/ Creatine and climbing?

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Kemics - on 21 Jun 2012
On first impressions it seems like a fairly legit supplement that has no side effects and offers gains...too good to be true? And failing that, would it have any application in climbing?

Does anyone use it for gym work outs or climbing, any thoughts?

My only reservations so far are that it seems to increase muscle strength which is rarely the point of failure except maybe on very steep bouldering.
Milesy - on 21 Jun 2012
I have used it for weight training and will give you my experience of it. A lot of the muscle mass gained is water retention and drops off when you stop taking it. It dehydrates you a lot and is pretty upsetting in the stomach. If you are wanting to get bigger in the gym and some stength while taking it, it helps but you need to keep maintaining cycles of it. If you want more info and other experiences join the MyProtein forum.
Postmanpat on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:
>
>
> My only reservations so far are that it seems to increase muscle strength which is rarely the point of failure except maybe on very steep bouldering.

It also makes you fart really really badly. I had a colleague who used it and the women in the office refused to sit near him or bought personal funds to deflect the airflow.

Kyle Warlow - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:

Great for explosive strength increase, muscle gain and to aid recovery after intense work outs, but I would advise against it for climbing. I used it over the winter as I didn't have much time to climb so I did a lot of circuit training instead. It gives the muscles an IMMENSE pump! No good if your trying to climb at your limit, or even just below it.

K
Si dH - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:
I used it for a few months a few years back. I found it gave me significant muscle gains and some strength gain, and didn't notice any of the minuses others have quoted. However, I do drink a lot of water and have pretty bad flatulence already (!)

The negative I did notice is that the extra muscle you put on weighs a lot, and the strength gains you get in your major muscle groups simply arent worth it. You'll be pulling more mass up with the same finger strength and tendons. So, unless you have very weak upper body (shoulders / upper arms) its a bad idea IMHO.
Si dH - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Si dH:
PS the above is with A LOT of training. Otherwise, you just get fat.
Adderbury Climber - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:

Not used it myself but did look in to it once, and remember finding a protocol that uses smaller doses 5-6 times a day which was thought to help the strength gains without the same level of weight gain. From memory it was being recommended for endurance runners, who like climbers were concerned at the idea of putting on lots of weight.

A google search might find the research.
Postmanpat on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Postmanpat:

Personal "fans", not "funds". !!
the power - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics: i,m going to start taking it just for the farty side affect.
Quiddity - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:

I used some in conjunction with a strength training phase last year.

My experience of it:

1 - I am vegan so while the human body does synthesize it I'm not getting much creatine naturally in my diet compared to most climbers - so I may have seen more benefit from it than is typical.

2 - I tried creatine monohydrate and creatine ethyl ester. Monohydrate tastes much better than ethyl ester, which tastes like battery acid. I think ethyl ester was more effective. I mixed it with grapefruit juice and drank it like a shooter. Have a chaser ready, especially first go.

3 - No problems with bloat or water retention for me but I didn't do a 'loading phase' - just 3g daily. Similarly no particular problems with gas but as per point 1) the vegan diet is fairly windy anyway.

4 - Perhaps obvious but worth saying. It doesn't make you stronger - at least I didn't notice it doing so. What it does do is provide your muscles with additional fuel so you can work at a higher intensity for longer - ie. it helps you train harder. Training harder makes you stronger. Many people (most of whom are anti- in that they think it sounds a bit like a performance enhancing drug) seem to think it is a magic supplement which will make you better without having to put in any of the hard work - so just want to reality check that.

5 - I found it quite effective for helping you train harder - I managed to make good lasting strength gains during that phase that carried over long after I stopped taking it.

6 - I put on perhaps a kilo and a half of lean muscle mass. However I'm pretty sure my strength to weight ratio moved in the right direction as I think I was (and still am) under-gunned anyway. The important point is my climbing specific strength and power (measured in bouldering ability) was probably better then than it has been before or since.

7 - I noticed quite bad muscle cramps when taking it. Don't know if it was related - but eg. when putting on tight shoes, feet would sometimes suddenly cramp up. Bit of a pain.

8 - no comment on whether you get more pumped, I had pretty poor power endurance over this phase but that was as expected as I wasn't training it.

I would have thought it could be most usefully employed by climbers to help them work harder during the strength phase of a periodised training plan, with the caveat that to notice any gains you need to be working pretty bloody hard in the first place.
mark s - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics: ive used it for the gym and dont notice any differance.do a google on jack3d ,that stuff really does work and it had creatine in it if you really want creatine.
i had it one in blueberry flavour,its nice stuff also
Wesley Orvis - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:

I use it in the gym as part of a whole in one protein shake, it's in maxi muscle's Cyclone, I have taken it for 20 years on and off with no side effects at all, it helps recovery, makes you train harder and stops muscle fatigue, it does give water retention to the muscles that goes when you stop taking it. In my opinion it will help in bouldering.
Dave 88 - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:

I wouldn't really bother mate, I don't think it has much application except maybe overhanging tooling!

Glutamine and something called Gakic (from Muscletech) might be worth looking into. I haven't taken these for climbing though, just know about them from my weight lifting days (believe it or not!!).
RockSteady on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:

I'm not a scientist, but as I understand it, in layman's terms, creatine provides energy to your muscles, so that they can sustain more effort before becoming exhausted.

Muscles only store about 3secs worth of energy or something. After this is exhausted they rely on synthesising different types of energy. Creatine provides energy and usually in supplements comes with something that helps energy to be synthesised more easily by your muscles.

Bodybuilders (and lots of athletes) use it to get more reps in training = more volume of training at higher intensity = more gains from training.

Applying this to climbing, I've used a creatine+protein supplement (not at loading volumes etc but as a pre and post workout drink) to give me more energy for high-intensity PE workouts (anaerobic and aerobic power) - I figure I get a bit further on a hard circuit, for example, out of it, which = better, harder training, which after a rest = better performance.

There is supposed to be a side-effect of increased water-retention (i.e. 'pumped-looking' muscles and more bulk) which could give a couple of pounds of weight gain, but I never noticed this. There are other noted side effects you can google, but I never experienced them.

You might put on some muscle if you're doing more reps at high intensity, but it will be in the muscles you use for climbing.
mark s - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to RockSteady:
> (In reply to Kemics)
>
>
> You might put on some muscle if you're doing more reps at high intensity, but it will be in the muscles you use for climbing.

i dont want to stamp on your andrex puppy but in the last year i have found out extra muscle does not help climbing in the slightest.in fact it has a massive negative effect on what you will be able to do.
Wesley Orvis - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to mark s:
> (In reply to RockSteady)
> [...]
>
> i dont want to stamp on your andrex puppy but in the last year i have found out extra muscle does not help climbing in the slightest.in fact it has a massive negative effect on what you will be able to do.

Totally agree with this, i go up and down in weight quite often with my weight lifting and even though i am not a great climber whatever weight i am i certainly feel like my climbing ability goes down the more muscle i put on.

IainRUK - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to RockSteady: I just don't get it to be honest..

I can't see how people can be so anti drugs in cycling then so pro creatine just because it's legal..

Its using pharmacuetical aid to get a drug into your body you can't eat in normal quantities in a natural diet..

It's very common in soccer, I was offered it in my late teens by one club, but want to train off a natural diet.
IainRUK - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to Quiddity:
>
>
> 4 - Perhaps obvious but worth saying. It doesn't make you stronger - at least I didn't notice it doing so. What it does do is provide your muscles with additional fuel so you can work at a higher intensity for longer - ie. it helps you train harder. Training harder makes you stronger. Many people (most of whom are anti- in that they think it sounds a bit like a performance enhancing drug) seem to think it is a magic supplement which will make you better without having to put in any of the hard work - so just want to reality check that.
>

That's the same with any PED.. a cyclist on EPO still works his bollox off..

Re training harder for longer, that's why they use PED's in the tour.. to survive.. so a valid excuse..
jamestaylor92 - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:
I am studying sport and exercise science at uni currently (not that this qualifies my reply in any way over another reply) and have perviously used supplementation during training cycles in athletics. this answer is quite general however it may add to the post...

Creatine kinase is one of a few substances used to break ADP into ATP in the body (ATP is the 'fuel' for muscular contraction). Therefore the basic idea behind supplementing it in powder form is to increase the amount of energy available to the muscle at any given time. Creatine kinase is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is gained through diet (red fish and meat). Adequate levels of creatine can be found through a healthy and balanced diet for both meat eaters and vegis. Top level performers and athletes who wish to manipulate their diet (for weight loss ect.) use the supplement to maintain their levels of creatine when it is no longer available in their diet.
So ceratine is beneficial for an increased power output, however unless you have absolutely pushed the limitations of your diet or are changing it for a separate gain and are not getting enough in that way then their is very little point in spending you money on the over priced powder.
Creatine supplementation also increases muscular water retention from blood plasma, this can cause rapid weight gain as water weight. This can have a negative effect on activity where a good strength to weight ratio is needed eg. climbing.

In conclusion, unless you are a top level athlete wanting an edge to gain extra peak power output and power endurance then supplementing creatine is simply not needed, sort your diet out first before parting with you'r cash!
Quiddity - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to IainRUK:

Not really inclined to debate this at length, we may have to agree to disagree. But creatine is fuel. The human body naturally synthesises it. It occurs naturally in the diet, albeit in varying quantities depending on what your diet is. Likening it to a performance enhancing drug is like calling glycogen a PED. Yes it is performance enhancing in the sense that if you deplete your stores of it, your muscles stop working.

Managing your glycogen stores is an essential (and entirely legitimate) part of sporting performance, so why not creatine? Drawing a strong distinction, to me, seems totally arbitrary.
Ged Desforges - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to mark s:
> (In reply to RockSteady)
> [...]
>
> i dont want to stamp on your andrex puppy but in the last year i have found out extra muscle does not help climbing in the slightest.in fact it has a massive negative effect on what you will be able to do.

I think many people would strongly disagree with you
IainRUK - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Quiddity: The same can be said for any naturally occuring steroid..

I don't see the point in talking about legitimate.. the use of steroids is not illegal in climbing unless you compete. Its not illegal to take steroids is it?

Creatine is a drug, used to enhance performance.

I'm not judging those who take it. I've a friend who was banned for EPO, we all make the calls we think are right for that situation.
Quiddity - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to IainRUK:

Well you are making emotive use of the word 'drug' in relation to sport. Caffeine and sugar are drugs routinely used to enhance performance, no one has any issues with those, so labeling creatine a drug is not particularly useful or informative in making decisions about whether it's personally acceptable to use it IMHO.

I think we perhaps don't disagree so much. We agree that, particularly if you are not competing, we all make calls about what we eat and the methods we are prepared to use based on what we personally believe is the way we want to achieve our goals. I personally don't think it's irrelevant that creatine is legally sanctioned.

After giving it consideration, it turns out I personally don't particularly have any issues with the use of creatine, although I personally wouldn't be comfortable with routine heavy supplementing - that is just beyond the point where I choose to draw the line. What I am skeptical of is people appealing to the nature fallacy to draw categorical distinctions between things that are ok and other things that aren't. When people refer to the idea that you should be able to get everything they need a 'natural' diet they generally assume you are comfortable with eating a lot of meat and fish - as it turns out I am much more bothered by this than I am with the idea of occasional supplementation - that's just where my personal priorities lie and not something I have ever tried to impose on someone else (IMHO there is nothing 'natural' about the amount of meat that is routinely consumed in the 21st century western diet, but that's a whole separate argument).

The OP was asking about its effectiveness in climbing, all I was trying to do was present my experience of the practicalities of it so he could make his own decisions.
IainRUK - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Quiddity: Caffeine has been on the banned list.. WADA are said to be re-considering if it should be back on and the NCAA have banned it.

I don't think you can class sugar with creatine.

Its all a personal call. I don't take anything. I used to take glucosamine but wasn't convinced and like an entirely natural diet.
long - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to IainRUK:

> I don't think you can class sugar with creatine.

Why?
IainRUK - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to long: Because from a 'normal' diet we don't need to take additional sugar. Additional sugar will not enhance performance.
Quiddity - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to IainRUK:
> Caffeine has been on the banned list.. WADA are said to be re-considering if it should be back on and the NCAA have banned it.

Interesting. Didn't know that.

> I don't think you can class sugar with creatine.

Why not? It's all shades of grey.

> Its all a personal call. I don't take anything. I used to take glucosamine but wasn't convinced and like an entirely natural diet.

Define natural. I don't think refined sugar is very natural.
lost1977 - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to mark s:
> (In reply to Kemics) ive used it for the gym and dont notice any differance.do a google on jack3d ,that stuff really does work and it had creatine in it if you really want creatine.
> i had it one in blueberry flavour,its nice stuff also


just so you know jack3d actually contains ingrediants which are now banned
Quiddity - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to IainRUK:

> Additional sugar will not enhance performance.

What really? Why do some endurance athletes use energy gels during longer events?
mark s - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to lost1977:
> (In reply to mark s)
> [...]
>
>
> just so you know jack3d actually contains ingrediants which are now banned

that doesnt bother me in the slightest,i dont compete in any tested sport so its not a problem
mark s - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Ged Desforges: who?
what im saying is not an opinion.i went from 13 stone to 15 1/2 in a year.my strength has increased massively.but my climbing ability is shot,i can hardly scratch my own back.
biscuit - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to mark s:

As your profile says you are into body building then i guess that is why your climbing ability is shot. You have been doing exercises and building muscle mass in the wrong places and in the wrong way for climbing that's all.

Anecdotal evidence is around now that if you don't load it can be very useful for hypertrophy and recruitment phases.

In fact if getting a bit of muscle mass is so bad why do all the training schedules out there have a hypertrophy phase ?

In Reply to IainUK and Quiddity:

Interesting few posts there, food for thought ( get it ! ) - and nice to see no falling out and name calling ;0)
TiredJazmyn - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Quiddity:

I am no expert or anything and have only used these gel's on a couple of occasions, but isn't the whole reasoning behind these gel's to load the body with the essential's to keep your body from kind of shutting down.

Times have changed rapidly that no more do we use fruit and nut (trail mix), chocolate and banana's, but instead we use sports gel to keep our bodies pumped with enough energy to last longer. It surely gives the body that little extra amount of energy in reserve to burn for a harder training session.

What do I know. FYI not a lot, it just sounds sort of smart.
(terms of your and we are not indicating anyone, used for generalisation only)
Ged Desforges - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to mark s: At a guess, I'd say putting on 2 and a half stone of muscle is not going to be climbing specific muscle. But surely everyone can see that lean, climbing specific muscle is going to make you climb harder. Thats why lots of good climbers are ripped no?
mark s - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics: there is a big differance between ripped and been muscular.steve mclure is like a condom full of nuts but he aint muscular.
Quiddity - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to TiredJazmyn:

> isn't the whole reasoning behind these gel's to load the body with the essential's to keep your body from kind of shutting down.

> Times have changed rapidly that no more do we use fruit and nut (trail mix), chocolate and banana's, but instead we use sports gel to keep our bodies pumped with enough energy to last longer. It surely gives the body that little extra amount of energy in reserve to burn for a harder training session.

This is precisely my point.

I'm not expert on sports physiology either but as I understand it the rationale for creatine supplementation is analagous - it provides the muscles with the raw fuel needed to support energy production, albeit the ATP-PC system rather than the anaerobic or aerobic energy systems.

Neither creatine nor energy gels are particularly 'natural' but the ingredients don't contain anything that you can't, in principle, get from the diet. What I'm trying to say, is that to say that one is ok but the other is not, on the grounds of how 'natural' they are, is entirely arbitrary.

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