Before getting into the topic “How Creatine helps you in muscle building?”
Let’s get some insights regarding creatine.
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.
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 ).
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.
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 .
Creatine also alters several cellular processes that lead to increased muscle mass, strength and recovery.
How Creatine 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.
Impacts on muscle gain.
Creatine is effective for both short- and long-term muscle growth.
It assists many different people, including sedentary individuals, older adults and elite athletes.
One 14-week study in older adults determined that adding creatine to a weight-training program significantly increased leg strength and muscle mass.
In a 12-week study in weightlifters, creatine increased muscle fiber growth 2–3 times more than training alone. The increase in total body mass also doubled alongside one-rep max for bench press, a common strength exercise.
A large review of the most popular supplements selected creatine as the single most beneficial supplement for adding muscle mass.
How it helps you to gain muscles
- Boosted workload: Enables more total work or volume in a single training session, which is a key factor in long-term muscle growth.
- Improved cell signaling: Can increase satellite cell signaling, which aids muscle repair and new muscle growth.
- Raised anabolic hormones: Studies note a rise in hormones, such as IGF-1, after taking creatine.
- Increased cell hydration: Lifts water content within your muscle cells, which causes a cell volumization effect that may play a role in muscle growth.
- Reduced protein breakdown: May increase total muscle mass by reducing muscle breakdown.
- 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.
Impact of creatine in strength and performance
Creatine can also improve strength, power and high-intensity exercise performance.
In one review, adding creatine to a training program increased strength by 8%, weightlifting performance by 14% and bench press one-rep max by up to 43%, compared to training alone.
In well-trained strength athletes, 28 days of supplementing increased bike-sprinting performance by 15% and bench-press performance by 6%.
Creatine also helps maintain strength and training performance while increasing muscle mass during intense over-training.
These noticeable improvements are primarily caused by your body’s increased capacity to produce ATP.
Normally, ATP becomes depleted after 8–10 seconds of high-intensity activity. But because creatine supplements help you produce more ATP, you can maintain optimal performance for a few seconds longer.
How and when to take creatine
Many people who supplement start with a loading phase, which leads to a rapid increase in muscle stores of creatine.
To load with creatine, take 20 grams per day for 5–7 days. This should be split into four 5-gram servings throughout the day.
Absorption may be slightly improved with a carb- or protein-based meal due to the related release of insulin.
Following the loading period, take 3–5 grams per day to maintain high levels within your muscles. As there is no benefit to cycling creatine, you can stick with this dosage for a long time.
If you choose not to do the loading phase, you can simply consume 3–5 grams per day. However, it may take 3–4 weeks to maximize your stores.
Since creatine pulls water into your muscle cells, it is advisable to take it with a glass of water and stay well hydrated throughout the day.