Thursday, May 6, 2010

Benefits of Creatine

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a nitrogen-containing compound naturally found in fish and meat. Our bodies also contain creatine with the majority stored as phosphocreatine in muscle tissue and the rest as free creatine. Every day the body breaks down about 1-2% of the creatine pool, approximately 2 grams, into creatinine, which is excreted in urine.

How Does The Body Get Creatine?

We eat it in fish and meat. A pound of uncooked beef contains approximately 1-2 grams of creatine. And we can also make it from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine. Because dietary sources of creatine are found in animal flesh, some reports indicate that vegetarians have lower creatine stores in their muscle tissue than non-vegetarians.

If you want to supplement with creatine, take 0.3 grams creatine per kilogram bodyweight for 5-7 days (5 grams four times per day for instance) to saturate creatine stores. After this period, take 3-5 grams per day to maintain stores.

Creatine Fuels Explosive Activity: Your body uses ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to fuel activity. It does this by breaking down a chemical bond between phosphate groups turning ATP to ADP (adenosine diphosphate).

The phosphate in ADP must be replenished to form ATP to continue fueling muscular contraction. And the body has different systems in place to add that phosphate back.

To replenish ATP quickly, muscle cells rely on creatine phosphate. This system rapidly replenishes ATP to fuel working muscle but only lasts about 10 seconds. And, it is dependent on the amount of phosphocreatine stored in muscle. As phosphocreatine stores are used, ATP cannot be resynthesized at the rate required and maximum physical effort declines.

Creatine works by increasing phosphocreatine stores thereby accelerating the rate of ATP resynthesis during short duration, intense exercise (sprinting, explosive moves, bench press etc.).

Creatine Improves Performance: Training studies show that creatine supplementation can improve maximum power and strength, work load performed during sets of maximal effort, sprint performance.

Creatine Is Safe: The only true side effect of creatine supplementation is weight gain. During the loading phase, study subjects have typically gained 1 to 2 kilograms. Over 4 to 12 weeks of training, study participants have gained an average of 2 - 4 lbs of fat free mass in comparison to subjects taking a placebo.

There are now over 1,000 published studies on creatine with creatine monohydrate the most studied form. Anecdotal reports in the literature indicating that creatine causes cramps and dehydration did not control for other supplements used or training conditions (heat, humidity).

A review article examining the safety of creatine found that it may actually decrease risk of dehydration by increasing total body water and intracellular water while having no effect on extracellular water.

In addition, creatine has no untoward effects on kidney functioning in healthy males. However, it is not completely clear if supplementation is safe for every individual who is at risk of or has kidney disease. However, in one study, scientists in Brazil supplemented a young man with a single kidney and a mildly decreased glomerular filtration rate with 20 grams of creatine per day for 5 days followed by 5 grams per day for 30 days while the young man was consuming a diet containing 2.8 grams of protein per kg bodyweight per day. No negative effects were noted on kidney functioning.

Though creatine has a good safety record, there are few studies in kids under the age of 18. Therefore, it makes prudent sense to ensure all other dietary factors are executed (high calorie diet, quality and quantity of protein intake, nutrient timing) and the child/teen is training properly prior to recommending creatine for kids. In addition, discuss this with your physician first prior to giving a child under the age 18 creatine.

The efficacy and safety of creatine supplementation is being used in a number of clinical trials to examine how it may help people with Huntington's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, statin related myopathy, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and more. See for more information on populations supplemented with creatine.

Creatine monohydrate is safe and it's effective. If you've done everything else to maximize your performance on the bench press, what are you waiting for? Creatine can help you take your 1 RM bench press to a whole new level.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010



By Lee Bechtel
NHF Lobbyist

April 20, 2010

Because of several U.S. Administration nominations that have taken priority, the U.S. Senate, which was expected to take up U.S. Senator Dick Durbin’s Food Safety Act (S.510) as early as next week, will instead consider the bill in two to three weeks. When it does, there are several issues likely to be addressed with amendments to the bill. As readers will recall, this bill is more trash on a stick, intended not to address any food-safety problems but simply to expand government control over the food economy.

What’s at Stake

S.510 is nothing more than the House bill H.R.2749 in Senate clothing. It requires registration of all food facilities, including manufacturers, processors, packers and storage facilities. Any such facility that introduces food into interstate commerce without being registered and having paid the mandatory registration fee would be subject to penalties for marketing misbranded food.

But there’s more – registered facilities must implement hazard analysis, risk-based preventive controls, and food safety plans. For large commercial operations and Agribusiness with their retained professional staffs of attorneys and accountants, these additional costs will be barely noticed, and certainly passed on to us consumers; but for small farms and small operations, these regulatory requirements will be oppressively burdensome, even fatal. Just as ominously, and in typical Washington, D.C. fashion, the proposed law would cause supplement manufacturers who are already subject to intensive Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), to scrap their just-implemented GMPs and implement instead another set of costly GMPs! Fortunately, Senators Hatch and Harkin are taking action to ensure that supplement companies are exempted.

In essence, though, this bill proposes total Federal government control over and tracking of food production, distribution, and sales – supposedly to ensure “food safety” but which powers in fact would be unconstitutional and unnecessary. Under S.510/H.R.2749, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would empower the government to regulate food production at all levels, up and down the chain of production. This seems quite laughable seeing that for some time now mainstream media headlines have reported that the FDA is unable to keep up with food-safety regulation at any level, so, why add to their already unattainable workload?

Then, as a kicker, the bill provides for criminal prosecution of those producers, manufacturers, and distributors who fail to comply with the new laws, and punitive property seizures and large fines for each offense upon conviction. And for those who have been following Codex, you have almost certainly not missed the fact that S.510/H.R.2749’s “science-based” approach tracks that found in Codex food guidelines.

The Latest News on S.510

The latest from Senate staff insiders is that Senators Hatch, Harkin, and Enzi will be offering a Manager’s Amendment to clean up details not clearly addressed when the Senate HELP committee unanimously approved S.510 last Fall.

In particular, they will offer clearer language on the FDA's involvement with Codex and dietary supplements. In the original Harkin bill reported from committee, language was included asking the FDA to report to Congress on whether and how to harmonize foreign food-processing standards with U.S. law, but stating that Codex does not apply to the US regulation of supplements. The revised language directs the FDA to report to Congress on any Codex activities related to conventional food and/or supplement standards under consideration, before taking any regulatory action in the future. This is almost precisely what the NHF, the Sunshine Health Freedom Foundation, and the National Health Freedom Coalition were supporting and pushing last Fall (see, even though other groups were oblivious to the need to do this at that time. Some have changed their tune since then.

Recently-Claimed Victory?

In fact, recently, there was an announced “victory” concerning supplements having been exempted from Codex language in the "Food Safety" bill, which sounded quite nice as consumers definitely need more victories in any food-related legislation. Unfortunately, though, as anyone following this bill closely would know, this was not a recently-won victory. The actual exemption language had already been in this particular bill for some time now, due to the efforts of several organizations and many individuals; so, sadly, no real victory should have been claimed. To trot out an old victory and proclaim it as one’s own would be like George Bush claiming credit for winning World War II.

Regardless, despite this “non-recent” improvement in the statutory bill language, the NHF still opposes passage of S.510. The Federal legislative process is like making sausage, as everyone knows, that is, the bill at issue gets stuffed with everyone’s favorite pork. That does not make the bill any better – that’s just political logrolling. And we should not stand for it.

The Latest on S.3002

A second issue is that while the NHF and other health-freedom groups and their memberships lobbied and were somewhat successful in getting Senator McCain to back off of his so-called Dietary Supplement Safety Act (S.3002), the latest is that Senator Arlen Spector (D-PA) is expected to offer a “Son of McCain” bill amendment to S.510. The health-freedom Senators and their staffs are working on how to prevent this, but Harry Reid and Dick Durbin are the two in charge of the Senate schedule. To be fair and balanced, the exact language of a Spector amendment has not been released to members or their staff, preventing us from knowing whether it will attempt to do the same as the original McCain bill proposed, which was to repeal the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), or something else of lesser harm. The sausage is still in the making.

Take Action Now

Despite the NHF’s, and other health-freedom groups’, successful lobbying efforts and grassroots letter writing campaign to protect the intent and letter of the DSHEA law, the so-called Food Safety Act (S.510) is still a threat to our health and health freedoms. To block the FDA from its goal of harmonizing U.S. food law to international food standards, via use of the Codex mechanisms, the NHF still opposes the intent and purposes of S.510. The bill fundamentally only addresses conventional foods, and not supplements; but it is still a bill that will adversely affect all of our health, unnecessarily raise food costs, put chains upon domestic food producers, and increase yet again our costly, parasitic Federal bureaucracy. It must be stopped.

Take action now by writing your Senators stating your firm opposition to S.510. The time for registering your opinion is short, but continued action is necessary for us to be successful. Go to for a sample letter to send to your Senator to register your opposition.

Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, and Henry Waxman have so far been successful in their quest for a complete government takeover of health care, despite the opposition of the vast majority of Americans, who are not being listened to. In the current political and legislative atmosphere, every crack in the door for the anti-supplement, pro-Federal control and anti-individual responsibility Congressional leadership is being used to spend, tax, and hire an ever-growing mob of Federal bureaucrats.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cutting: Setting Up Calories

Cutting: Setting Up Calories

I want to outline some guidelines as to how to setup calories when cutting. First, what is cutting? Cutting means shedding bodyfat while minimizing muscle loss. Many like to use the words 'weight loss', however I prefer the words 'fat loss'. One can lose bodyfat while gaining muscle and on the scale, a net weight loss of zero occurs, because while they lost fat, they gained muscle. Nobody wants to lose muscle, they want to shed body fat. So how do we setup calories for losing bodyfat?

How Do I Setup My Maintainance Calories?

There are many ways to approach this, I will go through the more complicated methods and then with finally, what I usually use and see as the simplest.

First off, we need to determine maintainance calories. What are maintainance calories? They are the calorie amount you can eat, and not gain or lose weight. For example, if I eat at maintainance calories and I weigh 180lbs, in a week when I step on the scale, I will not see a gain or loss, I will still weigh 180lbs. Now, how do I setup these maintainance calories? Well, there are a few ways to go about this.

To estimate maintainance calories, you can calculate and add Resting Energy Expenditure (REE), the Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA) and the Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF). I really do not want to get into those calculations, as I see them overly complex for most people, if you want to setup your maintainance calories that way, do the calculations.

I like rough estimating maintainance*calories from this method:

Females - Multiply bodyweight x 15
Males - Multiply bodyweight x 16


Female 120lbs x 15 = 1800 calories per day
Male 190lbs x 16 = 3040 calories per day

Ok, now that we have maintainance calories setup, lets move on to setting up calories for fat loss. First off, lets set some ideal expectations of fat loss for a given time period. It is not realistic to expect 20lbs of fat loss in a month. Generally speaking, a good range to expect to lose in a week is about 1-2lbs. If you are losing more than that, you are most likely losing muscle mass. Be aware that INITIALLY, you may experience a more profound weight loss on the scale, this can be in part due to water loss, glycogen loss, alongside fat loss, so if this initially occurs, don't wig out. Keep track of the weight change on the scale to make sure that after this initial drop in weight, that a weight loss of around 1-2lbs a week is occurring. Also, make sure you do not just use the scale as a sole indicator of progress.

What are some ways to monitor progress?

-Scale progression (lbs lost on scale)
-How your clothes fit
-Bodyfat % (I only recommend skin calipers, DEXA, hydrostatic tank, and bodpod)
-Body Measurements (Chest, thighs, waist, arms, etc.)

How Do I Setup My Cutting Calories?

To cut you will need a calorie deficit. This means calories subtracted from your maintainance calories. Lyle Mcdonald recommends a good starting point of decreasing your calories by 20% below maintainance. This number however will vary person to person. Some may find this number to be perfect in terms of losing 1-2lbs a week, some may find it not enough, some may find it too much. In this case, calories adjustment upwards or downwards can be used. We will use the examples from above:

For Females:

In the example above we used a 120lb female with a maintainance calorie amount of 1800 calories per day. So:

120lb Female - 1800 calories (maintainance calories) x .20 = 360 calories
1800 calories - 360 calories = 1440 calories per day for cutting

For Males:

In the example above we used a 190lbs male with a maintainance calorie amount of 3040 calories per day. So:

190lbs Male - 3040 calories (maintainance calories) x .20 = 608 calories
3040 - 608 calories = 2432 calories per day for cutting

So, here we have how to setup your calories for cutting. Please remember these numbers are rough estimates, and while perfect for some, may need adjustment based on your individual status. Also remember that there is more to your progress than simply what the scale says weekly, use bodyfat % changes, body measurements, etc. If you have any questions feel free to ask.*


-The Ketogenic Diet - Lyle Mcdonald