Thursday, November 29, 2012

Conversations with Creatine

Men love it. Women are scared of it. Some people think it'll kill you without hydration. And yet studies show it's one of the safest available training supplements, found naturally in animal products. Okay, so I'm thinking, this has got to hit. My good girlfriend and client Jess wanted to try some, and I didn't want her to go there without me trying it first. So I decided to buy some creatine and do some experimentation. I'd have to say that was the most interesting two weeks I ever flew through.

I was so excited about hearing of women having really excellent results from creatine. This is only one website that boasted of its claims. It even went so far as to say,

“Everybody asks me what the most dangerous supplement out there is and I say sugar. I consider creatine to be even safer than sugar.”

–  Jeffrey R. Stout, PhD, director of the Metabolic and Body Composition Laboratory at the University of Oklahoma, and author of Essentials of Creatine in Sport and Health (Humana, 2010)

Firstly, I stirred up almost 5g of creatine in my first dose, in about a cup of water. I drank this down about 30 to 40 minutes prior to a tough workout session. I think I flew through the session with it, plus a cup of black tea. Okay, so I was feeling absolutely fabulous! I was loving the extra few reps on each set. But something else was happening, as I was working out. I began feeling this weird feeling in my lower gut, like it was about ready to slide out of me, coupled with a need to rush to the potty. Next, post-gym, rehydration and meal, I stayed up most of the night, just wound up around basically nothing...but it gave me great mental energy to get a laundry list of items scratched out.

I mentioned this to my bodybuilding trainer BF Mike, who said "um, why did you load such a high dose?"Oops. I swear I did more research than that.

Next, I took two days off from taking it, and loaded again, but this time, at half the dose. Again, another great training session had ensued. But still, something was amiss...when I got home a couple of hours later, I noticed my heart was palpating, and it became scary, as if I pushed my thyroid into overdrive. As I already have athletic arrhythmia and a family history of thyroid issues, I was a little concerned with the way I was starting to feel, and no amount of water or soothing tea seemed to flush the feeling out.

Back to the drawing board.

Then I did some more research and found out that it just probably isn't for me, despite the excellent source of the one nutrient I'm probably missing from my food. However safe and accurate that may sound, me being the outlier didn't seem to feel quite right. Anyway I pushed on and tried as little as an 1/8 tsp. in water. This worked well, but afterwards, I had a strange issue where my vision was obscured for long enough to worry me. I slammed 16 oz. of water in the hopes the funny feeling would flush, and I think it did. But I couldn't understand why it took so long to achieve.

I talked to a buddy of mine who told me to try loading with juice instead of water. He also said to check the package for something called proprietary blend, which means you will not be getting enough creatine per dose. Good thing I got the pure monohydrate form. Thing for me is, not sure I can use it AT ALL. All I keep reading and hearing is, "oh, it should be safe. It's naturally found in meat." Well having said that, I'm vegetarian, and I don't think meat is completely safe. Also, something must be unnatural about the process, otherwise I'd be able to take it in spoonfuls with no harmful side effects. After prop 37, after all, no food company is required to divulge everything in their product. Wow. It's hard being a package of something these days.

So for now, I'm choosing to lay off for the remainder of the week. Then if on Monday I decide to take more, I'll understand creatine and my body a little better.

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