Unveiling The Science Behind Creatine – Part 1

Unveiling The Science Behind Creatine – Part 1


The supplement industry grows rapidly as new and advanced products repeatedly claim to boost your exercise performance. One product that is widely advertised by supplement shops is creatine monohydrate.

Creatine is a highly researched supplement, however, the science behind creatine is not widely advertised. Creatine itself is a naturally occurring amino acid that can be found in natural foods such as meat (especially beef) and fish (especially salmon and tuna) and is also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas; It is then converted into phosphocreatine which is then converted into ATP, a major source of where our body gets energy other than glucose (Ehrlich, 2014).

The Question: If creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid in our body, why do we need to take it as a supplement?

The Process: The article International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise states that when we perform high-intensity exercises, our phosphocreatine stores become depleted due to our body converting it into ATP, which is then used by our muscles. When a creatine supplement is taken, the liver, pancreas, and kidney have more creatine to break down into phosphocreatine; this results in an increase in a number of phosphocreatine molecules to convert into energy (Buford et al. 2007).

The Effects: Studies show that creatine monohydrate is the most effective nutritional supplement in terms of providing lean body mass and anaerobic capacity (more ATP/more energy). In one study, Creatine supplementation enhances muscular performance during high-intensity resistance exercise, fourteen active men were divided into two groups: a creatine group and a placebo group. Both groups performed a heavy load to failure bench press; 5 sets to failure based on each subject’s predetermined 10 repetition maximum. Subjects also performed a jump squat exercise, which consisted of 5 sets of 10 repetitions using 30% of each subject’s 1-repetition maximum squat. The creatine group ingested 25g of creatine monohydrate per day & the placebo group ingested an equivalent amount of placebo (Buford et al. 2007).

The Results: The subjects were assessed by diet, body mass, skinfold thickness, pre-exercise and 5-minute post-exercise lactate concentrations, and peak power output for the bench press and jump squat. Creatine supplementation resulted in a significant improvement in peak power output during all 5 sets of jump squats and a significant improvement in repetitions during all bench presses and jump squats. Furthermore, a significant increase in body mass of 1.4kg was observed after creatine ingestion. In this study, one week of creatine supplementation (25g/day) enhanced muscular performance during repeated sets to a heavy load to failure bench press and jump squat exercise (Volek et al. 1997).

While this is just one study’s conclusion, the article International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation states that nearly 70% of these studies (creatine’s effect on performance) have reported a significant improvement in exercise capacity, while the others have generally reported non-significant gains in performance” (Buford et al. 2007).

Stay tuned for my next post where I will dive into further studies of creatine monohydrate.

Works Cited:

Buford, Thomas W et al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Creatine Supplementation and Exercise.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 4 (2007): 6. PMC. Web. 19 June 2017.

“Creatine.” University of Maryland Medical Center. Ed. Steven D. Ehrlich. A.D.A.M, 26 June 2014. Web


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.

“Unveiling the Science Behind Creatine – Part 1” —> Volek, Jeff S., William J. Kraemer, Jill A. Bush, Mark Boetes, Thomas     Incledon, Kristine L. Clark, and James M. Lynch. “Creatine Supplementation Enhances Muscular Performance During High-Intensity Resistance Exercise.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 97.7 (1997): 765-70. Web.

The goals of healthy aging and the compression of morbidity

To many, the focus of healthy aging is to live as long as possible. We have seen the life expectancy in the United States increased from 47 years to 79 years over the last 150 years, but the maximum lifespan (oldest age people are capable of living to) has only increased marginally during the same period. There appears to be an age between 70 and 100 years old where our bodies are naturally no longer able to keep up with the challenges of everyday life and as a result, shut down (Fries, 2005). Therefore, the primary goal of healthy aging is to live through our physiologically set lifespan with the highest quality of life.

The compression of morbidity hypothesis was developed by James F. Fries of Stanford University School of Medicine and proposes that living an active lifestyle with good nutrition and practicing abstinence from dangerous habits such as smoking delays the onset of disability until the last years of life (Fries, 2005). For example, a sedentary and active senior may both live to 85 years old, but the sedentary senior may become disabled at age 75, while the active senior may not reach the same level of disability until age 84. The active senior will be able to maintain their lifestyle of choice for an additional 9 years.

A 21 year-long study following a group of runners with an average starting age of 58 years old found that the runners developed a disability corresponding to challenges performing one activity of daily living, such as walking, 8.6 years later than the control group (Chakravarty et al. 2008). The differences between groups diverged increasingly at higher levels of disability.

Additionally, the runners did not experience more osteoarthritis and had fewer knee and hip replacements than controls (Chakravarty et al. 2008; Chakravarty et al. 2008).

Habits like exercise, healthy nutrition, and not smoking are important because the occurrence of a significant medical event late in life often leads to disability. Seniors should exercise as protection against injuries that could threaten their self-sufficiency. It is never too early or too late for anyone to start.

Seniors can benefit from the cardiovascular components of aerobic exercises (e.g. hiking) and the improvements in strength and stability that come from intelligently programmed weight training. In the runner study, the investigators note that the runners should be viewed as multidisciplinary athletes because many of them gave up running for other training modalities during the study (Chakravarty et al. 2008). Fries suggests that the most important thing is to find an activity you like and stay as active as possible (Fell, 2015).

Understanding the concepts behind the compression of morbidity can lengthen the time seniors can live full, independent lives.

Further Reading:

Chicago Tribune Article

Overview of Compression of Morbidity

Review of research

Influence of lifestyle risk factors on compression of morbidity

123prevailTyler Paras – Prevail Intern

B.S. – Cellular Molecular Biology (Westmont)

Matriculating M.D. Candidate – University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Tyler was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California and began training at Prevail in October 2016. He attended Westmont College and will be attending medical school this fall. While at Westmont he graduated Summa Cum Laude, led a student-run homeless outreach program, and volunteered with medical clinics in Mexico and Bolivia.

After Tyler’s mother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), he became interested in the cellular mechanisms behind the disease. He conducted his Major Honors project at Westmont on the role of the microbiome in inflammatory arthritis and conducted summers of research at Harvard Medical School studying the role of macrophages in RA. Including his critical care clinical research at Cottage Hospital, his research has resulted in seven presentations, three at national medical conferences.

Improving Sleep and Recovery in High School Athletes



These days, high school athletes are constantly finding themselves “in-season.” This could be the combination of school and club seasons for one sport athletes, the year-round rotating seasons of multiple sport athletes, or even rotating school sports alongside club seasons. So what strategies can we utilize to minimize burn-out, prevent injuries, and keep athletes at peak performance year-round? In addition to a proper strength and conditioning base, we can implement proper soft tissue care, nutrition, and proper rest.

Motivating high school athletes to be compliant with regular Myofascial release can be difficult (to say the least). And while we would like our high school athletes to be responsible for their own nutrition, it often falls on family routines and habits. So what can we most universally hold our athletes to? Sleep.

The most common response I get from athletes when asking how they’re feeling is: “I’m tired” — understandable! Young adults physiologically need more sleep. Waking up early for school combined with late practices (or often early morning practices for those in-water sports) and heaps of homework that are all too often left for the last minute… It makes it hard to get the full-recommended 7-9 hours.

So let’s focus on quality of sleep instead. If they can only get 7 hours, let’s make sure they get a good quality 7 hours. There are multiple proven strategies to increase quality of sleep without major sacrifice. The hardest strategy for high school athletes? Putting down their phones before bed. A 2009 study by the Surrey Sleep Research Centre confirmed that the blue light emitted by electronics such as phones, televisions, and computers decreases the feeling of sleepiness and improves cognitive performance. That’s all great, unless you want to go to sleep. Through inhibition of the production of a retinal protein, exposure to blue light before bed decreases sleep duration as well as quality of sleep.

If reducing blue light exposure seems out of reach to the athlete (and often, sadly, it may), there are other strategies. As the body prepares for and enters sleep, internal body temperature drops. To prevent interference with this natural change, it is best to keep the room cool (somewhere around 65 F).

Lastly, and perhaps the most intuitive strategy: complete darkness. Again with the light – the darker the room is, the less possibility there is for interference with optimal sleep patterns.

So let’s let our athletes not only sleep, but also sleep well. And who knows, you might sleep better too!

aliAli Barbeau – Prevail Trainer

Bachelor of Science – Biopsychology (UCSB)

Certified Personal Trainer (National Academy of Sports Medicine)

Ali grew up in Salinas, CA, where she developed a passion for volleyball at a young age. She competed year-round through middle and high school, and then signed on to play four years at UC Santa Barbara. In 2012, she started at UCSB and earned First Team All-Conference accolade, as well as serving as team captain for two years. After her athletic career came to a close, she turned to fitness and personal training as a way to stay active and healthy. She loves to help people improve and excel in their own heath journey and hopes to instill her passion for fitness and sports performance in others.


Should You Run?


Current trends in Fitness and Health (e.g. CVD risk factors, increases in BMI, Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Orthopedic injury in knees and backs, etc.) are not exactly following an upward trajectory, though some of them are beginning to taper off. Perhaps this is a turn towards the positive?

Present methods to combat these negative trends are, in my opinion, generally erroneous and may lead to poor outcomes, such as the following:
• Doing Long Slow Distance Cardio as the main source of Energy System Development.
• Jumping on the Gluten Free (or Dairy Free, or Vegan, or Juicing) bandwagon.
• Going all in on High Intensity, Orthopedically Risky Training protocols as the Gold Standard (i.e. Tabatas, Crossfit, Bootcamps).
• Taking on the P90X “Muscle Confusion” and “Do a Different Workout Everyday” Mantras as your own.
• Doing Nothing.

While none of these are inherently negative, we often have the wonderful response to these ‘new’ trends to embrace the novel and jump in without thought. Taking on the mantra of “more is better” as one’s own without proper evaluation on whether or not the chosen method is the right one results in improper care and recovery.

Case in point: Not everyone needs Steady State Cardio training (as was heavily promoted in the 1970’s). It’s not necessary for everyone nor even advisable for many. It is important to choose a training method that fits you and works for you.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology’s explored the idea of dosage as related to health benefit in the study “Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk.” Specifically, it looked at the associations of running with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality risks in 55,137 adults, 18 to 100 years of age (mean age 44 years)” to explore the “long-term effects of running on mortality.”

The conclusion?

…5-10 minutes a day is great and will improve most health measures.

For those wondering, “Is more actually better?” take a look at the study by the American College of Cardiology, titled “1197-358 / 358 – Are Cardiovascular Risk Factors Responsible for the U-Shaped Relationship between Running and Longevity? The MASTERS Athletic Study”.

The synopsis of the study is this: those who ran more than 20 miles/week actually decreased life longevity compared to those who ran less that 20 miles.

Ask yourself:

“What is my goal? Why do I train? How much do I actually need? What is the minimum effective dose?”

Assess your needs, research your options, and make an educated decision.

Things to Come in 2016

Prevail Conditioning Performance Center is growing and expanding! We are excited to share with you what is coming in 2016.

Expanded Facility & New Equipment

Prevail Expansion

Four times the Square Footage! From 975sqft to 3800sqft, Prevail has expanded its space to become the largest space in Santa Barbara dedicated to performance enhancement training. Prevail’s new space features the following:
2 Lane 25 yard Acceleration Track
20 yard x 10 yard Turf Movement Area
4 Olympic Lifting Platforms
Motion Capture/Video Analysis
Workshop and Conference Room space
…over 4,000lbs of new weight (bumper plates, power blocks, medicine balls, kettlebells, prowler sleds, and more)

Expanded Group and Team Training Schedule!

Expanded Group Training Optios pic

With our increased space, we are excited to offer more options for training which include Youth and Adult Sports Performance, Metabolic &, Fitness and Post Rehab groups. We will be adding brand new groups for our expanded Youth Sports Performance schedule (youth, middle school, and high school athletes) as well as new groups for adults, including enhanced Metabolic Training, Adult performance and conditioning groups for the adult athletes and groups focused on moving from Post Rehab to function.

Open Gym Memberships

Prevail Space copy

We now have Open Gym Hours! Many of our clients have asked over the past several years for this option and we are excited to be able to offer this option. Beginning in 2016 we will have open gym memberships and hours available as either stand alone options or as an adjunct to all other packages for those who want to get in an extra day or two of training per week in Santa Barbara’s premier Performance Center.

New Pricing and Options & December Deals!

As the end of 2015 draws near and we look toward 2016, Prevail has positioned itself as a leader in the industry with new training groups, membership options, and state of the art facilities and equipment. As such, beginning with the New Year Prevail will have a 5% increase in prices in order to continue offering our clients industry leading services and facilities. This will be Prevail’s first price increase in 6 years. For those who have been thinking about starting a new private/semi-private training package or making the commitment to a group training schedule starting in 2016, don’t forget you can take advantage of our current pricing until February 1st, 2016!

New Faces at Prevail Conditioning

New to Prevail! 

If you’ve been into Prevail Conditioning recently, you have probably noticed some new faces. If you get a chance to say hello and introduce yourself, please do!  Our new staff and interns would love to meet you.
Please welcome our new team members. 

Mallory Langston-Cooper: Yoga instructor extraordinaire. We have looked high and low to find a Yoga instructor who is the perfect compliment to Prevail’s holistic, multidisciplinary approach…Mallory was our great find. Make sure to check out her Saturday morning Yoga class (all of you who need extra mobility work!)


Justin Willis, CPT, CES, PES: Justin is a recent grad from UCSB and a great addition to our Strength Coach and post rehab training team. 
Leah Gaston, CMT: massage therapy and bodywork has been a long time search and desire for Prevail Conditioning. We are so excited to have Leah on board to offer our clients the soft tissue, trigger point, and myofascial therapy they need. Schedule with her soon!
Alexis Anderson, BS, CSCS: she is tiny little thing, but sharp as a tack, packed with power, and full of smiles. Alexis is a recent grad of Westmont College and has been a fantastic addition to our Strength Coach and Personal Training team.
Kim Tom, CPT: another wonderful addition to our Personal Training staff. Kim brings a passion for fitness and desire to combine it with travel and adventure for clients looking for something new.
Prevail has the best Interns around. Say hello to our summer crew and see if you can stump them with an exercise physiology question!
Greyson Schultz: UCSB Graduate
Gina Uribe Lamb: Westmont Graduate
Sherry Gutsch: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Graduate

Exciting Prevail News Part 2: Chris Ecklund & La Cumbre Country Club

by Chris Ecklund, MA, CSCS, USAW

Chris Ecklund named Director of Performance & Fitness at La Cumbre Country Club, Santa Barbara

Not too long after Peter Blumert’s arrival at Prevail Conditioning, he and I began to brainstorm some opportunities that may exist in Santa Barbara for us to develop new and exciting relationships that would allow us to further the industry-leading performance enhancement and fitness work we were doing within the walls of our facility. Our desire was to look externally for some possibilities to create satellite Prevail Conditioning Performance Centers at new locations where our impact and reach could grow.

After a couple years of looking into some options, we are excited to announce that a partnership has officially begun with La Cumbre Country Club. As of July 1st, 2014, I have taken the position of Director of Performance & Fitness at La Cumbre Country Club. For the last several years, LCCC has invested great time and monies into their development of a brand new and cutting edge Performance/Fitness Center. Through some wonderful relationships in the community, their need for a Performance Director was made known to us and we felt it was the perfect fit for Prevail.
Thus, as of July 1st, I am dedicating daily focus to LCCC in order to implement a satellite Prevail Conditioning systems and methodology into LCCC which will function under the banner La Cumbre Country Club. We will be staffing and serving the members with our highly degreed and certified Prevail Conditioning Trainers, Massage Therapists, Therapists, and Yoga professionals. 
This will also allow me to continue to function in the CEO role for Prevail Conditioning Performance Center downtown in Santa Barbara while Peter Blumert will run the day-to-day operations of the facility. I will continue to be available and reachable for our clients, so please do not hesitate to call or email me directly should you have any questions or needs. 
We are extremely excited about this new relationship and look forward to great things with La Cumbre Country Club. They have a fine tradition of excellence and a warm atmosphere that has spanned over 100 years.

cell: 805.252.8349

Exciting Prevail News Part 1: Peter Blumert

by Chris Ecklund, MA, CSCS, USAW

Happy 4th of July weekend to you all. I trust this is a week of celebration and gratitude for the gifts and blessings we get to enjoy with our freedoms as citizens of this country.

As I sit and reflect a bit this week, I realize it has been some time since I have taken a moment to get all of you caught up to date with the wonderful and exciting things that are happening inside (and outside) the walls of Prevail Conditioning Performance Center. So allow me a moment to do so…

Peter Blumert, MS, CSCS, USAW is Prevail Conditioning’s new Co-Owner!

As many of you may already know, Peter Blumert and his lovely wife, Erin, moved to Santa Barbara nearly 3 years ago to join the team at Prevail Conditioning and explore the opportunities as Performance Director and Strength Coach at Prevail. We prayerfully and thoughtfully considered this move for some time and were led to pursue it. One of the primary reasons for this move was to explore the possibility of Peter becoming a Business Partner in Prevail Conditioning. After over a year of discussing and working together, Peter and I agreed to move forward with that relationship. So, we are delighted to pass along to you the official announcement that Peter is now a Business Partner and Co-Owner of Prevail Conditioning. It has truly been a joy and pleasure to have Peter and Erin here with us and we are so excited for the wonderful gifts and passions that Peter and Erin bring to us.

Do you have, know, or are a youth athlete? If so check out our youth speed, agility, and power clinic! Sign up and get faster in one day!

Hey Everyone!

Our next 21 Days To A Stronger You program is starting May 5th! Sign up to see for yourself all of the ways Prevail can help you get stronger, move better, and be smarter!

Prevail Conditioning