6 Things You Need to Know About Creatine

We asked a registered dietician

Danielle Zickl |

Many guys use creatine as a way to help them build muscle. But there are still tons of questions surrounding it. How much should you take? What should you take it with? What are its effects?

Related: Creatine: What It Is, What It Does, and Its Side Effects

We asked Carolyn Brown, R.D., a nutrition counsellor at Foodtrainers to explain six things you should know before you start taking it:

1. “I’m always about diet first,” she says. “Don’t add creatine if your food is a hot mess.” This means eating as many whole, unprocessed foods as you can, focusing on protein (like grass-fed beef, organic chicken, wild-caught salmon, and yoghurt), unrefined grains, and fruits and vegetables.

Related: You Don’t Need To Diet–Just Follow These 5 Simple Rules

2. Creatine isn’t just found in supplements. Foods like beef, pork, and salmon are all natural sources of it. (This baked salmon trout recipe is a delicious meal to start with.)

3. Creatine is a quick way to add muscle, but not without some water weight, Brown warns. Sometimes you’ll see up to 1 to 2 kgs of water retention in the first week.

Related: 3 Supplements That You Really Need In Your Diet And 3 That Are Just Wasting Your Money

4. If you take creatine but don’t work out, you will still gain water weight. Often people feel super puffy when taking it, Brown says.

Related: Is Muscle Soreness Really A Sign Of An Effective Workout

5. According to Brown, taking creatine with a source of carbohydrates—even something like a small amount of juice—increases its absorption.

Related: These Are The Carbs You Can Eat, According To A Dietician

6. If you are going to add a supplement, make sure it’s creatine monohydrate. Other forms have things in them that you don’t need, and they’ll be more expensive.

Originally published on menshealth.com

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