INTERMEDIATE / ADVANCED LESSON (Caffeine)
English Reading & Vocabulary Lessons
Lesson 1 (60 minutes)
5 minutes Conversation and discussion
30 minutes: Reading
20 minutes Writing
5 minutes Conversation, Text Correction and discussion
Read the text below then answer the questions below:
CREATINE – Is it worth taking this suppliment when you are in training?
- Creatine is a substance that is found naturally in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise.
- Taking creatine as a supplement is very popular among athletes and bodybuilders in order to gain muscle, enhance strength and improve exercise performance.
- Chemically speaking, it shares many similarities with amino acids. Your body can produce it from the amino acids glycine and arginine.
- Several factors affect your body’s creatine stores, including meat intake, exercise, amount of muscle mass and levels of hormones like testosterone and IGF-1.
- About 95% of your body’s creatine is stored in muscles in the form of phosphocreatine. The other 5% is found in your brain, kidneys and liver.
- When you supplement, you increase your stores of phosphocreatine. This is a form of stored energy in the cells, as it helps your body produce more of a high-energy molecule called ATP.
- ATP is often called the body’s energy currency. When you have more ATP, your body can perform better during exercise.
- Creatine also alters several cellular processes that lead to increased muscle mass, strength and recovery.
Creatine can improve health and athletic performance in several ways.
In high-intensity exercise, its primary role is to increase the phosphocreatine stores in your muscles.
The additional stores can then be used to produce more ATP, which is the key energy source for heavy lifting and high-intensity exercise.
Creatine also helps you gain muscle in the following ways:
Boosted workload: Enables more total work or volume in a single training session, which is a key factor in long-term muscle growth.
Improved cell signaling: Can increase satellite cell signaling, which aids muscle repair and new muscle growth.
Raised anabolic hormones: Studies note a rise in hormones, such as IGF-1, after taking creatine.
Increased cell hydration: Lifts water content within your muscle cells, which causes a cell volumization effect that may play a role in muscle growth.
Reduced protein breakdown: May increase total muscle mass by reducing muscle breakdown.
Lower myostatin levels: Elevated levels of the protein myostatin can slow or totally inhibit new muscle growth. Supplementing with creatine can reduce these levels, increasing growth potential.
Creatine supplements also increase phosphocreatine stores in your brain, which may improve brain health and prevent neurological disease.
Creatine can also improve strength, power and high-intensity exercise performance.
In one review, adding creatine to a training program increased strength by 8%, weightlifting performance by 14% and bench press one-rep max by up to 43%, compared to training alone.
In well-trained strength athletes, 28 days of supplementing increased bike-sprinting performance by 15% and bench-press performance by 6%.
Creatine also helps maintain strength and training performance while increasing muscle mass during intense over-training.
These noticeable improvements are primarily caused by your body’s increased capacity to produce ATP.
Normally, ATP becomes depleted after 8–10 seconds of high-intensity activity. But because creatine supplements help you produce more ATP, you can maintain optimal performance for a few seconds longer.
Just like your muscles, your brain stores phosphocreatine and requires plenty of ATP for optimal function.
Supplementing may improve the following conditions.
Brain or spinal cord injuries
Motor neuron disease
Memory and brain function in older adults
Despite the potential benefits of creatine for treating neurological disease, most current research has been performed in animals.
However, one six-month study in children with traumatic brain injury observed a 70% reduction in fatigue and a 50% reduction in dizziness.
Human research suggests that creatine can also aid older adults, vegetarians and those at risk of neurological diseases.
Vegetarians tend to have low creatine stores because they don’t eat meat, which is the main natural dietary source.
In one study in vegetarians, supplementing caused a 50% improvement in a memory test and a 20% improvement in intelligence test scores.
Although it can benefit older adults and those with reduced stores, creatine exhibits no effect on brain function in healthy adults.
Research also indicates that creatine may.
Lower blood sugar levels
Improve muscle function and quality of life in older adults
Help treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
However, more research in these areas is needed.
The most common and well-researched supplement form is called creatine monohydrate.
Many other forms are available, some of which are promoted as superior, though evidence to this effect is lacking.
Creatine monohydrate is very cheap and is supported by hundreds of studies. Until new research claims otherwise, it seems to be the best option.
Many people who supplement start with a loading phase, which leads to a rapid increase in muscle stores of creatine.
To load with creatine, take 20 grams per day for 5–7 days. This should be split into four 5-gram servings throughout the day.
Absorption may be slightly improved with a carb- or protein-based meal due to the related release of insulin.
Following the loading period, take 3–5 grams per day to maintain high levels within your muscles. As there is no benefit to cycling creatine, you can stick with this dosage for a long time.
If you choose not to do the loading phase, you can simply consume 3–5 grams per day. However, it may take 3–4 weeks to maximize your stores.
Since creatine pulls water into your muscle cells, it is advisable to take it with a glass of water and stay well hydrated throughout the day.
Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements available, and studies lasting up to four years reveal no negative effects.
One of the most comprehensive studies measured 52 blood markers and observed no adverse effects following 21 months of supplementing.
There is also no evidence that creatine harms the liver and kidneys in healthy people who take normal doses. That said, those with preexisting liver or kidney problems should consult with a doctor before supplementing.
Although people associate creatine with dehydration and cramps, research doesn’t support this link. In fact, studies suggest it can reduce cramps and dehydration during endurance exercise in high heat.
One 2009 study found that creatine supplementation is associated with an increase in a hormone called DHT, which can contribute to hair loss. More research is needed, but people who are predisposed to hair loss may wish to avoid this supplement.
WRITING QUESTIONS (150 words)
Some people take suppliments to help them improve athletically and others simply for health.
What suppliments do you take and why. How do you know if they help you? And do you think that simply a healthy and balanced diet is all you need?
In your 150 word writing use some comparative adjectives and superlative adjectives.
See this lesson to help you: