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Is Creatine Good for Hiking?

is creatine good for hikes

Hiking is an activity that takes up a lot of your energy, so if you frequently hike you might be looking for ways to increase your energy. Creatine is known to help with energy boosts for short periods of time, like when you are sprinting or weightlifting.

Creatine is also super helpful when it comes to muscle recovery. It can help your muscles heal at a much faster rate than if you were to let them heal on their own. Can creatine also be a good addition to your body when you are hiking?

Creatine will help you feel less fatigued and help you continue hiking at a great pace. It will also help your muscles not feel as sore which in turn will allow you greater endurance during a hike.

What is Creatine?

Creatine Monohydrate is a substance that is natural and turns into creatine phosphate in your body. Creatine phosphate is essential when it comes to creating a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

ATP is known for providing energy to muscles that they need to perform muscle contractions. Your body will naturally produce some creatine, but you can also find it in foods like meat or fish that are high in protein.

Using creatine is commonly thought to improve strength, increase your lean muscle mass, and allow your muscles to recover more quickly during and after exercise. It can help you with bursts of energy and speed, especially during any high-intensity activities like sprinting or weightlifting.

Creatine monohydrate comes in various forms. We recommend using a micronized powder creatine monohydrate like this one from Optimum Nutrition. Micronized creatine has been shown to have a better absorption rate in the body than standard powder or capsules.

Does Creatine Help with Hiking?

When you are hiking, especially long-distance, your body is bound to get beat up and you will experience fatigue. It is very common that you will not be eating the best diet in the world when you are hiking, so you will typically lack the nutrients you get from real meat. 

Creatine can help you by working as a supplement to the amount of creatine your body is currently producing. This will help you feel less fatigued and more energized to continue hiking at a pace that makes you feel great. Your muscles will not feel as sore, so you can enjoy your hiking trip without all the added pain you usually feel.

Benefits of Creatine

There are several benefits to using creatine as a supplement. The first is that it helps your muscle cells create more energy. Creatine increases the amount of phosphocreatine your muscles store, which assists in the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the main molecule that your cells use for energy and basic life functions.

Creatine also supports other functions of your muscles. It is extremely effective when it comes to adding muscle mass. The supplement is able to alter several cellular pathways that work to lead to new muscle growth.

Creatine works to increase the water content of your muscles in a process known as volumization. This leads to a quick increase in the size of your muscles. 

If you are a fan of high-intensity exercise, creatine can increase your performance. It improves things like strength, sprinting, muscle endurance, recovery, muscle mass, and fatigue. Creatine is a benefit no matter what your fitness level is.

The most recently found benefit of creatine is its ability to improve the health of your brain. Creatine can help maintain the health of your brain by working against neuron death. Cells in your brain will deteriorate over time, and creatine will supply the energy needed to protect those cells and allow them to live longer.

Myths of Creatine

There are tons of myths about what creatine is and what it isn’t. It is important to understand which of these myths are fake, so you can feel confident about what you are putting into your body. 

Dangerous

Creatine has been studied in-depth for more than 35 years. It is less dangerous than any over-the-counter drugs you can purchase, including acetaminophen. The research to prove this has been conducted on infants, the elderly, and adults to be able to support claims of safety. 

Steroid

Creatine is not any type of hormone, so by literal definition it can’t be a steroid. Steroids are hormones that are fat-soluble, complex, and derive from cholesterol. Creatine is a water-soluble compound that is derived from amino acids called arginine and glycine.

Bad for Kidneys

Creatine has not been reported to have any toxicity, and all of the extra creatine your body gets is broken down into creatinine. Creatinine leaves your body through your urine. There are absolutely no studies that support the myth that creatine is harmful to the kidneys.

Increase Cramps or Injury

Creatine is not shown to increase cramps or your chances of injury. In at least one study that has been implemented, football players who were taking creatine experienced fewer cramps and injuries than those who were not taking creatine.

Dehydrating

Creatine increases the water content of your muscles. This means it can improve how your body controls its temperature and it can increase your hydration. It will allow you to feel more comfortable in the heat and improve your hiking performance.

Unethical

Creatine is a substance that is naturally created by our body in small amounts. If you eat a ton of meat or fish, you will likely produce more creatine on your own. Vegans and vegetarians will have a lower level of creatine and will benefit most from the use of creatine. 

Creatine supplements will technically put everyone on the same page, regardless of the diet they are on. This supplement is no more unethical than any other nutritional supplement you would take, including protein powder.

Banned

Creatine is not banned from being used in any competitive sport, including rock climbing. The International Federation for Sport Climbing and the International Olympic Committee allow and recognize the legality of creatine in sports.

Potential Side Effects

Everyone’s body is different, so just like anything else there are some potential side effects when you take the supplement in high dosages. When you take too much creatine, you can experience nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, weight gain, and water retention. 

Does Creatine Work for Everyone?

While creatine can help everyone no matter what their fitness level may be, not everyone will respond to creatine. There are responders and non-responders when it comes to creatine. Non-responders have a low percentage of type 2 muscle fibers and a high muscle creatine content. Responders will have a high percentage of type 2 muscle fibers and a low muscle creatine content.

How to Use Creatine

It is important that you pay attention to when you take creatine and what you are taking it with. It is recommended that you take your creatine with food, typically around 47 grams of carbohydrates and 50 grams of protein for the maximum creatine retention. 

There are also three protocols when it comes to taking creatine. The first is creatine loading, which means you take about 20 grams per day for the first five to seven days you take the supplement. Then you go down to three to five grams a day for maintenance.

The standard way of taking creatine is starting out taking three to five grams a day every day from the first time you take it.

You can also cycle your creatine use. This means you will take the supplement for a few weeks, then be off the supplement for a few weeks. It should be about the same amount of time of being on and off creatine.

Final Thoughts

Creatine is a proven supplement for weight lifting and active sports. This also translates over to hiking as hiking requires your muscles to work hard.

You may find that supplementing with creatine may help you feel less sore and provide your muscles with more endurance while on vigorous hikes.

Like with any supplement, always consult a your physician for any potential health risks involved with starting a new supplement.

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