What is Creatine?
Creatine is an energy rich metabolite that is found mainly in muscle tissue. It is responsible for supplying the muscle with energy during exercise.
Will Creatine improve athletic performance?
Important University and Medical Center sponsored scientific studies have very clear answers to this question. Creatine does NOT improve endurance types of exercises such as running 6 kilometers or more. Creatine DOES SIGNIFICANTLY improve short duration, high intensity types of exercise such as weightlifting and gym type workouts. The research also clearly proves that both peak power and total power outputs are enhanced after Creatine supplementation. This means that it is useful for both power lifters and bodybuilders.
How does Creatine work?
During exercise the muscle’s primary fuel, ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), loses a phosphate group and becomes ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). Creatine, when present in the muscle in sufficient amounts donates a phosphate group to ADP and it rapidly retransforms to ATP which is the immediately available to the muscle to be used a fuel for exercise. ATP is the primary source of fuel for muscular exercise. It is used before sugars (carbohydrates) and before fats.
Is Creatine found in normal foods?
Yes. Creatine is found naturally in foods. For example, the average helping of beef or fish contains about 1 gram of naturally occurring Creatine. Unfortunately, Creatine is very sensitive to heat and cooking virtually destroys the effectiveness of Creatine.
How much Creatine is needed to improve muscular performance?
The amount of Creatine needed depends on the athlete’s body weight and on the number of days Creatine has been supplemented. Creatine should be loaded in relatively high amounts for the first six days of supplementation and then may be taped dramatically while maintaining positive performance effects. For example, for every 100 lbs. of body weight the athlete should supplement about 15 grams of Creatine for the first six days. It is probably best to split the total dosage into four separate portions taken through out the day. After six days, only 1 1/2 grams per hundred pounds of body weight is necessary to maintain enhanced performance.
Will Creatine work especially well in certain types of training programs?
Yes, definitely. Creatine is stored predominately in the fast twitch muscles and, interestingly, can recharge it’s phospate stores completely within a period of about 5 minutes. In other words, muscle Creatine spends phospate quickly but also recharges itself very quickly. An ideal training regime would incorporate very short rest periods in the workout. For example, after every 4 set grouping the athlete should rest for about 2 minutes to help recharge Creatine’s phospate stores. Further after each body part (about 12-16 sets), there should be a five minute rest. These brief rest periods insure maximal muscle output.
Are there any negative effects possible?
There are no negative side effects. Creatine can bind water to the muscle giving an athlete a more muscular appearance. Competitive bodybuilder should drop Creatine supplementation one to two weeks prior to a show to insure maximum definition and vascularity.
Is one brand name of Creatine better than others?
No. Creatine Monohydrate is the same raw material from one product to the next. Certain manufacturers claim their Creatine is better than others but this is a simple minded marketing gimmick intended to trick the athlete into paying more money for identical acting Creatine. Further, research has not supported the claim that Creatine works better when taken with any other supplement or amino acid. Again, companies hyping enhanced effects from the addition of a simple amino acid to their Creatine product are simply trying to trick the athlete into spending more money for a similar product.