It seems that every health food store and vitamin shop has shelves stocked with a myriad of different supplements, all claiming to help build bulging muscles. The sheer volume of different forms of creatine is mind boggling, and trying to decide which one is going to be the best option for you can be dizzying at best.
You may even be asking yourself, “do I even need creatine to help build muscle?”. The long and the short answer is yes. But before you decide which type of creatine you should purchase, you should continue reading to determine what type will help you achieve the best possible results.
Creatine: What Is It?
Creatine is a naturally occurring, protein-based amino acid in the body. It is made naturally in the body, and is used to help create energy. While the body naturally creates creatine, it is often not enough to adequately supplement an active lifestyle.
Most of the body’s creatine is found in the muscles of the body, with a small percentage residing in the brain and testes. Since it is a natural energy source, it is a go-to supplement for athletes and body builders, and anybody else who leads an intensely active lifestyle.
How Can I Increase Creatine Levels?
Many athletes and body builders will then attempt to increase their intake of creatine through the consumption of lean protein. This is certainly helpful to increase the amount of creatine needed to sustain a high energy lifestyle, however much of the creatine found in animal proteins will be destroyed during cooking and preparation.
This is why creatine is most commonly taken as a nutritional supplement. It is found in both powder and capsule form, and when it is combined with the consumption of carbohydrates, it becomes very effective at creating energy.
What Are The Benefits Of Creatine?
Aside from being an energy booster, creatine has a host of other benefits to users. It has been found to help build muscle mass, as well as decrease the amount of lactic acid buildup in the muscles. This essentially means that athletes can push through muscle fatigue without being increasinly sore or sluggish after a tough workout.
What Are The Differences Between Kinds Of Creatine?
There are a lot of different kinds of creatine available to buy, all coming in a variety of forms. The most common form of creatine is monohydrate. When you consume creatine monohydrate, it is then converted in the body to creatine phosphate, which is then used as an immediate energy source. This is a great form of creatine for most people to use, and is relatively reasonably priced.
Another form of creatine which is fairly new is creatine ethyl ester. This form of creatine works in a similar way as creatine monohydrate, however it is more soluble. This means that it is more readily accessible to be converted into energy the second you begin your workout, instead of within say 20 seconds.
While this may not seem like a big deal, it can mean the difference between being incredibly sore after a strenuous workout, or only being minorly sore the next day.
Why is that? During the 20 or so seconds it may take your body to convert the monohydrate to creatine phosphate, your body is accumulating lactic acid in the muscles. The lactic acid is then what starves your muscles of oxygen when you work out. The result is the familiar muscle soreness from working out too hard.
This means that your muscles will need far less recovery time between workouts, and as a result, you can continue to push harder for longer. You will not need to take as many rest days to let your body recover, and you can therefore build muscle faster during your workouts.
Which Is Better, Powder Or Capsules?
Deciding what form you want your creatine to take is strictly a matter of preference. It will depend on a variety of factors such as your tolerance for the taste, as well as if you prefer not to drink a lot of liquid immediately before a workout. It breaks down like this:
|Which Is Better, Powder Or Capsules?||Creatine Capsules||Creatine Powder|
|Pros||Easy to take. There is usually a dosage chart on the side of the container the capsules come in. It is as simple as counting how many capsules it is recommended for your body weight, activity level, etc.||Immediate results. As soon as you mix the powder with water and drink it, it becomes almost immediately available for your body to use as energy.|
|Cons||The creatine you consume takes more time to become effective. Because the creatine in capsules is usually contained within a glycerin coating, the coating has to be broken down before the creatine will be absorbed into the body. This means it can be a delicate balance timing your workout.|
Some claim creatine capsules are not as effective. This could be partly due to the fact that it takes some time to break down the coating on the outside, and many athletes aren't taking this into consideration.
|Taste. Some of the powders taste like a fizzy fruit punch, but sometimes they have a sort of "vitamin" aftertaste which many find hard to choke down.|
|Side effects||Less likely to cause undesirable side effects. Creatine is pefectly safe to take when taken correctly. It can, however, cause some minor side effects and discomfort such as bloating, gassiness, and stomach upset. Capsules will alleviate a lot of the side effects.||They are not usually bad, but some people find the powder gives them stomach cramps, bloating, and gas.|
|Cost||Capsules, gram for gram, cost more than creatine powders||Less expensive. While the cost of the creatine powders is going to vary depending on the brand and the kind you use, it is typically less expensive than capsules.|
Creatine is one of the most widely used supplements among athletes. It is a naturally occurring compound in the human body which helps to create energy. When consumed as a supplement, it is essentially energy in a bottle. It helps to build muscle, shorten recovery time, and prevents exercise-related muscle stiffness after a hard workout.
It comes in a variety of forms, in all different price ranges, and it is probably the most effective natural supplement you can take to improve performance, intensity, and duration.
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