After just finishing up with my latest round of Body Beast and getting absolutely ridiculous results (see below), many people are messaging me over on my Facebook page and asking about the supplements I used, specifically creatine. To be honest, I’m writing this post because it’s a hell of a lot easier for me to direct people to a blog rather than writing the same response over and over again. Regardless, I’m going to explain the benefits of creatine, my personal experience with it, and the type of creatine with Body Beast that I used.
First, let’s talk about the benefits of creatine. There are a lot of them. For one, it increases muscle size and strength. Every single time that I use creatine I notice a significant increase in strength and size within the first month. And the longer I use it, the stronger and bigger I seem to get. I’ve done many rounds of Body Beast before without the use of creatine and the results seem to be slower than with creatine. But why? It has a lot to do with creatine’s ability to delay fatigue. To make it simple without getting into detail about ATP and ADP, basically it allows you to pump put more reps. This is something that I notice within the first week of creatine supplementation. For example, let’s say that without creatine I can bust out 15 reps doing dumbbell presses and I struggle greatly with that last rep. When I use creatine, I can usually get 2-3 more reps and those extra reps really do make a big difference in results.
In addition, when I use creatine with Body Beast I notice a drastic reduction in recovery time. Normally when I train without creatine supplementation, I am pretty sore for 3-4 days after a workout. However, with creatine the soreness only lasts a day or two at most. There have been a lot of studies that have proof to back this up. Somehow creatine reduces inflammation in the cells and recovery time.
When I’m using creatine with Body Beast, I notice quite a bit of water retention. This is actually something that causes worry in a lot of people. Just last week someone messaged me about gaining something like 6 lbs in the first few weeks after starting creatine supplementation. He was worried that he was gaining fat, but that’s not the case. What happens with creatine is that it draws water into the muscle cells. This is actually a good thing because it helps with protein synthesis, but if you’re someone worried about weight gain or loss, adding 6 lbs in a short amount of time can be alarming. For me personally, I normally gain anywhere from 4-8 lbs within my first few weeks of using creatine. If I’m trying to cut, I will stop using creatine. When I was working hard for my Body Beast results, I stopped using creatine a month and a half before I completed the program. When I use it I feel bloated quite often from the water retention and I lose some definition. If I want that “ripped” look, I stop creatine to reduce water retention and bloat. But if you start using creatine, don’t be alarmed if you gain some water weight within the first few weeks. It’s completely normal. If you want to put on some size and lean out at the same time, I suggest doing something like what I did and stopping the creatine a month or so before you take your “after” photos, especially if you’re doing a 3 month program like Body Beast.
There are many different types of creatine and I have tried most of them, but my favorite and the one I have gotten the best results with is creatine monohydrate. Some of the other forms include ethyl-ester, micronized, and kre-alkaline. When using creatine with Body Beast, my go to is monohydrate. This is also the one with the most research behind it. In addition, it’s cheap to purchase. However, you do have to be careful about which brand of creatine monohydrate you use. Some brands are lower quality than others. I use the Performance Line Creatine from Beachbody because I know it’s made with great quality, just like all of their other products.
There are a lot of different opinions on whether or not you should do a “loading phase,” but personally I don’t see a big reason to, especially if you use creatine monohydrate. I have done it both ways, doing a week long loading phase and not doing one at all and personally, I haven’t noticed any difference between the two options. What is a loading phase? It’s when you increase the amount of creatine you take for 7-10 days and then decrease to a maintenance dose. The theory is that loading saturates the muscle cells with creatine stores. When I do “load,” I take 10g of creatine for a week and then decrease to 5g. For this past round of Body Beast, I did not do a loading phase and just started using 5g daily.
Again, there is a lot of different opinions on when and how to take creatine monohydrate. All I can do is share what I have found most effective. The big debate is whether to take it before or after the workout. I have tried it both ways and have even taken 2.5g before the workout and 2.5g after the workout. When using creatine with Body Beast during this past round, though, I took it before my workout. Something that I have always been taught and read up on through various research is that the creatine should be taken with some sort of simple sugar, such as grape juice. The theory is that the creatine binds with the sugar and is transported to the muscle cells quicker and more effectively. Normally I take 5g of creatine with 8 oz of organic grape juice about 20 minutes before my workout and that seems to work best for me.
Before I started doing research on creatine, there were always a lot of people who told me that creatine was dangerous to take because it damages the liver and kidneys. There is a lot of scrutiny, but research shows there is no correlation of liver or kidney damage with creatine use.
So there you have it, pretty much everything you need to know about creatine supplementation. If you’re going to use creatine with Body Beast, which I highly recommend, hopefully now you have a good understanding of what creatine is all about, when and how to take it, and why it’s so effective. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Facebook. If you would like me to Coach you through Body Beast or any other Beachbody program, you can make me your Coach by clicking here.
My name is Josh Spencer and I'm a husband, father, online fitness Coach (since 2008), soon to be author, and holistic healing advocate. Since 2008 I've helped thousands and thousands of people make a change in their health! I believe that in order to make incredible changes you have to have the right mindset, nutrition, and workout plan.