Archive for creatine

The People Demand Answers!! January 2013

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance

I’ve decided to start a question and answer post to change things up a little bit. This will allow more different topics to be answered without necessarily getting into the depth that a full post/article would require. That being said, please feel free to email in questions, use the comment box, post on our facebook page or send us a tweet. This installment is made up of either questions I’ve been asked lately or things that I’ve heard that need correcting. Enjoy.

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On the cardio machine, the fat loss setting picks low paced cardio; Is that really the best way to burn fat??

Fat loss is an interesting topic because there are a number of different ways of achieving it. To decide what’s BEST is a whole other story. Let’s get into some basics about energy systems to answer this one. I’m putting it in layman’s terms so if you’re another coach, try to keep this in mind. There are 3 main energy systems that our body uses for energy. These are: the phosphagen system, the glycolitic system, the oxidative system. The phosphagen system uses ATP stores to produce energy used in extremely short and high intensity movements (think sprint or heavy lift). The glycolitic system uses glycogen stores (carbs essentially) to produce energy for moderate intensity exercise and kicks in after ATP up to about 20 or 30 minutes. The Oxidative system uses fatty acids to produce energy for long, low intensity movements. So technically, this setting is correct for activating the oxidative system. However, if we do bouts of High Intensity interval training (HIIT) then we will burn through all 3 energy systems. Your body can only produce so much ATP in such a short amount of time [note: supplementing creatine can help with this], so your body will be forced to jump to the next system when the first runs dry. Thus, we can actually start activating the glycolitic system earlier with intervals than with slow paced cardio. So it still will burn fat, but intervals will allow a much better, more complete energy system response.

If I want to get faster, should I just do interval running?

Following up on the post above, interval work should be meant for conditioning or fat loss work. What people need to realize about speed is that it is extremely technical and also extremely demanding on the body. In order to truly increase your speed you need a structured program and a qualified coach to help you with this. With your coach you can work on the two determinants of speed: output and direction. When you are fatigued during intervals, both of these values would be negatively affected; Your output will be significantly dimished and fatigue will adversely affect your coordination. More often than not I see (from others) intervals as continuous repetition of bad mechanics. So in closing, use intervals for conditioning work but high quality, high output repetitions are necessary to increase speed.

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When doing weights, should I progress up to heavy weights or start heavy (over the course of multiple sets)?

To lift a given weight, your body will only try to recruit as many muscle fibers as it thinks it needs. Over the course of multiple sets, those fibers will become fatigued and you will no longer get efficient functionality out of them. So that being said, if you start with 20lb dumbbells and then discover after each of the first two sets that you need to go up by 5, you may not be able to lift 35lbs efficiently by the third set. This is why tracking your weights is important. On the first set start as high as you think you can (realistically) for that rep range because you can always decrease the weight as you get fatigued, plus you know that you’ve also recruited a maximal number of muscle fibers for that rep range.

Disclaimer: Do warm-up sets to get used to the movement and the loading if you are working with more than body weight, then start counting your sets after you’ve progressed through these warmup sets!

That’s it for this installment of questions, if you have any questions you’d like answered, again, use twitter, Facebook, email or a comment below.

Remember,
It’s About Getting Better!

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All About CREATINE!

Posted in Health with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2010 by razorsedgeperformance

Creatine is by far the most popular nutritional supplement…EVER. Yet unfortunately, most people don’t really understand the reasons behind its effectiveness, and how it can help improve performance. For the average exerciser Creatine might as well be a distant cousin of the unicorn, a mythical creature of unknown origin and use.

It’s time to breakthrough all of the myths and explain both the mechanisms of action and protocol for usage.

WHAT IS IT?

Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in our body and that of other animals as well. It is stored in our liver, muscles, and brain, with 95% of it being in skeletal muscle. The biggest sources of creatine in our diet are meat and fish. Unfortunately, with farming and agricultural processes changing over the years, the amount of creatine we get from our food is extremely low. This is why supplementing with creatine has been proven to provide a great effect.

WHAT DOES IT DO?

First and foremost, creatine is an energy substrate. That means it’s involved in the process of creating energy. ATP is the primary energy source for short-term, high-energy activities. Our body can only store a small amount of ATP, so it needs an effective way to replenish its stores after it runs out. This is where creatine comes in. Two thirds of the creatine stored in our muscles is in the form of phosphocreatine. After ATP is used to power a sprint or a set of deadlifts, phosphocreatine combines with the leftover ADP to create ATP, getting your muscles ready to repeat that intense activity. The more creatine (or phosphocreatine) you have stored in your muscles, the more times you can repeat activities at high intensity. It is this increased work capacity in anaerobic, high energy work that brings the greatest advantage. The more times you can go all out in a sprint, lift, jump, or throw, the more stimuli you provide your body. This increased stimulus allows your body to become bigger, stronger, and faster.

The second biggest reason why creatine can help jack up your performance, is by promoting muscle hypertrophy. That means muscle growth. Through a couple of highly complicated processes, creatine seems to help up regulate the genes related to muscle protein synthesis and also increase the activity of satellite cells within skeletal muscle. These satellite cells are unspecialized stem cells that hang around the outside of muscle tissue, and move in to help repair damaged muscle tissue. It is the addition of these satellite cells into the muscle belly that helps increase its size.

WHO DOES IT BENEFIT?

Many people can benefit from supplementing with creatine for a number of different goals. If you are resistance training in hopes of getting bigger or stronger, improve body composition, or increase strength and power, then creatine will surely help you. If you compete in athletics, most notably, anaerobic type sports then creatine will help you too. Some examples are football, hockey, basketball, sprinting, jumping, throwing, and soccer. Vegetarians tend to respond especially well to creatine supplementation since their normal levels of stored creatine is at the very bottom of the acceptable range. This is due to the lower dietary intake of creatine. Women and men both respond well to creatine supplementation as well.

HOW DO I USE IT?

Creatine Monohydrate is the most studied and most available version of creatine for sale. It is a tasteless and odourless powder that dissolves well in most liquids. The most popular dosage protocol for creatine involves a loading phase of 20g/day for 4-5 days followed by a maintenance load of 3g-5g/day after that. Loading allows you to increase your intramuscular creatine levels quickly, but they still level off after the first 5 days. If you skip the loading phase and take a regular maintenance dose from the start, you will still get increases in performance and intramuscular creatine levels will reach a maximum somewhere between 14 and 20 days.

WHAT CREATINE ISN’T…

Creatine is not a steroid, it is not illegal, and it is not banned. It is one of the cheapest nutritional supplements on the market, and arguably the most effective. Creatine does not damage your kidneys or increase the likelihood of cramping or compartment syndrome.  It does not appear that you can overdose on creatine, but there is also no benefit to greater ingestion after muscle saturation has been reached. Finally, creatine has been rumoured to increased water retention, however this is another myth. Research shows that increases in body water are directly related to increases in lean body mass, and overall hydration levels do not change.

If you strength train or play sports, creatine can help you. Maybe it’s time to give it a try.

 

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