Wouldn't it be nice if you could take an over-the-counter supplement to get a sculpted physique? While many products claim you can take creatine for ripped abs or a sculpted physique, the main reason people take oral creatine is to increase exercise performance and strength.
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Creatine is an amino acid that may help you build lean muscle mass, but in order to get ripped abs, you also need to reduce body fat, follow a strict diet and do plenty of compound movements and core exercises.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is most known for its ability to help your muscles produce energy during heavy exercise, which makes sense since it is an amino acid located mostly in your muscles. You can also get creatine if you regularly eat red meat or seafood. According to the Mayo Clinic, your body converts creatine to phosphocreatine, then stores it in your muscles for energy. This increase in energy is one of the main reasons people take oral creatine.
In fact, a July 2012 study review of creatine published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition found that supplementation with creatine has regularly shown to increase strength, fat-free mass and muscle morphology with concurrent heavy resistance training more than resistance training alone.
For the most part, creatine is safe to take as long as you adhere to appropriate doses. However, since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate nutrition supplements, there is no seal of approval guaranteeing its safety. There is also evidence suggesting that creatine may be unsafe when taken in large doses.
If you experience muscle cramping, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, dehydration, or any other abnormal symptoms, discontinue use and talk with your doctor. Additionally, the Cleveland Clinic points out that combining oral creatine with other supplements may result in complications in the liver and kidneys.
Creatine for Ripped Abs
While creatine alone may not result in ripped abs, if you plan on taking it for sports and fitness-related purposes, there are certain protocols to follow. In general, there are two supplementation protocols for maximum creatine absorption. One calls for a loading phase followed by a reduced daily dosage, while the other calls for several small doses ingested over the course of a day, followed by a maintenance period.
The first protocol recommends a loading phase with 20 to 25 grams of creatine. This larger dose is then split into 5-gram doses ingested daily over four or five days. The second protocol recommends taking a 1 gram dose every 30 minutes until you reach 20 grams. This method may provide a better creatine absorption. A maintenance phase of 3 to 5 grams of creatine should follow both protocols.
While creatine may help you develop a more muscular physique, a proper diet to reduce body fat and consistent resistance training and cardio exercise are necessary to reach your goal of getting ripped abs. When hitting the gym, make sure to include compound exercises that train multiple muscle groups at the same time, core training and cardiovascular exercise.
Additionally, for healthy weight loss, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends eating nutrient-rich foods from a variety of food groups including fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.