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creatine
Creatine, Marketing Gimmick Or True Marvel To Gain Muscle?
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Creatine, Marketing Gimmick Or True Marvel To Gain Muscle?

When it comes to supplements, it is incredible how many rumours and statements are made about them being effective or not. Scientifically speaking, there are only two supplements that have multiple studies proving their effectiveness when it comes to gaining muscle mass. These supplements are whey protein and creatine. With this said, the most misunderstood supplement is by far creatine.

In this article I am going to explain exactly how creatine works and clear up any misconceptions that the general public tends to believe. Everything that is stated in this article has been backed up by both personal experience and credible information sources. Let’s first begin with what creatine really is.

Creatine is simply a mix of 3 different amino acids. That’s it! Creatine is not a manufactured man made chemically engineered product to stimulate muscle growth (like many people believe). It’s a combination of glycine, arginine, and methionine. Creatine is produced naturally by your body already. It’s also found in both fish and red meat. So for all of you who think creatine is some synthetic performance enhancer, do some more research. You’ll find that what I just stated is completely true.

To better understand these amino acids, let’s look at each of them in detail.

1) Glycine

Glycine is considered to be an essential amino acid. This is simply a building block for protein. The body uses glycine to form proteins. Glycine may also help with transmitting signals to the brain. There is interest for researching it further to help with improving memory and other brain functions.

2) Arginine

L-Arginine is an amino acid involved in ammonia detoxification, hormone secretion, and the immune system. It is also well known as a precursor to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a contributor of what is referred to as the “pump.” This is when your muscle fill up with blood. Arginine helps to dilate the blood vessels to allow for more blood flow.

3) Methionine

Methionine is another essential amino acid that contains sulfur. This amino acid aids in protecting and rebuilding the liver. Not only that, but it helps to keep the immune system functional and strong. It’s found in virtually all meats.

So now that we know what creatine really is, let’s talk about how it works. If you’re using the best workout routine to gain muscle, then you know that progression is key. In a nut shell, creatine basically gives you that extra bit of energy to hit that final rep which will trigger effective muscle growth.

For your muscles to contract, they need energy. This source of energy is known as ATP. Everything that you consume is transformed into ATP so that your muscles can use this as fuel. I am going to try and explain all of this in layman terms so no one gets confused.

When ATP is used as fuel, it results in energy for your muscles and a bi-product called ADP. Now ADP is useless to your muscles at this point and is simply discarded. This is where creatine comes in. Creatine interacts with ADP and as a result this ADP is converted back into ATP. This means extra energy and fuel for your muscles!

Think of it this way. Creatine is like a catalystic converter on a vehicle. Instead of the useless exhaust just being discarded out into the atmosphere, the catalystic converter converts a portion of that exhaust back into fuel which in turn is then transferred back to the engine to be combusted again.

More energy is supplied to your muscles. That’s all you need to know.

Now let’s talk about a common stab that people take at creatine. “Creatine is just good for adding water weight, once you stop taking it your gains disappear.” I shake my head at misinformed people like this. It’s not that they’re completely wrong, it’s just that they don’t understand the benefits of having a well hydrated cell.

Yes, creatine does make your body retain more water. But what makes people think that’s a bad thing? A more hydrated cell is a more effective cell. When a cell is well hydrate, it absorbs nutrients much more efficiently. When we’re talking about muscle fibers, when they are well hydrated protein synthesis is more efficient. This just goes to show that retaining extra water weight is a big benefit of creatine.

If you stop taking creatine, yes your total weight will go down, but your muscle fibers that you enlarged in the process will remain. So really you don’t lose your gains, you just lose some water retention and stop reaping the benefits of a well hydrated cell. As long as you’re training with the best workout routine to gain muscle, you will keep your gains.

The funniest part is, guys that rip on creatine due to water weight retention are often the ones who go out and get hammered every weekend. Don’t even get me started on the negative effects of alcohol when it comes to protein synthesis.

Possible Harmful Effects of Creatine

There are none. To be more elaborate, there are no studies to date that have shown significant dangers with using creatine. One possibility is that creatine is hard on your liver. The reason this may be true is because when creatine enters your stomach, some of it is converted in creatinine. Creatinine is a toxin. Now because it’s a toxin, your liver has to work hard to clean it out of your blood stream.

This very well could be a dangerous side effect if taken in excessive amounts. Biochemists seem to have found a way around this though. They claim that by PH buffering the creatine you can avoid the conversion of creatine into creatinine. This also allows for complete absorption into your muscles instead of it being excreted.

Personally I have trained with both the classic mono-hydrate creatine and the PH buffered creatine. Both worked very well for me. However, the PH buffered creatine did outperform the mono-hydrate by a noticeable measure.

The PH buffered creatine claims that you don’t need to cycle it due to the lack of creatinine conversion. Developers of this creatine also claim that you don’t need a loading phase to get results quicker. From my experience, PH buffered creatine still shows the most benefits after an entire week of use.

The reason for this is because creatine is not a quick fuel source for the body. Your body needs to process the creatine and then store it as ATP before it is of any use. It doesn’t matter if you train with the best workout routine to gain muscle, if you don’t have any ATP stored up, you won’t be performing very well and in turn you won’t be building much muscle.

Is creatine necessary to work out with? Of course not. But it will help to give you that extra edge. You will build more muscle mass and you will increase your strength gains almost instantly. This is due to the increase in available ATP. The more ATP you have ready to go, the more weight you can lift. The more weight you can lift, the more progression you can achieve.

Combining PH buffered creatine and the best workout routine to gain muscle has been very effective for me. Educate yourself before buying in to what the public says about a certain product. Information is power.


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