It’s pretty common knowledge that it’s much easier for men to pack on muscle than it is for women, which means that right from the get-go, we have to work that much harder to reach our goals.
When I first started seriously working out, I thought I’d make out fine with some protein powder. For anyone who is just looking to get some exercise or maybe lose a few pounds, multiple supplements aren’t always necessary.
It wasn’t long though before I started wanting more. I wanted to lean out and put on muscle faster. It was at this point that I started doing some research and looking for ways to accelerate the process. That’s when creatine jumped onto my radar.
Starting my creatine journey
I personally saw great results when I started implementing creatine into my training routine. There is a lot of debate out there as to how much one should take in a day. I didn’t know much about it at first, so I simply followed the instructions that were on the tub I bought. It said to take one scoop (which was 5 grams) post-workout, so that’s what I did.
I continued with this for several weeks and I began noticing a pretty significant increase in the muscle I was building. I even had a couple of workout buddies point out the newly acquired definition they saw, mostly in my arms at the time.
As my knowledge of the gym grew and I started working out more often and more intensely, I increased the amount of creatine I took to about 10 grams per day. I would generally take one scoop before my workout and one after. I have kept up with this, and to this day I’m still quite pleased with the progress I’m constantly making.
Why creatine is beneficial for women
In a nutshell, creatine is already present in the body, but there is not enough there naturally to provide any performance enhancement, which is why we supplement! Its main function is to help your body regenerate a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP – which is the body’s main source of energy. Creatine also increases hydration and blood flow to the muscles, which will increase your stamina and lifting capacity as well as accelerate recovery. This will of course lead to more intense workouts, which will in turn increase muscle mass faster.
Creatine works very differently for men and women, but that doesn’t mean women can’t reap the benefits! Creatine is a supplement that is quite heavily studied, and while only about a third of said studies involve female subjects, the results have started to show that creatine can actually be extremely beneficial to women. One of the biggest benefits of taking creatine as a woman is that, unlike the men, we won’t put on nearly as much extra weight/fat as the men!
Because creatine works to speed up and increase muscle recovery, it will also, as a result, reduce the soreness that you feel in the days after your workout. Coming home from the gym with sore muscles is certainly not a bad thing, it means you worked hard and made some progress! However, if you’re someone who trains every day, being sore all the time isn’t always a good thing. Creatine will help your muscles repair themselves faster, and have them feeling 100 percent in no time.
Creatine will also help preserve muscle if you are on a diet for whatever reason. Whether your goal is to lose weight or you’re going through a cutting phase, if you’re not consuming enough calories to maintain/grow muscle, then some muscle loss is inevitable. Continuing to take creatine through this, however, will minimize the muscle loss.
Common misconceptions about women taking creatine
A common misconception about women working out, in general, is that too much weightlifting will make us too big and bulky. Some even go so far as to say it will make us look manly. So if creatine is supposed to make building muscle easier and faster, you might be worried that this will only add to the risk of too much bulk. This is a very valid concern; however, it is not the case. Women simply don’t have enough testosterone in them to become big and bulky like men can.
What women achieve when they lift weights is lean muscle. So rather than looking like the hulk, they achieve a tight, toned, and defined physique. Taking creatine will simply help you build your lean muscle, and ultimately that toned physique, much faster.
One of the biggest problems you’ll find documented in regards to women taking creatine is bloating. Don’t worry though, this is nothing like the “monthly” bloat you’re probably groaning at right now. This is more of an overall body bloat, and it does not come with any discomfort or pain. The creatine can cause your muscles to retain some water, so that’s all the bloat is – water weight.
I have personally never experienced an issue in this regard. I have never felt bloated, and I’ve never looked in a mirror after taking creatine and thought that I looked bloated either. So if it’s happening, I didn’t even notice. That’s my own personal experience however, and it may just be a little different for everyone. If some possible bloating is the only thing holding you back from taking creatine, then it really can’t hurt to try as there are plenty of benefits.
Another popular myth is that creatine will cause gas and upset your stomach. It is true that a small percentage of people who take creatine have reported this. The culprit is unlikely to be creatine itself however. Low-quality supplements, incorrect dosage or even improper mixing are much more likely to blame.
Wrapping it all up
Too many women shy away from creatine when it might actually be the best and most useful supplement they could be taking. The International Society of Sports Nutrition themselves believe that creatine is the most effective nutritional supplement that gym-goers, athletes and body builders have available to them.
Creatine has been largely marketed as a way to gain a lot of mass quickly, and it has been marketed to men. This, plus all the false rumors of weight gain, bloating, discomfort and adverse side effects have been keeping women from some of the best workouts of their lives! More and more studies are coming out these days that show the efficacy of creatine for women, and they really shouldn’t be ignored.
Whether you are looking to pack on some serious lean muscle, or just want to increase your energy and intensity in the gym, creatine is definitely worth a shot. Everybody is different and you may have to go through some trial and error in regards to how much to take and when, but I think that there is enough evidence out there to prove that it’s at least worth trying.