While creatine is mainly known for its benefits for strength and power athletes, such as weightlifters and sprinters, it can also benefit endurance athletes like runners and cyclists. Let's look at what creatine can do for you!
Understanding creatine: the science behind
Creatine is a natural substance that is found in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during high-intensity exercise or heavy lifting. The most common and well-researched form of creatine supplement is creatine monohydrate.
Creatine works by increasing the amount of phosphocreatine in your muscles, which is used to regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main source of energy for your cells. More on ATP later, but it is the ultimate fuel source, irrespective of the energy system involved. Having more ATP available makes you perform better and longer during exercise.
Benefits of creatine for endurance athletes
Creatine is commonly used by strength or power athletes, and its benefits for these athletes are well known. However, it can also benefit endurance athletes like runners and cyclists. Let's look at some of the benefits of creatine for endurance athletes:
- Increased muscle mass and strength, which can improve performance and prevent injuries
- Enhanced recovery after exercise, which can reduce fatigue and soreness
- Improved anaerobic capacity, which can help you maintain a high intensity for longer periods
- Increased water retention in muscles, which can prevent dehydration and cramps
- Reduced oxidative stress and inflammation, which can improve health and immunity
Now that the benefits are clear, how do you actually use it?
How to use creatine: the protocol
To use creatine effectively, you need to follow a proper dosing protocol. Luckily, we already have enough research and experience to avoid any guesswork. Here is the tried-and-tested method:
- The Loading Phase: for 5-7 days, take 20g of creatine per day, split into 4-5 doses
- The Maintenance Phase: take 3-5g of creatine per day. This stage can theoretically last indefinitely, of course paying attention to your health and well-being
Stage I will saturate your muscles with creatine quickly, while the maintenance protocol ensures they stay toped-up. In every case, as with any supplement, you need to be mindful of your health and wellbeing.
The risks of creatine
Creatine is generally safe and well-tolerated by most people. However, some people may experience side effects such as bloating, diarrhea, nausea, or weight gain due to water retention. These side effects are usually mild and temporary, and can be avoided by drinking enough water and taking smaller doses. Creatine may also interact with some medications or supplements, so consult your doctor if you have any medical conditions or allergies before using it.
So what? The conclusion:
In a nutshell, creatine stands as a potent supplement that may elevate your endurance performance by unlocking a world of benefits, including heightened energy production, amplified muscle mass, accelerated recovery, and optimal hydration. Not only does it ignite your performance, but it also improves your healthy by fortifying your immunity by and combating oxidative stress and inflammation. If you're an endurance athlete determined to surge ahead, take the opportunity to integrate creatine into your training regimen and see the benefits for yourself! You might want to check out our 226ers Creatine.