For bodybuilders, one of the most important steps to reach maximum performance levels in the gym is to maximize the gains of all that hard work and dedication. Having the right nutrition and supplements can be the difference between success and stagnation. Among the most popular bodybuilding supplements out there are creatine and beta-alanine. Many bodybuilders are already familiar with what these two essential supplements have to offer, yet they still may not understand their full potential. Read on to learn the top 10 things to consider in order to get the most out of these powerful supplements.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is one of the most widely-studied and used bodybuilding supplements available. It is a molecule made up of three essential amino acids that help to naturally produce ATP, a high-energy, short-lived molecule that provides energy to cells in the body. By producing ATP, creatine helps to increase the output a bodybuilder is able to achieve during their workout. Since the molecule breaks down quickly in a workout, it is important to replenish the resources through supplementation of creatine.
Benefits of Creatine
The main benefit of taking creatine as a supplement is that it helps to improve strength and increase muscle mass. There is also research that suggests that creatine can improve brain activity and cognitive functions, as well as help prevent injury and improve recovery time after a hard workout.
How to Take Creatine
Creatine supplements come in capsules, powders, and liquids. Depending on the type of supplement, the recommended dosage can vary. Typically, the best way to take creatine is by taking three to five grams per day in order to maintain benefits. It is important to make sure you read the dosage information on any supplement you purchase as some products may require more or less than that. It is also important to note that it is beneficial to cycle creatine in order to sustain performance.
What Is Beta-Alanine?
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that helps to reduce fatigue in the muscles during a workout. It helps to increase exercise capacity and has been known to improve performance in activities such as running, cycling, and weightlifting. Despite being a relatively unknown supplement, it has been known to help increase lean tissue growth and improve overall strength.
Benefits of Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine helps to reduce fatigue, which can be beneficial for an intense training session. Research has also suggested that the supplement can help increase muscle growth and power output, as well as reduce risk of injury. Additionally, beta-alanine stimulates a greater release of carnosine in the muscles. Carnosine helps to scavenge hydrogen ions and nitric oxide, two byproducts of your body’s metabolic process that can cause fatigue.
How to Take Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine supplements come in tablets and capsules, and are typically taken three to four times a day. It is important to make sure you read the dosage information on the product to find out how much should be taken. Additionally, it is beneficial to cycle beta-alanine for best results.
Things to Consider When Taking Creatine and Beta-Alanine
1. Follow dosage instructions. Make sure to always read the dosage information listed on any supplement, and take it as directed.
2. Cycle the supplements. To get the maximum benefit out of any supplement, it is beneficial to cycle them. This means taking a certain amount of the supplement for a few weeks, and then taking a break for a few weeks.
3. Make sure to drink plenty of water. It is essential to stay hydrated when taking supplements, as they can dehydrate you. Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
4. Watch your protein intake. Too much protein can actually hinder the effectiveness of Creatine and Beta-Alanine. It is recommended to get at least 1.2-2g of protein per kg of body weight per day.
5. Don't mix the supplements. Taking both creatine and beta-alanine at the same time can cause stomach upset, so make sure to spread out the times when you are taking them.
6. Consider the manufacturing process. Before purchasing any supplement, make sure to find out how it was manufactured. Any supplement made with high-grade ingredients should be considered.
7. Never exceed the recommended dosage. Taking too much of a supplement can cause adverse side effects, so make sure to never exceed the recommended dosage.
8. Be aware of potential side effects. Although Creatine and Beta-Alanine are generally considered to be safe, there can be potential side effects. The most common side effects include stomach upset, bloating, and muscle cramps.
9. Think about how long you want to take them. These supplements should not be taken long-term. Cycling off them on a regular basis is the best way to get the most benefit.
10. Speak with your doctor. If you are concerned about taking any supplement, it is best to speak with your doctor first.
Getting the Most Out of Supplements
Creatine and Beta-Alanine are two of the most popular supplements for bodybuilders, and for good reason. Taking these supplements correctly is the key to getting the most benefit out of them. By taking into consideration the top 10 things listed here, you are sure to get the most out of your workout. However, it is important to remember that supplements should be used to complement a healthy lifestyle, not to replace it.