We all know that creatine is important. It’s naturally produced within the human body and it’s ingested through red meat and other foods. Surprisingly, not many of us actually know what creatine is and what it does within the body. This post will help everyone understand the basics on what creatine is, what it does, and who should be taking advantage of the benefits of creatine. There are a lot of myths out there, so outlining these fundamental facts should give everyone a much better understanding on this particular supplement.
What Is Creatine?
The body uses ATP for energy. This energy may be used for performing a set amount of reps or hitting a set amount of weight during an exercise. The body has a maximum capacity for ATP – this consists of a baseline level, based on genetics and nutrition. To combat this capacity, we have ADP. ATP is tri-phosphate, while ADP is bi-phosphate. ADP pulls a creatine phosphate to create ATP.
This is essentially a chemical reaction where ADP pulls a molecule over to produce more energy, if you have it in your body. With that in mind, your body has a natural baseline – for example, their creatine baseline differs person to person.
So person A has a higher baseline than person B. In this case, person A has enough phosphate so it can give some to ADP to produce greater amounts of ATP. At the same time, the person that adds creatine can spike up more ADP to create more ATP. The more you can accumulate, the harder you can train, and the bigger you can get.
Individuals with a high creatine baseline will not get as much of a response as individuals with a lower creatine baseline. This is because most of the individual with a higher capacity is maxed out, while the one receiving minimal creatine will have much more room to fill.
What Does Creatine Do?
We need creatine for our bodies to stay strong and functional. Its primary purpose is to give us explosive strength for a short period of time. For example, when a sprinter is ready to go, they explode and go all out, say for 100 metres. If they kept running after this point, they wouldn’t be able to sustain the intensity or speed.
If they tried to, within 200 to 250 metres, lactic acid would begin building up in the muscles and their creatine supply will have run out. The muscles will begin to hurt and the body will want to start running. Eventually, the creatine levels would build up and a ‘second wind’ would occur with the newly-built creatine. For instance, this happens a lot of the time in boxing when the new creatine supply gives them a second chance in the fight.
Who Does Creatine Work For?
The effectiveness of creatine is dependent on the level of our creatine cell stores. The more empty space, the more we can accumulate – this ultimately means a big difference in physical performance, increase in strength and agility and more muscle!
Basically, creatine works better for those that are not naturally supplying their body with enough of it. Keep in mind that consuming red meat and other creatine sources does not guarantee high levels of creatine storage. It can also come down to genetics. So while it’s not easy to identify who benefits the most from creatine, it is easy to say that anyone looking to maximize the likelihood of muscle growth will benefit from creatine supplementation.
Conclusion: Is Creatine Worth It For You?
I’m heavy into bodybuilding-style training and I’d do anything to increase my performance results. I often use pre-workouts, recovery agents, and various other supplements so I know how important it is to have a stack of supplements that all contribute very positively towards my fitness progress. With that said, creatine is a must for me and it only falls second to protein powder.
While the same may not be said for everyone, it really is hard to justify not using creatine. It is one of the most affordable supplements on the market and it has a tremendous ‘bang for your buck’, especially for beginner to intermediate weightlifters and bodybuilders. Of course, it can be just as beneficial amongst athletes and just for those that want to live healthier and stronger.