Creatine is perhaps the most popular muscle-enhancing supplement among athletes, according to research at the Mayo Clinic. It increases the transport and production of the cellular energy source adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and provides users with greater energy bursts to handle quick sprints and intense weightlifting. Your liver produces 2 g of creatine daily but can absorb as much as 5 to 10 g per supplemental serving. With a proper diet, exercise routine and dosing schedule, you can lose weight and build muscle using creatine.
Choose a creatine supplement. The brand name does not matter as much as what additives are combined with the creatine. Experts recommend finding creatine monohydrate in its purest form since brand names may charge extra for additional chemicals, sugars and flavoring, which are nonessential. Although research at the Creatine Information Center indicates that high-glycemic foods, sugars and sodium aid in the uptake and transport of creatine, you can meet these nutrient demands through your normal diet.
Calculate your creatine dosage and begin a routine cycle of usage. During the loading phase (stage 1), you should intake roughly 13.5 percent of your body weight in grams of creatine daily for a period of four to five days. For example, a 200-pound individual should consume 27 g (0.135 x 200) of creatine but should distribute this into four equal servings of about 6.75 g each because the body can absorb only so much at once. After the loading phase, cut your intake to 1.35 percent of your body weight in grams of creatine. For instance, a 200-pound individual would now take 2.7 grams daily. After a month of this maintenance phase, begin the “wash-out” phase, where you stop all creatine use for a month to prevent any possible side effects. Then resume the cycle.
Engage in intense strength-training and sprinting during and after your creatine usage. The extra ATPs provided by creatine will help you stay strong while pushing yourself at your hardest, buffering against feelings of weakness and fatigue. Moreover, lifting heavier weights at greater intervals, whether doing chest presses, curling dumbbells or leg presses, will build up the extra muscle you want. At the same time, sprinting, particularly switching between fast intervals and slow intervals of running, will burn many more calories than a light jog, causing you to lose weight faster.
Increase your intake of high-fiber foods and reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates--cookies, chips, sodas, etc.--and sugars. Although creatine will increase water retention in the muscles and even add 5 pounds of water weight during the loading phase, you can still lose weight if you make the right dietary substitutions. In fact, Michelle Rodgers, a weight management coordinator at Hershey Medical Center, says the roughage in high-fiber foods can provide the same energy as sugar and clears out extra calories before they can settle in your digestive system. Furthermore, your resting metabolic rate with grow along with your muscle mass gains, causing you to burn more calories at rest, resulting in extra weight loss.
The Creatine Information Center warns that your body will quickly max out on how much creatine it can store and that you should never overdo your serving sizes because this can damage your liver and kidneys as excess creatine passes through your system.