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The Art of Movement Edition 74: Creatine Supplementation - The Easy Win Probably Missing From Your L

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Edition 74: Creatine Supplementation - The Easy Win Probably Missing From Your Life

If you're in the process of trying to improve either the way that you train or the results you are getting from it, there's a good chance you may have used some kind of supplement before (although many won’t have). The first step most people take is to use whey protein - a great idea if you are struggling to get enough through your diet. But one supplement that often gets overlooked by many is creatine.

Despite being one of the most researched and effective supplements, it remains underutilised by the majority. Scientific research papers have consistently identified the numerous benefits of creatine supplementation, making it a potential game-changer in your fitness journey. So let's delve into the reasons why most people don't supplement creatine but should, given its physical and psychological benefits.

Numerous studies have shown that creatine supplementation can significantly enhance athletic performance. One research paper (Rawson and Volek, 2003) found that creatine supplementation leads to increased muscle creatine phosphate levels (pretty obvious if you think about it) resulting in improved high-intensity exercise performance. This boost in creatine phosphate availability allows athletes to generate more rapid and forceful muscular contractions, particularly during activities requiring short bursts of power, such as sprinting, weightlifting, and jumping.

So creatine supplementation has been shown to improve explosiveness through improved maximum force application during resistance training exercises, and this has a knock on effect for our gains in strength when training. A study conducted by Candow et al. (2011) demonstrated that individuals who supplemented with creatine experienced greater gains in muscle strength compared to those who did not. Creatine's ability to aid in muscle cell hydration and provide additional energy during intense workouts contributes to increased strength gains and overall athletic performance.

Beyond the physical benefits, other research indicates that creatine may also have positive effects on psychological well-being. In a study by McMorris et al. (2007) it was suggested that creatine supplementation might improve cognitive function and memory, particularly in ageing individuals. More recent research has also suggested potential benefits for delaying mental fatigue (for example post-sleep deprivation, which could be a game changer for anyone who struggles with sleep)! While more research is needed in this area, the potential cognitive benefits of creatine are promising and warrant further investigation.

Moreover, creatine has been linked to potential therapeutic effects for certain medical conditions. A research paper by Bender and Auer (2006) found that creatine supplementation could improve brain bioenergetics and potentially act as a neuroprotective agent in Parkinson's disease patients. These findings open up new avenues for using creatine as a supplement to support the management of neurological disorders.

Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the benefits of creatine supplementation, many people still avoid it due to misconceptions or lack of knowledge. Some may believe that creatine is only useful for bodybuilders, while others fear potential side effects. However, it is crucial to recognise that creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements, and numerous studies have demonstrated its safety and efficacy when used within recommended dosages.

Creatine supplementation is undoubtedly the easy win that many people are missing out on in their fitness and overall well-being journey. From improved explosiveness and maximum force during training (leading to better strength gains) to potential cognitive and therapeutic benefits, the advantages of creatine are too significant to ignore. As with any supplement, it is sensible to consult with a doctor before starting creatine supplementation, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions. So, don't let misconceptions hold you back; consider incorporating creatine into your life and unlock the full potential of your physical and mental performance.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ “Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” - Swami Sivananda


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