Not only does creatine allow you to have more energy to help lift heavier weights, train harder and at higher intensity, but it also has other benefits to the bodybuilder. It has been demonstrated that creatine may also promote muscle growth by stimulating protein synthesis in two ways. Firstly, is from the increased work you are able to do as a result of the above actions. Secondly is that the more CP that is stored in muscle, the more water is drawn into muscle and makes it fuller and stronger. More CP and water in muscle, the volume of the muscle increases, and the muscle cell and is known as 'volumised' or 'super-hydrated'. A volumised muscle helps to trigger protein synthesis, minimise protein breakdown and increase glycogen synthesis (Haussinger 1996; 1996). If a muscle is then trained properly, this could lead to enhanced muscle growth.
A muscle 'pump', as you know, is a desired effect sought by bodybuilders during training where blood rushes to the muscle and it is worked. The 'pump' experienced when using creatine is reported to be much more intense, and this is as a result of the cell volumising effect.
Creatine may also act as a lactic acid buffer and improve exercise recovery time. Lactic acid is produced as a bi-product during anaerobic (without oxygen) exercise, such as weight training. Lactic acid is responsible for the 'burning' sensation when the muscle becomes fatigued. When you cannot train anymore, it is due to you either having run out of energy or a build up of lactic acid. Creatine may act as a buffer for this lactic acid, which helps to delay the onset of fatigue.
Most users experience notable weight increases when they commence a course of creatine, up to six or seven pounds (about three kilograms), especially during the first time they use it. Most of this weight gain is from the cell volumising effect, but this is not water retention, rather water drawn into the muscle from outside it. The cell volumising weight gain of creatine is therefore not permanent.
Some of the weight gain is from an increase in muscle tissue, and not just water, due to the positive effects of creatine. Studies have shown that creatine supplemented subjects significantly gained more lean body mass than non-creatine-supplemented individuals, but total body water was no different from before and after the study (Kreider; et al 1995; 1996). Most size and strength gains from creatine are during the first month of its use.
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