Creatine Supplements: Big Muscles, High-Intensity Workouts
Wake Up Your Superman
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance and key to building powerful skeletal muscle—huge biceps, defined “diamond” triceps, big pecs and more. Creatine is one of the most widely used sports supplements on the market today. Primary use is in strength and bulk-building exercises that improve performance for high-intensity sports, maximize your workouts, and give you an edge in anaerobic athletic competitions.
How does creatine work to get you huge muscles?
How and where can you buy creatine and in what formulations and forms?
Quickie On Creatine and Why It’s Here To Stay
Introduced to the athletic arena in 1993, creatine has enjoyed one long, smooth and nearly uninterrupted surge in use. Interest first spiked in the months following the 1992 Summer Olympics. During those games a number of athletes that blasted beyond competitors to win medals reported later that they had used creatine supplements to augment their training regimens. Since creatine is natural there are no restrictions on its use among athletes.
Unlike many other types of sports supplements or performance enhancers that rise and fall with current trends, creatine continues to prove time and again, in study after study, in maximum rep after maximum rep that it does exactly what you want it to do: make your muscles bigger, faster, stronger.
In a nutshell, creatine comes from meat, especially wild game and some fish. Meat is muscle.
How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is generated in the human body, as well as ingested as part of a natural meat-eating diet. Your liver and kidneys produce small amounts of creatine and if you eat meat, particularly game, and fish like tuna and herring, you gain more natural creatine that in turn becomes available to your skeletal muscles, the biceps, triceps, pecs and all other muscles that form the structure of your body. But if you’re looking to pack on muscle bulk fast then these natural sources are not enough.
In your skeletal muscles, where you build bulk and generate the energy for movement, creatine participates in the complex muscle contraction process to maximize muscle energy. Adenosine Triphosphate, abbreviated to ATP, is a key fuel for muscle contraction, the repetition exercises you perform when bodybuilding. The more ATP you make available to your muscles the more energy created to power bodybuilding and boost performance in bursty sports, like sprinting, rowing, bodybuilding. Normal levels of ATP allow you only a few seconds of high-intensity energy.
Creatine fuels ATP development, which means:
- Sustained high intensity and power workouts
- More energy for muscle contraction
- Vastly improved power and muscle size
- You workout longer, stronger and get to see the results in the mirror.
The chemical formulations for creatine are quite plentiful, but don’t let them confuse you. They all feed your body creatine, in varying percentages.
Creatine formulations, or types of creatine include, but are not limited to:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Creatine Ester Ethyl
- Creatine Citrate
- Ester Creatine, or Creatine Ester Ethyl Hydrochloride
Liquid, Chewable and Fizzy Creatine: Getting it Into Your Body
One of the biggest advantages for you is that scientists have been tinkering with creatine formulas and supplements since the late 1920s, though they have only been on the market for the last couple of decades. Thanks to these years of early studies, safe and improved creatine formulas are hitting the shelves as soon as they can be packaged. What was once a gritty, grainy powder you mixed into water can now also be a key ingredient in a variety of edible supplements.
- Stir creatine into a liquid drink. Micronized creatine is super-pulverized powder that dissolves faster and more completely than previous formulations of powdered creatine. In this liquid form creatine is more readily and more completely absorbed and made useable in your muscles.
- Chewable creatine supplements - Loading or maintaining creatine couldn’t get any simpler than eating an energy bar or a creatine chew. You’ll find these supplements at most full-service gyms, workout centers, and in nutrition centers.
Using Creatine to Maximize Muscle Size
You can’t simply take creatine supplements and wake up to spontaneous muscle size. Creatine makes available the extra muscle-building energy you need to get a more effective power workout. But you must workout. When you max out your muscles in a workout you build your bulk.
Make the best use of creatine by dosing an hour or so prior to a high intensity workout session. Why? Remember, creatine is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and put right into muscle tissue. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Creatine is Rocket Fuel for Anabolic Performance
Creatine is not the answer for everyone or every athlete. Anabolic sports and activities gain the most benefit from creatine. But endurance exercises are unimproved. Creatine builds ATP, which gives you more bursts of intense energy--the keyword being “bursts.”
Sports that benefit most from creatine loading include:
Any sport that is not an aerobic-based exercise, like distance running, can be augmented by the use of creatine.
For the most part creatine supplements are safe to use. But realize that with every new nutritional supplement that hits the shelves you do run a risk of side effects. Try out the various proven formulas that have a track record of use already. And always follow the product label instructions for proper use.
Any problems or discomfort creatine users have had often have to do with the kidneys or gastro-intestinal upset, like diarrhea. If you have any pre-existing kidney or gastro problems talk to your doctor before consuming any creatine supplements. And if you develop any discomfort or other physical problems during your creatine cycling then immediately consult a doctor, as well.
Recipe for Building Maximum Muscle: Creatine Cycling
Creatine cycling, or creatine loading and maintenance, is a regimen that helps you with proper dosing levels of creatine for maximum benefit. Orthodox creatine users go through a load phase, followed by a maintenance phase:
- Creatine loading typically lasts for 5 days. During this loading phase you ingest multiple doses of creatine daily and at various intervals.
- During your creatine maintenance phase you consume 1 dose of creatine per day, usually within an hour before your workout (liquid formulas).
You can get even greater muscle size by carefully developing and testing your own personal program of interchangeable creatine forms (ie liquid, bars, chews, etc) and cycling between loading and maintenance regimens that work best for you. Each time you incorporate a slightly different creatine formula or form, you push muscle size and power to the limit.