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What is Creatine and Should I Be Using it?

Not sure what creatine is? Wondering if you should be using it when working out? In our article this week, we'll break down this polarizing supplement and hopefully provide you with the info you need to make an informed decision about whether you should be using it. 

Out of all the supplements that bodybuilders and fitness fanatics use or swear by, creatine is perhaps the most polarizing one. But what is it? And should you be using it for your workouts? Hopefully once you read through our article this week, you'll have a better idea of what your answer to that second question will be. 

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What is creatine? 

Creatine is something our bodies make naturally. This organic acid is made when we eat certain foods, with red meat and seafood being the main examples. After our body makes creatine, it stores it within our muscles so we can access it during times of extreme exertion, such as when we're powerlifting or sprinting. Creatine is not an essential nutrient, and because our bodies make it from the amino acids we receive through other sources of protein, there is no need to primarily get it directly from food.

Should I be using creatine? 

That depends. If you're not powerlifting or lifting weights to become a bodybuilder — or performing high-intensity workouts on a regular basis — then your body most likely makes all the creatine you already need. So long as you're eating a balanced diet. Creatine is created by our bodies when we eat animals, so foods such as pork, chicken, beef, and seafood should provide you with all the creatine you need if you're eating them regularly. For those who are vegan or vegetarian, a creatine supplement may help them replace the creatine their bodies can no longer create due to these diets. 

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So who are creatine supplements for? 

The primary demographic for creatine supplement users would be bodybuilders. Because the exercises they do involve short and fast movements, they're tapping into a different energy system than what is used for aerobic exercises. They're primarily using creatine. Creatine allows your body to create more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is actually our primary energy source. The only problem is that our bodies can only store a limited amount of ATP before having to produce more of it after it's been used up during extreme exertion. Bodybuilders who take creatine are able to build up larger stores of a chemical that helps produce ATP while undergoing high-intensity workouts, allowing them to increase muscle fibre growth, muscle mass, and weightlifting capabilities. 

While creatine supplements are primarily for those who are in need of additional ATP resources during high-intensity workouts, vegans or vegetarians who are active a fair amount may also benefit from them since they do not get the required chemicals to build creatine from their diets. 

In the end, though bodybuilders are the primary group who can benefit the most from using creatine supplements, anyone who is looking for improved muscle building or strength capabilities can also benefit from using them. 

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