Building lean muscle is the ultimate goal of the bodybuilder. Lean muscle, for those unsure, is muscle gain with the absence of fat – something which takes precision in dieting, and particularly intense training sessions.
Creatine is a very useful supplement for those seeking to maximize their lean muscle mass gains. Creatine is probably the biggest supplement alongside protein, and its users swear by the benefits it provides them with. But, what is creatine, what are the benefits, and how does it work?
What is Creatine… and how does it work?
Creatine is a naturally occurring nitrogenous acid our bodies manufacture. We can boost our creatine production by eating things such as fish and beef. But, athletes – bodybuilders in particular – have long used concentrated creatine powder supplements to enhance their performance with brilliant results.
Probably the biggest misconception about creatine is that it is energy. Creatine is not energy – but it facilitates the transportation of energy into the muscles by boosting production of ATP. With a greater abundance of ATP, we receive greater benefits…
The benefits of Creatine…
The first thing people notice when they begin using creatine is their ability to feel more ‘up for’ their training sessions. Secondly, they will notice they can lift greater volumes of weight during their session and are less susceptible to muscular failure. Of course, the ability to get more out of the muscles before the fibres fatigue leads to a deeper fibre break down, which can only mean a greater potential for growth once the muscle rebuilds.
Muscles also recover more quickly during rest periods in between sets, boosting the intensity of the session – and it’s well known that high intensity session are where the real muscle growth is at.
Creatine also has a few other effects of particular interest to bodybuilders…
Creatine enhances the pump of the muscle during workout, and also creates the appearance of bigger muscles when not training. This is partly to do with increased glycogen in the muscles, but mostly due to water retention. Many trainees report incredible growth from creatine within just a week, but this really isn’t muscle mass – and is the water retention phenomenon at play.
Some people use creatine constantly, while others use it in cycles of a few months on and a few months off.
If you are looking to get more out of your muscles and greater growth, I highly recommend you give creatine monohydrate a go for a few months and see how it works for you. It’s of particular use to those who feel a little sluggish during workouts, also.