One of the biggest questions people ask me is, “what is the best kind of protein powder?”. This is a tough question to answer because there are many different types of protein powders that work in different ways.
Creatine is a compound in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that helps your body to produce energy. ATP is a phosphate molecule high in energy; it is the primary energy source used by the cells within your body and helps fuel the contraction of the muscle. Your body generates creatine in the liver before transporting around 95 to 98% of it to your skeletal muscles where it is stored for use, with the remaining 2 to 5% being stored in the heart, brain and testes. The amount of creatine stored within your body varies depending on your weight and muscle mass. A 160-pound person would have on average approximately 120 grams of creatine stored in their body.Once your body has finished with creatine it converts it into a waste product referred to as creatinine, where it can be passed in urine.
Various studies that imploved fitness experts over the years suggest creatine can enhance training performance in high-power, short-duration physical activities such as resistance training and sprinting, by increasing the production of ATP (as mentioned, the primary energy source within your cells) . Your body gets energy very quickly from an ATP reaction, compared to energy from carbohydrates and fats that take longer to convert into a usable energy source. Research that is more recent also suggests it can improve stamina and endurance, with many football teams sports nutritionists now believed to be recommending it to the players.
Creatine's been shown to reduce lactic acid build up; the energy waste product that actually causes your muscles to tire, and therefore delays the onset of muscle fatigue. It achieves this by joining with a hydrogen ion to help delay the build-up of lactic acid; however, more research needs performing in this area to confirm the theory.
Studies have also shown that creatine can increase muscle mass, this may be because of the extra weight it allows you to lift, or partly because it attracts water to the muscles. This may result in dehydration as the waters drawn away from other areas of your body. The plus side of this is that creatine can provide increased muscle pumps when lifting which to some can lead to additional motivation whilst training. Some evidence exists that indicates creatine can help your body into a more anabolic state where protein synthesis can occur. This could be another reason for increased muscle mass, the more protein synthesis , the more muscle gained.
In summary of the above points, the main theory proven behind creatine is the additional energy it can produce. The other points are valid, nonetheless still hotly debated. Although increased energy leads to increased weight and number of repetitions, which with adequate diet and nutrition leads to improved strength and increased muscle mass. Creatine is no wonder drug; however, it will enable you to push yourself that little bit harder which in itself can make a big difference to improved performance and results.
This then leads us onto supplementation, and whether the approximate 120 grams stored in your body is enough? Creatine does occur naturally in your body from L-arginine, L-glycine and L-methionine, which are amino acids mainly located in animal protein. You will also find small quantities of it in red meats and fish, although once cooked much of it tends to disappear. For creatine to enter your muscles efficiently, insulin is required, therefore consuming creatine alongside some form of carbohydrates may increase the amount of creatine available to your muscles. The more you train and exercise , the more creatine you will burn, and the amount supplied to your muscles not limitless.There is between 3.5 and 4 grams of creatine per kilogram of muscle in the average human being, once it is all used up then fatigue starts to set in.