We have all heard about how creatine is one of the most important supplements to use in combination with resistance training. It’s almost unheard of to think of a bodybuilder with a supplement stack not containing a creatine product. With all the praise, there is surprisingly little focus on the specific aspects of creatine that make it such a great supplement in the first place.
So what is a creatine supplement and what does it do?
What Are Creatine Supplements?
Creatine supplements are simply supplements that deliver creatine to the body. This may be done through a product only containing creatine, or it may include other ingredients as well. The main difference between these products will be which type of creatine it includes.
The type of creatine will dictate a few things, such as:
– Absorption rate
– Side effects
There are countless types of creatine supplements that exist. The most popular types include creatine monohydrate, ethyl ester, tri-creatine malate, and micronized creatine.
Which Types of Creatine Are Effective?
The safest bet is creatine monohydrate. This is what the majority stands by as it’s affordable, mixes easily, and has a strong absorption rate. While it does have slight bloating effects and some other side effects may be experienced, most users are more than happy with the results it provides. Of course, going for something like micronized creatine could provide a greater efficacy but the only noticeable difference would be the cost.
What Does Creatine Do To the Body?
Creatine is found naturally in the muscles in the form of creatine phosphate. This plays a role in ATP-CP. Muscle cells consist of up to six times more creatine phosphate than ATP. Even skeletal muscle tissues need creatine.
The muscle cells will turn to ATP for instant energy, whether performing high or low intensity exercise. In a second or less, the entire reserve of ATP could be burnt as energy. At this point, creatine phosphate kicks in.
The body has a small creatine reserve which can be turned into ATP for energy if absolutely needed. This will support sprints or very high intensity exercise for between 3 and 15 seconds. The body relies on alternative sources of energy for less intense and longer duration exercises. In bodybuilding, the body will have a tremendous amount of value in the creatine reserves as backup for ATP reserves. Therefore, supplementing it with a creatine supplement is beneficial as it will keep creatine reserve levels to a maximum.
Creatine as a Volumizer
Creatine is not just effective for its energy usage. It also helps to make us look bigger. It does this by expanding muscle cells. This happens as it effectively sends water into the cells, which results in expansion. The end result is larger looking muscles. Creatine was the first major supplement to provide these results. Nitrous Oxide products are following suit and taking over in this category, but many stand by creatine when setting out to accomplish expansion of the muscle cells.
Of course, there is the argument that the increased size will be erased when the supplement is cycled off. This is true, but the same stands true for many different aspects of bodybuilding. If an individual stops training completely, after a while there will be a noticeable difference in size. The same goes with lacking protein while working out for a short period of time.
What Are The Side Effects of Creatine?
Creatine is one of the safest supplements to take. The side effects that may exist while using a creatine supplement are very minor. The main side effect noticed when taking creatine is gastric discomfort. This is only temporary and not unbearable. For some, this may lead to an unpleasant bowel movement. The body usually adjusts to the supplement pretty quickly, especially if there is a loading phase.
Conclusion: Are Creatine Supplements Important?
This is one of the few supplements that serve a tremendous purpose without having any lingering effects. It provides cell volumization and boosts in energy and strength. Creatine supplements are also pretty affordable and many other supplements provide a joint formula which includes sufficient amounts of creatine.
In short, creatine is something that should be on everyone’s short list when it comes to supplement shopping. While debatable, many rank it second in line after protein powder.