Within the sports and fitness industry creatine monohydrate or creatine, has, for some time, been known as a powerful supplement that ‘works’.
It has probably helped more athletes and weight trainers gain more size and strength faster than anything else in history, with the one exception of anabolic steroids. This might sound like hype, but it really has been proven to be extremely effective.
Creatine can have great benefits but remember that exercise will always be an important component of one’s overall health. Get started on your fitness journey today by going PRO and gaining access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more.
What Exactly Is Creatine and How Does It Enhance Muscle Size and Strength Gains?
You’ve might have heard of the word creatine when discussing topics of fitness. This is because creatine is a common supplement that is taken to increase muscle mass and improves performance.
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is present in the human body and can be found through foods and supplements. While protein is responsible for rebuilding the tears found in muscles after strenuous exercise, creatine gives the muscle fuel by helping to increase the capacity to produce ATP.
Chemically, it is called ‘methylguanido – acetic acid’.
Creatine is formed from the amino acids arginine, methionine and glycine.
It is manufactured in the liver and may also be produced in the pancreas and kidneys. It is transported in the blood and taken up by muscle cells, where it is converted to creatine phosphate (CP). This reaction involves the enzyme, creatine kinase, which helps bond creatine to a high energy phosphate group.
The average person metabolizes about 2 grams of creatine per day, and that same amount is normally synthesized by the body – so you generally maintain a creatine balance.
Once it is bound to a phosphate group, it is permanently stored in a cell as phosphocreatine until it is used to produce chemical energy called ATP.
When this takes place, creatine can be released to instantly form creatinine, which is then removed from the blood via the kidneys and excreted in the urine.
Although creatine supplementation can raise blood creatinine, it has never been shown to be harmful to the kidneys. The richest source of creatine in food is in animal muscle – for example, meats and fish. However, to increase athletic performance and boost lean body mass, creatine must be taken in concentrations which are not found in whole foods alone, for example, you would have to consume ten pounds of raw steak each day for five days to load your body with creatine!
The goal of a weight trainer is to use progressive resistance exercise to force the muscles to adapt and grow.
This increased workload can be achieved in many ways: by increasing the force of contraction through increased resistance such as when lifting heavier weights, by increasing the duration of the time that the muscle is under tension, and by increasing the frequency of exercise.
Creatine helps in three ways. It helps build lean body mass which allows for greater force to be used, it provides energy so the duration of exercise can be lengthened, and it can help speed the recovery process so exercise frequency can be increased.
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What Is the Most Effective Combination of Creatine?
Creatine ‘plus carbohydrate’ may be one of, if not the best athlete supplement on the market. That is because solid scientific research now points out the fact that creatine works better when it is consumed with a potent insulin-releasing carbohydrate source like dextrose (glucose).
Athletes and serious weight trainers who do not use or at least know of creatine may be at a disadvantage to those who do.
Suggestion for Intake
The amount of new bodybuilding/fitness supplements is growing all the time and it can be confusing knowing what is best for you. However, creatine has been tested numerous times over the years and you can’t really go wrong!
For use of a creatine supplement, it is common for people to split their intake into two phases: loading and maintenance.
During the loading phase, you want to split your creatine monohydrate into four servings of five grams apiece. These should be taken throughout your day, including one before your workout and another one afterward.
During the maintenance phase, you should use the creatine monohydrate as long as you want to see results. Also during this phase, the servings are only about one-tenth of what you were using during the loading phase of your creatine monohydrate usage.
Some people decide to skip the loading phase and go straight to the maintenance phase which is fine as well. However, it may take longer for your muscles to be saturated with creatine thus taking more time for the effects of creatine to show.
Keep in mind that creatine is not enough for your overall health and fitness needs. Exercise is important. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!