It improves performance in short-term high-intensity events, for example sprints, series of squats, jumps and short metcons. It is popular with all strength and power athletes and also used by bodybuilders to increase muscle volume.
CrossFitters can benefit from the effects of creatine especially during strength cycles, when they want to improve maximal strength and power. It can also find its place immediately before a strength-based metcon.
WHAT IS CREATINE
Creatine is a nitrogenous compound. Our body produces about 1 gram of creatine a day from amino acids glycine and arginine. Synthesis takes place in liver and kidneys, and creatine is transported by blood to the muscles to perform its function. Enzyme creatine kinase transforms creatine into creatine phosphate (CP).
CP donates a molecule of phosphate to renew the ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the ultimate source of energy in the muscle. Energy released from the ATP breakdown initiates muscle contraction – the individual active and myosin fibres start to move. However, ATP lasts only for a few seconds and it must be renewed from creatine.
HOW SUPPLEMENTATION WORKS
Supplementing with creatine improves the ATP renewal, which helps us to maintain the intensity.
With creatine we can pump out 2-3 more reps, we do not need so long rest periods in between the sets, or we finish the metcon faster.
Studies proved that vegetarians have lower creatine level in the body, because it is found mainly in animal products.
- 250 g of beef contains 1.5 g of creatine
- 250 g of herring contains 1.6 g
- 250 g of chicken contains 1 g
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH
Supplementation of creatine takes place in two phases.
In the filling phase it is recommended to take about 20 grams a day, divided into 4 servings (in the morning, pre workout, post workout and in the evening). This phase should last for about 5 to 10 days and the goal is to fill the creatine in the body.
The second 10-14 day maintenance phase follows, with daily dose of 5-10 g. After that, it is recommended to take at least 2-3 weeks break because the body might get used to supplementation and it will stop producing its own creatine.
The length of the phases and dosage varies largely. Some individuals report improvement after much smaller dosage (3 g a day) and some might not respond to this supplement at all. The best is to figure out what works the best for you.
If you want to enhance your performance in a workout, combine 5 g of creatine, 1-3 g of beta-alanine and 5-10 g of BCAA. Drink 20-30 minutes before your heat starts.
WHAT KIND OF CREATINE…
Creatine is available in many forms. The traditional method is taking creatine monohydrate dissolved in water or some kind of sugary liquid (fruit juice, dextrose) for faster absorption.
Modern formulas such as creatine malate or crea-genic contain various transporters that enhance the absorption of the creatine. Again, figure out which works the best for you and try out different products. Improving fitness also involves little experimentation and observing the reactions of our body.