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Benefits of Creatine

Benefits of Creatine

Author: Joe Sage, NASM-CPT, FNS, WLS, CES

Of all the sports performance supplements out there, creatine is probably one of the most talked about. Some of the claims for creatine include increased performance, lean body mass, muscle size and strength. How much of this is true and who can benefit from creatine?

Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in the body, is also found in meat and fish, and is used to supply energy to cells. Muscles store creatine as creatine phosphate, which functions with the ATP-CP energy pathway. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the immediate energy source for cells, primarily muscle contractions, and is used up within seconds. Our bodies have a reservoir of creatine phosphate (phosphocreatine) that can quickly be converted to ATP. This ATP-CP energy system can power an all-out effort that can only capable of lasting up to 15 seconds. Creatine supplements are used to increase the body’s store of creatine in the muscle. This helps increase phosphocreatine resynthesis during the resting time between bouts of exercise. Since energy stores are able to return faster, this will allow you to train harder and longer. Improvements can be seen in strength training programs and explosive power exercises, such as sprints. Simply taking creatine will not increase muscle size, strength, or performance.

Creatine also has the ability to increase cell volume by keeping muscles hydrated. It does this by pulling more water into the cell when it is absorbed. Because of this, it is very important to stay well hydrated when taking creatine. It should be noted that you might see an increase in weight caused by the higher amounts of water in cells.

So, how much is enough? On training days, up to 5 grams can be taken, and on non-training days, 2-3 grams should be taken to maintain muscle stores.

More studies are still needed to be done, but currently creatine does not appear to have any long term negative side effects. While creatine can be effective with anaerobic training, it does not show much improvement with aerobic training.

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Drink Wine and Be Healthy

Drink Wine and Be Healthy

Author: Joe Sage, NASM-CPT, CES, WLS, FNS

Do you love wine, but worry about sabotaging your health? Drinking wine in moderation has been shown to have some positive benefits. Although, drinking wine above a moderate level, the risks quickly outweigh the benefits. According to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, moderate drinking is defined as one 5oz drink a day for women and two 5oz drinks a day for men.

Just like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, alcohol provides calories as well. It provides 7 calories per gram. However, the body has no way to store alcohol, so breaking down and metabolizing alcohol becomes the body’s main objective. Liver cells work to detoxify and break down alcohol, but the liver can only break down a certain amount of alcohol per hour, which is why it is important to know how much you are drinking. One way to reduce how quickly alcohol enters the bloodstream is to not drink on an empty stomach. Food present in the stomach will delay how quickly alcohol is absorbed. Try to be mindful of your portion size, as those calories can quickly add up. Like many other indulgent foods in our diets, staying within moderation will satisfy those cravings without sabotaging your health.

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Did You Know? #3

didyouknow2

FACT: About 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet. US adults consume an average of 3,400 mg/day [of sodium], well above the current federal guideline of less than 2,300 mg daily. Reducing the sodium Americans eat by 1,200mg per day on could save up to $20 billion a year in medical costs.

 

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