Creatine Effects On Performance, Recovery, Muscle Growth & More!
You’ve probably heard a million times about how creatine rocks and you ‘should’ be taking it, but, do you know why? Heck, do you even know if creatine will be of any use to you in your kind of sport/training? In this article, I’ll take you through the major creatine effects, explain which kinds of activities creatine will and won’t work for, and also, explain what you can do to ‘recharge’ creatine’s effects if they begin to wear off.
Let’s cut right to the meat of the issue and establish what kind of activities creatine will work for…
Creatine will only work for anaerobic activities. As someone participating in some kind of training or sport already, I’m sure you are already aware of what anaerobic means, but, for the benefit of those who don’t, ‘anaerobic activity’ basically means explosive, unsustainable effort – such as sprinting, weight lifting, throwing, jumping – I’m sure you get the picture. Any activity which requires a sudden – and short – burst of energy.
ATP is the fuel source of the muscles during anaerobic activity, and, creatine sustains the availability of ATP by donating phosphate to ADP (the by product of used ATP) to make it ATP – available energy – once more.
Now an explanation of the various creatine effects…
- Increased explosive power: Because your muscles now have an increased energy supply, you are going to be capable of generating that much more force during a limited time.
- Increased capacity for volume: Previously, under the same anaerobic conditions, you may have been able to perform only a certain amount of sets or reps with a given weight. You should now be able to perform more reps – still anaerobic – and/or recover quicker in between sets. Basically, it allows you to increase your anaerobic workload.
- Increased muscle recovery: We all know how important recovery is. Well, enhancing the creatine supply in the body makes for more rapid recuperation abilities. This allows more rapid muscle growth, and ensures you are fully rested and recovered in between workouts.
- Increased muscle volume: Separate from the enhanced growth effects creatine has is the volumizing ‘pump’ effect creatine gives its users when they are fully saturated. Some who wish to look bigger in a hurry may count this creatine effect as a desirable one..
What happens if creatine’s effects begin to wear off?
Quite a common phenomenon is the gradual decline in the boost creatine may give you after a certain amount of time. Some people are able to take the same recommended creatine dosage for a long time and swear it still works for them, while others report a gradual decline in its effects.
Although studies as to why this happens are scant, we tend to speculate that the body (which always tries to ‘normalize’ what it deems abnormal chemical processes) begins producing less of its own creatine in order to negate the effects of the supplementation.
Of course, you are then fighting a losing battle. Not only would upping the dosage be taking you into unknown territory, but, it’s going to hit your pockets hard with all the extra creatine you’ll be using. Why do it? You don’t need to.
If you notice a decline in creatine effectiveness, what I recommend you do is follow the creatine cycle. This entails a period of supplementation (done in a specific way) followed by a period of non-supplementation.
It’s believed this cycling gives optimum bang for your buck during the on cycle, and gives enough of a cooling off time to allow the body to normalize its own creatine production once more – so you can go back on creatine again after the cooling off period, and experience its effects in all their glory again.
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