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What is creatine? Creatine powder and a scoop

What is creatine? Creatine 101: A balanced insight

What is creatine? You may have heard of creatine before or perhaps have even taken it before. Whatever has led you to click on this blog may mean you have an interest in finding out more about creatine. And you have come to the right place! Auro have done the research for you and have the answers to all your creatine-related questions. Before we begin, we must give a quick disclaimer that you should always check with a doctor or medical professional before you decide to take any sports supplements such as creatine.

What is creatine?

Creatine is a sports supplement taken by many, used to enhance performance and boost muscle mass. Certified sports nutritionist Melissa Morris informs us that “Creatine is a natural substance made of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. It is mostly stored in the muscles and the brain. Stored creatine can contribute to energy during high-intensity short-duration activities, like lifting weights or sprinting.”

Jeff Parke, owner of Top Fitness Magazine, tells Auro that “Synthetic creatine is made in a lab from sarcosine and cyanamide. When combined with other catalyst compounds and pressurized they create creatine.”

So, we now know what creatine is, now let’s explore why and how people use it, plus the effects it has on the body.

How do you consume creatine?

Creatine comes in powder form and dissolves easily in fluids, making it easy to consume. You can mix creatine with juices or just water and drink straight away. You may decide to mix creatine with a juice to mask the flavour and make it easier to drink.

When to take creatine

You can take creatine before a workout, after a workout, both before and after a workout, or whenever you like.

You may decide to take creatine before a workout to give you an extra boost and burst of energy, increasing both your strength and performance. However, some may decide to take creatine after their workout, because it absorbs into the body better. 

Whichever time you decide to take creatine does not really matter, as they all work equally as well, however, some research suggests that the best time to take it is after a workout.

What does creatine do to the body?

What is creatine doing to the body once we consume it? Well, the body’s main source of energy comes from a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Creatine helps to regenerate ATP. When creatine levels are low in the body, the production of ATP stops and you feel less energised. By consuming creatine, this increases the production of ATP, which in turn increases muscle strength and boosts energy.

Why do some people choose to use creatine?

Jeff Parke tells Auro that “Creatine is used mostly for enhanced performance when exercising. People want to increase muscle mass and improve strength. In the studies that have been conducted, its shown that creatine may increase muscle mass and strength and may improve brain functioning.”

Melissa Morris  also informs “Some protein foods, like fish, have creatine naturally occurring in them. Creatine monohydrate is a supplement that has a lot of research to support its effectiveness. It can increase muscle creatine stores, which can help athletes train a little harder.”

So it seems that creatine can have some great benefits when it comes to building muscle mass and strength. Making it a great addition to the diets of bodybuilders and heavy lifters, or those that are looking to improve their muscle mass.

Who should use creatine?

Anyone can use creatine, however, it is mostly used by athletes, bodybuilders, and those who want to gain muscle and maximise efforts at the gym. You should not take creatine if you are under 18, pregnant or nursing. 

Creatine: the benefits

Jeff Parke  tells Auro “There have been a lot of scientific studies done on the benefits and side effects of creatine, most of which proved inconclusive. This is largely in part because each person is at a different wellness, health, and physical level.”

Melissa Morris also weighs in thatThe pros of creatine are increased muscle mass, increased athletic performance, and improved recovery. It also has neuroprotective benefits for the brain. Creatine monohydrate is a safe supplement with few side effects.”

Creatine: the drawbacks

It seems so far that the effects of creatine are pretty great. However, there are of course some negative effects and risks associated with it.

Jeff Parke informs us thatStudies also show that there is not enough evidence to conclude that creatine negatively affects the kidneys. And the most common complaint is increased bloating and stomach pain.”

Melissa warns that “The only con of creatine monohydrate supplements is increased water retention, which results from the extra creatine being stored in the muscles.” This means that after taking creatine, you may weigh more and bloat due to water retention.

Creatine: the bottom line

Jeff summarises:Ultimately, if your doctor says it’s safe or you to take the supplement, there is no harm in trying it to see if it helps you gain muscle and strength. But always check with your doctor since everyone has individual health needs.”

If you are looking to start any new fitness program or take sports supplements, remember to always check with a medical professional first. Auro are always here to provide the most insightful information about fitness, wellbeing and nutrition. To keep up to date with what’s going on, join our private FB Community Group. The Auro app is also free to download on the App and PlayStore. 

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