Drugs In Sport Survey: Confessions of a rapidly expanding supplement user

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A DESIGNER who works at `The Independent' took a course of creatine. This is how it worked for him.

WHEN ASKED to test creatine my initial worries were of being transformed from a guinea pig to a big fat pig. Dietary supplements are usually associated with back-street gyms and 20-stone Goliaths.

Nevertheless, I was convinced that I would be in good sporting company. My girlfriend wasn't so sure. "You'll end up a fat bastard," she declared.

Undeterred, I started a month's course - an extra seven pounds of lean muscle the manufacturers claimed ...

Week one. 13st 6lb

I took it five times a day for the first five days. It arrived in powdered form, then you just add water. I chose orange flavour because I like oranges. Unfortunately, oranges are one of the things it doesn't taste like. And it smells worse, but just hold your nose, and down it.

My usual weekly exercise consists of three, or four times at the gym, boxing class and football. After a few days I definitely felt an increase of energy levels while working out. I felt like going back and doing it again, not my usual thought.

Week two. 13st 5lb

By this time I was feeling rather good. I don't know whether it was a mental thing, or the creatine, but I felt like coiled spring. It was time to unleash myself on to the football pitch. With flicks, back heels and dummies I started Creatin' a storm on the pitch.

Week three. 13st 9lb

I discovered that no amount of creatine can relieve the cloudy tiredness experienced after a heavy weekend. But I was definitely getting bigger.

Week four. 13st 11lb

Five pounds - that was my weight gain but I am convinced I have bigger biceps and stronger thighs. My recovery levels and stamina were increased. I'd gained power and strength, although I don't know how much was physiological.

The best result that I found, however, was at work. I was perceived as being rock hard. Most of the blokes in the office were scared of me and even the editor kept his distance.

Mark Hayman