Creatine monohydrate is a very popular supplement in the market today among people looking to build a leaner muscle mass that maximizes performance and increases strength. According to recent statistics, over 40% of NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) bodybuilding athletes have admitted using creatine monohydrate at least once in their careers. Although creatine monohydrate is among the most scientifically studied sports supplements, there are still very many misconceptions about creatine online and offline i.e. in the gyms. If you are tired of getting contradicting and inaccurate information about Creatine monohydrate, this article is for you. Below are answers to common questions you might have about creatine monohydrate.
Creatine monohydrate is the natural substance that is converted into creatine phosphate in the human body. Creatine monohydrate is responsible for making a substance known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is responsible for providing the energy required for muscle contractions to take place. The human body is capable of producing creatine on its own. Creatine can also be gotten from foods like oily fish and red meat. It is however important to note that creatine levels in food sources decrease when food is cooked.
This is where creatine monohydrate supplements come in. The supplements contain the purest form of creatine. Creatine monohydrate supplements are usually taken before and after workouts alongside supplements such as whey protein for the best results i.e. maximum muscle performance and increased strength.
Having defined creatine monohydrate, let’s now shift our focus to how the supplement or natural occurring substance works. To do this, we must first of all understand what ATP is and its role in the body. ATP is an immediate energy source for muscle contraction. Muscle fibers contain just enough ATP to power a few muscle twitches. ATP must therefore be gotten from the body’s own ATP pool.
Creatine monohydrate is converted into creatine phosphate in the body to keep the ATP pool filled. What this means is; it is important to have a good ATP reserve available especially if you are a body builder for obvious reasons i.e. the ATP reserve will help you do more reps offering your muscles with the adequate fast-converting energy needed for maximum performance. This energy is usually referred to as explosive energy in body building world.
Since it is clear how creatine monohydrate works, lets now look at the benefits of using creatine monohydrate supplements. From the above information, it is clear that body builders need more creatine monohydrate than regular individuals because they need more energy. Below are some of the main benefits of creatine monohydrate derived by bodybuilders (people who do intense weight training) among other kinds of athletes i.e. sportsmen who engage in sports which require high amounts of explosive energy like sprinting.
1. Enhances muscle mass and strength.
2. Increases muscle energy availability.
3. Increases power output resulting in more sets/reps for bodybuilders.
4. Triggers weight gain which is important for building body/muscle mass.
5. Triggers/enhances recovery after exercise/workouts.
Having looked at some of the main benefits of creatine monohydrate in general, let’s now focus on the benefits the supplement offers bodybuilders. Below are some of the ways creatine monohydrate helps body builders.
1. Increases creatine phosphate levels: Creatine supplements can help bodybuilders improve in a number of ways. The most direct lies in creatine monohydrate’s ability to increase creatine phosphate levels which assist in re-synthesising ATP during high intensity activities that last for a few seconds.
2. Helps in buffering muscle acidosis: Creatine monohydrate supplements have also been proven to prevent/reduce changes in muscle acidosis which is known to interfere with the muscle PH balance which is required for optimum strength training.
3. Spares glycogen utilization: Creatine monohydrate is also responsible for sparing glycogen utilization in short duration activities. This ensures bodybuilders have enough glycogen throughout short intense activities. In normal cases, glycogen is utilized very fast leaving one feeling fatigued in an instance.
4. Creatine doesn’t affect aerobic metabolism: Creatine supplementation has an impact on activities which last between 10 seconds and 2 minutes. Creatine monohydrate supplements hardly have benefits for activities which last for long. This is precisely why bodybuilders stand to benefit the most from creatine supplementation.
5. Improves recovery between repetitive high intensity bouts: Body builders are constantly doing high intensity reps. Creatine supplements are the best known supplements for promoting recovery after such high intensity activities done repeatedly over short time intervals. Majority of the studies carried out on creatine monohydrate confirm the supplement’s effectiveness in improving recovery after intense short-term activities like sprints and weight lifting which is precisely what bodybuilders engage in.
6. Increases muscle mass: Creatine has also been proven to increase gains in muscle mass after weight training. This is the essence of bodybuilding. Many creatine studies indicate that the supplement increases lean body mass which improves water retention in the short-term and promotes muscle mass gains in the long-term. It is worth noting that some studies suggest creatine monohydrate has a more direct effect on muscle mass which includes increasing expression of genes directly involved with muscle growth.
The recommended daily creatine monohydrate supplement dosage is 3-5 grams daily. It is however important to note that some body builders may be required to take a lower or greater dosage depending on factors like muscle mass, body weight, types of strength training e.t.c. It is also important to note that there are no general guidelines on the best time to take creatine supplements. Most bodybuilders however prefer taking the supplement alongside other supplements like whey protein i.e. mixing creatine monohydrate powder with whey protein and taking the resulting mixture before or after workouts.
Creatine monohydrate supplements can also be taken by mixing them with fruit juice, caffeine-free tea or warm water (to improve solubility). It is however important to ensure that you prepare and take such mixtures immediately. Pre-mixing is highly discouraged because it can result in oxidation which interferes with the chemical composition of the mixture. Also, it is worth noting that there are no known scientifically backed long-term studies on creatine monohydrate which explains why it is recommendable to cycle the supplement i.e. take it for 8 weeks and then take a break for a month or 4 weeks. You should also alter your workout regime when you aren’t taking the supplement.
In summary, the above information is adequate enough for anyone interested in finding out important information about bodybuilding & creatine monohydrate. Although there might be other important information about bodybuilding & creatine monohydrate that is not covered above, the above information is adequate enough to guide you on the right path.