Of all the supplements available to help build muscle and effectively increase your strength in the weight room there is nothing more potent or powerful than Creatine.
Many people see creatine as a supplement that only serves to provide water retention – which is why you may hear some lifers say they are full of water on creatine.
This simply isn’t true.
In this two-part blog, we will walk through the importance of creatine, how it works and how you can best supplement it.
What is Creatine?
The first and perhaps most important aspect that we cover is what creatine is. Creatine is a nutrient that we already contain in our body, obtained through our diet and our body actually creates a minimal amount of phosphocreatine.
Creatine is not, in any way an unknown material to the body. Supplementing creatine will only serve to help replenish lost phosphates from the conversion of ATP (Adenosine TriPhosphate) to ADP (Adenosine DiPhosphate). This is a process that your body goes through each time you exercise – but it will occur much faster when you are lifting heavier weights with higher intensities.
Creatine then becomes a supplement that we take in order to recover faster.
This faster recovery can help us to grow stronger as we can lift heavier and heavier each week, and if taken prior to a workout can even serve as an effective energy substance.
Can Creatine Enhance Strength and Size?
Yes and no. Creatine is a supplement that is a recovery tool, yet some science has shown that it can have a direct influence on muscle hypertrophy (increase in cell size).
In this way, creatine could be a very effective supplement to help enhance strength. It is worth mentioning that since creatine can be taken prior to a workout, the added influx of phosphocreatine can help to resynthesize ATP during a workout, which could lead to faster intra-set recovery. This, of course, could help you to lift more weight for more reps during a particular set – thereby increasing the amount of time you have the muscles under tension.
How Much Should I Take?
Creatine supplementation will differ from person to person based on body weight and exercise demands. A general rule of thumb is to supplement 5g/day on training days after a workout, and 3g/d in the morning of off-training days.
Supplementing you creatine in the morning on off training days is completed in an effort to raise the amount of phosphocreatine your body can draw from while you recover.
Stay tuned for volume 2, where we cover why creatine is the gold-standard in strength and recovery and how you can develop your own supplement based around creatine.