It’s been a while since I have used creatine, a supplement that has been researched and in use by athletes for more than 80 years now.
I’ve used creatine monohydrate on and off since I was in high school, and I know it’s beneficial for improving workouts – which leads to building more muscle, faster – and also for muscle recovery.
So, since I’m feeling great, and into month 2 (of 3) on this Entovegan workout test, I decided to start adding back in some supplements to go along with my plant-based Vegan + Entomophagy diet.
This week I’m adding creatine (thanks Nutrition Depot!), and also increasing my intake of magnesium and calcium, to see if there is any noticeable impact on my teeth and gums.
I’m to the point with my teeth where I think it’s a little bit of everything, possibly some issues from too much phytic acid in my foods, coincidental timing after so many years not going to the dentist (but with no tooth problems), all the sugar I ate in Mexico the previous 2 months because literally everything other than tortillas has sugar in it, etc.
The minerals I’ll address on a different day, but for now, what is creatine and why is it beneficial?
To put it simply:
Creatine is used to increase physical power and mechanical edge. It is also used to increase high power and speed in sporting events that use energy primarily from the ATP-CP energy system. Creatine can help burn fat and increase muscle mass.
The “fat burning” function of creatine is a bit of a misnomer, as it’s not really burning fat – it’s allowing the user to workout harder, to lift harder, and to build more muscle…all of which burns more fat.
More scientifically, though, creatine is found in meat and fish, and is naturally in our bodies – but vegetarians and vegans need to supplement since they (we) don’t get any from foods!
Creatine is a nutrient naturally found in all our bodies. It is a combination of 3 amino acids; arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine helps provide the energy our muscles need to move, particularly quick and explosive movements. Muscle contraction is initially fuelled by ATP (adenosine-triphosphate).
There is only enough ATP to provide energy for approximately 10 seconds. For this energy system to continue, more ATP is required. Creatine phosphate gives up its phosphate molecule to ADP (adenosine-diphosphate), thus recreating ATP. Increasing the muscle’s supply of creatine phosphate helps increase the rate in which the body can supply ATP.
This increases the muscles capacity to do work and improves the energy efficiency of the muscle. Research shows creatine to be effective in improving training intensity and recovery. It is able to pass through the gut wall (stomach) and into the bloodstream intact and upon entering the muscle cells, is converted into Creatine Phosphate (CP).
I started a 3 day loading phase this morning, and my mid-day workout was lit! 🔥🔥🔥 I lifted chest and triceps (and abs, since I usually do that daily) and felt like an animal, it’s so great not feeling like a creaky old man but feeling like I could go out and play american football or basketball or any other sport with anybody. Raaaarrrrrrrrrrr!
Seriously I feel great. I’m sure my age would betray me on the football field (I’d be the slow one haha) but at least I feel like I can actually lift hard, push my body, start to sprint again. Really happy about this.
But what has changed? Honestly, I started feeling better just going vegan. My body cleaned itself out it seemed like, which is typical. But I’ve read that veganism – being more a political / environmental movement than an actual health one – after a few months starts to really have weak spots nutritionally. Other than my bewilderment over my teeth, I haven’t noticed any negatives.
So far, my insect protein (powder and eating them) has got me feeling great, the past month has been the healthiest and best I’ve felt in the past 4 years, no question. But now I want to take it up a notch with my training, so I’m adding in some (vegan) supplements and we’ll see where it goes from here!
Also, for what it’s worth at the end of this 90 day stretch I’m planning to get a full panel done to see what my blood looks like, and get a scientific measurement of how I’m really doing. That should be very telling.
In the meantime though, I’m thankful to have creatine and be boosting my workouts to another level!