As workout supplements go, creatine has been a reigning champion for quite some time—and for good reason. It brings major benefits. When used in conjunction with resistance training, creatine can help increase muscle strength and mass and enhance overall athletic performance. Here’s how this popular supplement can help you get ripped:
1. POWER UP YOUR PERFORMANCE
If you want to run faster, jump higher or bench heavier loads, creatine can be your best bud. Creatine is a substance made up of three amino acids—methionine, arginine and glycine. You’ve probably heard that it helps boost athletic performance—but how? It comes down to three letters: A, T, P. Creatine helps muscles make and circulate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a compound that releases energy used for muscle contractions, especially during quick and intense anaerobic activities like weightlifting, sprinting or resistance training. ATP fuels your muscles, but only in extremely short bursts. That’s where creatine brings its game. Because it supports ATP production and circulation, adequate muscle creatine supports these blasts of ATP-fueled energy.
2. BOOST YOUR GAINS
The muscle energy production and performance benefits creatine provides can mean major gains for your muscles. Studies show that supplementing with creatine while on a resistance training regimen helps athletes pack on serious mass, as it plays an important role in muscle protein synthesis, particularly in myofibrils (the fibers comprising your muscles). Pairing creatine with carbs may also help your muscles absorb it better. You can try both techniques for superior results.
3. CRANK UP CAPACITY
Some studies show supplementing with creatine may help boost your exercise capacity during a grueling workout—especially in the heat—by helping your cells retain water. Staying hydrated helps you stave off muscle cramps and fatigue, so you can power through those extra sets with intensity. While this is a benefit to taking creatine, you should still be drinking as much water and electrolyte-fortified sports drinks as needed to keep up with the demands of your lifting regimen. Reminder: you need at least eight cups a day—but the more you’re sweating, the more you should be consuming.
For a host of performance benefits, make sure you’re taking creatine effectively. Gradually get your muscles to optimal levels by dosing at least three grams daily, for at least four weeks. You should get the same benefits regardless of what time of day you take it—as long as you keep up with the dosing regimen and stay consistent in the time of day you sup.