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Creatine Crash Course


Creatine is undeniably one of the most popular and extensively researched natural supplements. But how much do you truly understand about it?

You might feel confident in your knowledge, or perhaps you're just scratching the surface. Regardless, with the abundance of scientific studies available, I'd be a fool now to delve deeper into this sports supplement for you all.

So, let's embark on a crash course about creatine, one of the most sought-after supplements on the market!


What is creatine?

Creatine is a non-essential amino acid naturally produced by the body, commonly found in red meats and fish. It plays a pivotal role in the phosphagen energy system, rapidly generating ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the body's primary energy source.

The majority of creatine (about 95%) is stored in skeletal muscle, with the remaining 5% in the brain, both areas with high energy demands.

Who needs it?

In short: everyone!

An average individual requires between 1-3 grams of creatine daily, with approximately half obtained through diet (e.g., beef or salmon). The rest is synthesized by the body.

Given its role in energy supply, athletes often benefit from consuming more than the standard amount, typically through supplementation. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, athletes engaged in intense training may need to consume between 5-10 grams of creatine daily to maintain optimal levels.

What does it do?

One of creatine's primary benefits is its ability to provide energy, particularly during high-intensity workouts and anaerobic activities. It's no wonder why it's a favorite among athletes and exercise enthusiasts alike!

Creatine as a supplement…

Creatine is widely used by athletes, weightlifters, and those with active lifestyles to enhance energy production, improve athletic performance, and facilitate harder training sessions.

Some of the key benefits of supplementing include:

  • Enhanced performance during high-intensity activities.

  • Improved recovery post-exercise, including reduced muscle cell damage and inflammation.

  • Increased anaerobic capacity, strength, and muscle volume.

In regards to high intensity work, creatine enhances the body’s capacity for such activities by supplying immediate energy to fast-twitch muscle fibers. This is perfect for swift, explosive movements, and powerful contractions, beneficial for athletes aiming to increase repetitions, sprint velocity, or exert more force during exercises.

When it comes to recovery, studies indicate that creatine supplementation reduces muscle cell damage and inflammation post-exercise. Additionally, it exhibits antioxidant properties following intense resistance training and may alleviate cramping. All that being said, creatine appears to facilitate complete recovery from exhaustive exercise..

With  heightened energy and faster muscle recovery, it's evident why creatine leads to anaerobic strength gains and improved muscle volume. Returning to its role in ATP production and regeneration, creatine is pivotal in providing the energy necessary for additional repetitions, heavier lifts, and quicker movements, thereby enhancing overall training quality and muscle development.

Regarding muscle volume, creatine possesses a unique property that causes muscle cells to retain water and swell. This rapid movement of water from the bloodstream to the muscle results in a more pronounced muscular appearance and serves as a catalyst for protein synthesis, which in turn facilitates muscle growth and development.


Now, about those last points: retaining water and pronounced muscles...

There are common misconceptions surrounding creatine, particularly regarding water retention and its association with bulking up. However, these concerns are largely unfounded, especially for females.

While creatine does cause water to be moved, it is moved to to your muscles, not your tissues or organs. Because of this, it typically does not lead to any visible bloating (especially when taken in lower doses of 3-5g per day).

That being said, some individuals may experience minor bloating when experimenting with high initial doses (following a loading protocol, taking in 20g of creatine a day). This typically diminishes with continued use.

More importantly, research has shown that women are actually less likely to experience water retention compared to men.

And, in regards to "bulking up": creatine supplementation does not lead to bulky muscles. Ask any gym-rat actively following a bulking regimen and they will be the first to tell you that adding muscle is NOT easy-- I'm sure they wish it were as simple as just taking a scoop a creatine a day!

Keep in mind that muscle growth is primarily influenced by testosterone levels, which are significantly lower in females.

Final take-aways for the girls:

  • Creatine is just as safe for females as it is for males

  • All of the wonderful effects of creatine (increased strength and performance, better recovery…) are noticed the same in females as in males

  • Men tend to hold more water as a result of the creatine than women

  • Any water retention will diminish after your body normalizes

  • Extra creatine does not mean extra testosterone, you will not get “manly” muscles from using it

  • There is no need to load creatine if you do not want to. Instead, aim for small doses of around 3-5g a day and don’t worry about having to cycle on and off of it


As if all of that wasn’t good enough, creatine has multiple OTHER health benefits such as improved bone healing, reduction of age-related muscle loss, and improved glucose tolerance, to name a few.

One of my favorites? Improved brain function! Remember, the brain stores creatine and requires it as it has a high energy demand.

The bottom line:

Creatine is safe and effective for both males and females, offering numerous benefits beyond enhanced physical performance. Its affordability and versatility make it a valuable addition to any fitness regimen.

Whether you're looking to improve strength, boost recovery, or enhance overall health, creatine may just be the supplement you've been searching for.

So, go ahead, incorporate creatine into your routine, elevate your workouts, and optimize your well-being!

(and ordering your new, favorite supplement off of Kion and entering code MARIA at checkout will save you some money, too. Get creatine, get gains, save money-- win-win-win.)



1. Barr, David. “T NATION | Creatine Controversy.” T NATION | The Intelligent and Relentless Pursuit of Muscle. 27 Sept. 2005. Web. 16 Sept. 2010.

2. “Creatine –” Mayo Clinic Medical Information and Tools for Healthy Living – 1 June 2010. Web. 20 Sept. 2010.

3. “Creatine, Creatine Everywhere and No Objective Information Anywhere!” Absolute Creatine. 2006. Web 27 September 2010.

5. “Creatine.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 27 Sept. 2010.

6. Flanagan, Eamonn. “Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation – A Literature Overview.” Web. 23 Sept. 2010.

7. Flannagan, Eamonn. “Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation Practical Applications.” Web. 23 Sept. 2010.

8. Shugart, Chris, and Richard Kreider. “T NATION | The Truth About the Media Creatine Scare.” T NATION | The Intelligent and Relentless Pursuit of Muscle. 2 Sept. 2010. Web. 24 Sept. 2010.



Set goals! Set both long and short-range goals to keep yourself motivated. Be sure that the short-range goals will eventually lead you to your big-picture, long-range ones. Consider them stepping stones on the path towards something bigger.



Do what you like to do. Don't just start doing something because everyone else is; find what you truly enjoy and do that. In the end, if you don't have a genuine interest in your workouts and lifestyle, you're going to hinder your progress.



Switch things up! I know this may sound kind of funny after just reading #2, but as humans, we can get bored of doing the same thing over and over. As well, our muscles can get "bored" and we can plateau. Do not be afraid to try new things and incorporate change to keep you entertained and your muscles guessing!

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