Creatine is not a magical powder that once you drink it all your muscles popup.
Actually, Creatine has an indirect effect on muscle growth and strength.
Here is precisely what Creatine does:
In your muscle tissue, there is a substance called Creatine Phosphate. Creatine supplement increases the amount of this substance (1).
Creatine Phosphate is one of the primary sources to fuel ATP which is a fast energy source for weightlifting, strength training, and HIIT (2)
Tip: The more your muscles contain Creatine Phosphate the more you can increase your limits in weight lifting.
The fantastic part of Creatine is that it amplifies your energy during the intense weightlifting (3).
You will find yourself going for 5 sets instead of 3 sets. 10 reps instead of 8 reps. And all of the yields to massive muscle growth and shredded body.
But be careful which Creatine are you supplementing with! Not all Creatine on the market are equal.
There are major two forms of Creatine in supplements: Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine Nitrate.
You can read this article on why Creatine Monohydrate is the best option & which brand provides 100% pure Creatine Monohydrate.
What if you are not supplementing with Creatine?
Let me give you a quick example of a real case:
A bench press is very demanded, and quite a few can reach their goals. It needs an intense amount of energy, and focus.
Hitting 4 to 6 reps would make your day. If you are not supplementing with Creatine, you will have a high chance of getting exhausted after one or two rep.
Once you take the weight off the rack, you’ll feel an initial struggle with the first rep. The second one will be harder, with a slight chance that your muscle energy will sustain all the way.
If you felt exhausted after 1 or 2 reps … here is what happened:
In your muscle, all your ATP stores are out of stock. However, your body starts to convert more ATP on the spot and as fast as possible (4).
It looks at the Creatin Phosphate storage, and it finds it minimal. So your body decides not to convert more ATP.
At this point, it’s very critical if you are still insisting on continuing. You might risk having the weight fall on your chest.
What if you are supplementing with Creatine?
You’ll be surprised that the first two reps were done with ease and not the same struggle as before.
Not only that, you’ll find your body reaching 5 or 6 reps. Well, your body managed to convert an extra ATP for you. And all thanks to Creatine Phosphate which was increased due to Creatine supplementation.
What Else Does Creatine Do?
The moment you decide to supplement with Creatine you’ll notice your muscles are bulking and increasing in size and strength (5).
The first 8 weeks are like that. However, don’t get too excited most of those gains are water gain not 100% muscle gain (6).
Any external Creatine that gets stored inside the muscle cell comes with its water. This volumizes the cell and gives you the pumped look (6,7).
But don’t worry…
This initial water gain will soon become a true muscle gain. Don’t forget that Creatine turns your body into an Anabolic state.
Also, one of the good things about Creatine is that once you decide to stop it!
You will not lose your gains!
How To Take Creatine
There are two ways to supplement with Creatine:
1- The Loading:
This requires to take 20g of Creatine in split doses for 7 days.
After 7 days you supplement 3g – 5g daily. And it’s called the maintenance phase.
Reason Behind This:
To flood the muscle cells with Creatine and thus giving faster conversions of ATP and more results (8).
2- The Normal Way:
This requires to supplement 3g – 5g of Creatine on a daily basis without the loading phase (8, 9)
Choosing this will get you same results as the loading way.
The difference between both is the first one (loading way) gives you initial faster results. Thus, bodybuilders use it when having a competition coming up.
Do You Need To Cycle Creatine?
I’ve read on fa ew forums some recommending to cycle Creatine, which means going on and off every 2 weeks.
The claim is it will maximize the Creatine benefits and thus more muscle gains.
However, this is far from the truth. There is no evidence or any expert that advise cycling Creatine. And it’s ridiculous to see something like this viral online.
The Best Creatine Supplements
You’ll find tons of brands marketing their Creatine package. Some of have high-quality Creatine and rest have rubbish.
If you’re wondering what creatine supplements to take then I highly recommend to stick with:
✓ Creatine Monohydrate – this is the most popularly used creatine supplement, and it should definitely be part of your supplement stack.