First, thanks for taking the time to read my question. I appreciate your busy, so I will make it quick. My question pertains to supplementation of creatine for an athlete following CFFB.
Do you think it is worth supplementing if the athlete has all the other areas of their training, such as nutrition and recovery in check?
Once again, thanks for great programming.
I have been meaning to write up a recommendation for supplements for a while, so thanks for submitting your question.
There are many conflicting opinions on supplementing. I think first and foremost, that if your training and food intake is not taken seriously, you are wasting your time with supplements. With that said, there are hundreds and thousands of supplements on the market today. Just click on BodyBuilding.com for a glimpse of what is out there. Everything from MEGAXPLODE 9000 to crushed yak testicles claims to aid in performance.
How are you suppose to know what works and what is a waste of time? Hopefully, I can take some of the guess-work out of the equation by telling you what I have found works and what I like. Keep in mind I have got my blood work done every 6 months since 2001. So I have a pretty good idea of what protocols are working to optimize my blood work and how it is affecting my training and performance
I am pretty basic when it comes to supplements, but what I lack in creativity I make up for in quality. I rather take a few basic items that are both high quality and useful, than use the rotational shotgun approach favored by so many.
The rotational shotgun approach consists of buying 6 supplements, taking them for a month and when you run out, repurchasing the 3 you thought were working of them and try 3 new ones. You continue on this program for at least 6 months before you start to believe supplements are a waste of time and money.
My first experience with supplements came in 1990 via my training with George Zangas. George not only made the Marathon super suits and power wraps but he also owned Marathon Nutrition, a supplement store in Rolling Hills, CA.
He was very good with supplying us with daily vitamins and protein shakes. But back in the early 1990’s, the protein drinks tasted so bad you had to psyche up and hold your nose to slam a blender full.
In 1992, George gave my brother Ed and I a brown box filled with 12 white bottles filled with white powder. He told us it was a new supplement that was hitting the market soon called Creatine Monohydrate. He explained creatine naturally occurred in red meat and helped to supply energy to the all cells in the body, but primarily to muscles. It worked by increasing ATP levels (adenosine triphosphate) in the body.
I looked at him with a vague understanding as my high school chemistry and bio classes had covered ATP. ATP is the immediate energy source for muscle cells at high intensities of exercise. When I asked how it was going to help, he told me it would increase size and strength of my muscles by allowing me to train harder and recover faster.
Needless to say we started taking creatine that day…and I have taken it ever since.
In those days, creatine monohydrate was the only type of creatine on the market but today there are ½ dozen types. I have always used basic creatine monohydrate but have experimented with liquid creatine and conjugated creatine.
I personally, have never noticed a huge difference between different types of creatine. What has always been the deciding factor in its effectiveness was how and when I took it.
I take creatine pre and post workout. I take it with an easy digestible protein and a simple sugar. Back in the day, I would take it with grape juice. But for the last decade, I have taken it with simple carb, dextrose or vitargo, whey protein and branched chain amino acids.
As for a loading phase, I take 10 grams of creatine monohydrate, 4 times a day for 5 days. Then I take 10 grams in my pre workout shake and 10 grams in post workout shake on training days.
I repeat the loading phase every 3 months as long as I am training. If I took time off from training or dial back the intensity of the workouts I cut the creatine from the routine. When I start-up again, I use a loading phase.
*Please remember, I have been taking creatine for over 20 years and tip the scales at just under 300 lbs. I also have a stomach made of cast iron. So if you have never experiment with creatine, start conservative as too much and you will get diarrhea and cramping. Make sure you drink water. I drink at least 1.5 gallon of water daily.
Since I was young, I have taken a multi-vitamin first thing in the morning and right before bed. Over the years this evolved into a large handful of vitamins that I had to buy separately. This becomes cumbersome as time goes on.
Fast-forward to 2004 and I meet Dr. Tom Incledon from Human Performance Specialists in Arizona.
In 2004, I was traded to Kansas City. Upon arrival they put me up in a hotel not far from the stadium. I lived there for a few months while training with the team. From the day I walked into the hotel, I felt terrible and even after I left the hotel I felt sick. The sick feeling lasted the entire year and my season ended with a torn groin and a banged up knee. I knew something was wrong but none of the team doctors I had approached could tell me what was wrong. A good friend pointed me to Dr. Incledon. He told me if something was wrong Tom could find it. He ran dozens of blood tests and found I had been exposed to high levels of toxic mold. Of the 13 types he tested me for, I had toxic levels of all 13. He started me on anti-viral meds, supplements and IVs. In a matter of days I felt better, and made a full recovery in a few weeks time. When I headed back to Kansas City, I stopped by the hotel only to find out it had been closed for renovations. Someone working there had contracted Legionaries Disease and they tore the place to the studs in the renovation.
Part of my supplement routine since 2004 has included HPS’s Performance Packs. They provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fish oil, and fruit and vegetable extracts. I take them twice a day and have done so since 2004. I notice when I miss taking them for a few days.
Tom has been my go to guy for supplements and blood testing for many years. He works with many of the top professional athletes in the NFL, MLB, NBA and MMA and is known throughout the world for his expertise. His supplements are the highest quality on the market and used by many of the professional sports best athletes.
The Renew Male sounds like some cheesy late night infomercial supplement but that is not the case. The product improves the pathways in the brain and the testes to increase testosterone and lower cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that even elevated is responsible for poor testosterone levels, body fat and poor performance.
Joint Performance works by inhibiting inflammatory cytokines and enzymes that break down cartilage. It contains the best form of glucosamine (glucosamine sulfate) and provides the ideal molecular weight of chondroitin sulfate to provide max absorption, hyaluronic acid, which increases lubrication in joints and reduction of inflammation.
The next on my list is whey protein. I am pretty simple when it comes to whey protein; lowest amount of ingredients wins. I also prefer whey from grass-fed cows. While processed whey doesn’t contain the fats necessary to see a benefit from this, it is sustainable and supports a market for GF cows. This translates into not supporting feedlots, making meat from GF animals available and ensuring our planet’s survival.
The brand I have been taking consistently for the last year is from Evolve Foods. You can find it at EvolveFoods.com in the few days. Evolve Foods will provide me with a CFFB discount coupon for the protein, so stay tuned.
And lastly, BCAAs or branched chain amino acids fill out my list of recommended supplements. BCAAs are the building blocks of protein and have various functions related to energy production and recovery. It prevents the breaking down of muscle during exercise and increases performance. We have spoken on the topic of BCAAs in other posts on TTMJ, so do a search. I feel they are fundamental if you are going to use supplements. I have been using SciVation’s Xtend as of late but I am searching for a better variation. Once I find something better, I will let you know.
My supplement routine is as follows:
2 PM – Post-Workout
40 grams of Evolve Foods Whey Protein
50 grams of simple carbs
10 grams of BCAAs
10 grams of Creatine
I hope this helps clear up some confusion and get you pointed in the right direction.