Creatine - Why Its A Must Have In Your Arsenal
Nothing is worse than feeling gassed mid set. We’ve all been there -- grinding out rep after rep, and then all of a sudden, your muscles simply won’t fire anymore.
The previous rep felt like a breeze, and now you’re flailing about just to re-rack the weight before it crushes you.
Yes, we’re talking about fatigue, it’s an athlete’s worst enemy. Nothing hits more suddenly and decreases performance output faster than fatigue. It’s bound to happen to you at some point, as muscular energy isn’t limitless, but there is one age-old supplement that can help you prolong your performance and keep fatigue at bay -- creatine monohydrate.
WHAT IS CREATINE?
Creatine monohydrate really needs no introduction. It’s the most well-known, heavily studied, and cost-effective sports nutrition supplement available. It enhances just about every aspect of athletic performance from strength to endurance to even lean mass gains!
Creatine is a naturally-occurring compound produced in the human body, that’s stored in skeletal muscle tissue as creatine phosphate. It can also be found in all sorts of tasty foods including beef, fish, and eggs.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
A great many of you reading this article probably know that creatine is great, but don’t understand what it actually does in the body. Basically, creatine supplies energy to working muscles. It’s created in the kidneys, liver, and pancreas, and from there is sent to the muscles via the bloodstream. Upon entering your muscle tissue, it’s converted to creatine phosphate, a.k.a. phosphocreatine.
How does Creatine improve energy?
The body’s primary form of energy used to carry out work is Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). The more ATP you have stored, the more work you can do, and better your performance will be. The less you have, the faster your performance will drop off.
When exercising, ATP is broken down to ADP (Adenosine Di-Phosphate), by virtue of losing one of its phosphate molecules. The “freed” phosphate molecule provides energy to the cell to be used for exercise, or really any other activity you are doing.
As your ATP stores continue to dwindle the longer you exercise, the less phosphates are available for utilization which mean fatigue is headed your way. However, creatine phosphate can donate one of its phosphate molecules back to ADP, which creates more ATP!
This leads to greater energy production, performance, power, and strength ultimately resulting in better gains!
Improved energy production isn’t all that creatine has to offer though, there’s a number of benefits attributed to creatine supplementation including:
- Increased Work CapacityCreatine enhances your ability to perform high intensity work due to creatine phosphate’s ability to supply your type II muscle fibers (fast-twitch muscles) with a readily useable form of energy, ensuring you don’t succumb to premature fatigue.[1,2]
In other words, creatine helps you sprint faster, jump higher, and be all around more explosive.
- Enhanced Anaerobic OutputNot only does creatine improve your ability perform high intensity work, it also enhances your ability to perform repeated bouts of high intensity exercise, such as sprinting.
- Improved Cellular HydrationCreatine acts as an osmolyte in the body, which means it helps pull in additional water and nutrients into skeletal muscle tissue. This creates a cell volumizing effect in athletes, inciting your muscles to swell, and can serve as a stimulus for protein synthesis.
- Reduces SorenessCreatine has also been investigated as a possible recovery agent as well. Research has shown that creatine can reduce muscle damage in endurance athletes and lower inflammation following exercise.
- Prevent Injury & CrampingAnother one of the benefit’s to creatine functioning as an osmolyte is how it supports hydration. By helping your body store more water, creatine can prevent dehydration, cramping, and injuries that can result from overexertion and water/electrolyte loss.
- Enhanced brain functionCreatine isn’t just good for your biceps and quads, it can also enhance your mind! Research has shown that creatine improves cognitive function, short-term memory, and can even increase the life of neuronal cells, by acting as a neuroprotectant against excitotoxins such as NDMA.[7,8]
GOOD FOR MEN AND WOMEN
So often when we think of sports nutrition supplements, we have this image of a massive bro chugging shaker after shaker of protein. In reality, that’s far from the majority of supplement users out there. Worse yet, most think of supplements as only for men. Again, this is far from the truth.
Creatine is incredibly beneficial for women and imparts the same benefits for them as it does for men -- better performance, faster recovery, enhanced cognitive function, etc. And don’t worry ladies, it won’t make you look bloated or like a bodybuilder!
BENEFITS OF CREATINE MONOHYDRATE
- Increased ATP production
- Better endurance and stamina
- Boost power and strength
- Increased cell volumization
- Improve lean mass gains
- Buffer lactic acid production
- Delay onset of fatigue
- Support hydration levels for muscles
- Enhance brain function
The days of creatine loading are long gone. There’s not really much need (or benefit) to mega-dose creatine at 20g per day to “supersaturate” your muscles with it. All you need to do is consume 5g per day every day (any time of day) for the first month, and your muscles will become saturated in short order.
Following the first month of daily creatine dosing, you can resort to consuming a “maintenance” dose of 3-5g per day on training days only, but best practices suggest to consume it on non-training days as well, just to be 100% sure your creatine stores are always topped off.
There’s no need to cycle creatine, and there’s no drawbacks to taking it on your days off either.
WHAT’S THE BEST FORM?
Creatine monohydrate has been around a long time, and with the advances in sports science, a number of “improved” forms of creatine have been released over the years. You’ve no doubt seen a few of them as they are rather numerous:
- Creatine Hydrochloride
- Magnesium Creatine Chelate
- Creatine Ethyl Ester
- Creatine Malate
- Creatine Nitrate
Though they are billed to be superior to creatine monohydrate, nothing could be further from the truth. The research is clear -- creatine monohydrate is the king of creatines.[9,10,11]
Don’t fall for the marketing hype of these other forms, stick with creatine monohydrate it’s most studied and proven effective creatine of all time. That’s why BPS Nutrition only offers Creatine Monohydrate and not these other more expensive forms of creatine.
BPS is dedicated to providing only the best quality (and bang for your buck) supplements to you!
Using creatine is a no-brainer. It enhances all aspects of athletic performance, recovery, and gains. There’s a reason it’s become a staple of high-level athletes for decades, it flat out works!
Creatine should be included in every man and woman’s daily supplement regimen. There’s simply too many benefits to be gained from creatine to not use it!
AUTHOR: Robert A. Schinetsky
- Tesch PA, Thorsson A, Fujitsuka N. Creatine phosphate in fiber types of skeletal muscle before and after exhaustive exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1989;66(4):1756-1759. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2732167
- Balsom PD, Söderlund K, Sjödin B, Ekblom B. Skeletal muscle metabolism during short duration high-intensity exercise: influence of creatine supplementation. Acta Physiol Scand. 1995;154(3):303-310. doi:10.1111/j.1748-1716.1995.tb09914.x. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7572228
- Ziegenfuss TN, Rogers M, Lowery L, Mullins N, Mendel R, Antonio J, Lemon P. Effect of creatine loading on anaerobic performance and skeletal muscle volume in NCAA Division I athletes. Nutrition. 2002 May; 18(5): 397-402. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11985944
- Alfieri RR, Bonelli MA, Cavazzoni A, et al. Creatine as a compatible osmolyte in muscle cells exposed to hypertonic stress. The Journal of Physiology. 2006;576(Pt 2):391-401. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2006.115006. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1890352/
- Santos, R. V. et al. (2004) The effect of creatine supplementation upon inflammatory and muscle soreness markers after a 30km race. Life Sciences, Volume 75(16), pages 1917-1924. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15306159
- Greenwood M, Kreider RB, Greenwood L, Byars A. Cramping and Injury Incidence in Collegiate Football Players Are Reduced by Creatine Supplementation. Journal of Athletic Training. 2003;38(3):216-219. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC233174/
- Rae, C., Digney, A .L., McEwan, S.R. & Bates, T.C. (September 2003) Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves cognitive performance; a placebo-controlled, double-blind cross-over trial. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London - Biological Sciences.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691485/
- Wyss, M. and Schulze, A. (2002) Health implications of creatine: Can oral creatine supplementation protect against neurological and atherosclerotic disease? Neuroscience, Volume 112 (2), pages 243-260. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12044443
- Jagim, A. R., Oliver, J. M., Sanchez, A., Galvan, E., Fluckey, J., Reichman, S., et al.. (2012). Kre-Alkalyn® supplementation does not promote greater changes in muscle creatine content, body composition, or training adaptations in comparison to creatine monohydrate. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(Suppl 1), P11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3500725/
- Spillane M, Schoch R, Cooke M, Harvey T, Greenwood M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS: The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2009, 6:6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2649889/
- Ganguly S, Jayappa S, Dash AK: Evaluation of the stability of creatine in solution prepared from effervescent creatine formulations. AAPS PharmSciTech 2003, 4:E25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12916907