Whatever your health and fitness goals may be, it never hurts to get a little help from someone, or something, now and then. This is why bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness fanatics in general, spend so much of their hard-earned cash on supplements.
The supplement industry is worth billions, and with so many great supplements out there, proven to work time and time again, you can understand why. Creatine for example, is a staple ingredient in many bodybuilder’s and athlete’s supplement stacks. It’s the second most-popular sports supplement in the world and after you familiarize yourself with what it is and how it works, you’ll know precisely why that is. Here’s a look at creatine and muscle building.
What is creatine?
No, creatine isn’t a steroid before anybody starts. Nor is it a protein as some people wrongly believe. Creatine is a natural organic compound. It’s so natural in fact, that we have creatine in our own bodies. That’s right, creatine is a nitrogenous compound which is produced within our livers. It is also present in foods like meat and fish. As it is nitrogenous, it contains nitrogen, along with being comprised of 3 individual amino acids: Arginine, Methionine, and Glycine. In our bodies, we store 95% of our creatine in our skeletal muscles. Here it is present as creatine phosphate, and can serve as a donor for this phosphate molecule to help promote and enhance energy and athletic performance.
How does creatine work?
Creatine is popular with bodybuilders and is considered by many to be the secrete weapon for muscle growth. Creatine doesn’t build muscle in the same way as protein does however. Creatine actually helps to increase your energy levels so that you can become more efficient and productive in the gym as you pump iron. Creatine works by increasing natural ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) productions. ATP is a primary energy source for muscle cells. In our bodies, creatine is stored as creatine phosphate.
When it steps into action, creatine donates its phosphate molecule. As we exercise, ATP is quickly used up and broken down into ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). When this occurs, it loses a phosphate molecule and its ability to power your cells. Creatine however, sees this and steps in. Selflessly, it donates a phosphate molecule, allowing ADP to once again become ATP. Now, your muscle cells once again have access to more energy. More energy for them means that your muscles can perform to a higher standard and can work harder, and for longer durations of time.
Why use creatine?
Basically, the average individual stores around 120g of creatine. Despite this, we have the ability to store as much as 160g. Increasing the amount of creatine we store means that our muscle cells can generate more energy.
This enables the muscles to work harder, to generate more power, and to work for longer durations of time before fatigue sets in. Creatine also helps to buffer lactic acid productions. All of this combined means that your workouts become more productive, and the more productive they become, the more muscle you will generally be building.