Creatine: Muscle Growth Superstar

Published: 07th July 2008
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Creatine was introduced the bodybuilding industry in the early 1990s. Since then, literally thousands of other supplements have come and gone. So why is creatine still around?

The reason is that creatine flat-out works. Let's take a look at what creatine does in our bodies so that we can have a better understanding of why it works so well.

Your muscles (and all the cells in your body) use a substance called ATP for energy. ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. This is a molecule called adenosine with three phosphate groups attached. In order to create energy one of the phosphate groups is broken-off, which releases energy to the muscle cells for muscle contraction.

This is where creatine comes in. The type of creatine in your muscles is known as creatine phosphate. When a molecule of ATP loses a phosphate, creatine can come and give the broken ATP molecule its phosphate. This regenerates the ATP molecule so that we can break-off that phosphate once again for more energy!

This cycle of creatine donating a phosphate to the broken ATP molecule is only one way of regenerating the ATP molecule. Specifically, this is how ATP is regenerated during intense, short duration activities, especially those of 10 seconds or less.

This fits right in with training for muscle growth. Let's say you do a set of 5 reps on the bench press and each rep takes you 2 seconds to complete. That's 10 seconds of total work. During that 10 seconds creatine is constantly being used to replenish your ATP stores so that you have more energy.

This is allows your muscles to do more work than they would be able to without creatine. If you are following a proper nutrition and recovery program doing more work will lead to more muscle growth.

The first type of creatine to hit the market was creatine monohydrate. This is the creatine that nearly all of the research has been done with. Creatine monohydrate has been shown in study after study to make you stronger and help with muscle growth. It is also the cheapest form of creatine available.

The typical recommended dosage of creatine monohydrate is 3-10 grams per day, depending on body weight. At one time a higher dosage was recommended for the first week of use (know as a "loading phase"), but most studies have shown this isn't necessary.

Since the introduction of creatine monohydrate, there have been a variety of creatine variations introduced to the market: liquid creatine, effervescent creatine, creatine ethyl ester, and many more. Despite the high cost for some of these creatine variations, none of them has ever been proven to work more effectively for muscle growth than creatine monohydrate.

So how much will creatine improve muscle growth? You can expect a 2-3 pound increase in muscle mass in the few weeks of using it. You should also expect to be able to get one or two more reps on your heaviest sets.

These are great gains, but remember that they are short-term increases. To keep increasing you muscle mass and strength you will need to follow a properly designed training and nutrition program for muscle growth.

Always remember that supplements are just the icing on the cake!

Get the latest scientific muscle growth information, including information onmuscle growth supplements and a FREEmuscle growth report on "The 13 Reasons You Suck at Gaining Muscle."



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