by Andy O., Milton, MA The use of creatine has been extremely controversial. Many professional and amateur athletes use it to enhance their performance, both in training and in competition. Recently, baseball slugger Mark McGuire was criticized for his use of the newly discovered supplement. However, he wasn't breaking any rules because creatine is legal in both professional and Olympic competition.
When I first heard about creatine, I immediately thought that it was some kind of dangerous steroid. However, after researching it, I found out that it is nothing like a steroid. Creatine is a nutrient, made of a combination of three amino acids naturally found in our body. It helps provide the energy our muscles need in order to move. It is especially important for quick, explosive movements, which is why it is often used by competitive athletes. Our bodies get most of the creatine we need from food and dietary supplements. Most foods we eat contain creatine. Beef, codfish, herring, pork, salmon and tuna are all foods with high levels of creatine.
Creatine has become very popular in many sports, especially if they require quick and explosive movements, such as hockey, soccer, football, basketball and power lifting. Creatine comes in either a white powder or chewable tablets. It can be bought at just about any health food and fitness store. Many people take creatine before lifting or working out. When the muscle tissue is damaged during exercise, the creatine fills the damaged muscle completely and lets it grow to its full capacity, therefore making lean muscle mass. Creatine allows the user to gain the most they possibly can every time they work out. It has often been called nature's muscle maker.
Many people question whether or not creatine has its place in professional or Olympic sports. Scientists haven't researched this product long enough to detect any long-term damage to the body. However, athletes who choose not to use creatine, do not deserve to be at a disadvantage to those who take it. If you want to build muscle or stay in shape, it should be done by eating right and exercising.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.