There is no other bodybuilding supplement I’ve used with near the regularity that I’ve used creatine. While most supplements in the bodybuilding industry hardly seem worthy of any use beyond a trial (some even earning disdain beyond that point), creatine has earned my personal endorsement through weekly cycles too numerous for me to recount. And, of course – I’m not alone; this workout performance enhancer is by far the most popular supplement in bodybuilding history.
So let’s discuss ‘how creatine works.’ After all, many healthily skeptical people will not use a bodybuilding supplement until they know what it does inside their bodies. That’s wise from the standpoints of both health and personal finance. If there’s anything worse than wasting money, it’s jeopardizing our health at the same time. So a closer look seems in order for not only determining how creatine works, but how you can make it work for you as a muscle builder.
'How creatine works' might not be nearly as important as the biggest key to making it work for you
There are really only two ways in which a supplement could possibly help us build muscle. It could:
Creatine falls in to the first category. It is a supplement to be used primarily for workout performance enhancement. This is a very important distinction to make because it has implications for how you utilize creatine so that you don’t end up spending your money on this supplement while getting little or no increased muscle mass.
If we enhance our anaerobic workout performance (weight training volume), we leave the workout with a bit more muscle tissue breakdown than we would without enhanced performance. This increased breakdown of the myofibril tissue calls for one of two things in order that our next workout has us stronger than the last one:
2.More rest/recuperation days between workouts so the muscle builds compensatory strength and size.
If we can’t get the first one, the second one needs to be relied upon so that we can maintain uninterrupted muscle growth. The fact that most trainees don’t accommodate for this is the main reason I’ve observed for some people getting mediocre or poor results from using creatine.
There is only one form of energy that muscles can use to perform the work they do – whether that work is walking up a flight of stairs, lifting a kid onto your shoulders, or pumping iron at the gym. That energy is ATP (adenosine triphosphate). When a muscle is under sustained contraction for more than four seconds, the ATP energy source is converted to a chemical called ADP (adenosine diphosphate).
At that point, with sustained muscle contraction, the body starts using ADP and Creatine Phosphate to create more ATP. This is done by the creatine phosphate donating a phosphate molecule to the ADP. With a greater pool of creatine phosphate in the body to make use of, more ADP can be converted back to ATP and the muscles can move noticeably greater volumes with heavy weights.
The average person has a store of about 120 grams of creatine phosphate in their body without adding supplemental amounts. This is due to consumption of high creatine foods like beef, salmon, and herring – and also from the body forming it out of specific amino acids.
That is the basics of how creatine works. In future blog entries, I will discuss the different types of supplemental creatine and the pros and cons of each.
For now, keep in mind that improved performance in the gym might necessitate increased recuperation time outside the gym in order to optimize muscle growth with creatine.