How Much Weight Should A 12 Year Old Be Lifting Does Creatine Work?

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Does Creatine Work?

Creatine is one of the popular supplements on the market today. It appeals to elite athletes and weekend warriors alike for its potential muscle and strength building benefits. But the question remains, does it work?

Open any fitness magazine today and look at the articles and ads. You’ll find ads for personal trainer certifications, workout video ads, strength training articles, and you’ll find tons of ads for nutritional supplements. I’d be interested to hear if you find a more popular strength training supplement than creatine.

Creatine – also known as creatine monohydrate – claims to help with energy production and may possibly stimulate muscle growth. Any supplement that promises to provide more energy and bigger muscles will be very popular. Just ask the athletes, weightlifters or other residents of your gym.

The most interesting part of the creatine story is that unlike the vast majority of ergogenic (performance enhancing) aids, there is a lot of evidence to support creatine supplementation. An important note is that there are also nearly as many studies that show conflicting evidence.

Recently, studies were published in the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showing conflicting results. In a 2006 study, “Creatine Supplementation and Multiple Sprint Performance,” researchers concluded that when it comes to creatine supplementation, “the expectations of many athletes are unlikely to be met.”

Another study from 2006, “Effects of Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation on Body Composition and Strength Indexes in Experienced Resistance Women” found that creatine supplementation combined with 10 weeks of strength training failed to improve strength or lean mass body more than just training. But a 2003 review of existing creatine research titled “Effects of Creatine Supplementation and Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Weightlifting Performance” found that subjects increased their 1-rep bench press maximum from 3 to 45%. As a result of this and other findings, the response to creatine was “highly variable.” Hey, you think?

So what’s a consumer to do? How do you decide whether or not to use creatine?

That’s where I come in. Your friendly online personal trainer and general source of useful fitness tips! A little professional perspective along with a dash of anecdotal evidence can be helpful in situations like this.

Here is my position on creatine. Indeed, before my position on creatine, here is my general position on supplements of all kinds. Regardless of what the research shows and/or what the ads claim, if you don’t live a reasonably healthy lifestyle that includes proper, supportive eating habits, regular exercise, and plenty of rest, you won’t get any real benefit from any supplement.

Whether it’s omega-3 oils, creatine, multivitamins, whey protein, green tea, or any other supplement you can kick your ass, if you don’t put in the effort in the areas of diet, exercise, and recovery, you won’t. no benefit from a pill, powder or herb.

Now back to creatine. I have used creatine at least 3 different times over the past 10-12 years. One time I followed the loading schedule to the “T” and the other times I winged it without considering the timing and got it if I remembered, and sometimes if I forgot.

Creatine has worked for me in all of these cases. I definitely added size and strength in a relatively short period of time – say a few months – and suffered no obvious side effects. In some circles it was thought that creatine supplementation contributed to dehydration and cramps. I’ve never experienced this and I don’t know anyone who has.

When you saturate your muscles with creatine, the muscles retain more water and become “bulky”. That’s fancy talk about “bigger”. Without going into the boring details, there are many good things muscles can do when bulked up, most of which boil down to allowing the muscles to grow.

If you look at the review of creatine studies I mentioned above, you will see where it states that the creatine response is “highly variable”. One of the ways you’ll know if you’re one of those “highly variable” types is if you gain about 8-12 pounds without making any other real changes to your diet. When I used creatine, during the first month or so I gained 8-10 pounds from what I felt was a “good” weight, as I was still able to wear a size 32 pant.

Chances are, unless you’re a very variable type, you won’t see this kind of weight gain and strength gain at the same time.

Since late 2008, I’ve been on a creatine regimen again. By adjusting my training and loading/maintenance regimen, I’m feeling the benefits of creatine without the weight gain I had in the past. If anything, I’m thinner than ever at 205kg.

The bottom line here is to do your homework to know what you are putting in your body and educate yourself on the proper way to administer any of these supplements. Consult your physician, an athletic trainer, or an appropriate strength and conditioning professional before using any type of ergonomic aid.

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