Creatine is a popular supplement used by athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts to improve their physical performance. Among the different forms of creatine available in the market, creatine HCL (hydrochloride) is a relatively new type that is gaining popularity due to its potential benefits. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what creatine HCL is, how it works, and its potential benefits.
What is Creatine HCL?
Creatine HCL is a form of creatine monohydrate that has been chemically bonded to hydrochloric acid. The resulting compound is more soluble in water and has a lower pH than other forms of creatine, making it easier for the body to absorb and utilise. Creatine HCL is also thought to require smaller doses than other types of creatine to achieve the same benefits.
How Does Creatine HCL Work?
Creatine is a natural substance found in muscle cells that plays a vital role in energy production during high-intensity exercise. The body uses creatine to produce ATP, the primary energy source for muscle contractions. However, the body’s natural stores of creatine are limited, and supplementing with creatine can help increase these stores and improve physical performance.
Creatine HCL works by increasing the availability of phosphocreatine, a high-energy compound stored in muscle cells. During high-intensity exercise, such as weightlifting or sprinting, the body rapidly breaks down ATP. Phosphocreatine can quickly donate a phosphate molecule to ADP, reforming ATP, which can be used again for muscle contraction. By increasing the amount of phosphocreatine stored in muscle cells, creatine supplementation can help replenish ATP stores more quickly, allowing for increased power output, strength, and endurance during high-intensity exercise.
Potential Benefits of Creatine HCL
Increased Muscle Strength: One of the most well-known benefits of creatine supplementation is increased muscle strength. By supplementing with creatine HCL, you may be able to increase your muscle strength and power output, allowing you to lift heavier weights and perform better in sports and other physical activities.
Improved Endurance: Creatine has also been shown to improve endurance by reducing the rate of fatigue during high-intensity exercise. This means you may be able to perform more reps or run for longer periods of time before feeling tired.
Faster Muscle Recovery: Creatine can also help speed up the recovery process after exercise by reducing muscle damage and inflammation. This means you may experience less soreness and be able to train harder and more frequently.
Better Brain Function: Studies have shown that creatine supplementation can improve memory, attention, and mental fatigue. Creatine is not just beneficial for physical performance, but it may also improve cognitive function.
Muscle Preservation: Creatine has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis and reduce muscle breakdown, which could help prevent muscle loss with ageing.
Anti-Aging: Some studies have suggested that creatine may have antioxidant properties and may protect against oxidative stress, which is a key factor in aging and age-related diseases. Additionally, creatine has been shown to improve mitochondrial function, which is important for energy production and overall health.
Fat loss isn’t meant to be fast if it’s meant to last!
Fat Loss. The fact is that an astounding number of those of you who lose weight, or have lost a large amount of weight, will eventually put it back on and often, more.
Yes it’s unfortunate and it also doesn’t need to be this way.
As coaches, we aspire to be the catalyst for change.
We choose to help people live their best lives. But sadly we fail.
So for us, if you do go backwards it really does make a difference to us. It actually does affect us. We actually feel like we have failed and question our techniques and tactics. This is the honest truth. And if wasn’t the case then you probably would see through us. But you haven’t and we are here, in the now.
So let me encourage you a little further, if I may.
Your fat loss journey has just started (for most of you) and like anything meaningful in your life, there are times of growth and there are times of maintenance. But maintaining the habits you learn in the first place are crucial to your future success. For example, most of you know that to create wealth you need to make a little money, save a little money, spend less than you earn and keep practising this. It takes time. But do you go backwards and go and splurge day upon day, week upon week, month upon month. No! Because you would go broke.
The same goes for fat loss, your health and more importantly your well-being. We all have a metabolic rate to maintain in order to do the things we love and perform the way we wish. We all have a budget of calories and which we get to spend in order to nourish our body and fuel our minds. If we Spend this was splurging day upon day we will soon go broke and our body will break in one way or another.
Systematic Fat Loss
I encourage you to think about the important things in your life like this. Systematically. Like brushing your teeth for hygiene and showering twice a day. It’s just a part of what you do!
This system allows you to achieve the things you want. It gives you freedom to do, act and be more. Systems allow us to produce results! Day in and day out.
With finances most of us have a budget and this in turn helps us to be accountable. For if we overspend, we pay the consequence through credit applications or through having to go without or some firm of moderating in some way.
With nutrition we also need to account to our budget in order to be the people we want to be. To be gluttonous and over- eat regularly (and not move our bodies in a way to balance this out) is not how humans are meant to be. It’s not a system we can healthily accomodate without consequence.
But if we apply systems we do understand, for instance, finances, then perhaps we can look at it through different lenses and simplify our approach.
Because for anything to last, it needs to be simple, meaningful and understood. It needs to be another system for you to upload and achieve a desired result.
And once you’re achieving this result, let me ask you a question… Would you move such a system to your trash folder? Would you want it from your hard drive?
No, there’s a better way…. Compliance through Customisations.
After a sneaky week off, we’re back with another Move Better Monday Blog. Today’s topic is balance and exercise!
Balance is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. As we age, issues with balance become common; in fact, you, or someone you know is likely experiencing, or going to experience balance issues in the future. Some of the causes of poor balance and balance disorders can include muscle weakness and imbalance, inner ear/vestibular problems, neurological conditions and low blood pressure. Some symptoms of balance disorders might include:
The feeling that you might be about to fall
Catching or dragging feet
Light-headedness or faintness
Confusion or disorientation
Experiencing any of these symptoms may feel distressing or embarrassing, and over time can severely impact confidence. Poor balance may result in reduced independence, reduced mobility, social isolation and physical inactivity, increasing risk of developing lifestyle related health conditions such as diabetes and other metabolic conditions, cardiac diseases, respiratory diseases and mental health conditions.
If you are concerned that you might have a balance issue, here are some questions you might ask yourself.
Do I feel unsteady?
Do I lose my balance and fall?
Do I feel as if I’m falling?
Do I feel as if the room is spinning?
Do I feel light-headed or as if I may faint?
Do I experience blurred vision?
Depending on the cause of the balance problem, there may be various ways to help treat and improve balance and confidence associated with mobility. Your first point of call might be to discuss your balance and associated concerns with your GP to ensure that there is no medical cause. Once you have received advice from your GP, your next stop may be to see an Exercise Physiologist (EP). Exercise is a fantastic tool to improve balance, and some of the mobility related causes of poor balance such as muscle weakness and imbalances, and reduced mobility.
An EP will commence your journey to better balance by assessing your current balance, and lower body strength and endurance. They will then prescribe you with an individualised exercise plan aimed at improving your balance, or the cause of your poor balance, and improving your mobility confidence. Depending on what it is that your EP recommends for your specific needs, your exercise program may have a combination of balance specific, resistance/strength based exercise, and some form of walking or mobility specific exercise. Howe et al. (2011) conducted a review of 94 studies testing the effects of exercise intervention on balance in older people, and found that more effective exercise programs were conducted a minimum of three times per week for at least three months, and involved dynamic exercises in standing.
Some exercises that might be included in a balance focussed exercise plan are:
Tandem or semi-tandem walking
Sit to stands or box squats
Step ups or stairs
Reactive balance activities – eg. Ball throwing/catching with feet together to reduce base of support
Star Excursion balance exercise
Feel free to incorporate some of these exercises into your exercise sessions to help improve your balance. Please note that these exercises are in no way intended to replace an individualised, therapist prescribed exercise regimen. For advice or recommendation for your specific circumstances please chat to your GP or exercise specialist.
Howe TE, Rochester L, Neil F, Skelton DA, Ballinger C. Exercise for improving balance in older people. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD004963. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004963.pub3.
Back pain is a common phenomenon that can affect anyone at any walk of life. In fact, in 2019 The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that approximately 16% of the population suffer some kind of back problem, and that 70-90% of people will experience back pain at some point in their life.
Back pain and problems can result from several reasons, the most common related to injury and posture, degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, and some genetic conditions just to name a few.
Some symptoms of a back problem may include:
Pain in the lower, middle or upper back
Spinal degeneration – osteoarthritis
Stiffness/limited range of motion
Aggravated nerves, numbness, tingling, electric sensations
Pain or other symptoms radiating down either, or both legs
Back pain can be categorised into three categories:
Specific spinal pathology
Nerve root pain
Non-specific back pain, where pain caused by a specific pathology, or a nerve root has been ruled out
If you are amongst the 16% of Australians who suffer back pain, chances are you have tried a range of treatments, or seen various healthcare professionals in search of relief or answers. Your GP might have prescribed you pain relief, your physio might have sent you home to do some stretches, and your chiro may have adjusted your joints, but there might be something you haven’t tried – exercise. While there is no “one rule fits all” for treating back pain, studies have found that exercise can be a very successful treatment for back pain, regardless of the cause.
A systematic review (Hayden et al. 2005) looked at 61 studies on exercise therapy for treatment of low back pain and concluded that exercise is an effective therapy for reducing back pain and improving function in those with chronic low back pain. Another systematic review by Hayden et al. (2005) concluded that the most effective strategies to reduce pain and improve function in those with non-specific chronic low back pain include:
Individualised exercise program – where a qualified exercise therapist will assess a patient and deliver an exercise program suited specifically to the patient’s individual capacity and requirements.
Supervised setup – whereby the program is prescribed and delivered by a therapist and regular follow-up and progression is provided.
Enough exercise is achieved – 30-60 minutes daily of moderate-vigorous exercise
Muscle strengthening and range of motion (ROM) exercises – were shown to be the most effective for improving pain and function.
Some of my favourite exercises to prescribe for my patients with lower back pain include:
Regular walking/physical activity
Core (back, core and hip) strength and stability such as:
Side lying clam
Isometric banded squat
Range of motion (ROM)
Please note that while these exercises are some that are frequently used in the rehabilitation of back conditions, this does not aim to replace an individualised exercise program designed by a therapist. If you are experiencing back pain, please talk to a qualified exercise therapist (physiotherapist or exercise physiologist) to find out what treatment might work best for you.
Author – Courtney Donaldson, Accredited Clinical Exercise Physiologist
BClinExPhys (Hons), AEP, AES, ESSAM
June 19th 2022
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2019, Microdata: National Health Survey, 2017–18, cat. No. 4324.0.55.001, ABS, Canberra.
Hayden, J, van Tulder, MW & Tomlinson, G 2005, ‘Systematic Review: Strategies for Using Exercise Therapy To Improve Outcomes in Chronic Low Back Pain’, Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 142, no.9, pp. 776-785.
Hayden, J, van Tulder, MW, Malmivaara, A & Koes, BW 2005, ‘Exercise Therapy for Treatment of Non-Specific Low Back Pain (Review)’, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 3, art. no. CD000355, DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000335.pub2.
One positive thing from joining the PUSH_body Transformation challenge has been forming new social connections and involving myself more in the club.
I’ve been training at Viva (and even KP Fitness!!) for years, and always did my thing solo.
Even as a sociable person, training used to be about getting in, getting it done and getting out.
I work with people all day long and my emotional energy cup is often full at the end of the day so it was easier to just train by myself.
Joining more Warriors group training sessions and taking time to connect with people in these groups, has made me feel more a part of the club and increased my motivation. Somehow, I now seem to be at the gym 5 times a week () and I look forward to saying hello to regular faces, and now, new friends
It’s so empowering being surrounded by like-minded people, wherever they are on their fitness journey
So proud of everyone who was part of the latest challenge.
Everyone did an amazing job. We all achieved something. We all gained very important knowledge that we can use for years to come!
I learnt that eating isn’t a bad thing. Eating properly to achieve a goal is necessary. Weight training is important to include in your programme. Dedication and determination to succeed was key. But knowing I was doing it for me and no one else, was the main reason I was successful. This is the first challenge in nearly 5 years, that weight loss was not my goal, but to Increase muscle and toning was.
Dion your passion for health and fitness is amazing. You knowledge and patience to teach this passion to others, like myself, is astonishing. You have helped me in so many ways, I cannot thank you enough.
To staff, trainers, coaches of Viva, thank you. You brighten my day everytime I walk through those doors….Even if you are about to smash me in class, I thank you
I hate using this term but my journey to the current me has been a long one. 8 years ago I started my healthy me journey. There’s been many ups and downs. Weight loss, Weigh regained, weight loss, weight regained again…more weight loss. It’s not an easy road but if you just keep at it, you will succeed. A set back is not a bad thing but a tool to learn from. I’m in the best place mentally and physically then I ever have been before.
My Viva family has been the key to my success this time and i know with your help, its staying this way for good
First pic is my is me at my absolute heaviest and unhappiest, 8 years ago and second is my finishing the last challenge!
Well, I definitely surprised myself…
I’ve formed so many good habits over the last 8 weeks – walking every morning before work, decreasing coffee intake, 15,000 steps each day, better food choices….but the results have shown for themselves today and it all feels worthwhile.
Also, the challenge BINGO! This card has also kept me accountable to some small goals along the way and I really wanted to check everything off. I doubted I could reach the 4kg fat loss, but today I ticked it off!!
Thanks Team Viva for your encouragement and support I’ve already started pencilling in some new goals for the new year!
Rachels Avocado Brownies (Flourless & Fudgy!)
These Avocado Brownies are rich & fudgy, and made healthier by using avocado instead of butter or oil. They are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free!
PREP TIME 10minutes
COOK TIME 45minutes
TOTAL TIME 55minutes
1ripe avocado(about 7 ounces; 1/2 cup mashed)
1/2cupcacao powder(or cocoa powder)
1cupcoconut sugar(or brown sugar)
1/4 teaspoonfine sea salt
1/2cupdark chocolate chips(use a dairy-free brand, if needed)
Preheat the oven to 325ºF and line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. (I like to grease the pan first, so the parchment paper will stay in place.)
You can make these brownies in a single bowl, mashing the avocado with a fork until relatively smooth, or you can make them in a food processor to get rid of all the avocado chunks. (I prefer using a food processor, but I’ve had good results with both methods.)
In a food processor, combine the avocado (peel and pit removed), cacao powder, eggs, coconut sugar, almond butter, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Fold in the chocolate chips, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. (Decorate the top with a few extra chocolate chips, if desired.) Bake at 325ºF for 45 minutes, or until the center of the brownies looks cooked-through. (You don’t want any jiggle when you shake the pan.)
Allow the brownies to cool completely. The avocado flavor is MUCH more pronounced if you try these warm, so please don’t be tempted to taste them until they have come to room temperature. You can place them in the fridge if you want to speed up the cooling process, or you’ll have to wait at least 2 hours for them to cool on the counter.
Slice the brownies into small squares and serve. It’s normal for this brownie to stick to the knife a bit with you cut them, since they are flourless and very fudgy. Leftovers can be stored on the counter for up to 48 hours, or in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.
Carrot Soup – with Tahini and Crunchy Chickpeas
2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
900g carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 leeks, thinly sliced and cleaned
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of red chilli flakes
4 cups vegetable stock
Apple cider vinegar, to taste
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dukkah, or sesame seeds for garnish
About half cups spicy roasted chickpeas
2 tbls flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Heat the olive oil in pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, leek, garlic, coriander, cumin, one teaspoon salt, and pepper flakes, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock, scraping the bottom of the pot to deglaze any browned bits, bring to a boil, and then reduce to heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots are fork-tender.
Meanwhile, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl till smooth. Set aside.
Blend the soup until smooth, Using a handheld blender (stick mix)
Season the soup to taste with salt, and vinegar.
Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish each bowl with a dollop of the lemon-tahini mixture, a pinch of dukkah, or sesame seeds, roasted chickpeas, and chopped parsley.
Don’t tell me that you go to the gym to lose weight.
There are many well known weight loss methods around, that include NO exercise. This is because exercise alone, is actually an ineffective way to lose weight.
Yes! Check out the #science.
However, if you exercise for weight loss maintenance, then exercise is a fantastic method for weight management.
Plus those that do exercise, generally keep the weight off, for longer.
The gym is for development.
The gym is for personal growth.
The gym is for being the best version of yourself.
The gym is a place to recharge your batteries.
Here is how our members put it:
“I exercise to feel good. I exercise to feel strong and capable. I exercise so that I can do life better. I exercise so I can walk the trails on the weekend. I exercise so I can choose my clothes rather than my clothes choose me. I exercise to handle my stress and to clear my mind. I exercise to keep up with my kids. I exercise to balance out the rest of my life and look after myself a little”..
The gym is where you BUILD you and you train for something.
So, if you lose weight and on the other side of achieving that accomplishment, want to look the part, have a physical physique and actually look like you work out and go to the gym, then you need to train that way.
So, that one hour a day is where you better yourself and empower your self with a higher self-esteem and personal confidence to make better personal decisions, whatever they may be.
The other 23 hours is for fat loss!
This simple mindset switch is one that you want to make.
No, I will re-phrase that, you must make!
If you want to be a slender version of yourself.
Most of our members love their training and are fantastic at weight management, some have also achieved fantastic goals with weight loss and some others are driving towards that.
So, for those of you who are currently in a mindset of I want to lose weight, then it’s time to make the switch.
Once you’ve made that goal happen, you can continue your progress by eating maintenance level calories, (rather than a deficit) to manage your weight.
Make the switch!
1 = 23 hours a day for fat loss
2 = 1 hour a day to be #empowered #badass or whatever reason you train to be your BEST you!