One of the most popular supplements for those wanting to gain muscle or simply improve sporting performance is creatine. This is a very effective supplement that has endless research to prove its benefits. I would estimate that nine out of ten people that take creatine do not actually know what it does in the body, and what benefits it provides.
Creatine is a natural substance found in the body around the skeletal muscles. It is produced naturally by the kidneys, liver and pancreas. It is also found in food, red meats are the highest have the highest amount of creatine.
The Benefits of Creatine:
- Creatine improves muscle strength and makes the muscle suitable for high-intensity, short duration exertion such as sprinting and weightlifting
- It gives instant energy to the body
- It boosts anaerobic energy in the body
- It speeds up the recovery of energy
- It significantly delays the onset of fatigue
- It promotes lean-muscle mass and reduces muscle wasting
- It increase muscle size by volumization (ie pulling fluid into the muscle cells)
When someone is doing high intensity, short duration work, such as weightlifting or sprinting, it is creatine, acting as a catalyst that gives the muscles the energy it needs to perform that activity. By supplementing creatine your body stores more of this instantly available energy for when performing high intensity work.
When an athlete performs a high intensity activity, their muscles must contract and so they need an immediate source of energy. The force of the muscle contraction depends on how much ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) there is stored in the muscle. However once all that ATP is used up, it converts into ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). This is where the creatine kicks in. The creatine reacts with this ADP and turns it back into ATP, meaning the muscle has more instant energy. The more ATP in the muscle, the longer it can work without oxygen.
By supplementing 5g of creatine powder a day you will greatly increase the amount of creatine that is stored in your body, meaning you will ultimately have more ATP in your muscles, which will enable your muscles to perform high intensity, short duration activities such as sprinting or weightlifting, for a longer duration at a higher intensity.
The most popular form of Creatine is Creatine Monohydrate. This can be bought in powder form or in pill form; generally the pill form is more expensive but offers no extra benefits, so i take the powder form. As said above taking 5g per day is all you need to increase your creatine stores. Every eight to twelve weeks take a couple of weeks off of creatine. This is to make sure your body keeps producing creatine naturally; along with what you are supplementing.