Unveiling the Science Behind Creatine – Part 2

The Issue: My biggest problem with creatine has been the barrage of supplements claiming to ‘boost exercise performance.’ It is hard for me to decide which products I should purchase and which I should avoid. Of course, when going to your local Vitamin Shop/GNC, the employees will urge you to buy the latest and greatest; they want you to spend money. Before incorporating a new addition into one’s nutritional plan, one must explore both the positives and negatives of the suggested supplement. Does creatine really help? What harm can it do? Do I need it?

Research Perspectives: Allegations against creatine have been made with complaints of muscle cramps and gastrointestinal ailments. A problem with these complaints is a lack of evidence and the fact that the issues experienced are common symptoms that occur in the general population, not just with those who consume creatine. Studies show no change in functionality of the liver & kidneys in healthy subjects supplemented with creatine compared to those without supplementation (Kim et al. 2011).

A superfluous amount of creatine (i.e. over the recommended amount) may cause those who have pre-existing renal disease or those at risk for renal dysfunction to be at a higher risk of experiencing related issues (Kim et al. 2011). Controlled creatine intake is imperative along with proper knowledge of potential high-risk factors to one’s health and well-being. Vandenberghe et al (1997) states that long-term creatine intake is beneficial to performance during resistance training. Young women (n=19) were tested for 10 weeks and performed resistance training for 3hrs a week. The women were divided into two groups, a placebo group and creatine group. After 10 weeks of training an intake of 20g/day increased phosphocreatine concentration by 6%. Furthermore, Muscle PCr (Phosphocreatine) and strength, intermittent exercise capacity, and fat-free mass subsequently remained at a higher level in the creatine group. This study was able to conclude that long-term creatine supplementation enhances the progress of muscle strength during resistance training in sedentary females. (Vandenberghe et al, 1997).

My Personal Experience: Just as doctors recommend we need more vitamin C or higher calcium intake, it can be suggested that if you want to become stronger, an increase in creatine consumption will help you reach your goals. As a collegiate baseball player, I want to be the best athlete I can become. As such, I lift 4-5 days a week. Each day I strive to exceed my performance from the prior one, paying attention to proper form and avoiding unnecessary training gaps. Although progress begins and grows in the gym, proper supplementation is also essential to improving athletic performance. I have been using creatine before & after each workout and I personally have noticed improvements in my performance. I have shown improvement in my bench press, back & front squat, and RDL since taking creatine versus before. I have seen significant improvement in my bench press, where I was stuck at 205lbs for a long while; I have now reached 220lbs two months after I began incorporating creatine.

Conclusion on Creatine: Despite my positive experience with creatine, I still hesitate to quickly agree with the famous claim of “boosting exercise performance.” It may contribute, but its contribution is towards the progress of muscle strength. Upon looking at research, I have concluded that I am not an individual at-risk from creatine intake; however, I am glad that I am educated and aware of which individuals should refrain from this supplement. As my plans included a CSCS certification, I find it more important than ever to be aware of not only what I put into my own body, but also what I recommend that others put into theirs. Incorporating supplements into one’s training can help improve performance, but only with proper product knowledge and adherence to a training program that offers both safety and growth opportunity. I will continue to include creatine in my training. Should I choose to venture out and consider new additions into my plan, I will be sure to know the science behind the product and its potential effects on my health and well-being.


Kim, Hyo Jeong, Chang Keun Kim, A. Carpentier, and Jacques R. Poortmans. “Studies on the Safety of Creatine Supplementation.” Amino Acids 40.5 (2011): 1409-418. Web.

Vandenberghe, K et al. “Long-term creatine intake is beneficial to muscle performance during resistance training”. Journal of Applied Physiology Vol. 83. 1997.

1justinprevialJustin McPhail – Prevail Intern

B.S. Candidate (Kinesiology) – Westmont College

Justin was born in Huntington Beach, California and moved to Long Valley, New Jersey when he was eight years old. Justin will graduate with a B.S in Kinesiology in May 2018. Justin currently plays baseball Westmont College under head Coach Robert Ruiz.

Justin became interested in Kinesiology because of his involvement in baseball. He loves the idea of working with athletes and helping them to become faster and stronger and reach their full potential.

Justin plans to get his CSCS and attend graduate school after Westmont.

A New Member To The Sports Drink Family

By: Sarah Schutzberger, RD, CSO

You have new cross-trainer shoes for joint support, workout gear to keep you cool as you sweat it out and eight hours of shut-eye to maximize your energy level—so why do you feel worn-out as soon as your workout begins?
Your dietary regimen could be putting a damper on your energy levels.  How you fuel your body is an important part of how you feel during your workouts.  Remember that calorie means energy and proper hydration means energy stability. With a proper balance (especially with these hot summer days) you will have enough energy to keep your exercise intensity maximized. 
So, what does it mean to be properly hydrated? How do you know what is best for you? You walk into the gym or the grocery store and are instantly bombarded with an outrageous array of sports nutrition drinks. Which one to choose? Natural or scientifically proven? They all look so colorful (oh the world of marketing).
First ask yourself: What is the intensity and duration of the exercise you will be performing?
The reason this question is important is because sports drinks are intended mainly for endurance exercise and athletes (however, this does not mean hydration is only important in such a case). It is recommended to consume about 8oz of water or an electrolyte based drink every 15-20 minutes during exercise. Even more so, it is also recommended to consume 30-60 grams of carbs an hour to keep your workout strong. Sports Drinks came about to provide athletes with an “all inclusive”, easy-to-get-down, beverage: carbs, fluids, and electrolytes.
This industry has exploded, introducing the newest member to the Sports Drink family: Coconut Water. A tropical vacation turned sporty. A marketer’s dream come true to be able to label this as “a natural alternative”. You can see the family resemblance when comparing the nutritional composition to a more traditional Sports Drink like Gatorade. The average brand of coconut water “claims” to contain 45 calories, 30mg of sodium, 500mg of potassium and 15 grams of carbs in an 8oz serving. However, sports experts would recommend adding a bit of sodium (salt) to the coconut water to give more balance to this “natural alternative”.
Whatever drink you choose to refuel with, just remember to drink enough to minimize fluid and electrolyte loss during your workout. Drinking too little or too much can be dangerous to your health and can hinder your performance. So cheers… and bottoms up.

Yummy Chocolate Tofu Pudding

10.5 oz silken tofu
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1.5 tsp natural peanut butter
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 Tablespoons Splenda
1 Scoop Chocolate Muscle Gain
In a Magic Bullet or food processor, blend tofu until creamy. Add Vanilla and Peanut Butter together and blend for 1 minute, scraping sides occasionally. Add the Muscle Gain powder & blend together for 1 minute scraping sides as needed. Measure into 4 serving dishes of equal portions. You can double the recipe of you use a food processor. Keep in the fridge 1 hour before serving.
To find Muscle Gain: Order Here

Peach ‘N Carrot Smoothie

This smoothie delivers an AMAZING flavor along with a serving of vegetables. You will be shocked at how great it tastes!!!

1 1/4 cup Carrot Juice
1 cup of Ice
1 Pouch AdvoCare Peaches’N Cream Fiber Drink
1 serving of AdvoCare Muscle Gain (1 pouch or 2 scoops)
1/2 Tbsp Flaxseed Oil

Blend until smooth (blender, magic bullet, hand mixer, etc)

Nutritional info: 350 calories, 10g fiber, 30g carbohydrates, 25g protein, 7g fat

To order Peaches ‘N Cream Fiber Drink, Click Here
To order Muscle Gain, Click Here

Bacon and Egg English Muffin


1 slice cheddar cheese
1 whole wheat English muffin
2 slice Canadian bacon
2 large eggs


Toast a whole wheat English muffin.
In a bowl the diameter of the muffin, break two eggs and whisk.
Place eggs in microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Place 2 slices of Canadian bacon and 1 slice on cheddar cheese on one half of the English muffin, and microwave for 30 seconds.
Place the microwaved eggs on the muffin and serve.

Calories: 470
Protein: 36g
Total Fat: 24g (Saturated Fat: 11g)
Carbohydrates: 28g
Dietary Fiber: 4g

Find this and other recipes like it at

Thai Chicken Salad

Cook Time 25 minutes
Serves 6
5 cups cooked rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tbsp water
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, grated
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cucmber
1 carrot, grated
4 scallions, chopped
3 tbsp cilantro leaves, minced
1/2 cup toasted peanuts, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
12 cups lettuce
1. Put canola oil, peanut butter, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, minced garlic, ginger, light brown sugar, and red pepper flakes in blender and puree until well blended.

2. Transfer blended ingredients to a large bowl.

3. Add cucumber, carrot, scallions, and cilantro to the blended vinaigrette and toss to combine.

4. Add chicken and toss again.

5. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature.
6. Top with 1/2 cup of chopped toasted peanuts, and serve over a bed of lettuce.

Calories 560    Protein 51g     Total Fat 34g     Saturated Fat 4.5g
Carbohydrates 14g     Dietary Fiber 2g
Find this recipe and more like it at

Blueberry Banana Shake

10 oz vanilla soy milk
1 cup low-fat blueberry yogurt
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp Metamucil (unflavored) 
1/2 banana

1. In a blender, combine 10 ounces of vanilla soy milk with 1 cup of low-fat blueberry yogurt, and 1 teaspoon of Metamucil

2. Add in 1/2 of a banana and 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries.
 3. Blend until shake reaches desired consistency

Cook Time
5 minutes
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Dietary Fiber

Find this and more recipes like it on the Core Performance Website:

Agave Nectar Spice Cookies


1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp cloves, ground
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 tsp ginger, ground
1 large egg
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups white flour, unbleached
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda


1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of brown sugar with 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening in a large bowl.
2. Beat mixture at a medium speed until light and fluffy.
3. Add 1/2 cup of agave nectar and 1 large egg to the bowl, beat well.
4. In another bowl, mix 2 1/4 cups of white flour with 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
5. Stir ingredients with a whisk.
6. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beat at a low speed until blended.
7. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and place it in the freezer for 1 hour.
8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
9. Place water 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl and 1/4 cup of sugar in another bowl.
10. Lightly coat hands with cooking spray.

11. Shape dough into 1-inch balls.
12. Dip one side of each ball in water, then dip the wet side into the sugar.
13. Place balls, sugar side up, 1 inch apart, on baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
14. Bake for 8-10 minutes.


BBQ Turkey Burger

1 whole wheat bun
6 oz turkey burger
1 slice low-fat cheese
1/2 avocado
1 cup berries
4 yams (medium)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp chile powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 leaf lettuce
1 slice tomato
1/2 cup barbeque sauce

Slice yams into wedges
Toss with cinnamon, chile powder, olive oil, salt and pepper
Bake for 20 mintues at 400 degrees
Mix ground turkey with a 1/2 cup of barbeque saucesauce, a 1/4 cup of diced onions and salt and pepper
Mold ground turkey into a 6-ounce patty .
Grill or cook in a pan until the juice runs dry.
Place turkey burger on whole wheat bun with 1 leaf of lettuce, 1 slice of tomato, 1/2 an avocado and 1 slice of low-fat cheese.
Add a side of yam cinnamon chile yam fries, and 1 cup of fresh berries
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 1
Calories:  681
Protein:  48g
Total Fat:   21g
Saturated Fat:  4g
Carbohydrates:  80g
Dietary Fiber:  14g

Recovery Nutrition

by Kate Thielicke, BS
Every athlete’s goal is to train like they compete.  But when you are going hard, pushing your personal limit one day, where does that leave you the next?  Sore, tired, and lifeless. 
That won’t work.  Our focus this month is on how to recover from workouts in such a way that an athlete is able to come back stronger and healthier after a strenuous, energy-depleting workout.  Our other goals include reducing soreness, promoting quick adaptations to training, and enhancing muscle repair by replacing fuel while rebuilding muscle.  All you need to remember are the three R’s: 
Refuel, Rebuild, and Rehydrate
Refueling is accomplished with carbohydrates.  As their main source of fuel, carbohydrates as stored by our bodies as glycogen to supply us with the energy we need to work hard and move well.  The longer and more intense the workout, the more an athlete has burned through their glycogen stores.  Getting carbohydrates back into your body as soon as possible after exercise will ensure a quicker recovery.  The key is to begin the process of refueling 15 to 60 minutes post-exercise. 
The rebuilding component starts with protein.  Getting protein in your recovery nutrition acts to repair damage to muscle fibers and promote the growth of new muscle tissue.  Numerous studies now cite the benefits of consuming both protein and carbohydrates after exercise because, so as to reap the effects of muscle building and glycogen replenishment.  In fact, chocolate milk is quickly becoming a favored recovery drink for its optimal carbohydrate to protein ratio. Other good ideas include protein smoothies,  post workout shakes, meal replacement shakes, turkey sandwiches with juice or a sports drink, and yogurt with fruit and cereal. 
The final “R” in recovery is rehydrate.  Make it a priority to restore the fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat according to your everyday needs and specific performance needs.  A good rule of thumb is to weigh before and after exercise, then replenish what was lost.  Be sure that you are not basing your hydration needs on your level of thirst, but know that staying hydrated before, during, and after workouts is necessary for peak performance.   
  • 15-60 minutes post-exercise: Begin recovery nutrition
  • Consume 20-24 ounces of fluid per pound lost during exercise
  • Keep a 2:1 carbohydrate: protein ratio

Kate Thielicke, BS is a Personal Trainer at Prevail Conditioning Performance Center.  Degreed in Kinesiology, Kate works with clients for general fitness and young aspiring athletes.

Contact Kate:

Burke, LM. “Nutrition for post-exercise recovery.” Aust J Sci Med Sport. 29.1 (1997): 3-10. 
Carlson, Amanda. “Recovery Nutrition.” Core Performance. 19 Oct 2009.

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