Creatine is the most popular ergogenic aid (a supplement that enhances performance) used in fitness and health. Creatine is a combination of three amino acids; glycine, arginine, and methionine. We can get creatine in our diets in foods like fish and red meat. There are different types of creatine available on the market; creatine monohydrate is the most widely researched.
Why should I take it?
Research has shown that creatine can aid in muscle gain, exercise performance, recovery, injury prevention, and thermoregulation. Supplementing creatine increases intramuscular creatine concentrations, allowing your body to produce more energy. Therefore potentially improving your performance during your workouts.
Is it safe?
There are over 500 peer-refereed articles have been published about creatine, making it the most studied supplement. The International Society of Sports Nutrition reported in 2017 that “there is no compelling scientific evidence that the short or long term use of creatine monohydrate has any detrimental effects” (Kreider et al. 2017).
How much should I take?
The recommended dosage is 3-5g/day or 0.1/kg of body mass/day. You can do a “loading phase” of creatine in which you would take a higher dosage, from 15g-25g for five days, to saturate the muscle cells. After five days, you would then return to your maintenance dosage.
Of course, if you find yourself unsure if you should be supplementing creatine, consult a healthcare professional.
Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, Ziegenfuss TN, Wildman R, Collins R, Candow DG, Kleiner SM, Almada AL, Lopez HL. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jun 13;14:18. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z. PMID: 28615996; PMCID: PMC5469049.
Achieving your fitness goals isn’t just about exercising. It’s about eating right, too. In today’s day and age, though, oftentimes foods don’t contain everything that they could to maximize available nutrition. Using supplements can help keep your body in prime shape and maximize the work that you’re doing so you see lasting results fast.
When you’re choosing supplements, do your research. Talk with your nutritionist, doctor, and fitness professionals so that you can get a range of opinions and information and make an informed decision best for you. Track your progress so that you can know what is helping you feel and look your best.
Protein helps build muscle, as well as repair it after strenuous exercise. Consuming protein powder before a workout allows your body to develop the most amount of muscle possible while you’re exercising. Then, when your muscles grow they’re able to accomplish even greater strength training and exude power while running, biking, swimming, etc.
When you’re putting something into your body, though, you want to make sure it’s of the highest quality possible. There’s no point in filling your body with chemicals and fillers that aren’t going to do the job they promise while potentially harming you, as well.
Vegan protein powder
Many people follow a vegan diet/lifestyle, however, so options for vegan protein powders are important. Instead of whey, these plant-based protein powders source their ingredients from peas, beans (such as navy or garbanzo), lentils, flax, quinoa, and seeds such as cranberry, pumpkin, or chia.
Vegan protein powders come in unflavored or with flavorings such as chocolate or vanilla. Many also have qualifications such as NSF sport-certified, organic, or soy- or GMO-free.
The journey to physical fitness isn’t all about moving as much as possible. Your body also needs rest to recover. When you sleep, your body heals itself and grows. Rest days allow your body the chance to reset and “want” to work out again.
Creatine, although often used as a performance enhancer, is a powerful addition to your recovery routine. Creatine can help your overall sleep quality: deepening your REM cycles, waking up less, and allowing your precious rest time to feel like it’s working harder for you. Creatine can help your heart rate variability (HRV), which is the fluctuating time in between your heartbeats.
When your HRV is high (meaning different times between heartbeats), your body is using the parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with rest and recovery. This is the “rest and digest” state that helps your body get back to a neutral state. The sympathetic nervous system is associated with fight and flight, or high adrenaline activities.
Your parents always told you to “eat your greens,” right? Well, we’re going to tell you the same thing. The vitamins and minerals in leafy green vegetables just can’t be matched anywhere else. However, with today’s busy lifestyles it can be hard to cook at each meal or take the time to sit and eat a plate loaded with vegetables multiple times a day.
Add some greens to your daily protein shake, a salad dressing, or even just to water! Super greens, like the ones offered by Earth Fed Muscle, will reduce inflammation, improve your digestive health, and add the power of antioxidants to your system for advanced healing and disease protection. Greens supplements use ingredients like kale and spinach, and are often sweetened with choices such as spirulina or mint.
Branch chain amino acids
Branch chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are a combination of a few different acids, each with its own benefit. BCAAs contain leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are an important part of protein development as well as glucose retention in our cells. That means that consuming BCAAs can benefit you while your body recovers and builds muscle.
Adding BCAAs to your diet can help reduce muscle damage from over-exercising, as long as you begin consuming it while the damage is low to moderate. The best time to take BCAAs is before your workout begins. A high intake each day can also help prevent injury in the first place.
You can also get a good amount of BCAAs when you eat lean protein, such as chicken and turkey. Most people can get enough from a healthy diet, but if you’re on a specialized eating plan (such as vegetarians or vegans), this could be an important addition.
Most people can consume the recommended daily dose of vitamin D through dairy products and the sun. However, many people don’t consume dairy as part of a vegan or lactose-intolerant diet. Today’s heightened use of sunscreen, too, prevents people from taking in as much vitamin D as we often need.
If you are deficient in vitamin D for any reason, consuming it can help improve your fitness performance. Vitamin D is closely linked to skeletal and muscle health. Not only does it help improve performance, but being deficient can make it harder for your body to work at peak levels.
Everyone knows that caffeine gives you energy. It’s also a fat-burning supplement typically associated with weight loss. Caffeine boosts your metabolism, gives you extra antioxidants, and can enhance performance. It can also block negative receptors in your nervous system, giving you positive energy surges, improving mental performance, and slowing down the mental decline related to aging.
Just like with most other supplements, though, more doesn’t mean better. Overconsumption of caffeine can create shakiness, crashes, and dependency.
Caffeine is a supplement that many people are sensitive to in even small amounts. If you’re adding it to your routine and not yet used to consuming it, start small and pay close attention to how you feel.
Take something home with you to start your supplment journey
It all starts with the first choice! The front desk offers a range of supplements to get you started on a supplement plan. Ask our team members or your personal trainer for some recommendations that match your fitness and lifestyle goals. We’d love to help you find something that not only tastes great but makes you feel great, too.
Remember that supplements are enhancers. They aren’t going to do all the hard work for you, but you can get some extra “oomph” behind the hard work you’re putting in.