When I started CrossFit over tens years ago, the first thing I changed outside of the gym was my diet. I’m sure I’m not alone in that journey. But beyond changing one’s diet to whole foods and eliminating processed junk, there are still times where supplements are needed.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting information out there. So I reached out to Justin at CBG Nutrition and asked specifically about creatine. I’ve taken it in the past, but I’ve never been consistent with it. However, after chatting with him and learning about some of the benefits, I’ve started taking it consistently.
If you are interested in learning more about nutrition and supplementation, I would highly recommend signing up for his free private Facebook group, WOD Nutritionist | CBG. In there, Justin and his team share advice suited specifically for CrossFitters. Just a couple days ago, Justin shared a free supplement guide in the group.
But back to the benefits of creatine, here are three reasons why you, as a CrossFit athlete, should consider taking a creatine supplement daily.
The availability of creatine in muscles is limited, and supplementation with creatine has been shown to increase the amount of creatine stored in muscles, leading to increased adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, production. By taking a creatine supplement, it can help increase the rate of ATP production during high-intensity exercise, which can lead to improved performance. Studies have shown that creatine supplementation can increase ATP production by up to 40%, which can translate to improved power output, strength, and sprint performance.
Creatine has also been shown to reduce fatigue during high-intensity exercise. Creatine can help buffer the accumulation of lactic acid in muscles, which is a byproduct of intense exercise that can contribute to fatigue.
Gain Lean Body Mass & Strength
Creatine supplementation has been shown to increase lean body mass and strength in athletes and non-athletes alike through a combination of increased protein synthesis and increased water retention in muscle cells.
Studies have shown that creatine supplementation can increase muscle protein synthesis, which is the process by which muscle tissue is built and repaired. By increasing protein synthesis, creatine supplementation can help athletes build more muscle mass, which can lead to increased strength and power.
In addition to its effects on protein synthesis, creatine supplementation has also been shown to increase water retention in muscle cells. This can lead to increased muscle volume, which can improve the appearance of muscle size and increase overall strength. This effect is thought to be due to the osmotic properties of creatine, which draw water into muscle cells and increase their volume.
Ability to Prevent Neurodegeneration
There are definitely great benefits to be had in the gym by taking a creatine supplement, but the benefits go beyond the walls of the gym. Recent scientific studies have looked at its effect on the brain, specifically when it comes to preventing neurological disorders.
These studies have shown that creatine has antioxidant properties, can reduce mental fatigue and help protect the brain from neurotoxicity. Because of this, many believe creatine can help fight against Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and even lower the risk of a stroke.
These diseases interfere with energy metabolism and cause a decline in cell function. Creatine, however, functions like ATP, thereby buffering against energy metabolism decline.
Creatine Supplement Recommendations
Alright, so you’ve read some of the benefits and want to start taking creatine, but you don’t know how much to take? Justin told me (and outlined it in an Instagram post a few months ago) that just taking 3-5 grams daily is all that is needed. There is no need to load creatine by taking more when you start taking it.
Basically, his recommendation is to taking consistently 365 days a year.
Again, if you are interested in learning more about fueling your body so you can perform your best at CrossFit, I highly recommend joining the WOD Nutritionist’s Facebook group. It’s free and he shares content daily on how to eat property without counting macros along with other tips and tricks to feel your best through nutrition and supplementation.