We know guys love supplements that help them gain mass and build strength. But many women tend to shy away from ingredients that promote size, fearing that they’ll get too bulky. That’s one reason many women still don’t reach for creatinewhen they’re picking out supplements to boost their workout results. But before you discount this well-studied strength aid, take a moment to consider the following benefits:
YOU’LL BUILD LEAN MUSCLE
Creatine supplementation helps your muscles replenish their energy stores, so you can train harder for longer periods. Here’s how: During any strenuous activity, your body gets its energy from a molecule called ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. During a complex metabolic process, ATP is broken down into ADP (adenosine diphosphate). Creatine helps add back a phosphate molecule to ADP, so your muscles once again have more ATP to work with and you can continue to burn it up at the gym.
YOU’LL RECOVER FASTER
Creatine will supply your muscles with the nutrients they need to recover from heavy lifting and build muscle. Taking it after exercising helps replenish muscle, aid in recovery, and build a pool of energy for the next workout. When creatine is added to a post-workout shake, along with a simple carb such as fruit to aid in faster absorption, the benefits are almost instantaneous.
FAST FACTS ABOUT CREATINE
- You don’t need a lot. Fitness enthusiasts used to take creatine up to five times a day for a week. But research from Bloomsburg University suggests you don’t need to load up to get results. Taking 2.3g per day for six weeks post- workout should be enough to notice stamina gains in five to seven days.
- It’s not for coffee lovers. Some research shows caffeine can negate any benefits, so many users will avoid it in any form while taking creatine.
- It pays to take a break. Since your body adapts to creatine, try cycling off after four to six weeks, then resuming after two to four weeks. This hiatus generally isn’t enough to lose any gains you’ve already made.
- There are different ways to take it. Creatine comes in many forms, including powders, tablets, capsules, and liquids.
BY LINDA STEPHENS, RD