In the weightlifting, health, and wellness world, there are countless ways athletes have discovered to increase their gains and leverage workouts to make them more advantageous. Supplementation and increasing certain aspects of one’s diet is a common practice in order to increase protein synthesis, burn fat, and show off that hard earned muscle. Even though most, if not all, supplementation practices prove to be effective in one way or another, there are still many stigmas surrounding supplements that are often associated with sports like bodybuilding. One of these you will hear surrounded by a bad reputation is creatine. From being called a steroid to false associations with damaging your organs, creatine has caught heat for many years. However, this supplement is one of the best and most effective for bodybuilders, powerlifters, or anyone who wants to see an increase in muscle. Today, we want to explain the basics of creatine and why any athlete should be unafraid and should consider adding creatine to their diet.
First and foremost, creatine is a naturally occurring substance. This means that you, as a human, create creatine in your body and also consume it in many different foods. Meat and fish are the primary sources, as creatine is an amino acid. Your liver, pancreas, and kidney also produce creatine, meaning every single person, athlete or not, feels the effects of something that occurs naturally like creatine. Because of its nature as an amino acid, creatine contributes to the function, growth, and repair of your muscles. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which means that creatine is helpful for those who are looking for supplements to increase muscle growth and recovery. Like other amino acid supplements, such as BCAA powders, creatine powders are only a way to augment the production of the already naturally occurring substance. Because of its nature, utilizing a creatine supplement is a building block in faster recovery time after a strenuous workout. Like the aftermath of any physical activity, the body will bounce back faster if it has help, and creatine does that, among many other functions, for muscles.
Creatine has another function apart from its contributions to muscle growth and recovery. When someone is lifting weights or putting strain on their muscles, the muscle needs energy to complete the task at hand effectively. To do this, ATP is necessary. ATP is a nucleotide that is responsible for essentially moving energy between your body’s cells. It is essentially synonymous with the short bursts of energy that are needed for things like exploding out of a squat or finishing a sprint. Creatine is one of the supplements that contributes to an increase in your body’s ATP. During a workout, without ATP and quick release energy working in conjunction with your muscles, anaerobic exercise would end as soon as it begins. Creatine has been shown to aid in ATP generation, which means your body can produce energy more quickly and rapidly. This means you can hang longer in the gym, on the track, or the ice without the fatigue setting in.
Myths Surrounding Creatine
We will cover these more in-depth in another entry, but there are countless myths you will find floating around when it comes to creatine. These include the usual like:
- Creatine is a steroid and will put you on the Barry Bonds track: it is a naturally occurring amino acid, not a synthesized substance.
- Creatine will stunt growth if teenagers take it: teenagers already make creatine naturally, so this might be a bit out there.
- Creatine supplements will cause you to retain water.
These are just a few myths surrounding creatine and utilizing it as a nutritional supplement. Before believing anything your hear or read, do some research to make your own conclusions.
Bulldog Nutrition is a big believer in utilizing nutritional supplements for sports nutrition and muscle building. One of the most common and controversial supplements, creatine, catches a bad name and some folks may be deterred from including it in their diet. We promise, though, that there are numerous benefits that can come from creatine consumption. If you are curious about creatine, protein powders, or any other health and fitness supplements, come to Bulldog Nutrition. We are determined to help the folks in Ontario reach their fitness goals, so stop by one of our six locations or shop online today!