creatine vs a natural testosterone booster?
August 25, 2017 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Hi - I'm a 50-something athlete who's been hearing a lot about both creatine and natural testosterone boosters as a way to, among other things, build strength and quicken recovery times. I've never taken anything prior but I'm, if nothing else, now curious to know more. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Experiences? Thanks in advance!
posted by tangyraspberry to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
Natural testosterone boosters are scams. There's nothing you can get legally, without a prescription, in the US of A that will help your testosterone in any meaningful way.

Creatine works, it's probably the single workout supplement for which there is the most evidence. I stopped taking it personally because it tastes like sand (mixing it with a tiny amount of water and downing it like a shot instead of swallowing it in a glass of water helps) and because I have to go to the bathroom enough on my normal diet already, but it has been shown in many studies to have a small, but observable, effect.
posted by phoenixy at 8:23 PM on August 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

Creatine really works. Great results and massive increase in strength over short periods of time. Be picky about which brand. The sandy ones (mentioned above) tore my guts up and don't get absorbed well. There are more soluble ones mixed with additives that increase absorbtion (that's important). Be sure to find and follow a good schedule. You can't/shouldn't just use it every day. There are ramp up days, sustain days, and off days depending on your goals.

Seconding the testosterone booster business. I've tried supposedly "the best" and felt about half a red bull more awake but other than that felt. Absolutely. Nothing. Kick 'em to the curb.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 8:38 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've tried creatine and tribulus terrestris (even though I am female) and I was in my mid-30s at the time. I noticed I had more energy and was leaner when I was on a high-protein, low-carb Mediterranean type diet than when I was taking supplements. The diet was from the Fat Flush Program. It's not as strict as paleo or Atkins and incorporates some weird shit like Metamucil and hot lemon water, but I have to say that I liked the results! I didn't do the Fat Flush exercises, but I did do a by-the-book pyramid set weightlifting program and HIIT cardio. I've also had fast results with leanness, strength, and flexibility with Callanetics. Those are my go-tos when I want to get in shape. I'm not sure I would try the supplements again because they were so expensive and it seemed like good clean balanced food worked even better.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 8:54 PM on August 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I agree with everyone elseā€”get the micronized creatine, absorption will be way better. A caveat, though: some percentage of the population are creatine non-responders. The verdict on why this happens is still out (a lot of people think it's dietary), but just be prepared for that.

Re: testosterone-boosters, have you considered actual testosterone/HRT? Unlike the OTC test boosters, that stuff really works, and at your age, I expect it would be relatively straight forward to get a prescription for androgel or similar.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 7:15 AM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I use creatine. It makes you a little stronger so you can work out a little harder. It's cheap and not too much hassle or I wouldn't bother with it. Current recommendations are 5mg a day every day in water. No loading/cycling regime is required and you don't need to drink it with fructose to aid absorption.

Also it's not any kind of weird proto-steroid which seems to be a common misconception. It's an amino acid. You could get 5mg/day of it by eating a great deal of steak.
posted by chrchr at 11:04 AM on August 26, 2017

I guess one question would be what kind of athelete you are? If you're tri or a runner, creatine during the training season probably won't do much for you, plus you'll be carrying an extra ~5 pounds of water in your system.

My memory of where the studies suggest creatine is effective is in letting the muscles work very hard for a little bit longer than you normally could. I.E. to get that one more rep while lifting, or to get a bit faster for a short sprint. So if you're a runner/biker/etc endurance sort of athelete, it would probably be great for the off season do concentrate on a lot of strength work while keeping easy distance. During training it won't help you recover (however getting stronger over the winter can make recovery next spring/summer/fall faster).

For sports that have periodic short bursts of energy needed, creatine could probably help. But again, the biggest improvement is likely to be during any strength build up part of your training.

My memory is creatine doesn't do anything for recovery time, and along that thought, creatine potentially allows one to do more work. You definitely need to remember to allow proper recovery as you might be doing slightly harder workouts. If you're already pushing your limits of recovery creatine could help you go firmly into overtraining territory.
posted by nobeagle at 3:44 PM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

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