Before the Olympic-sized weight bar -- holding 700 pounds -- clanked the bench and 17-year-old Matt Poursoltani sat up, a question began racing through the minds of the general public: How did he do it? The next question was logically obvious: Is he taking anything?
Just for the record, Poursoltani came within five pounds of breaking an NFL-record for bench pressing when he successfully hoisted 700 pounds as a high school student in Texas. What makes the feat even more impressive is that he added 100 pounds to his bench press within a year.
Poursoltani denies he's taking anything illegally. But, what about the stuff that is legal? Is that any safer?
Millions of high school students -- perhaps Poursoltani included -- migrate to supplements on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis without fail. One of the more popular -- and controversial substances -- used is Creatine.
Creatine is typically paired with a high-protein diet and rigorous weight lifting and features dramatically incredible results in a very short amount of time. That description sounds eerily similar to steroids, but Creatine isn't illegal and is sold at GNC or various supplement stores around the world.
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Most of the studies regarding the safety of Creatine are quickly dismissed, and the supplement passes the tests with flying colors. Creatine has shown no side effects -- despite clinical studies and reports -- that it causes harm to the kidneys, nervous system or the liver.
The real dilemma with Creatine centers more on the effects of the supplement on kids -- ages 6-18 -- like Poursoltani. More now than ever, high school sports and subsequent dominance is at an all-time high with colleges offering scholarships to junior high school students.
Creatine has been determined safe -- for adults. The same can't be said for kids, especially the younger ones. Creatine is associated with upset stomach, nausea, cramping and loss of appetite. The digestive system of a 6-year-old hockey player or a 10-year-old soccer star isn't fully developed and shouldn't be part of the sports regimen. In addition to the digestive aspect, muscle tears and strains are more common -- again, due to the lack of development.
Truthfully, building muscle mass -- which is the main goal of Creatine -- shouldn't be on the agenda for anyone that isn't playing college or professional sports. The scarier aspect of Creatine may be the notion that it provides such great results for kids like Poursoltani -- who denies using anything illegal -- that it becomes a "gateway" to something more serious -- like steroids.
Creatine works and that leads to results. And once results are achieved, any normal, hard-working and determined person wants to continue those results to epic proportions. The potent powder doesn't belong anywhere near an impressionable, grade or middle-school athlete who should be focusing on enjoying their sports.
The fact that the side effects of Creatine in adults are non-existent will make it even more appealing. The sensation Poursoltani experienced no doubt was exhilarating and made front-page news. Unfortunately, the effect of supplements such as Creatine in kids often finds itself as back-page material.
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