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So I am a 37 year old software dude who's trying to get/stay in shape. In the past, I've done a lot of what I'd call "crossfit-light" type exercise. Mainly bodyweight squats, lunges, pushups, yoga, plank burpees, jumping, etc. That sort of stuff took me from being a couch potato to being less embarrassed to take my shirt off in public.

Note: I am genetically pre-disposed to being very thin/lanky. Even when I was my heaviest, I just had a beer-belly attached to my pole-bean body. Gaining real bulk/muscle is difficult for me, both genetically, and because I have back problems (herniated disc from minor arthritis in L4-L5) and so can't do a lot of heavy lifting.

Lately, I have started taking boxing training (without sparring) as a way to increase my high-intensity cardio, and I really like it. I'd like to do 1-2 sessions (30-40min each) of cardio-boxing each week, with mitts, heavybag, footwork, etc. I'd also like to keep doing 1-2 sessions of my previous workout routines per week (planks, burpees, yoga, pushups, etc), with a lot focusing on my legs/shoulders, which I'd like to get bigger.

My question is basically: should I take creatine and high protein foods to help ensure that I'm not loosing muscle to the boxing/cardio work I'm doing, or is creatine supplimentation wasteful/harmful if I'm not doing heavy-lifting in the gym constantly.

I'm aware that you can't really lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. I'd like to tone up a little, but I don't have a ton of fat to lose as it is (just a remnant of my beer belly). Ideally I'd gain some visible mass in my legs/shoulders. I'm OK with the fact that its not optimal to want to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, I just don't want to be totally wasting my time here, or hurting myself with the creatine.

  • Personally I can absolutely feel the difference in creatine/no-creatine when doing strength training in the ~5RM range. Other than that, I don't personally notice any differences. Sufficient protein is a whole different ball of wax and I'd definitely keep up on that regardless. – Eric May 14 '15 at 21:59
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Creatine isn't going to hurt you. And I can see it providing some good benefits for you, because what you're describing seems a lot like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

The way creatine could help you here, is by providing better endurance through increased muscle recovery during sets/intervals.

Also, creatine strengthens muscular contraction, meaning you will have more force behind your punches. This, in and of itself, is a temporary effect, but the workouts you do while under this effect, provide more permanent progress.

Additionally - and I'm simply assuming that this is desirable - creatine enhances muscle size by making them more susceptible to carrying water weight. It's not what we call "ripped" because the inflation is kind of soft, but this water retention enhances protein synthesis, so your muscles will also have a greater effect from your protein-rich meals.

For a more lab-coat explanation of this, you could have a look at some of these links;

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