Kind crazy how you can go from bein’ Joe Blow,
To makin’ gains while your haters are feelin’ so low,
I bought my whole crew weights to help their arms grow,
Next time I get a pump, please take a photo.
– Kanye West (probably)
Happy Friday, Coach J here from Anyman Fitness – and welcome to the latest edition of The N.W.A. Newsletter.
Each Friday’s N.W.A. Newsletter will have 3 parts:
- A Nutritional Tip to help make your diet healthier and easier to stick to.
- A Workout Tip to help make your training sessions more effective and fun.
- An Attitude/Mindset tip to help you strengthen your greatest asset – your mental toughness.
I will also give you my single favorite piece of social media content from AF over the past week and link to it on either Instagram or Twitter.
Without any further ado… let’s get started, shall we?
For today’s edition of the N.W.A. Newsletter, we’re talking all things CREATINE.
Creatine is the most well known (legal) performance enhancing supplement on earth.
There are a lot of misconceptions about creatine, though, and I’d like to clear those up for you today.
Without any further ado, let’s get started…
N.W.A. (Creatine) Nutrition Tip Of The Week:
Creatine is a byproduct of red meat – it’s a naturally occurring element.
There is around 1 gram of creatine for every 1-2 pounds of red meat you eat.
Technically, you could get all of your creatine in your diet.
BUT, you would need to eat 8+ POUNDS of red meat per day.
While that sounds like fun, that probably isn’t very healthy for you… so it’s best to supplement to get the recommended daily amount.
It’s important to note creatine is not a “steroid”.
As previously stated, it’s in red meat.
If you’ve ever eaten a steak, or a cheeseburger, you’ve ingested creatine.
As such, there’s no reason to “cycle” on and off of creatine.
This is a common misconception – you should take 5 grams of creatine every day, at the time of your choosing.
I prefer to mix my creatine in my morning shake, as soon as I wake up.
Creatine works by a “saturation point”.
Meaning, once you start taking creatine, your muscles begin to get saturated with the element.
This process takes 1-2 weeks before you’re fully saturated.
Because of this, creatine manufacturers (aka, supplement companies) often suggest “loading” creatine, and taking huge amounts when you first start.
While this might allow you to hit your saturation point more quickly, creatine can dehydrate you and cause stomach discomfort when taken in large amounts.
Because of this, I don’t suggest “loading” creatine.
You’ll be fully saturated quickly enough – no reason to get an upset belly.
(Me thinks this is just a ploy by the supplement companies to get you to take more creatine, and eventually run out and buy some more…)
You’ll see LOTS of different varieties of creatine out there.
You’ll see powders.
You’ll see capsules.
You’ll see “micronized” creatine.
You’ll see “creatine HCL”.
Keep your blinders on… you’re looking for creatine monohydrate.
It’s an inexpensive powder – a full year’s supply is only around $75 currently.
You don’t need capsules or any “fancy” creatines.
They just cost more money; they’re not “better” by any means.
Also, be sure you don’t get any “proprietary blends” – look at the label and be sure it states “creatine monohydrate” in the nutritional facts.
Use creatine year round.
Creatine can cause a bit of water weight gain (more on that in the next section).
Because of this, some people think it’s only a “muscle gaining” supplement, and they shouldn’t use it if they’re dieting for fat loss.
Creatine is WAY too powerful of a supplement to only take part of the time.
It has loads of benefits far beyond the typical muscle building properties.
It can improve bone density, and it’s been shown to have neurological benefits as well (it helps with your cognition and memory).
Take creatine every day, year round for the best results.
If you need to get leaner, diet down and get leaner – don’t stop taking creatine in an attempt to look leaner.
You don’t need to take creatine at a certain time of day, either.
Since it works via saturation point, the timing is irrelevant.
Whenever you can take it, take it – the timing won’t make a lick of difference.
Lastly, you don’t need to worry about your kidneys when you take creatine.
Be sure you’re hydrating properly when taking it, as it can dehydrate you if you’re not on top of your water intake.
Creatine has been studied thousands of times, and a causal relationship between creatine and kidney damage/failure has never been found.
*If you have pre-existing kidney conditions, please talk with your doctor first before supplementing with creatine.
N.W.A. Training Tip Of The Week:
Creatine works by up-regulating adenosine tri-phosphate in the body.
Adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP for short) is your body’s energy source.
When you eat food, your body digests it and breaks it down.
And then, you convert the food into ATP for energy.
Creatine allows this process to happen more efficiently – when you take creatine, your performance will improve due to this boost of energy.
However, it’s important to know creatine doesn’t “create” muscle.
It’s not a steroid, as previously stated.
Some people think they’ll take creatine and magically turn into Arnold – this is far from the case.
Creatine ONLY works if YOU’RE working HARD in the gym.
Because it gives you a bit of a boost, you have to be pushing yourself to failure in order to reap its benefits.
If you’re the type of person who goes into the gym and leaves 4-5 reps “in the tank” every set, you aren’t getting any benefit from creatine whatsoever.
BUT, if you push yourself all the way until you can’t do any more reps, you’ll be able to do a few more reps with creatine than without.
Over time, this will increase the volume you’re able to lift in the gym.
You’ll get stronger at a faster rate than you would without creatine.
Eventually, this will help you build more strength, and more muscle as a result.
Just be sure you’re on a REAL program, and you’re pushing the weights HARD if you want to get the full benefit of creatine.
If you’re looking for the BEST in personalized fitness programs and accountability, you can apply for a spot in our coaching program here.
N.W.A. Attitude/Mindset Tip Of The Week:
When you’re taking creatine, be sure you’re ATTACKING the weights.
Seriously – take no prisoners.
Be careful on your squats and deadlifts – those moves shouldn’t be taken to absolute failure, or you could hurt yourself.
But on any push, pull, dumbbell move, or machine move, you need to rep out until you hit full positive failure.
What exactly is “full positive failure”?
This is the point where you cannot lift another rep.
No, it’s not the point where it starts to burn.
It’s not the point where it starts to feel heavy.
It’s the point where your muscles cannot produce enough force to compete one more rep.
There’s a BIG difference between those things.
I see people every day in the gym who are there 4, 5, 6, or even 7 days per week, and their physiques never change.
They simply don’t use progressive overload – they’re using the same weights week in and week out with zero changes.
To get the benefit of creatine (and strength training in general), you need to find another “gear” in the gym.
I understand this myself – I’ve made those same mistakes before.
They’re fixed really easily… by creating a proper training program and repeating workouts week to week.
And every time you go into the gym, you try to improve last week’s performance.
Some people may say that’s “boring” and it’s more fun to “mix it up”.
I tell those people they’re wasting their time.
I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like to have my time wasted.
If I’m going to spend 45 minutes in the gym, I want to see one thing and one thing only: PROGRESS.
And progress is when you do more than you did last week.
The only way to see real and proper progress is to get better every week at the same exercises you did the previous week.
Tony Horton is full of shit.
“Muscle confusion” is nothing but a marketing term, my friend…
One Favorite Social Media Post Of The Week:
A few weeks ago, I tweeted out a long thread about this very topic, complete with links to creatine recommendations.
Check it out here – and re-tweet it if you found this information useful, please. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Anyman Fitness N.W.A. Newsletter.
I’ll be back next week.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
If you need a good PR song to lift to, this one is one of my favorites…. (NSFW – lyrics)