Forget Creatine

By Max Klein

Are you among the majority of Canadian men and women who are not satisfied with the way you look? Do you want a slimmer, more shapely body? Do you strive for more muscle? Most of us, during the holiday season, gained weight and lost muscle. At the end of December we faced a new year, and this means we made resolutions. Many of us resolved to spend this year struggling to get that perfect body. Some will even turn to sports enhancers, hoping to find an easy alternative to many hours sweating in the gym.

According to Dr. Edward G. McFarland, director of the Section of Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, protein supplements, creatine, Ginseng and even growth hormones are not very helpful in improving athletic performance, strength or endurance. Furthermore, taking such supplements/drugs can put your health at risk. The average Canadian consumes more than enough protein in their daily diet to support muscle growth, so protein supplements are not required.

Creatine is a natural substance excreted by the kidneys. It is believed by athletes to be the cornerstone of muscle development. In his study, McFarland explained there was no conclusive evidence that creatine supplements work. In the numerous studies done on athletes taking creatine, about as many show positive results as show negative ones. Ginseng and growth hormone do not improve athletic performance, strength or endurance while growth hormone can cause severe health problems.

Doctors at Johns Hopkins advise athletes to use one of the most common and affordable drugs on the market: caffeine. Caffeine is said to be among the few ergogenic aids that have been shown to work in a number of scientific studies. Two cups of coffee before athletic activity improves the strength and endurance of the athlete. Caffeine slows the depletion of glycogen, the main energy source of muscles–this gives the athlete more endurance during a workout, and a greater reserve of energy that improves strength.

So, avoid the temptation to pay exorbitant prices for supplements that don’t work and may be harmful. Armed with this information, grab a cup or two of java before your next workout and bulk up with a buzz.