What is Creatine

What is Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate supplements are extremely popular as they are highly recommended by many fitness experts. There is a reason why Creatine monohydrate is highly recommended and that reason is simply because it has been scientifically proven to work.

It has been scientifically proven to help increase your performance, whether that be athletic or weight training. Anyone who does any type of activity that requires short bursts of energy will benefit from Creatine monohydrate supplements. Performance isn’t the only benefit of creatine, there are many more and we will look at those I this article.

Creatine has been heavily studied by science, so the claim that it helps increase your performance isn’t from one obscure study, but many studies that generally find the same conclusion, performance, strength and muscle mass improves.

In this article we’re going to look at how Creatine monohydrate works as well as how it can benefit you!

How Does Creatine Monohydrate Work?

Creatine is naturally found in muscle cells and it is the Creatine within the muscle cells that helps you produce energy during heavy weight training or any other type of short burst high-intensity exercise.

If Creatine starts to deplete within your muscles during exercise, your energy levels will begin to taper off and you start to feel more tired and weaker.

This is where Creatine monohydrate supplements can help you. By regularly taking Creatine supplements, you can increase the amount of Creatine that you store in your muscles, therefore ensuring your body has enough Creatine to tap into whilst you’re performing any high-intensity physical activity.

Basically, when you supplement Creatine, you hugely increase your stores of phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine is stored energy within the muscle cells and as a result this helps your body produce the energy molecule called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate).

The more ATP your body can produce, the better performance you will have during exercise. As you can see, the more Creatine you have in your muscles the better performance you’ll see in short, high-intensity exercise.

How Does Creatine Monohydrate Benefit You?

Creatine is not only beneficial for bodybuilders but beneficial for many other types of athletes such as soccer players, swimmers, sprinters and many other athletes that require high bursts of energy in a short period of time.

Here are some of the benefits of Creatine monohydrate:

  • It helps your muscle cells produce more energy
  • Helps you improve your high-intensity exercise performance
  • It can help you speed up muscle growth
  • It can help you increase muscle size
  • Creatine will improve your strength levels
  • Can help with reducing fatigue and tiredness
  • Creatine can also help enhance brain function

How to Take Creatine Monohydrate

There are two methods for taking Creatine monohydrate and how you take it ultimately comes down to what method best suits you.

Loading Creatine – this method involves you taking 20 g of Creatine monohydrate per day for up to 5 to 7 days. You shouldn’t take the 20 g in one go, but ideally split into four 5 gram servings per day. The idea behind this method is that you saturate your muscles with Creatine by taking an extended amount for the first week and then take lower amounts after that to maintain the elevated levels.

Some people say there is no need to load Creatine, whereas there are many others who recommend the loading phase as they say it rapidly increases the muscle stores and you get the benefits of Creatine quicker.

Taking a steady amount per day – the next method involves taking 3-5 grams of Creatine monohydrate per day. Eventually, your muscle stores will increase but could potentially take longer than the loading phase. In the end it all comes down to which method you feel most comfortable with.

Conclusion

Because Creatine is such a cheap supplement with many benefits, there really is no reason to take this supplement. Science has proven that the majority of people will see a benefits in strength, performance and muscle size.

However, there have been cases of people who are non-responders to Creatine and they simply see no benefit to taking this supplement. Whether this is due to their genetics or potentially they are getting plenty of Creatine through food.

Until you actually take this supplement, you’ll never know if you can benefit from creatine supplement.

Is it Possible to Build Muscle Without Supplements

Is it Possible to Build Muscle Without Supplements?

When you’re new to muscle building it can be an extremely difficult task to figure out what to spend your money on and what not to. It seems like every article you read is recommending that you take numerous different supplements if you want to build muscle.

It also makes it even harder to make a more informed decision on if you really need supplements, when the person writing the article is also jacked, says that he would not have gotten his results without the supplements that he takes, says it is very hard to build muscle without supplements, then goes on to list ten different supplements that he uses that are extremely expensive.

But the question is, are the people who are promoting muscle building supplements and say it is very difficult to build muscle without them being truthful? Do you need to buy numerous different supplements that can potentially cost you hundreds of your hard-earned money per month?

Is it possible to build muscle without supplements such as whey protein, creatine and the various other supplements that are available? This is the very question we are going to answer in this article.

What Are Supplements and What is Their Purpose?

Most people think supplements are the magic pill that will do all the work for them, they think it wll give them a ripped, jacked muscular body. Supplements alone will not help you build muscle.

There is nothing special about supplements and they will not be the difference between you building muscle or not. Although the clever marketing behind supplements will make you believe otherwise.

Supplements are as the name suggests, they are there to supplement an already good diet that supports muscle growth. Due to the fact that a lot of us live very busy lives, there can be times when it is very difficult to get the right nutrition that supports muscle growth and this is where supplements fit in.

They are there to help you in times when it is not possible to get a protein source that contains all the essential amino acids as well as being rich in the amino acid leucine and this is where a protein shakes can help you.

Sometimes you may not feel that hungry, but have not consumed enough calories and protein for the day to help support your muscle growth and when one of those rare days happens, you can use a supplement to help fill that void.

Supplements are there to make-up a small part of your diet, you shouldn’t be relying on protein powders, vitamin pills, carbohydrate powders and various other supplements to build muscle for you as they will not do that alone. If you supplement an already good diet with things like protein powder, then you will see the benefits of supplements.

Is it Possible to Build Muscle Without Supplements?

Yes, it absolutely is! If you’re trying to build muscle naturally there is nothing more anabolic than eating nutritious food and getting plenty of sleep. If you combine those two with a good workout plan and are consistent, you will be able to build muscle with no problems and without the use of supplements. In fact, you will have better muscle growth with just food and sleep, then the person who manly consumes expensive supplements, but doesn’t eat right, sleep well or train hard.

There are plenty of people out there that have managed to build muscle successfully without the use of supplements and if you decide to go this route you too can build muscle without the use of supplements. You just need to make sure that you’re consuming plenty of quality nutrient dense protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats as well as adequate calories to fuel muscle growth.

Remember, supplements are not necessary, there is nothing magical about supplements where you build muscle faster by using them, verses someone who is, but has their diet on point, they are there to simply supplement your diet if you struggle to get enough nutrients from real food. Getting your nutrients from real food will always provide the best muscle building results.

Whey Protein Explained

Whey Protein Explained

Over the years whey protein has become more popular than ever. This supplement was once used mainly by bodybuilders and athletes because they understood that it was a great source of protein with many other benefits.

Whey protein has now caught the attention of many other groups that are not related to fitness and exercise, as modern-day science is discovering that this supplement has more to offer than just building muscle.

As more and more people discover the benefits of whey protein, the question “what is whey protein” is becoming more popular than ever and in this article, you will discover what whey protein is and how it can benefit you.

Whey Protein in More Detail…

Whey protein is a supplement that supplies your body with high quality protein. The reason why the protein in whey is high-quality, is because it contains all the essential as well as non-essential amino acids in high doses and whey is classed as a complete protein source.

What Are Amino Acids?

They are extremely important building blocks for the body that are found in protein and whey protein contains all of the 20 types of amino acids. Any protein source that has all 20 aminos as well as being high in essential aminos, is classed as a complete protein source.

When you consume protein, your body’s protease enzymes needs to break down protein into amino acids so it can use them for whatever the body decides it needs them for, whether that be building muscle or general bodily functions.

When it comes to consuming protein the mistake most people make is simply looking at the total amount of protein provided, if you consume 100 g of protein that are high in non-essential amino acids, you will not get the full benefits of protein compared to consuming 100 g of protein that is high in essential and non-essential amino acids.

Essential amino acids are extremely important for bodily functions and they must be supplied to your body through external sources such as protein rich foods and supplements as your body cannot produce these essential amino acids on its own.

If you fail to give your body enough essential amino acids, your body will look to break down and use the protein stored in your muscles. If you’re trying to build muscle, this is the last thing you want to happen.

If you don’t have enough stored amino acids in your muscles and failed to supply your body with enough essential amino acids you can run into some serious health problems.

Let’s have a look at the 9 essential amino acids and see how they affect the body:

  • Leucine: If you’re looking to build muscle then this is amino acid you cannot go without. This is known as the most anabolic amino acid that is responsible for building new muscle and helping you recover after exercise. This is amino acid is very potent at stimulating muscle protein synthesis. This amino acid also regulates blood sugar and helps to supply the body with energy. This amino acid is extremely important for brain function and helping the rest of your body heal. When you buy whey protein you need to make sure it contains 2+ grams of Leucine per scoop.
  • IsoLeucine: This amino acid is similar to Leucine when it comes to building muscle, but not as potent as Leucine. But where this amino acid does excel is in its ability to significantly increase glucose uptake into your muscle cells, this means your body becomes more effective at producing energy when you require it. This amino acid is also extremely important for the regulation of blood sugar levels.
  • Valine: This is another amino acid that plays an important role in building muscle, but its main benefits are:  enhancing your muscle performance by improving your muscular strength and stamina, this amino acid can help improve muscle recovery and reduce muscle atrophy thanks to its ability to maintain the levels of nitrogen in the body.
  • Lysine: This is an important amino acid that affects serotonin levels positively. This amino acid can help improve your mood, sleep as well as your appetite.
  • Lysine: This amino acid plays a key role in the growth and maintenance of muscle tissue as it can help reduce the rate of protein degeneration thanks to its ability to reduce catabolism within the body. This amino acid can also help with reducing fat as it helps convert fatty acids into energy. This amino acid can also help you have a healthy, better functioning immune system by helping to manufacturer important antibodies needed by your immune system.
  • Methionine: This amino acid is known to help improve performance in workouts that are short but extremely intense, think of 1 rep max training. It does this by helping your body make creatine, which is responsible for providing fuel to your muscles when they are being put under stress from working out.
  • Threonine: This amino acid is responsible for keeping your connective tissue and muscles strong and elastic, speed up wound healing, help with injury recovery and helps build healthy bones.
  • Phenylalanine: This amino acid is very beneficial for a healthy nervous system, it helps to improve your focus and concentration, memory and learning, helps with depression and appetite loss.
  • Histidine: This amino acid plays an important role in the development and maintenance of healthy tissue within the body

Another great thing about whey protein is that it has a high biological value, this means that your body will absorb the majority of the protein that you consume form whey protein supplements. Some foods have an low biological value, this means that your body will not utilize all of the protein you have consumed from low BV food and the rest will be wasted by the body as it does not store protein for very long.

How Should You Consume Whey?

When it comes to consuming whey protein, it can be mixed with either water or milk, the choice is yours. However, bear in mind that if you use milk it will increase the calories, fat, carbohydrate and protein content of the shake.

If you are feeling adventurous, you can use whey as a cooking ingredient and make things like protein pancakes, cookies, muffins, protein bars and more, you can find many recipes online.

Whey protein generally comes in powder form and is available in many different various flavors from your traditional chocolate, strawberry, vanilla to more exciting flavors such as white chocolate velvet and toffee fudge. The range of flavors will depend on the manufacturer of the protein powder.

Whey protein is generally quite high in protein and depending on the manufacturer, you can get anywhere from 16 g to 25 g of high-quality protein per serving. More expensive premium whey can sometimes give you more than 25 g of protein per serving.

How is Whey Protein Made?

There are a lot of misconceptions as to how whey protein is made, there are some people who think it is artificially produced in a lab and it is some sort of dangerous artificial food that you should not consume. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Whey protein can actually be made from either milk or cheese, these days most manufacturers will manufacturer whey directly from milk. Whey is classed as a food supplement as it comes from real food and not artificially produced.

Milk contains two types of proteins, it contains casein and whey. Manufacturers use straining methods to separate the whey protein from the milk, this leaves you with whey protein in liquid form. Here is a fun fact, when you open a fresh yoghurt and see the liquid on the top that is actually whey protein in liquid form.

The next step in the production of whey is to pasteurize it using high temperature/short time (HTST) pasteurization. This process is performed to kill any pathogenic bacteria that could potentially be present in the whey.

Once the HTST is done the next step is to isolate the protein from the whey in liquid form.  This can be done either through ION-exchange or mechanical filtering. Whey protein that has been through the mechanical filtering process will often produce a much better product. Whereas Is the ion-exchange process can cause damage to some of the amino acids which means you get a lower quality product.

Once the whey has been filtered, you end up with powdered whey protein, depending on how many times it has been filtered you will have either whey protein concentrate (most common type of whey protein) or if it goes through a more extensive filtering process you get whey protein isolate.

Types of Whey Protein

There are three different types of whey protein currently available and they are the following:

Concentrate

Whey concentrate is the most popular type of whey and it is the one that is most commonly bought. Whey protein concentrate can contain anywhere from around 30% protein, all the way up to 70 to 80% of actual protein with some fats and carbs as well. How much actual protein you find in whey concentrate will depend on the manufacturer as well as who the protein supplement is aimed for.

If the protein supplement is aimed for people who are looking to improve strength and performance, then the whey concentrate we usually contain around 70 to 80% protein. If you have protein supplement that is aimed towards the general public or even elderly people, then you usually find 30% concentrate protein.

When you’re looking to buy a whey protein supplement, always read the label to see what the concentrate is, this will make sure you buy the right whey protein concentrate for your goals.

Isolate

What makes whey protein isolate different is that is manufactured in a slightly different way to whey protein concentrate. When whey protein isolate is being manufactured the water, lactose and cholesterol is removed. Isolate goes through more of the filtering process to remove these.

With these items removed you potentially have a protein supplement that can be up to 95% concentrate, with whey protein isolate you usually get a higher protein content per scoop then what you do with whey protein concentrate.

Although this all sounds good, the taste can suffer due to the fat and lactose being removed and you end up with a protein shake that does not taste very nice.

Hydrolysate

Hydrolysate whey protein is a fast digesting protein. When this protein supplement is being manufactured, it goes through a partial hydrolysis process, this process will make it a lot easier for the human body to absorb the majority of the protein supplement very fast!

You will often find whey Hydrolysate in baby formulas and protein supplements that are required for medical reasons.

Which One Should You Take?

Which one of these is the best protein powder to buy? They are all good, but whey concentrate is the best all-rounder. Whey concentrate is cheaper than the others, but it will supply the average person with more than enough high-quality protein to support their goals.

Effects of Whey on Muscle Mass and Strength

Whey protein has been shown to have a better effect on muscle growth than other types of protein such as casein or soy protein. Whey protein has been shown to increase protein synthesis by almost 70% compared to only 30% by casein protein.

Whey protein can have a positive effect on building muscle due to its amino acid profile, high biological value and fast rate of digestion.

When you consume whey protein, the body can break down this supplement rapidly and absorbed it into the bloodstream extremely fast. Once the amino acids from whey protein are in your bloodstream, they are transported to muscle tissue that is in desperate need of them, your muscles can then ignite the muscle protein synthesis process to repair and build new tissue.

Although your body utilizes all the essential amino acids to build muscle there are three main essential amino acids that are known as branched-chain amino acids that are the most potent for building muscle.

Good quality whey protein will contain sufficient amount of branched-chain amino acids and these branched-chain amino acids are known as Leucine, IsoLeucine and Valine.

Having sufficient amount of these branched-chain amino acids in your body will stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which in return will build more muscle. Branched-chain amino acids, especially Leucine are the key to turning on muscle building within your body.

How Much Whey Protein Should You Consume

The amount of the protein you consume will vary from person to person, it will depend on your current body weight, your goals, how active you are, how intense your workouts are, how many days a week you exercise and how much quality protein you’re getting from your diet.

Ideally, it’s is a good idea to consume around 20-50 grams of whey protein per day. On the days you workout, you should consume protein after your training session to make sure your body has high-quality protein to tap into when it begins the recovery process.

On days that you don’t workout, you can consume whey protein when it is convenient for you, whether that be first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Always read the label to see how much protein you’re getting per scoop and to see what the manufacturers guidelines are about consumption of their product.

Are There Any Whey Protein Side Effects?

There are no known serious side effects of taking whey protein, but you can experience some minor side-effects such as producing unsightly gas, bloating and people who may suffer from allergies to milk could potentially suffer an allergic reaction.

As long as you consume within the recommended amount and do not hugely exceed this amount, you should not really see any side-effects at all.

Benefits of Whey Protein

  • Excellent source of high-quality protein
  • Has a good ratio of essential amino acids that your body cannot produce
  • Studies show that whey protein can help you gain strength, muscle as well as help you lose body fat.
  • Whey protein can help lower blood pressure in people who have elevated blood pressure and this is due to the bioactive peptide called lactokinins that can be found in whey protein.
  • Easy and convenient way to get 20g – 50g of protein per day.
  • It can help strengthen the body’s antioxidant defenses, it does this by promoting the formation of glutathione, the more glutathione you produce (body’s main antioxidants) the stronger your antioxidant defenses.
  • Whey protein helps you stay fuller for longer (satiating), longer than any other type of protein

Should You Take Whey Protein?

Not everybody needs to take a whey protein supplement as some individuals would get more than enough high-quality protein from their diet and taking whey protein on top would just be a waste as there is only so much protein your body can use for general bodily functions as well as for helping you recover and repair damaged tissue from working out.

How do you find out how much protein you’re consuming per day? If you currently don’t know how much protein you’re consuming and would like to know you can do this with the help of apps like MyFitnessPal. Simply track the food that you are eating and this app will tell you how much protein, carbohydrates, fats and calories you consume per day.

If you find you’re consuming a lot less protein than the recommended daily amount, it might be worth considering whey protein. Remember, whey protein is not necessary if your diet is naturally high in good sources of protein as well as vitamins and minerals. However, for those who have busy lifestyles or for whatever other reason struggle to get enough protein in their diet, then taking whey protein can be a great way to make sure your body has enough high quality protein to function properly.

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