Summer Supplementing

Summer's the time of year many athletes choose to back off on building size and strength. This is due in part to distractions by the pool and on the beach, but the bigger issue is heat and humidity making intense training more difficult. You just wear out faster under the summer sun. Now if you're one of those athletes who need to be big and strong for fall sports, or just the type of guy who doesn't let the weather get in the way of size and strength goals, here are a few tips that can add something to your summertime gym adventures.

A decade ago, creatine was all the rage. Whether it was bodybuilders looking for bigger guns or competitive athletes wanting to up their force production for football, baseball or just plain fun, creatine supplementation was hot. Lately, though, this natural compound has gotten kind of lost on the shelves of sports nutrition retailers.

The creatine you buy at the store is classified as a dietary supplement. It is not and never has been a pharmaceutical drug. In fact, it's present in nearly every cell within your body, although about 95% of your creatine reserves are located in skeletal muscle. Generally speaking, you cycle about 2 grams of creatine into and out of your body every day. Carnivores replace this lost creatine by eating meat and fish. Your body can also use the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine to produce creatine, so you're going to get some one way or another.

Why is it so important for your body to keep up creatine reserves? After being digested or synthesized, creatine is sent to muscles where it boosts energy levels by increasing the availability of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a molecule responsible for transferring cellular energy. You use ATP for short, intense bursts of power, like lifting a barbell overhead.

Most strength and endurance athletes know that carbohydrate ingestion replenishes spent muscle glycogen. Once your tank's full, you're good to go another round in the gym or on the track. It's a little different with creatine. Extensive research has shown that exercise performance begins to improve when muscle creatine levels are increased by 20%. You can't eat enough meat to make that happen. This level can only be achieved through supplementation.

Don't think more equals better with creatine. That's not the case. Creatine monohydrate, the most researched and commonly used form of creatine, can be loaded at a rate of 5 to 10 grams. That's the limit of what your body is capable of absorbing at any one time. But since creatine draws water into your muscles, summertime is not the ideal environment for loading. Instead, try taking just 2 to 3 grams several times each day. This can be accomplished by adding unflavored creatine powder to your protein shake and/or taking creatine capsules with meals.

Pre- and post-workout are absolutely ideal times for supplementing with Creapure creatine monohydrate. It's the purest and most studied form available. Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep yourself adequately hydrated while putting your newfound appreciation for force production to work. Summer's hot enough and pushing those weights around is bound to increase your thirst for more.
Leave a Comment
Aug 01, 2009
excellent information about creatine thank you for all that info,i just started working out again and went out and bought some monohydrate and was about to start my loading phase with 10-15grms for five days but after reading that i will now start to take 5-10grms of creatine a day and there after i will maintaine this daily with 10grms a day. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
Lee Ramirez
Aug 03, 2009
I am diabetic. How does Creatine affect my glucose levels?
Aug 05, 2009
Great comment on Creatine I've been taking creatine for 3-months now 5 grams during my pre-workout and 5-grams for my post workout and spreading 3 grams of hmb in capsule form through out the day with my creatine .Ive noticed better muscle recovery and building mass in the process. thanks for the wonderful supplements.
Aug 12, 2009
I like Optimum Products.
But they found to hard in my country:-(
I'm from IRAN...
gamal ashraf
Aug 20, 2009
iam bodybuilder from egypt
i want thanks optimum because supplementing it's prof