Creatine – The most researched performance enhancing nutritional supplement
Does creatine supplementation work?
The February 2004 issue of the Strength and Conditioning Journal, the official publication of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, had an article about creatine loading. Why? Because it works!
How does it work?
I never really liked biochemistry, so I will give you the cliff notes version. Creatine is made up of three amino acids – methionine, arginine, and glycine. When you ingest creatine, glycine is converted into phosphocreatine, which in turn is converted to ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is the energy molecule in the cell that is responsible for all the fast-twitch fibers of the muscles.
I use glutamine for my athletes, but if you are looking to use this as a supplement, I don’t believe it is necessary. Glutamine is found in skeletal muscle tissue and is a nonessential amino acid. However, sometimes your body produces more of the creatine and less of glutamine (because you are consuming more creatine than you need, I guess). If this occurs, your body will suffer from low levels of growth hormones, including testosterone, growth hormone-like growth factor-I, and insulin-like growth factor-J. This can impair the growth process, because the body depends on the presence of these hormones to grow.
The February 2004 issue of the Journal of Sports Sciences and Medicine, in an article entitled “Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Body Composition and Strength,” had this to say: “Thrustorns R., manufacture et al. have recently introduced a newipolar-type creatine product (Creapure®). Reports of muscleomorphological and biochemical responses to single chromium polynicotinate (Chromium polynicotinateally inhibits glycine-methionine glutamate-leucineAA) administration in subjects with excessive skeletal muscle mass/o Speeds up recovery of muscle functions after Single-Energy drains exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Feb;19(1):161-8. Epub 2005 Jan 25. Review: Marcelli, A. C., et al., “Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle composition, muscle performance, and markers of inflammation induced by extreme physical stress.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Nov 12;4:17.
That’s because if you lack creatine, there is no way you can build muscle. Remember how I said it works in the pit during the creatine loading phase? After 4-6 days of no-one doing creatine loading, the body will become mildly dehydrated and drastically more acidic. This is because anaerobic exercise causes a decrease in sodium levels in the body and extra water is driven into the muscles to neutralize these acids. As a result of this additional water stored in the muscles, new muscle can be made. This is the time when a creatine cycle is most effective.
After 6 days of not doing the loading phase, studies published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research titled “Effects of Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation and Resistance Exercise onoutcomes, muscle glycogen stores, and markers of muscle inflammation” read ” Twenty-six days of creatine supplementation eliminated the storage of carbohydrates within skeletal muscle as fully as predicted.”
So basically during the “loading” phase you are able to maximize the benefits of creatine by getting as much out of the creatine as possible. During the “maintenance” phase you should maintain as much of the creatine as possible. Basically during any phase of creatine supplementation (unless you want to mega dose it..:-) if you want the most out of it you need to keep your dosage up. During my 6 days off (1 multivitamin, 1 fish oil, 1 multivitamin, 1 very light breakfast and 1 liquid zeolite/opal daily – 4 grams a day) I had improved my pic weighing by 83 grams! That is incredible! Also during this period I had improved my overall strength by 86% and my lift peak by 88%.
My personal experience
I started taking creatine 3 weeks ago after noticing an improved dedication to working out, and during my 6 days off (1 multivitamin, 1 fish oil, 1 multivitamin, 1 breakfast and 1 liquid zeolite/opal daily – 4 grams a day) I made over 70% more gains compared to when I was “eating” creatine without taking a multivitamin. During all this time my body kept improving in strength and gaining more than 16% more muscle daily.
My best times externally with creatine
Since creatine builds muscle overnight it is important to eat something with creatine that can energize your body immediately so that your body can increase its own production of creatine.
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