In this article we take a closer look at one of the most talked about yet most confusing bodybuilding supplement out there. Creatine supplements are primarily used by bodybuilders and fitness/sports professionals.
Research has proven the supplement can effectively increase muscle mass gains and performance in sports/fitness activities that require short bursts of explosive energy, such as weight training.
It has stood the test of time as being one of the best, proven muscle building supplements out there. When used properly it can really maximize your gains in the gym by increasing your strength.
But like any supplement, remember it's not going to build you muscle on its own so you need to have the basics of a good training program and a solid nutrition plan in place first. Using creatine with an average diet and training routine is a waste of time and money.
So What is Creatine Exactly?
Creatine is a substance manufactured by our bodies to supply our muscles with energy. It's derived from 3 non essential amino acids: glycine, methionine and arginine. It is found naturally in red meat, but in very small amounts. An an example of how small, there is approximately 7 grams of creatine in 12oz of red meat.
Creatine is used by the body to increase muscular anaerobic endurance and power, which in turn leads to an increase in muscle gain. Scientific studies prove that creatine helps your body to build lean muscle mass, increase endurance, speed up recovery, and increase athletic performance.
How Creatine Increases Your Strength
When creatine is consumed, it enters the bloodstream and travels to our muscles to be stored as a substance called creatine phosphate. What is creatine phosphate? It's a substance that is stored in your muscle cells to be used for power and energy when your body needs it.
During intense activities such as heavy weight lifting and other sports that require short bursts of high-intense effort, your body produces a substance called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) to perform these bursts of power. The thing is though, your body's supply of ATP runs out quite quickly, and that's where your creatine phosphate supply comes into play. When out of ATP your body will turn to its stores of creatine phosphate to convert into more ATP.
I'll give you an example to explain how this works. When you're performing a rep of a really heavy weight your body will start off by using ATP to power your muscles for the movement. If the rep takes longer than about 5-10 seconds, your body will most likely run out of ATP and will start converting creatine phosphate into ATP for continued power.
Think of creatine phosphate as like a back-up power generator for your muscles, allowing you to continue with high intensity power and energy after your first power generator runs out of power.
Depending on how much creatine phosphate your muscle cells have stored, you may get an added 20 seconds or so of energy during short bursts of explosive energy movements. If you are supplementing with creatine, then you will obviously have more creatine phosphate stored in your muscles. Therefore, you will get more energy and power, and for longer periods of time.
This is how creatine helps to build more muscle, by allowing your body to give more power in times of need. Creatine will increase your strength and the amount of work your muscles can do.
So now you know the answer to the question "what is creatine" and have learned some basic creatine facts, you should learn how to take creatine for maximum effect with our next article on creatine.
Other Articles About Creatine
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Natural Bodybuilding & Health Author Since 2008
Mad-Scientist of Hardgainer-to-Hero Transformations for 12 Years & Counting
Last and Definitely Least: Certified Fitness Instructor (Australia)