Sports nutrition can be treated differently. But as for creatine, then the pitching of all countries and continents is extremely unanimous. Creatine and creatine supplements work, whether you like it or not. That is why in the past 15 years, a fitness supplement called creatine has firmly entered the arsenal of bodybuilders and confidently hits sales records. What is the phenomenon of creatine?
How does creatine work? It is known that an instantaneous source of energy for all types of cellular activity, including muscle contraction, is a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is formed from components entering the body with food. The body oxidizes or burns food, releasing energy. This energy is then directed to the synthesis of ATP, which is designed to enhance cellular activity. The stock of ATP in the body is very limited. In fact, they are enough for each muscle cell to contract within a few seconds. It follows that the stocks of ATP must be constantly updated.
When ATP is broken down during the process of energy production, creatine is taken up, which in the form of creatine phosphate at the chemical level updates ATP reserves. Thus, muscle contractions that require a lot of energy can continue. However, after some period of time, from about 45 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the intensity of the effort, creatine phosphate also “exhales”, and the effectiveness of muscle contractions decreases. What does this mean in other words? This is when at the end of the approach you are no longer able to squeeze the barbell at least once. You reach the point where all the energy resources of the muscle cells are exhausted: both ATP and creatine phosphate. By the way, for the same reason, an intensive approach lasts on average about a minute.
After creatine phosphate is produced, the ATP reserves in the body can no longer be restored so quickly. However, this rate of recovery is quite enough to do aerobic work.
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Based on all of the above, it becomes obvious that for successful workouts, additional feeding for muscle cells is necessary. To this end, you can safely choose creatine monohydrate. Why him, and not creatine phosphate or ATP? And because the last two components do not work. The fact is that neither creatine phosphate nor ATP is absorbed in the intestine. But creatine monohydrate, if taken orally, is absorbed and quickly gets into muscle cells. This easy assimilation explains the popularity of creatine monohydrate as a dietary supplement.
Once inside the muscle cell, creatine monohydrate is converted to creatine phosphate. Is creatine monohydrate absorbed sublingually, that is, when you put it under the tongue? If someone on the market is offering you such creatine, know that this is a fake, because the creatine molecule must cross the cell membranes in order to enter the bloodstream. As for liquid creatine, it is a fake squared, because when stored in liquid form, creatine is destroyed.
How exactly does creatine monohydrate increase muscle strength and volume? The increase in strength is associated with an increase in the intracellular level of creatine and creatine phosphate, which contributes to a faster production of ATP. This, in turn, provides muscle cells with energy, and they are able to work more efficiently. The same mechanism explains why when taking creatine, the level of stamina increases. If the reserves of creatine in the muscles grow, the energy reserves of the muscle cells grow too, and they can be reduced not only more powerful, but also longer. Due to this property, creatine is very popular among athletes for whom endurance is important. He is especially revered by athletes.
Creatine increases muscle volume due to water retention. Being absorbed by muscle cells, creatine binds water, which causes the muscles to swell. Swollen muscles become larger, harder, better pumpable. At the same time, it is necessary to realize that by itself creatine does not synthesize a new muscle protein. For this there is a diet. As is the case with other supplements, it is imperative that creatine intake is supported by appropriate nutrition. This means that for muscle growth you need protein, and to cover energy costs – carbohydrates. Creatine does not produce energy when it is cleaved, but it acts as an energy buffer, transforming the energy of carbohydrates and fats into ATP. Creatine does not turn into protein, but affects muscle growth so that you are able to conduct more intense workouts. You will definitely grow if you supplement with a sufficient amount of low-fat protein and high-quality calories that will ensure muscle growth.
What results can you expect by taking creatine? Personally, I observed a gain of 2-6 kilograms of lean muscle mass in seriously trained athletes after just one month of taking this supplement. Impressive, isn’t it? This increase in no way means that to achieve it you need to swallow from 2 to 6 kilograms of creatine. Remember that most of the increase in both weight and volume is due to water. Creatine accumulates in the muscle cells in which it binds water. And the more muscle you have at the time you start taking creatine, the more your muscles are able to absorb it, which means that you will be able to achieve a more substantial increase. Not too large fitness fans are able to add 2-3 pounds, and more overall – 5-6 pounds. After checking the composition of the body, it usually turns out that all this increase is achieved by the muscles. You should take into account that the concept of muscle mass includes everything except fat: bones, connective tissue and muscles, which include water.
At the same time, I became a witness of how the power indices of the practitioners increased by 5-15 percent, and in a single approach, the weight could be raised twice as much. It is clear that such a jump in the results makes it possible to load the muscles more strongly, which, in turn, turns into muscle growth. As for the power indicators, they can increase in all to varying degrees, since they depend not only on the muscles, but also on the ligamentous apparatus.
Although the effectiveness of creatine is time-tested, it does not always work. Much depends on how you eat. If you do not consume enough protein or calories, you simply will not see any changes. And, on the contrary, with appropriate feeding your muscles will swell right before your eyes. If we talk about the development of endurance, then increasing the speed by 5-10 percent and increasing the duration of the same races of athletes by 10-20 percent is common.
As with almost all other fitness supplements, the effect of creatine on one person or another can be different. Therefore, it can be taken in different ways. Personally, I first recommend the first week or two to take 20-30 grams of creatine per day, dividing the total amount into several servings corresponding to the number of meals. This is the so-called loading stage. For convenience, note that one teaspoon contains about 5 grams of creatine. Get 5 grams of creatine with every meal – this should be your tactic. Take 20 grams of creatine per day if your weight is 75 – 90 kilograms. If you are heavier than 90 kilograms, take 30 grams per day. Although usually the loading phase does not exceed one to two weeks, in some cases it can take up to 4 weeks. When you find that the workouts have begun to achieve excellent pumping of muscles, this will be a signal that the loading stage was successful. After this comes the supporting stage. At this stage, it is quite enough to take 5-10 grams of creatine per day to maintain its muscle stores at the proper level. Cycling while taking creatine has no advantages. If you stop taking creatine, you simply begin to deplete its reserves, which will completely run out within 4-8 weeks.
What to mix creatine with? You can just with water. Keep in mind that it does not dissolve completely in water, so you have to drink the suspension. But do not worry, it is perfectly digested. For too long, stir creatine with water is not worth it, otherwise it will begin to decompose. It is best to use a special shaker, which can be bought at any store selling fitness supplements. First pour a portion of creatine into it, then fill it with water, stir and drink. Creatine has no taste or smell.