By Nicky Royle
Owner and Founder of Proteinology
Women may avoid taking creatine for a number of reasons. Personally, I didn’t know exactly what it did, I had heard it could make you bloated and thought of guys taking it implied that it would make you big and bulky – and that’s far from what my fitness goals are.
However, after conducting research and testing it myself, it has turned out to be one the most beneficial supplement to add to my diet and training! Reassurance was also added with Creatine being one of the most researched and clinically validated supplements available.
So what is creatine?
Creatine is a natural amino acid found in meat and fish. It is also produced by the kidneys, pancreas and liver at around 1-2g per day. It actually plays an important role in releasing energy when an individual performs short-duration high-intensity exercise – this energy significantly helps to boost muscular performance – and this is for anyone with health and fitness goals. For example: gym-goers, athletes, bodybuilders… powerlifters, runners, etc.
However, it is impossible to get enough creatine from our body or from the food we eat to elicit its performance enhancing effects without supplementing! Respectively, it’s worth noting that creatine is also suitable for vegetarians, which is especially beneficial for those that aren’t able to get any percentage of the compound through meat.
How can Creatine benefit women?
Creatine will make you feel stronger by increasing the blood flow to your muscles – and increased workout intensity will inevitably lead to increased muscle mass.
However, it’s important to remember that it is very difficult for women to build muscle in the first place. Women don’t have enough testosterone to naturally accomplish a ‘hulk-like’ physique – and I’m pretty sure you’ll be the miracle woman to achieve it if so!
Rather than bulking up, your extra muscle mass will allow for a tighter, leaner physique, which will also boost your metabolism!
Creatine has also been shown to:
✓ Reduce fatigue.
✓ Benefit during endurance sports.
✓ Strength and power during strength training.
✓ Improve recovery.
…Which can only be seen as a positive thing!
According to a position stand released by the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine is actually the most effective nutritional supplement available to gym-goers, athletes and bodybuilders that will increase high-intensity exercise capacity and muscle mass during training sessions!
…And accounts for males and females!
How much Creatine should I take?
Two 3-5g doses are recommended throughout the day when it is convenient for you.
Personally, I find it is not necessary to load creatine as taking this dose will saturate the muscles in the same time it would to load them – up to a week. However, it all depends on the person!
Find out a bit more about creatine loading.
Creatine side effects | What about the ‘bloating’ issue?
Supplementing with creatine can result in slight bloating. However, this ‘bloating’ is not like your typical ‘monthly bloat,’ with the additional discomfort and pain.
It’s simply caused by a small amount water being retained within the muscles, which facilitates a more defined muscular look if anything!
However, there are a number of factors (sodium, carbohydrate intake etc) that will impact water retention so experiences will differ from person to person. The water weight quickly goes once you stop taking creatine though.
Take Home Message
Creatine has been suggested to be the gold standard for other supplements to be weighed against! This is both for positive effects on body composition and exercise performance.
Since taking it, I have more energy, more muscle ‘pump’, I feel more mentally focused and all of these have helped increase my strength gains.
Give it a go and see if it works for you!