facts here.