T Nation

Three Doses of Creatine a Week?

My son is a sprinter. He’s very cautious about using too much creatine, as it sometimes causes problems for sprinters. Last year he pulled his hamstring a couple times. Here’s my question, lately he’s been putting one serving of creatine in his post workout Surge on very taxing days, usually when doing hard sprints, usually this is about three times per week.

Will there still be some benefit from this level of use? I guess in his mind it helps for sure, so maybe thats good enough, being that creatine is so cheap. But I would like some opinions, or even advice if somebody has a better idea. He’s 18 yrs old, a high school senior, and will be running track in college next year.

When I ran track, I stayed away from ANYTHING that potentially increased my non-muscular weight during the season. Yes, it’ll help his muscles recover, but it will also add unnecessary water weight. He’s a sprinter, he needs to be as light and explosive as powerful. With the extra weight from creatine, his entire body has to adjust and compensate.

On hard days (approximately 7 miles or more of running), I’d drink a ton of Gatorade and water and eat more, then sleep like a baby.

But like I said, I think he should stay away from creatine, even at small doses.

[quote]Padilla7921 wrote:
But like I said, I think he should stay away from creatine, even at small doses.[/quote]

That’s ridiculous.

Do you propose he avoid red meat as well?

Likewise, do you think he should avoid gaining muscle since it would cause him to alter his running style?

Several doses per week PWO makes sense.

[quote]HK24719 wrote:
Padilla7921 wrote:
But like I said, I think he should stay away from creatine, even at small doses.

That’s ridiculous.

Do you propose he avoid red meat as well?

Likewise, do you think he should avoid gaining muscle since t would cause him to alter his running style?

Several doses per week PWO makes sense.[/quote]

No it’s not. Have you ever ran track before? You want to be at a feasibly low weight while retaining as much muscle mass and speed as possible. Sure, creatine will help his muscles recover and will make him stronger, but it will also add unnecessary water weight. The more weight he has, the slower he gets. In sprinting, every fraction of a second counts.

Sure, you could make the argument that he’d gain strength with his weight, and with that strength comes speed. However, the proportion of strength to speed will be nullified when you factor in the extra non-muscle weight that is being put on by creatine. Additionally, the extra weight will put more stress on his heart (not much though), which will adversely affect his overall conditioning.

The way I see it, I would stay away from anything that adds unnecessary weight, considering he’s a track athlete. If he wants muscle recovery, let him take some BCAAs or other forms of protein and have him drink lots of water and Gatorade.

It depends on whether or not he’s prone to water weight gain from creatine.

Since he’s a sprinter and uses anaerobic energy systems it seems like he would do better to take a serving before he competes for the performance boost rather than using it for recovery.

Just my $.02 since I’m not a runner.

When I am fully saturated, Creatine adds about 6 lbs to my body weight. And that’s at over 200 lbs. Maybe everyone is different, but that sure doesn’t seem like it would be an issue, considering how beneficial it would be for a sprinter.

I think he would benefit from creatine supplementation. And as some studies have shown that having as little as 2g/ day is enough to maximise muscle creatine I’d guess that a 5g serving 3 times a week would have a similar effect.

As a sprinter creatine supplementation could be beneficial as it doesn’t just add water weight it increases the amount of phosphocreatine held in muscles (which draws water into the muscles). This phospho creatine can help replenish ATP during sprinting potentially leading to a higher power output and faster sprinting. This is best shown in repeated sprinting, which might help increase any training adaptations from the sessions he’s doing.

If he wanted to he could always cycle creatine supplentation so that he has lost the “water weight” in time for any big competitions.

I know a lot of sprinters that use creatine and have had good results with it.

[quote]Kruiser wrote:
It depends on whether or not he’s prone to water weight gain from creatine.

Since he’s a sprinter and uses anaerobic energy systems it seems like he would do better to take a serving before he competes for the performance boost rather than using it for recovery.

Just my $.02 since I’m not a runner.[/quote]

Creatine can cause cramping so before running would not be a good idea.

I made that mistake before for rowing, worst week ever.

All good points. His reasoning behind the lower doses is too gain some of the strength benefit without being fully saturated and putting on extra water weight. I was questioning it because I was thinking that 3 doses per week on average was probably just a waste, from the responses, I’m assuming I was wrong. Like I said in my original post, at the least, I think he’s getting a placebo affect from it, but maybe it is actually doing him some good. He’s pretty tuned in to his body, and he feels like this is a pretty good course for him, says if he were to pre-load, and take full dosing, he’s afraid he’d injure himself, or hurt his performance. State Championships are in 3 weeks, can’t afford any mishaps now.

[quote]sniper1 wrote:
All good points…State Championships are in 3 weeks, can’t afford any mishaps now.[/quote]

In my opinion, and I know others will disagree, the best time for a runner (or any athlete, really) to take creatine is during offseason training. During that time, all of the side effects have a greater overall benefit to the user. You get the recovery benefits along with the weight gain, which will do two things: (1) make the legs stronger when training (as they’ll be explosively propelling a heavier weight) and (2) since the weight will make the heart work harder, the effects of conditioning will be fully realized when that weight is dropped once creatine supplementation is ended prior to the start of the season.

Good luck to your son, too. Break records.

[quote]HK24719 wrote:
Padilla7921 wrote:
But like I said, I think he should stay away from creatine, even at small doses.

That’s ridiculous.

Do you propose he avoid red meat as well?

Likewise, do you think he should avoid gaining muscle since it would cause him to alter his running style?

Several doses per week PWO makes sense.[/quote]

Does that even have anything to do with what he was saying? He didn’t say that creatine was evil, he just said that creatine is known to add water weight and sprinters don’t need extra weight. That sounds like good advice to me.