Creatine 101: What Is It And Do You Need It?

January 28, 2019 Published by

If you’re someone who’s interested in maximizing your health and fitness plan, you are going to want to consider bringing creatine into your life. Hands down, creatine is one of the most research-backed supplements out there and has been shown to work time and time again.

This said, not everyone is going to benefit from using creatine. It does help a certain subset of the population so it’s important to ensure that that applies to you.

Let’s look at some of the key details you’ll want to know about creatine to make an informed decision.

What Is Creatine & How Does It Work?

Every single time you perform a rep or set with your weight lifting routine, you are using a substance called ATP, otherwise known as adenosine triphosphate. ATP is the fuel for very intense muscle contractions and is an exhaustible source of energy.

In order for ATP to be created, a creatine phosphate molecule has to combine with adenosine diphosphate (ADP), which resides in the cell. You are not limited in the amount of ADP you have present, however you are limited in the amount of ATP you store.

The limiting factor for this is how much creatine is present. Once your creatine stores run out, ATP is no longer created and thus, those intense contractions come to a halt.

From this, you can imagine how creatine is going to help you. By supplementing with creatine, you are able to ensure that your creatine phosophate stores are higher, thus you produce more ATP each and every workout.

This allows you to perform more work total every session. Since a big part of seeing progress in the gym is being able to maximally overload your tissues with volume, the importance of this cannot be overstated.

Anyone who is training hard and wants to keep up an appropriate level of volume is going to need that ATP to be available.

What Are The Benefits Of Creatine?

So what benefits will you see when you use creatine?

Some of the key benefits include:

  • Improved overall strength and power output

The first key benefit is improved overall strength and power output. You’ll be noticeably stronger in the gym when you are using creatine1. You’ll be able to lift more weight and you may notice that your overall speed and reaction time is elevated as well.

The more weight you lift, the faster the progress you see.

  • Better recovery between workout sessions

Next, you’ll also notice better recovery between your workout sessions as well as between exercise bouts in the same session2. Another critical element that factors into how quickly you make progress is how frequently you’re able to workout in the gym.

If you only train a muscle group once per week for instance, you are going to get mediocre results. If you can train it two or three times per week, you’re going to see much better results.

Creatine may help you do this.

  • Improved muscle endurance (at higher intensity levels)

Along with enhancing your overall strength levels, you’ll also find that you have better muscular endurance. Now, this does not mean you’ll be better prepared to run a marathon for example. What you need to keep in mind is that creatine only helps with intense muscle contractions. In other words, if you are using your anaerobic system, then you will benefit.

If you are using your aerobic system only, this means your body can actually utilize fatty acids as a fuel source, so there’s no need for ATP at all.

So you will notice improved endurance levels at high intensity levels. Meaning, rather than doing 3 sets of 5 with your squats, you may be able to do 5 sets.

This again factors into how much total volume you are able to perform and the results that come about because of it.

  • Increased lean muscle mass building

Finally, the last benefit you’ll notice when using creatine is that you have an increased level of lean muscle mass. All of the above factors, working together provided you follow a proper nutrition program that has you in a hypercalorie state are going to help you ensure that you are able to build lean muscle mass better than without creatine supplementation3.

Who Should Use Creatine?

Creatine is best going to support, as noted above, those who are doing intense forms of exercise. Think weight lifting, sprint training, stop and go sports (hockey, basketball, football, etc.) or any other activity that requires short bursts of all out intensity.

Endurance athletes – long distance runners, cyclists, swimmers, and so forth, are not gong to benefit much from using creatine. They may use it if they like, but the chances they see many benefit from it are quite low.

Supplementation

In order to see the most benefits from your creatine usage, you’ll want to perform a loading phase of creatine for about a five day period. Taking 20 grams per day for this initial phase will help ensure that you reach full saturation levels and then can move into maintenance, taking just five grams per day thereafter.

If you are someone who prefers not to load, you can just move into maintenance and take five grams per day, just realize you may not notice as great of benefits in the beginning as it will take some time to saturate your muscles.

By using a high quality creatine product such as Creasurge, you don’t need to worry about taking your creatine with anything else to enhance absorption. It’s designed to be naturally absorbed exceptionally well.

It’ll also help prevent you from experiencing any unwanted bloating or muscle cramps like many people do when using creatine.

So do give some consideration to adding creatine to your supplemement routine if you aren’t already. It’s one of those supplements that may not have fancy claims but is most definitely going to make a dramatic difference in your workout performance.

References:

[1] Becque, M. Daniel, John D. Lochmann, and Donald R. Melrose. “Effects of oral creatine supplementation on muscular strength and body composition.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 32.3 (2000): 654-658.

[2] Mujika, IÑigo, et al. “Creatine supplementation and sprint performance in soccer players.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 32.2 (2000): 518.

[3] Volek, Jeff S., and William J. Kraemer. “Creatine supplementation: its effect on human muscular performance and body composition.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 10.3 (1996): 200-210.

Categorised in: ,

About the author

Shannon Clark

Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 12 years now, helping others lose weight, build muscle, and improve their athletic performance. She’s worked with people of all ages and helped them find the right fitness path for themselves.She is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com and has also contributed well over 400 articles to a variety of different websites dedicated towards muscle building and athletic performance. For more about her, find her at ShannonClarkFitness.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *