icon-account icon-glass

Popular Products

The Lean Protein
Whey protein powder for weight-loss.
The Energy Booster
Pre/intra-workout powder with BCAAs.
The Glow Booster
Collagen supplement for skin.

Welcome To Creatine 101: Here's What You Need To Know

14th March 2022

14th March 2022

By Beth Shelper

Creatine supplementation is especially popular, as research states that the mineral is a great source of energy, can assist in the prevention of injury from high-intensity exercise, and also leads to an increase in muscle strength.

You may have come across creatine if you’re a competitive athlete, are a biology enthusiast, already use The Power Booster or really into your fitness. You may have also heard of this supplement due to the wealth of creatine benefits... but scientifically, what is it?

What is Creatine?

One of the most popular supplements in the athletic world, creatine is a naturally occurring mineral. Praised for its ability to provide users with quick energy bursts and improved performance, unlike many supplementations, creatine is actually naturally stored in your body and essential for cell functioning.

Let’s break down the facts and some benefits for you…

Creatine: The Science

Without going into too much complicated detail, the creatine compound is produced by the kidney and liver. This is then excreted daily into the muscles which it is then stored, ready to omit energy when we need it. This is because creatine assists the body in the creation of Adenosine Triphosphate, or more commonly known as ATP – and is an important energy-carrying molecule.

What foods contain Creatine?

Whilst we produce creatine naturally as we noted, it’s important that your creatine levels are maintained to allow healthy cell functionality. So, if you’re someone that partakes in a lot of exercise or experiences fatigue, creatine supplementation might be a good idea for you.

Luckily, it’s really easy to integrate these foods into your diet, as many of the major food groups contain good levels of creatine.

  • Red Meats

This includes meats such as beef, lamb and pork. Great in meals such as a classic Spaghetti Bolognese, pork chops and more. Yum.

  • Fish

Popular options include cod, salmon, haddock and prawns. Whether you add these fish sources into pasta to create a creamy carb dish or eat with rice and vegetables, this is a great way to get creatine into your diet.

  • Dairy

Good news for all you cheese lovers out there! Milk, cheese and yoghurt are great sources of creatine - if you're not going dairy free, that is. 

  • Protein-rich Foods

Eggs, nuts and seeds, oats and broccoli are some pretty popular options and high in protein.

Whilst creatine supplementation is a great way to integrate protein into your diet, it’s worth noting that it is not a suitable alternative to protein consumption all together.

Health Benefits of Creatine

There is a huge wealth of research to back up the many creatine benefits, with notable benefits including:

  • Helps Prevent Injury

Whilst creatine consumption doesn’t necessarily prevent injury, research suggests that it can lower the risk of injury by enhancing your recovery process and reducing cramping. Sounds like a pretty good creatine benefit to us!

  • Increases Energy Levels

The nature of creatine means that enhanced ingestion levels mean increased ATP levels - this is the most popular reason that users opt to include creatine supplementation in their diet.

  • Multiple Muscle Benefits

Creatine supplementation benefits include a number of changes within your muscles. So, not only will increased creatine ingestion help up your muscle mass, but this will enhance your muscle strength, too.

Loading Phases

Now you’ve learned the creatine basics, you may be wondering how you should integrate this supplementation into your diet. Depending on your fitness goals and your routine, this may differ slightly from person to person. This introduces us nicely to the concept of something called a Loading Phase.

What is a ‘Loading Phase’?

A loading phrase, which describes a short-term period (usually around a week) in which a user rapidly increases their creatine consumption and is usually done to obtain quick results.

This loading phase may be completed through ingestion of creatine-rich foods, or through increased usage of creatine supplements to push their bodily creatine stores to the limit. Creatine loading phases are not dangerous or unhealthy, but shouldn’t be maintained over a long-term period.

Loading phases are particularly popular with athletes or professional sportspeople, who are perhaps training for an upcoming event. An easy way to look at it: if you’re just looking to increase your energy levels for day-to-day activities, you’re probably better off avoiding the loading phase. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some fast results, this technique is definitely more geared towards you.

Are there any health risks?

Definitely not – creatine is safe and effective when taken properly.

However, it’s important that as with all food products consumed, you ensure you are paying attention to recommended quantities. Whilst there are no direct risks associated with taking creatine, if you over-indulge, so to speak, you may experience some stomach upset. The nature of creatine also increases your muscle water retention – so if your fitness goal is to lose weight, this is something to consider.

Summary

With the benefits of creatine being backed up by credible research, creatine supplementation has been proven to have great health and performance benefits – and for those reasons, we really recommend integrating this compound into your diet.

If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or have any other dietary requirements and find it hard to naturally integrate extra creatine into your diet, Innermost’s The Power Booster is vegan, lactose and gluten free.

References

  • Adenosine Triphosphate - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (2021). Retrieved 20 April 2021. Click here.
  • Francaux, M., Poortmans, J. Effects of training and creatine supplement on muscle strength and body mass. Eur J Appl Physiol 80, 165–168 (1999). Click here.
  • How The Creatine Loading Phase Brings Faster Results | Bodybuilding.com. (2021). Click here.
  • Volek, J. S., & Rawson, E. S. (2004). Scientific basis and practical aspects of creatine supplementation for athletes. Nutrition, 20(7-8), 609-614. Click here.
  • Volek, Jeff S.; Kraemer, William J. Creatine Supplementation, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: August 1996 - Volume 10 - Issue 3 - p 200-210. Click here.

Other Insights

Innermost Investigates: The Truth On Power Plates
Vibration or ‘power plates’ are commonly met with a healthy dose of scepticism. And to be fair, standing on a plate and shaking, at first, doesn’t sound like the most effective method of exercise. What most people aren’t aware of, however, is that vibration plates were developed over 50 years ago by Russian cosmonauts to prevent the loss of muscle mass in space. They continue to be used to this day in space missions, even by NASA. If vibrating plates are good enough to be used on spaceships, then perhaps they’re good enough for the gym.  Innermost is here to investigate the benefits of using vibration plates (on Earth). We’ll answer all your burning questions including: What is a power plate? What does a power plate do? Do power plates work? And how do I use a power plate?  What is a power plate? How do they work? A vibration plate (often called a ‘power plate’) is an exercise machine that sends high-speed vibrations through the entire body. This stimulates your muscles to automatically contract up to 30-50 times more per second than usual. To maximise stimulation, vibration plates move in multiple directions simultaneously – up and down, left and right, front and back. As your body naturally attempts to stabilise itself against the shaking, it engages lots of muscles (many of which aren’t engaged during conventional exercise). And since this stabilisation occurs automatically, you hardly feel it.  8 benefits of vibration plates Ok, so new muscles are engaged a lot more than usual. That sounds great. But what are the actual benefits of power plate exercise?  Saves time Your muscles are working harder, so it takes less time to reach the same goals, cutting down on your workout time. Remedial therapist and Power-Plate specialist trainer Mark Andrews call power plates “the microwave of fitness”. Low impact Power plate exercise is considered low impact, making it suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is also low impact on joints and ligaments – making it a great form of exercise for people who want to ease into exercise – for example, if you’re a bit older or recovering from an injury. Fat-loss benefits Power plates are a fat burn booster, but at the end of the day, the most proven method for fat-loss is correct nutrition and a calorie deficit. Innermost also offers nutritional supplements for healthy and sustainable fat-loss including The Lean Protein, The Define Booster and The Tone Capsules. Muscle strength and toning benefits Since so many muscle groups are working at the same time and 30-50 times more than usual, your muscles will strengthen and tone even from just standing on a power plate. Improved circulation Vibration plates can be used as a massage tool, which increases circulation in the massaged body parts. Increase core strength, stability, and balance All exercises on a vibration plate forces your body to engage its core to balance and stabilise. Certain exercises such as press-ups or planks (see 5 power plate exercises below) amplify this benefit even more. Increase Flexibility According to the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, using a power plate when stretching (before or after a workout) is more effective than stretching alone. At-home If you’re working from home, too far from a gym, or simply enjoy the convenience of home workouts, you can purchase a power plate to use in the house. A personal power plate and power plate move are both relatively compact pieces of equipment so can fit easily into your home. You can check out more options here. How do I use a power plate? 5 power plate training exercises Plank Get onto the floor and place your forearms onto the power plate. Gently move your knees away from the power plate until your back is completely straight. When you feel confident, have only your toes touching the floor and lift your knees off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. Press up Similar to the plank, except your hands are on the power plate, shoulder-width apart with your arms out-stretched and locked at the elbows. Again, your back is straight, and you can start with your knees on the floor. When you are confident you can lift your knees off the floor and have just your toes touching the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. If you can, gently bend your elbows to bring your body down close to the power plate and then straighten your elbows again to bring your body back up – congratulations you’ve just done a press-up on a power plate! Leg crunches Sit in the centre of the vibration plate. Place your hands behind you on the edge of the power plate and bend your elbows to help you gently lean back. As you lean back, lift your legs off the ground to counter-balance yourself. The lower half of your legs (below the knee) should be parallel to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Squat Stand on the power plate with feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward. Using out-stretched arms that are parallel to the floor to balance you, gently bend your knees to bring your body down. Hold for 30 seconds. Then gently straighten your knees again to go back up. Keep your back straight at all times. Lunge Stand one ‘stride’ (long-step) away from the power plate. Then, with one leg, take one long step onto the power plate, keeping your toes forward. Gently bend the leg that is on the power plate at the knee, keeping the other leg straight at all times (you should really feel a stretch in the straight leg). Hold for 30 seconds. Then step off the power plate and change legs (i.e. if you stepped with your left leg first, now step with your right leg). So there you have it, a power plate is a space-age exercise machine that boasts lots of fitness benefits. If you’re looking to level up your exercise routine then this is a great option for you. Next time you’re in a gym give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised! Sources: Is whole-body vibration a good way to lose weight and improve fitness? The 8 Best Ways to Exercise With A Vibration Plate All You Need to Know About: Power Plates The Power Plate: A Space Age Relic Inspires a New Form of Exercise - The New York Times (nytimes.com) Read more
Ashwagandha, Winter Cherry, Indian Ginseng... What Is It?