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WHAT IS CREATINE AND DO YOU NEED IT?

As an evidence-based trainer, it is important to ensure that the information being shared is scientifically reviewed to ensure efficacy. Creatine is a supplement that assists in the process of ATP production, which is the cell's basic form of energy. The ATP-PCr system is most beneficial during higher intensity efforts and exercise, making creatine most effective for high-power, high-intensity short duration sports such as sprints and jumps. In sports, this supplement has been shown to be beneficial, however, there is conflicting evidence regarding its use for endurance sports/athletes for performance improvement.


A systematic literature search was conducted to review current data ranging from 2016-2021 with a colleague, Louis Maniakas, on the effects of creatine supplementation to strength and body composition during resistance training. The study found that randomised control studies have shown that creatine use coupled with resistance training has led to both improvements in strength and muscle mass in comparison to placebo coupled with resistance training.


There is no proven time which supplementation is more beneficial and instead should be taken on a regular basis. It has been shown that taking 5 grams per day for 8-12 weeks would fill creatine stores enough for maximal benefits. Some would take on a loading cycle whereby taking 20 grams per day for 5 days before tapering off and taking 5 g/day for the next 7-11 weeks.


Therefore, if your goal is to improve muscle mass or increase strength in the gym, it could be a good idea to try this out and see the results for yourself. However, it is important to consult with your health care professional as it can be deemed unsafe for those with diabetes, kidney, and/or liver disease. For those deemed relatively healthy individuals, creatine supplementation is deemed safe at higher (25 g/day) and lower (2-5 g/day) doses and for short to long term supplementation up to 18 months.


In conclusion, the studies included in this review suggest promising results for creatine supplementation in combination with resistance training. Future research is needed to examine the potential therapeutic benefits for clients with various diseases that affect muscle size, strength, and functionality. Furthermore, more research is required into the long-term strength and hypertrophy benefits of supplementing with creatine. If you would like to read more about this topic, the studies utilized in this study are listed below.


Amirsasan, R. et al., 2018. Effect of 8-week resistance training with creatine supplementation on body composition and physical fitness indexes in male futsal players. International journal of Sport Studies for Health, In Press(In Press).


Bernat, P. et al., 2019. Effects of high-velocity resistance training and creatine supplementation in untrained healthy aging males. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 44(11), pp.1246–1253.


Bjelica, B. et al., 2020. Effects of creatine monohydrate to strength and body composition. SPORT I ZDRAVLJE, 15(1).


Buford, T.W. et al., 2007. International society of sports Nutrition POSITION Stand: Creatine supplementation and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(1).


Burke, L., Deakin, V. & Allanson, B., 2015. Clinical sports nutrition 5th ed., North Ryde, N.S.W, Australia: McGraw-Hill Education (Australia) Pty Ltd.


Candow, D.G. et al., 2020. Effect of 12 months of creatine supplementation and WHOLE-BODY resistance training on measures of bone, muscle and strength in older males. Nutrition and Health, 27(2), pp.151–159.


Cooper, R. et al., 2012. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: An update. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1).


Johannsmeyer, S. et al., 2016. Effect of creatine supplementation and drop-set resistance training in untrained aging adults. Experimental Gerontology, 83, pp.112–119.


Mills, S. et al., 2020. Effects of creatine supplementation during resistance training sessions in physically active young adults. Nutrients, 12(6), p.1880.


Nunes, J.P. et al., 2017. Creatine supplementation elicits greater muscle hypertrophy in upper than lower limbs and trunk in resistance-trained men. Nutrition and Health, 23(4), pp.223–229.


Persky, A.M., Brazeau, G.A. & Hochhaus, G., 2003. Pharmacokinetics of the dietary supplement creatine. Clinical Pharmacokinetics, 42(6), pp.557–574.


Pinto, C.L. et al., 2016. Impact of creatine supplementation in combination with resistance training on lean mass in the elderly. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, 7(4), pp.413–421.


Vilar Neto, J.de et al., 2018. Effects of LOW-DOSE creatine monohydrate on muscle strength and endurance. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, 9(3).


Wang, C.-C. et al., 2018. Effects of 4-Week creatine Supplementation combined with Complex training on muscle damage and sport performance. Nutrients, 10(11), p.1640.



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