Studies conducted in vegetarians tend to show cognitive enhancement in youth, possibly due to a creatine deficiency, as compared to omnivores.[272][60][61] Vegetarian diets have lower levels of circulating creatine prior to supplementation, but attain similar circulating levels as omnivores when both groups supplement.[272][273] Building on the latter, supplementation of creatine monohydrate in a loading protocol (20g daily in orange juice) in omnivores does not alter levels of creatine in white matter tissue in the brain (test subjects: competitive athletes).[274] In most of the parameters that vegetarians experience benefits, omnivores fail to experience statistically significant benefits[275], except possibly when sleep deprived, where the cognitive improvements rival that seen in vegetarians.[276] Elderly people who are omnivorous may also experience increases in cognition to a similar level, in regard to long-term memory as well as forward number and spatial recall, although the study in question failed to find any significant benefit on backward recall or random number generation,[38] the latter of which is a test for executive working memory.[277]

Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified numerous products marketed as bodybuilding or muscle-building dietary supplements that contain hidden active ingredients, including prescription drugs and steroid and steroid-like ingredients. Not only do these ingredients pose serious health risks, they might cause you to pop positive on a drug test. The only way to be sure a product contains only what’s on the label is to look for one that has been evaluated by an independent, third-party organization. For more information, visit FDA’s Consumer Update about bodybuilding products.
For several years, research studies have shown that adolescents concerned with both athletics and appearance are taking performance-enhancing supplements. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics of middle-school and high-school students ages 10 to 18 years found creatine use in all grades 6 through 12. About 5.6% of the study participants and 44% of high-school senior athletes admitted taking creatine.

In competitive bodybuilding, bodybuilders aspire to develop and maintain an aesthetically pleasing body and balanced physique.[16][17] In prejudging, competitors do a series of mandatory poses: the front lat spread, rear lat spread, front double biceps, back double biceps, side chest, side triceps, Most Muscular (men only), abdominals and thighs. Each competitor also performs a personal choregraphed routine to display their physique. A posedown is usually held at the end of a posing round, while judges are finishing their scoring. Bodybuilders usually spend a lot of time practising their posing in front of mirrors or under the guidance of their coach.

The slider reverse lunge is simple to perform and doesn’t need much in the way of instructions. Simply grab a Valslide, or a similar tool that will allow you to move smoothly across the ground. Put the slide under one foot, and use that foot to slide into a reverse lunge, and then return to standing. Try doing this exercise after one of the ones above, and just wait until you feel the burn!
Jager et al [60] observed 1.17 and 1.29 greater peak plasma creatine concentration 1 hour after ingesting creatine pyruvate compared to isomolar amount of CM and creatine citrate respectively. However time to peak concentration, and velocity constants of absorption and elimination, was the same for all three forms of creatine. Although not measured in this study it is questionable that these small differences in plasma creatine concentrations would have any effect on the increase of muscle creatine uptake. Jäger et al [61] investigated the effects of 28-days of creatine pyruvate and citrate supplementation on endurance capacity and power measured during an intermittent handgrip (15 s effort per 45s rest) exercise in healthy young athletes. The authors used a daily dose protocol with the intention to slowly saturate muscle creatine stores. Both forms of creatine showed slightly different effects on plasma creatine absorption and kinetics. The two creatine salts significantly increased mean power but only pyruvate forms showed significant effects for increasing force and attenuating fatigability during all intervals. These effects can be attributed to an enhanced contraction and relaxation velocity as well as a higher blood flow and muscle oxygen uptake. On the other hand, the power performance measured with the citrate forms decreases with time and improvements were not significant during the later intervals. In spite of these positive trends further research is required about the effects of these forms of creatine as there is little or no evidence for their safety and efficacy. Furthermore the regularity status of the novel forms of creatine vary from country to country and are often found to be unclear when compared to that of CM [62].

Whether you love or hate ‘em, squats are one of the best butt exercises for strengthening your backside. Experts say that if you want to run faster, jump higher and lift heavier, squatting low is the way to go. They might look easy, but prepare to work when you add a barbell, slam ball or heel raise to the mix. These squat variations not only add some power to your jumps and kicks, but they also help improve your knee stability and range of motion. So how low can you go? Try these exercises to find out.
Nitrate-rich foods like beets, radishes, and pomegranates are a great way to boost the production of nitric oxide (NO). Although there's very limited research examining the effects of beet root juice and pomegranate extract on resistance training, these ingredients have previously been shown to increase skeletal muscle blood flow and lead to reduced soreness, which may ultimately lead to improvements in strength and performance.[9,10]
Syrotuik and Bell [57] investigated the physical characteristics of responder and non-responder subjects to creatine supplementation in recreationally resistance trained men with no history of CM usage. The supplement group was asked to ingest a loading dosage of 0.3 g/kg/d for 5 days. The physiological characteristics of responders were classified using Greenhaff et al [58] criterion of >20 mmol/kg dry weight increase in total intramuscular creatine and phosphocreatine and non responders as <10 mmol/kg dry weight increase, a third group labeled quasi responders were also used to classify participants who fell in between the previously mentioned groups (10-20 mmol/kg dry weight). Overall, the supplemented group showed a mean increase in total resting muscle creatine and phosphocreatine of 14.5% (from 111.12 ± 8.87 mmol/kg dry weight to 127.30 ± 9.69 mmol/kg dry weight) whilst the placebo group remained relatively unaffected (from 115.70 ± 14.99 mmol/kg dry weight to 111.74 ± 12.95 mmol/kg dry weight). However when looking at individual cases from the creatine group the results showed a variance in response. From the 11 males in the supplemented group, 3 participants were responders (mean increase of 29.5 mmol/kg dry weight or 27%), 5 quasi responders (mean increase of 14.9 mmol/kg dry weight or 13.6%) and 3 non-responders (mean increase of 5.1 mmol/kg dry weight or 4.8%). Using muscle biopsies of the vastus lateralis, a descending trend for groups and mean percentage fiber type was observed. Responders showed the greatest percentage of type II fibers followed by quasi responders and non-responders. The responder and quasi responder groups had an initial larger cross sectional area for type I, type IIa and type IIx fibers. The responder group also had the greatest mean increase in the cross sectional area of all the muscle fiber types measured (type I, type IIa and type IIx increased 320, 971 and 840 μm2 respectively) and non-responders the least (type I, type IIa and type IIx increased 60, 46 and 78 μm2 respectively). There was evidence of a descending trend for responders to have the highest percentage of type II fibers; furthermore, responders and quasi responders possessed the largest initial cross sectional area of type I, IIa and IIx fibers. Responders were seen to have the lowest initial levels of creatine and phosphocreatine. This has also been observed in a previous study [17] which found that subjects whose creatine levels were around 150 mmol/Kg dry mass did not have any increments in their creatine saturation due to creatine supplementation, neither did they experience any increases of creatine uptake, phosphocreatine resynthesis and performance. This would indicate a limit maximum size of the creatine pool.
To meet the demands of a high-intensity exercise, such as a sprint, muscles derive their energy from a series of reactions involving adenosine triphosphate (ATP), phosphocreatine (PCr), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and creatine. ATP, the amount of which is relatively constant, provides energy when it releases a phosphate molecule and becomes ADP. ATP is regenerated when PCr donates a phosphate molecule that combines with ADP. Stored PCr can fuel the first 4-5 seconds of a sprint, but another fuel source must provide the energy to sustain the activity. Creatine supplements increase the storage of PCr, thus making more ATP available to fuel the working muscles and enable them to work harder before becoming fatigued [1].
Change things up. After six or more weeks of consistent strength training, which is about the amount of time it takes to start seeing improvement in your body, you can change your routine to make it more difficult. Lifting the same weights for the same exercises every week will keep your body in the same place. You can modify weights or repetitions, choose different exercises, or change the order in which you do them. You only have to make one change at a time to make a difference, although more is often better. 

One study on 27 otherwise healthy men supplementing creatine (0.3g/kg loading for a week, 0.05g/kg thereafter for 8 weeks) with a thrice weekly exercise regiment noted that alongside greater increase in lean mass and power relative to placebo at 4 and 8 weeks, myostatin in serum decreased to a greater extent with creatine (around 17% at 8 weeks, derived from graph) than it did with placebo (approximately 7%).[356] Increases in GASP-1, a serum protein that inhibits the actions of myostatin by directly binding to it,[357] were not different between groups.[356]
Another double-blind study supplemented with 18.75 g/day of creatine monohydrate for 5 days prior to high-intensity intermittent work to exhaustion, and then 2.25 g/day during testing. The workouts consisted of cycling to exhaustion using several protocols: (a) nonstop, (b) 60 seconds work/120 seconds rest, (c) 20 seconds work/40 seconds rest, and (d) 10 seconds work/20 seconds rest. Creatine supplementation significantly increased the total work time for all four protocols [13].
The researchers found that the dose of testosterone required to produce different effects in the body varied widely. The influence of testosterone and estradiol also differed. As the testosterone gel dose was reduced, the scientists showed, reductions in lean mass, muscle size, and leg-press strength resulted from decreases in testosterone itself. In contrast, increases in body fat were due to the related declines in estradiol. Both testosterone and estradiol levels were associated with libido and erectile function.
Still, any supplement should be used carefully and after discussion with a dietitian or doctor. There are some potential health risks and side effects that you should be aware of before taking creatine. Muscle cramping, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, gastrointestinal pain, dehydration, weight gain, water retention, heat intolerance, and fever have all been linked to the supplement. (13)
At the end of the day, yes, strength training does impact your metabolism, but any boost you get will be minimal and completely secondary to all of the other health benefits of strength training. Any change in metabolism or increase in calorie burn will vary widely from person to person, and depends on so many factors: your genetics, eating habits, health conditions, what workout you do that day, how much sleep you’re getting, and even how stressed you are on any given day. But incorporating a couple of strength training sessions into your fitness routine is worth doing no matter what—you’ll feel yourself get stronger, and put yourself in a position to say healthier throughout life. Those are the best, most promising benefits to work for.
It's OK to be a little sore. Your muscles might feel achy or tired the day after a tough training session thanks to DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness. When you strength train you're causing microscopic damage to the tissue that will be repaired, that's how you build stronger lean muscle. Speaking of repair and recovery, though, rest days are important. "If you constantly break down muscle without a recovery period, you won’t give the muscle fibers a chance to repair and build back stronger,” explains Davis.
Many people are looking for magic bullets in their efforts to fuel their bodies, sharpen their minds, and hold on to their youth. As a result, some spend a small fortune on novel dietary supplements, hoping that the promising results of studies exploring the effects of these compounds in other animals translate to humans. Unfortunately, however, this is rarely the case. But every now and then a supplement is proven to actually help lots of people. Creatine has been around for decades, so it’s easy to overlook it amidst hype over newer pills and powders. Yet I think it might be the most beneficial, underappreciated, and cost-effective supplement there is – if I could only recommend one supplement for everyone to take (an absurd scenario, I know), it would be creatine monohydrate. That’s a bold statement, so in this post I’ll support my stance. As a result, I hope that you too get to experience the diverse benefits of creatine supplementation.

I'm 6'1" 175 pounds 27 years old. I would like to increase my general muscle mass and reduce my stomach fat. I would consider myself and ectomorph (hard gainer) as I have never really developed much muscle while I've always been very active in sports and periodic weight training. Over the past year I lost about 30 pounds (nearly all fat) by reducing my caloric intake effectively and regular whole body exercises. I was on my way to my ideal body composition until I became a bike courier. I've been a bike messenger for 9 months and recently my stomach fat has started to return. I'm riding 50+ miles each weekday riding for 9 hours a day. How many calories should I be eating? I've tried everywhere between 2400-3,500 cal/day. Is it possible for me to be eating too few calories while still accumulating stomach fat? Is it realistic for me to be able to maintain or even build muscle mass in this scenario? Please help, thanks.
Diet – To boost your body’s testosterone levels, you need to reduce your intake of foods that promote an increase in your belly fat. Increase in belly fat promotes the activity of an enzyme called aromatase which converts testosterone to the female sex hormone, estrogen. Therefore, the greater the amount of belly fat you have, the more your level of testosterone reduces. In addition, increase your intake of heart-healthy foods such as fiber from whole grains, lean white meat, fresh fruits, and vegetables and reduce your intake of red meat and animal fat.
In the following article I will outline the supplements that have helped me to add a massive 10 kilograms (22lbs) of solid muscle to my physique over the past year—taking my body weight from 80 kilograms (176lbs) to 90 kilograms (198lbs)—and explain how these have helped me to improve my performance and enhance my size as a natural bodybuilder, aged 35.
SAMe is the primary methyl donor in the human body, and supplements that preserve SAMe (such as trimethylglycine; TMG) promote a variety of benefits in the human body, like a reduction in homocysteine and reduced risk of fatty liver. Creatine has been implicated in both reducing homocysteine[124] and preventing fatty liver in rodents[125], thought to be secondary to preserving SAMe.

The gluteus maximus (also known collectively with the gluteus medius and minimus, as the gluteal muscles, and sometimes referred to informally as the "glutes") is the main extensor muscle of the hip. It is the largest and most superficial of the three gluteal muscles and makes up a large portion of the shape and appearance of each side of the hips. Its thick fleshy mass, in a quadrilateral shape, forms the prominence of the buttocks.
Specifically targeted to be used by natural bodybuilders and powerlifters, Universal Nutrition Animal M-Stak is the ideal supplement for hard-gainers. Containing ingredients that help promote protein synthesis while preventing muscle breakdown, Animal M-Stak is designed to naturally maximize the muscle mass building process. Optimize your performance and strength, and overcome your plateaus with Animal M-Stak. Keep Reading »
The other two, the medius and minimus, work together to aid your gluteus maximus in raising your leg to the side. Plus, those smaller glute muscles help rotate your thigh outwards when your leg is straight, and inwards when your hips are bent. Talk about a dream team! (To learn more about the workings of your glutes, check out The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises!)

Research shows that starting as early as age 30, the body begins to slowly lose muscle mass, with women losing up to 15 percent of their total-body muscle per decade by age 50. Apart from declines in strength, that declining muscle mass comes with a declining metabolism, Emilia Ravski, D.O., a sports medicine specialist with Hoag Orthopedic Institute in California, tells SELF. This decline in metabolic rate is actually one driving factor of the weight that women generally tend to put on after we naturally hit our peak muscle levels in our 20s, research from Tufts University suggests.
Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is associated with a reduction in intracellular creatine stores[554] known to only affects males. It is an X-linked progressive myopathy associated with abnormalities in the dystrophin gene.[555] The standard therapy at this moment involves corticosteroids such as prednisone.[556][557] Creatine is thought to be therapeutic since the known targetable abnormalities in DMD (impairment in protein synthesis associated with oxidative stress and increased protein breakdown) is a property of creatine and supplementation showed promise in the first case study[558] and benefit in a group of mixed dystrophinopathies.[559]
Some ingredients found in dietary supplements marketed for bodybuilding or performance enhancement—such as whey protein, creatine, and caffeine—generally aren’t associated with any serious safety concerns (when used appropriately). However, they still have the potential for side effects. Before you take any dietary supplement, talk to your healthcare provider. You also can read the articles below about some of these ingredients:
There is a genetic condition known as gyrate atrophy of the choroid and retina, which is associated with a high level of Ornithine in the blood and a relative decrease in Arginine, which causes a relative creatine deficiency due to L-arginine being required to make creatine[478][479] and because high ornithine can suppress creatine synthesis (AGAT) in the glial cells of the retina.[475] This condition can be attenuated by either reducting ornithine in the diet[480] or by supplementing creatine, which is, in this instance, therapeutic.[481][482]
We’re confident you’ll love your Onnit supplements. If the product doesn't perform for you, however, we’re not gonna play games with you. Order any of our entry size supplements, and if you don’t like it, you can keep it! Notify our team, telling us why it wasn't a fit for you, and we’ll get you a refund right there on the spot - no return necessary. We just ask that you try it out for at least two weeks to give it a fair shot.
Creatine, the amino acid, naturally helps your body produce more adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, a small molecule that’s actually your body's primary energy source. But research shows that your body is only capable of storing enough ATP for 8 to 10 seconds of high-intensity exercise — and after that, it needs to produce new ATP for you to continue. (9)

In addition to adequate protein, you need more calories (your protein intake contributes to your total caloric intake, so these two go hand in hand). Use the following formula to calculate the number you need to take in daily to gain one pound a week, and break down your diet using the macro guidelines listed above. (Give yourself two weeks for results to show up on the scale. If you haven't gained by then, increase your calories by 500 a day.)

When creatine is increased in the fetus (from maternal supplementation of 5% creatine), the fetus has a greater chance of survival and increased growth rates to a level not significantly different than vaginal birth.[531] Protection from hypoxia has also been noted in the offspring’s diaphragm (through preserved muscle fiber size),[533] kidneys,[534] and neural tissue (due to less oxidation in the brain and less cellular apoptosis).[535]
Tongkat Ali, biologically called Eurycoma longifolia, is a herb found in Southeast Asia which is primarily used to boost male fertility. However, it is also known to boost testosterone levels significantly. Tongkat Ali has a low side-effect profile, been found to be generally safe and well-tolerated. A common side effect reported by users is trouble falling asleep which you can avoid by taking the supplement in the morning, preferably with breakfast.
This is one of the best workouts for your hamstrings and glutes. Start in a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar in front of you. Lower it to just below your knees. You can lower it further if you can keep a flat back and stable spine. Slowly return to the starting position. Keep the bar close to your body to protect your lower back.