FOR HOCKEY PLAYERS
Creatine absolutely should be used as a supplement by competitive (serious) hockey players. 100%. Creatine is a primary “energy/fuel source” that your body uses in explosive movements. Yes, we do get creatine from our diet,,, not withstanding the fact that THE LARGE MAJORITY of the population does not get enough “meat” in their diet (a great source of creatine), even those that do will benefit from supplementing with creatine. There is a consensus (i.e. no arguement against it) in the scientific community (sports scientists) that creatine is helpful for a sport like hockey, plain and simple. Supplementing with creatine (i.e. giving more of that “fuel/energy” for explosive movements) improves your “power endurance”, 100%. There is a significant body of evidence to support this.
Because it’s a “supplement”, sometimes (often it seems) people who are unfamiliar with supplements just anecdotally say what they’ve heard: “that it causes bloating and water retention”, perhaps without even knowing what that means. Muscles retaining water (as opposed to being “dehydrated”) is not a terrible thing (within reason) for your performance… here’s where the lines between “hockey player” (= performance athlete) are getting blurred (in the conversation about supplements) with a “body builder” (= physique athlete). Understandable, as body builders are historically the “athletes” who use supplements (a lot more than hockey players do, typically, and historically), and so we read this “stuff” (this “anecdotal evidence” in men’s fitness or body building magazines, and hear it from other “guys at the gym”) and we repeat what we hear: “it causes bloating and water retention”. That is of particular concern for a body builder who is trying to “cut” AND “dehydrate” himself so his muscles look more ripped – a state that even body builders don’t maintain for long periods of time (they try to get ripped/super lean for a single body building show,,, the rest of the year they’re not walking around ripped, they’re building throughout the year)… but performance athletes (hockey players) don’t WANT to be dehydrated! So if the creatine casues your muscles to hold more water, that’s not a bad thing for your “performance” goals!!! Assuming your goals as a hockey player are performance based (i.e. “scoring goals” – pardon the pun, and winning games), and not motivated by “physique goals” or wanting to look dehydrated and super lean.
That being said, there is not a lot of regulation of the supplement industry, so doing your homework to make sure the supplement company has its products tested & certified by a 3rd party is the only way to ensure the supplements are: 1) good 2) their claims are substantiated by 3rd party research (i.e. not biased) 3) healthy / safe 4) not a banned substance 5) the ingredients listed on the label are actually the ingredients in the container (as this doesn’t always happen… so be sure it’s 3rd party tested! Just ask the company themselves).
Creatine is not a steroid, it’s not a banned substance… just a helpful supplement. It’s a bit of a different category of supplements, but just to keep it in perspective, people also supplement with “Vitamin C” – your grandparents probably do! Just because it’s a “supplement”, that doesn’t mean it’s a steroid or it’s harmful to your health or performance (like my Vitamin C example)! Creatine just has a bad rep (and has a different reputation then does Vitamin C), because it’s commonly used by body builders, who also don’t generally care about optimal health or performance (only their physique) and who also happen to use banned substances… but creatine is certainly not one of those banned substances. Using creatine, you’ll be able to sprint faster & longer (on the ice) during your shifts.
Be sure to find out everything you can about substances or training methods that you are unfamiliar with from credible sources, before adopting conclusions that you’ve heard from others based on rumours and anecdotes.