Creatine: Seven Facts Every Bodybuilder Must Know

Facts about Creatine

Supplements are Essential for Bodybuilding Success

If you are serious about bodybuilding and really want to become a physique champion, you need to know about creatine because it is one of the most revolutionary muscle-building discoveries in the history of(he sport. Ova tine has been highly touted throughout the '90s. It has been described as a must for enduring the torturous workouts necessary' to build a championship physique. Perhaps you've heard that creatine aids in muscle recuperation after workouts or that it s necessary for firm, supple muscle tissue.

These claims all sound good but are they in line with the most recent scientific studies of creatine? Rumor and speculation ire common, but to build a top-notch physique, you need the most accurate scientific information possible. Here are seven important facts about creatine that have been validated by the latest scientific research. By heeding them, you'll be able to use creatine to full advantage in building your body.

Fact One: What Creatine Is

In its organic state creatine is an enzyme your body produces, Enzymes are special proteins which help your body work, for example, they aid in digestion and muscle function. Enzymes, such as creatine, are catalysts that spark bodily functions and keep them working by accelerating chemical reaction in tissue. Creatine isn't a drug, an anabolic steroid or a growth hormone. Rather it s a completely natural enzyme a protein that your body constantly relies on.

Creatine kinase. Within your body creatine operates in two forms. Both play a significant role in muscle contraction and muscular development. The first form is creatine kinase. It works with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and other chemical components of your body to help your muscles work their hardest and look their best.

Unfortunately the role of ATP is often overlooked. As nutrition researchers Eleanor Noss Whitney and Eva May Nunnelly explain. "ATP or adenosine triphosphate is the commonest energy - carrier in cells. Then are billions of molecules of ATP in your cells" When you exercise and expend energy, ATP breaks down, working closely with creatine to chemically supercharge your muscles. Creatine and ATP form a learn. In fact, they work together or not at all You'll never actually see creatine or ATP at work, either. Their chemical activity occurs at the molecular level.

Creatine phosphate. Like creatine kinase, creatine phosphate is a major source of energy in muscle contraction. "A most vital need is to ensure that you have a continuous influx of energy to replace the energy you spend" say Whitney and Nunnelly. "A muscle cell is packed with an orderly array of long, thin protein molecules lined up side by side, the reactions that make muscles move are powered by energy-carriers [such as creatine phosphate].

Carolyn D. Berdanier, a research scientist at the University of Georgia agrees. "Online phosphate is a high-energy compound in muscle which has a higher phosphate group transfer potential than ATP" she explains, "It acts as a reservoir for phosphate so that the muscle can maintain a steady level of ATP to support muscle contraction."

Fact Two: What Creatine Does

Take away creatine and your workouts would be shot. You'd lose the strength, stamina and muscular endurance necessary to mold and shape the body you want. Not only docs creatine play a major role in muscle contraction, muscular strength and muscle tone, but it's also one of the star players in the process. It works with other energy-carriers, such as ATP and ADP (adenosine diphosphate), to ensure the best possible results from your training.

Catalyst. Creatine is found in skeletal muscle, heart muscle and in the brain say creatine researchers David F. Tver and Percy Russell. It serves as a catalyst for the transfer of microscopic, high-energy substances between creatine, ATP and ADP. "Creatine phosphate has a higher phosphate group potential than ATP." Tver and Russell explain. "It acts so that the muscle can maintain a steady level of ATP to support muscle contraction".

Muscle-energy transport. Creatine phosphate plays a vital role in transporting muscular energy to where your body needs it. "It shuttles energy from the sites of production to the sites of consumption," writes nutrition author M. J. Sadler. However, the muscular contraction is short-lived, he says. "Net creatine phosphate hydrolysis can sustain maximal contractile activity for only about four seconds."

Fact Three: Creatine Helps Build Muscle

We can easily see why bodybuilders need creatine. Building muscle requires long-term progressive resistance exercise. Generally the more intense the demands placed on your muscles over time, the more developed your muscles become. To get the most out of your workouts, you must use this ultrahigh intensity to your advantage, and to train as hard as possible, the microscopic processes in your muscles must be performing at their best.

The more creatine your body utilizes, the more effectively your muscles will function. You'll be stronger, have more muscular endurance, and be able to train more intensively. Because your muscles are able to work harder, they'll be stronger with more endurance and you'll make the best and fastest muscular gains possible.

Essentially creatine is to your muscles what high-octane gas is to your car. The higher the octane, the better your car can perform. High-octane fuel is crucial to any high-performance vehicle. Why should your body be any different? Creatine is your high-octane bodybuilding fuel.

Fact Four: Creatine Strengthens Your Heart

Creatine and oxygen. Creatine does more than aid muscle contraction and help you build muscle. It may also play a critical role in how effectively your body uses oxygen. A recent study reported by science investigator Ian Anderson demonstrates that a high creatine level enables penguins to swim for long periods under water. The study also suggests animals that swim for long periods under water may also get extra energy from creatine.

The implications for bodybuilders are obvious. Efficient use of oxygen is crucial for building a championship physique. Getting oxygen into your lungs, into your blood, and then transporting that oxygenated blood to the muscle tissue being exercised is a big piece of the muscle building process. Be-cause creatine helps your body utilize oxygen, it helps you open the doors to the greatest muscular gains.

Heart and skeletal muscle. Another recent study investigated the effects of creatine on children with muscular dystrophy. Anderson notes that kids with severe muscular dystrophy had low levels of creatine. As creatine levels continued to drop, the disease got worse. However, when creatine levels climbed, the children's condition improved.

In a recent edition of the journal Analytical Chemistry, Geza Nagy at the University of North Carolina reports that creatine affects the myocardium. In a related study Takashi Toyoda and colleagues at the University of New Orleans concluded that "the determination of creatine kinase enzyme is becoming increasingly important in the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction."

In essence, when your creatine is low or is not being effectively used by your body, a heart attack may be more likely. On the other hand, when your body is getting ample creatine and is efficiently using it, the probability of having a heart attack appears to drop.

These studies reveal that creatine not only helps you develop optimal muscle mass, but is also essential for overall muscular development and function, including the most important muscle in your body - your heart. The need for creatine is therefore not important just for hardcore bodybuilders, but for anyone who wants a healthy lifestyle.

Fact Five: Creatine Builds Brain Power

There's more good news on the horizon regarding creatine research. Recent evidence suggests that the enzyme is pivotal in developing your cerebral "muscle." People often assume the creatine in muscle and the creatine in the brain act independently of each other, but this isn't always true.

Brain and muscle creatine. Harry L. Pardue and William E. Weiser of Purdue University challenge this assumption. In a recent report on creatine and the brain they say creatine in skeletal muscle may influence creatine in the brain. The researchers write, "We have done preliminary experiments to show that creatine kinase in muscle inhibits 50 percent of the brain [creatine kinase]."

Creatine and environment. A recent Netherlands study indicates exposure to ozone can significantly raise or lower creatine levels. These scientists discovered that when rats and mice were tested for creatine levels, those exposed to unusual ozone levels had significantly different creatine levels than did a control group. These results suggest creatine intake isn't the only variable which affects the amount of creatine in your body. Environment may also play a role.

What does this mean to hardcore bodybuilders? To get the maximum benefits from creatine, you must do more than maintain the right amounts of the enzyme in your body. You must live a healthy lifestyle.

Fact Six: Creatine is a Team Player

Creatine is part of your body's chemical muscle building team. Although it is a powerful microscopic enzyme, it can't work alone. It must work with other enzymes and energy-carriers in the muscle-contraction process.

Team members. Roger C. Woledge and his colleagues at University College in London, England maintain that creatine must work together with ATP, ADP, myocin, actin and calcium ions. Optimum muscle function is a complex process. Each component of the muscle-contraction process influences the others.

The game plan. "The energy for muscular contraction is derived from ATP," says well-known bodybuilding and powerlifting author Dr. Frederick C. Hatfield. "The stores of this organic compound are broken down to produce inorganic compounds and energy. This is the energy used for contraction. However, these stores are quickly depleted, and another organic compound called creatine phosphate is broken down so that the energy released in its breakdown can [help produce] additional energy for contraction."

The muscle-contraction process can't continue very long, Hatfield continues, because the creatine phosphate is quickly depleted. Therefore, glycogen is broken down to provide necessary energy and to help replenish low levels of creatine.

Fact Seven: You Need Creatine Supplements

Creatine supplements are to the bodybuilders of the 21st century what amino-acid protein powders were to the muscleheads of the '70s. More than 20 years ago body builders asked themselves, "Do I really need protein supplements that supply all the necessary amino acids?" The answer was - and is - yes. Though you can eat too much protein and thereby paradoxically inhibit muscle growth, bodybuilders must get enough complete protein to ensure the best possible muscle growth. The same is true with creatine. You need all the top-quality creatine your body can use to build a championship physique.

Creatine monophosphate is one form of the creatine supplements on the market. It's readily available just browse fitFLEX to see, it's a good investment, and it's easy to ingest. But as with any supplement, you'll need to experiment with the amount taken to discover the dose that's best for you. Start with the directions on the product label and go from there.

Remember, creatine isn't a magic muscle-building potion. It isn't a shortcut either. You must still do the work. Creatine is a muscle-building enzyme naturally found in your body. When it does what it's supposed to, it helps other members of your body's muscle-building team, such as ATP, do their job too.

Should you take creatine supplements? Are they worth the investment? The real question is - are you worth the investment? Would you take digestive enzymes to help assimilate your food? Sure you would. If you wanted the best performance from your car, would you fill its tank with high-octane gas? You would in a heartbeat. For top muscular performance you owe it to yourself to fuel your high-performance body with creatine.

We have checked out the various creatine products and there's a lot of good stuff out there. Sadly there are a few products that fall short of label claims. One that we have researched and found to be perfect for the bodybuilders' needs are MuscleTech's CELL-Tech or Creacore and Con-Cret by ProMera.

One last fact that you may or may not know: One heaping tablespoon of creatine monohydrate provides the equivalent amount of creatine found in more than two pounds of uncooked red meat - and that's one heck of a lot of muscle building power!

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