If you were to ask any dietitian, nutritionist or sports performance coach about the negative side effect of creatine, they would be silent. Creatine has only produced positive results despite what many may have heard.
Creatine is a substance made up of three amino acids and is stored in the muscle and brain. It gets turned into phosphocreatine providing energy to the working muscles.
It is found naturally in foods like seafood and red meat and can be purchased as a supplement. Creatine is widely popular and accepted among athletic and sports communities. It is generally recognized as a safe supplement to consume to improve muscle performance.
Creatine itself doesn’t improve performance but it does improve energy levels produced by the muscle. So an individual who uses creatine might be able to do an extra set of bench press, or push out one extra rep, increasing their work efforts which in turn
increases muscle strength and ultimately performance.
Creatine is one of the most widely researched and commonly used ergogenic aids. It helps in increasing energy in your muscle but also helps increase muscle mass by several mechanisms. In addition to increasing overall workload due to increased energy, it also can increase cell signaling to repair muscles and reducing muscle breakdown. Creatine can also increase cell hydration by pulling water into muscle cells also contributing to the appearance of muscle growth.
There are several studies showing an increase production of phosphocreatine in the brain helping to improve brain health and many neurological diseases. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, ischemic stroke, epilepsy, and overall brain and memory function in older adults.
There is also research on vegetarians supplementing with creatine showing improvements in memory. While more research needs to be done on humans to investigate the benefits creatine supplementation on the brain, we do know it can enhance athletic performance, strength, and muscle size.
Creatine is found naturally in meats and fish such as beef, pork, herring, salmon, and cod as well as milk. Creatine monohydrate is the best option for supplementation despite other product claims for different forms being superior. Evidence does not support other creatine supplements providing more benefit than the low-cost creatine monohydrate. It is important to stay hydrated when taking this supplement and always consult a doctor if there are preexisting conditions in the liver and kidneys.
When spring sports starting TOMORROW, I figured I would give you a few exercises to help strengthen your knee joint. We ask a lot from our knee joint. It’s a movement stabilizer that connects the foot and ankle to the core. Knee pain can limit movement and reduce mobility and agility and lead to injury.
Too many corrective knee exercises focus on strengthening the VMO—the teardrop muscle on the inside of the knee. But the VMO actually plays only a small role in controlling movement of the kneecap. You really need a mix of exercises that strengthen both your hips and your thighs.
Try the following exercises to develop a strong and stable knee for all activity.
Single-Leg Squats (Figures 1a and 1b) and balance exercises (Figure 2) work the gluteus medius, the muscle just above your hip bone. When this muscle is weak, the knees fall inward and put stress on the inside of the knee joint.
Single-Leg Squat – Figures 1a and 1b
Balance Exercise – Figure 2
Supine Bridge (Figure 3) and different Lunges strengthen the extensors such as the gluteus maximus and hamstrings—important muscles used in acceleration movements like running. Lunges also put the body in a similar position during deceleration. These will make you more athletic during cutting and changing direction activities.
Supine Bridge – Figure 3
Reactive Neuromuscular Training is a technique that requires a high level of body awareness. AnInline Lunge with low-resistance tubing (Figures 4a and 4b) basically tells your body to correct bad movement habits. Use resistance that gives you the feedback without fighting the exercise.
Inline Lunge with Resistance Tubing – Figures 4a and 4b
Kushion D, Rheaume J, Kopchitz K, Glass S, Alderink G and Jinn JH. “EMG activation of the Vastus Medialis Oblique and Vastus Lateralis during four rehabilitative exercises.” The Open Rehabilitation Journal (2012): 5, 1-7
Cook G, Burton L, Kiesel K, Rose G, Bryan M. “Anatomical Science versus Functional Science Movement.” Functional Movement Systems (2010).
Proper recovery is the number one reason most people do not get the results they desire!
OK – LISTEN TO ME NOW!!!
Help me, Help You!
You cannot strengthen an injured muscle! Therefore, we can only train at the pace your body can recover! The faster you recover = the more progress we can make.
Your recovery is the most essential part of your training program and has the greatest impact on your fitness and sports performance gains. A muscle needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild, and working it again too soon simply leads to tissue breakdown instead of building.
The K2 training team works hard to put together the most effective and efficient training programs possible. However, we cannot go home with you can feed you. We are not with you when your hamstrings start to tighten.
So in an effort not to waste our (yours and ours) extremely hard effort, I am reaching out to our entire team (trainers, clients, parents, coaches and the sleep gods) to assist us in our pursuit of the bullet proof body!
Again – Help me, help you!!!
There are as many methods of recovery as there are athletes. The following are some of the most commonly recommended by the experts.
1. Replace Fluids. You lose a lot of fluid during exercise and ideally, you should be replacing it during exercise, but filling up after exercise is an easy way to boost your recovery. Water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body and having plenty of water will improve every bodily function.
2. Eat Properly. After depleting your energy stores with exercise, you need to refuel if you expect your body to recover, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. This is even more important if you are trying to build muscle. Ideally, you should try to eat within 60 minutes of the end of your workout and make sure you include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrate.
3. Stretch. After a tough workout, consider gentle stretching. This is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover.
4. Rest. Time is one of the best ways to recover (or heal) from just about any illness or injury and this also works after a hard workout. Your body has an amazing capacity to take care of itself if you allow it some time. Resting and waiting after a hard workout allows the repair and recovery process to happen at a natural pace.
5. Perform Active Recovery. Easy, gentle movement improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster.
6. Have a Massage. Massage feels good and improves circulation while allowing you to fully relax. You can also try self-massage and Foam Roller Exercises for Easing Tight Muscles and avoid the heavy sports massage price tag.
7. Get High Quality Sleep. While you sleep, amazing things are taking place in your body. Optimal sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly. During sleep, your body produces Growth Hormone (GH) which is largely responsible for tissue growth and repair.
8. Avoid Overtraining. One simple way to recovery faster is by designing a smart workout routine in the first place. Excessive exercise, heavy training at every session or a lack of rest days will limit your fitness gains from exercise and undermine your recovery efforts.
For the type A athlete, not for me!!!
Take an Ice Bath. Some athletes swear by ice baths, ice massage or contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold showers) to recover faster, reduce muscle soreness and prevent injury. The theory behind this method is that by repeatedly constricting and dilating blood vessels helps remove (or flush out) waste products in the tissues. Limited research has found some benefits of contrast water therapy at reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
How to use contrast water therapy: While taking your post-exercise shower, alternate 2 minutes of hot water with 30 seconds of cold water. Repeat four times with a minute of moderate temperatures between each hot-cold spray. If you happen to have a spa with hot and cold tubs available, you can take a plunge in each for the same time.
Listen to Your Body for a Faster Recovery
The most important thing you can do to recovery quickly is to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, sore or notice decreased performance you may need more recovery time or a break from training altogether. If you are feeling strong the day after a hard workout, you don’t have to force yourself to go slow. If you pay attention, in most cases, your body will let you know what it needs, when it needs it. The problem for many of us is that we don’t listen to those warnings or we dismiss them with our own self talk (“I can’t be tired, I didn’t run my best yesterday” or “No one else needs two rest days after that workout; they’ll think I’m a wimp if I go slow today.”).