With beach weather right around the corner, I bet you’re starting to think about shredding that winter chub, and converting it into rippling, toned muscle, so that when the shirt comes off your dignity doesn’t go with it.
Creatine is a popular choice for rapidly increasing strength and delaying muscle fatigue, allowing you to do more, work harder, and quickly pack on lean muscle mass.
But before you reach for that scoop (or bottle) of creatine powder, read these 10 truths to know exactly what manufacturer’s AREN’T telling you about the science behind their product, and learn exactly what creatine does.
We’ve scoured the internet to compile all the information we could on creatine and its effects on the body.
Here are 10 things that we found you ought to know before starting a creatine regimen (it may surprise you).
10. You Already Have Creatine in Your Muscles
Creatine is naturally occurring in the human body and is found primarily in your muscle. A diet high in red meat, fish, & pork can also increase your baseline levels of creatine.
Creatine is synthesized in the liver, and muscle tissue absorbs it directly from the bloodstream. Once in the muscle tissue, creatine helps to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is a catalyst for energy needed for muscle contraction.
9. How Creatine Works (Hint: It’s Not By Directly Growing Muscles)
Studies have shown that creatine may increase the level of ATP in your muscle by nearly 20%. This is why the weightlifting community touts it as one of the best enhancers of performance.
According to the article “Creatine and Its Application As an Ergogenic Aid” in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition, author Greenhaff concludes that the performance enhancing qualities (ergogenics) of creatine supplementation is “achieved by better maintaining ATP turnover during contraction.”
The result of this better management of ATP turnover is improved time to exhaustion, allowing you to do more reps or complete another couple intervals. The more you’re able to work your muscles in a given session, the more work your muscles will be able to complete in your next session.
8. Improves Athletic Performance (But Only for Certain Activities)
So you want to improve your mile time by 10 seconds… choose another supplement, creatine’s not the performance enhancer for you.
Creatine’s benefits are limited to explosive activities, and improving perceived exertion for max power output. If you’re an endurance athlete, you’ll get little benefit from supplementing with creatine powder.
However, if you’re sprinter, or a football running back, creatine can improve explosiveness, and recovery time between repetitions. Creatine allows you to perform better on each exercise bout, as well as increasing your ability to perform more reps. Anything over a couple hundred meters, and you’ll no longer see a benefit from creatine usage.
So if you’re going to supplement with creatine, consider your goals, and weigh the pro’s and con’s (more of both to follow).