Creatine, your experiences please.

I’m thinking about taking Creatine as a supplement for aiding in light workout and sport activities like basketball. Wiki seems to think that it’s ok to do in moderation, of course, like anything else.
What have been your experiences, results?

I took creatine regularly back when I wanted to get in shape and bulk up a little.

At the time I weighed about 145 pounds , could ride my bike maybe 5 miles and could do maybe 10 reps @ 80 pounds on the bench press.

I would take it about 1 1/2 hours before my workouts, which consisted of maybe an hour of light weight lifting and a short bike ride.

Gradually, I noticed an increase in stamina.

To make a long story short, at the end of one year I weighed about 170 pounds, was able to 20 reps @ 200 pounds (along with an increase in my overall workout regimen) and could go 15 miles on my bike without breathing hard.

I still have some, but I don’t take it very often. I’m where I want to be physically. If I start to slip back to the way I was, I’ll go back to taking it regularly again.

I took creatine several years ago as well. Worked good for me, but made me consume lots of water. I mixed it in with gatorade and took it in that way. (Brawndo, it’s got electrolytes!)

What is it with Bench presses anyway? Is that all guys do? That and curls? Personally the two exercises that guys mostly do in the gym are the most useless in terms of adding anything to physical activity. Unless you regularly lean against a wall or lay on the floor and have to push things off you. Much better to have overall strength and focus on the back, core muscles and leg muscles. But then guys wouldn’t have their yardstick of manhood.

Them: I can benchpress 300 lbs for X reps!
Me: So what, I can deadlift nearly twice that and Squat half again that.
Them: What do you benchpress?
Me: I don’t benchpress.
Them: gasp
Me: WTF? You ask them what they squat or deadlift and they say “I don’t do either of those” Just benchpress and bicep curls. :rolleyes:

Creatine is used in anaerobic metabolism, which doesn’t really play a role in basketball or other common sports, so you won’t see any difference from using it. Its benefit in weight training is well-established, but the average person who doesn’t lift probably gets enough from the meat in their diet.

My main experience was that of drinking chalk. It was gross. I did notice an increase in mass with it, although it’s important to note that I’m fairly certain it was mostly water. When I stopped taking it, I saw a slight decrease in mass and strength, but a little bit of work put me up there again, this time supplement-free. My advice would be to not bother, unless you’ve reached a workout plateau and need a boost to get over the hump. I didn’t think it was worth the cash.

If you ever do end up needing to push something in real life, then sure, the force is coming from your legs and core. But if your arms aren’t strong enough to transfer that force, it’s not going to be as effective. Chain’s only as strong as its weakest link and all that.

I bench, but I’d never prioritize it over any other major lift.

Doing Cleans, shoulder work and back work seems to have always worked ok with me. Sometimes I incorporate some inclines with dumbells, but I never use a barbell. While I rarely ever do bicep curls, I do lots of other arm work as well. Nothing as a standard for my manhood, however.

I use creatine and find it really helps with soreness and speeds recovery time. I don’t bother with the loading phase and I cycle off for at least 2 weeks after I finish a bottle of pills or tub of powder. I also use protein powder to insure that I get at least 150 grams of protein total daily.

I have to drink a lot more water when I’m using creatine too.

I have a friend who is on mood stabilizers for bipolar disorder and he had to quit using creatine. After a long bike ride to work he wasn’t sweating and had a terrible headache. It turned out that the creatine was blocking uptake of his meds, his insulin count was way too high and he was dehydrated.

Edit: Regarding what lifts I do: for a decent physique I concentrate on lats, shoulders & core as much as pecs & biceps. For strength I agree that you need squats for your glutes and deadlift for your back. I do a lot of cycling for cardio, which doesn’t leave much healing time for squats.

About the bench presses, I just used that as a brief example to show the improvement I made.

I had a whole workout regimen. Along with the bench press, I did leg presses, pull-ups, butterflies, crunches, squats, rowing machine etc.

There were improvements in all those areas, but I didn’t want to list them all.

I apologize, though I wasn’t trying to imply that is all you did. It is a common enough theme, at least in ALL the gyms I’ve been to. The hardcore lifters and athletes tend not to be so narrow sighted.

I’ve seen it from everywhere from 24 hour fitness to the YMCA. I go 4-5 times a day with alternating workout schedule, and every day of the week, the same guy(s) are in there doing BP every day. That and bicep curls (sorry, my opinion is that hammer curls are far superior).

I’m a bit biased because I tend towards the preference of strength and performance rather than to look pretty, so I like the Olympic lifts the most.

Himself has used creatine off and on (on mostly during preps for competitions). It does help with increasing strength and bulk, but the bulk seems to be a lot of water. He gets kind of puffy when he’s on it, then harder, more defined muscles when he stops taking it.

I used it in my early 20s. It made me cramp up while working out.

I’ve since been told that perhaps I was not keeping hydrated enough.

I used it for maybe six months. I really didn’t notice any difference, so I stopped.
I was lifting pretty heavy at the time.

excuse the hijack - I quite like the bench as it seems a really safe compound lift - good basic technique is pretty easily grasped for most people. It’s very easy to spot, so even if you’re stretching your limits a little bit the chance of an injury is slight. You see guys trying eye-bulging, vein-throbbing one-time presses just for a laugh and you know they’re going to be fine.

The squat on the other hand really gives me pause - especially at the higher weights. The technique can be quite nuanced with small differences in stance having a big effect on the forces through your knees for example. It seems like you need very tidy technique to progress through the heavy weights. I’m personally way stronger at squatting / deadlifting than I am at bench pressing, but don’t really have the time/interest in the sport to develop the technique to go all out in these lifts. I have to keep something in the tank for safety’s sake. :slight_smile:

Basic technique for squats and deadlifts is just as easy to master as the bench, and the bench is no less subtle when you’re getting into high weights.

I used creatine in Iraq when I was lifting daily. It was a big help to get over the plateau. Basically it didn’t make me feel any different but I was peeing a lot more. It tasted just like Powerade and Gatorade too, so it’s not like it’s punishment. The only drawback is the money- roughly $30 a month.

The general idea of it is that it packs your muscles w/ water and energy, allowing you to lift harder for longer. THAT’S what gives you the muscle, not the creatine itself. If you’re taking it and not exercising, you’re wasting time and money. A word of caution- I went too fast bulking up. My skin didn’t expand fast enough and now I have stretch marks on my biceps. They’re only noticable to me, but there’s no reason to let it happen to you. Take it easy, use some lotions to help the skin grow, drink water for a variety of reasons, and don’t forget to rest!

BTW, the reason I don’t do leg exercises is because I was trying to pick up chicks when I came home, not because I wanted to jump higher. Girls don’t look at leg muscle and if my pants are off, then it’s alreay Mission Accomplished. Don’t let anyone tell you benching is stupid!

I dunno, I know of people that got hurt with the BP. Rotator cuff tears are a huge injury in that area. My SO is a Physical Therapist, and right now one of her patients is in for such an injury. In fact, there is a guy she is treating with Tennis Elbow from doing massive amounts of curls.

Personally I was at the point I didn’t even think about stance or form, you start low and work up in weight and your body just assumes the position, especially once you are up in the weight. (from doing them so often that is)

My problem isn’t so much with the lift itself (BP that is), but with the single minded devotion people have towards it. It isn’t THAT great in terms of adding anything to performance. Sure, I wouldn’t do tons of lat exercises without making sure my chest is somewhere along the way, I’d rather not risk later injury, but I certainly think people that do it, and it exclusively are short changing themselves. You don’t need to do it every day, fer Og’s sake.

Bigger biceps and chest = look better naked. What, do you think all of those guys at the gym are athletes looking to increase their performance?

I just wrote a paper on creatine.

You should use it if you are serious about increasing heavy lifting strength, or lean body mass. Don’t use it for sports.

Just a note. You’re right that if you are not lifting heavily when you take it, it’s a waste. But it’s not certain that the only effect of creatine is that it enables you to lift more. There are studies that point to intrinsic effects of creatine, which apply when you are in an anabolic state.