5ws Guide on Creatine for Muscle Development
What Is Creatine?
- Creatine is a substance that is found naturally in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise.
- Taking creatine as a supplement is very popular among athletes and bodybuilders in order to gain muscle, enhance strength, and improve exercise performance (1Trusted Source).
- Chemically speaking, it shares many similarities with amino acids. Your body can produce it from the amino acids glycine and arginine.
- Several factors affect your body’s creatine stores, including meat intake, exercise, amount of muscle mass, and levels of hormones like testosterone and IGF-1 (9Trusted Source).
- About 95% of your body’s creatine is stored in muscles in the form of phosphocreatine. The other 5% is found in your brain, kidneys, and liver (9Trusted Source).
- When you supplement, you increase your stores of phosphocreatine. This is a form of stored energy in the cells, as it helps your body produce more of a high-energy molecule called ATP.
- ATP is often called the body’s energy currency. When you have more ATP, your body can perform better during exercise (9Trusted Source).
- Creatine also alters several cellular processes that lead to increased muscle mass, strength, and recovery (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
How Does It Work?
Creatine can improve health and athletic performance in several ways.
- In high-intensity exercise, its primary role is to increase the phosphocreatine stores in your muscles.
- The additional stores can then be used to produce more ATP, which is the key energy source for heavy lifting and high-intensity exercise (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Creatine also helps you gain muscle in the following ways:
- Boosted workload: Enables more total work or volume in a single training session, which is a key factor in long-term muscle growth (12Trusted Source).
- Improved cell signaling: Can increase satellite cell signaling, which aids muscle repair and new muscle growth (13Trusted Source).
- Raised anabolic hormones: Studies note a rise in hormones, such as IGF-1, after taking creatine (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
- Increased cell hydration: Lifts water content within your muscle cells, which causes a cell volumization effect that may play a role in muscle growth (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
- Reduced protein breakdown: May increase total muscle mass by reducing muscle breakdown (19Trusted Source).
- Lower myostatin levels: Elevated levels of the protein myostatin can slow or totally inhibit new muscle growth. Supplementing with creatine can reduce these levels, increasing growth potential.
When Is the Best Time to Take Creatine?
- Creatine is one of the most popular exercise performance supplements.
- Numerous studies have shown that it increases strength and muscle mass.
- Extensive research has also demonstrated that it’s safe to use.
- But while you may already know that creatine is safe and effective, there seems to be confusion about the best time to take it.
- This article tells you everything you need to know about when to take creatine.
Why Take Creatine?
- Creatine is a molecule that’s naturally found in your cells.
- It’s also an extremely popular dietary supplement that has been widely studied. Taking creatine as a supplement can increase its concentration level in your cells, leading to several health and performance benefits.
- These benefits include improved exercise performance and muscular health, as well as possible neurological benefits, such as improved mental performance in the elderly.
- Studies have shown that creatine can increase strength gains from a weight training program by about 5–10%, on average. These performance benefits are likely due to creatine’s important role in cellular energy production.
Who should use creatine?
People Who Want to Lose Fat
Most people think of massive weight lifters or offensive lineman when they think of creatine, but research has shown where creatine supplementation may improve several mechanisms for fat loss and improvements to.