Creatine is one of the most researched ingredients in sports nutrition. Learn what makes it so popular and why we think it's a must-have in your supplement stack.
MuscleTech Staff
MuscleTech Staff
Drinking creatine

When it comes to building muscle mass, we all know about the benefits of protein. But, there’s another tried-and-true supplement that has caught the world by storm over the last few decades.

This is a compound that’s been proven in study after study, time and time again, to be safe and effective at helping fitness enthusiasts and athletes around the world gain muscle performance, muscle mass and muscle strength.  

We’re talking about creatine.

Once hotly debated, creatine supplements are now legal in professional sports, college sports and major global sporting events. There are literally hundreds of studies behind this amazing ingredient and what it does, especially in the most common form, the granddaddy of creatines: creatine monohydrate. Arguably one of the most researched performance-enhancing ingredients in the history of sports nutrition, creatine has been studied in various populations over the years, including in trained athletes and untrained individuals, as well as in men and women. Research shows that creatine in conjunction with proper training, can support improved muscle energetics and adaptation to exercise, helping you sculpt improved lean muscle and build muscle strength. With creatine you will be able to improve various aspects of athletic capacity, and reduce muscle fatigue, especially during repetitive bouts of brief, highly intense physical activity such as jumping, sprinting, cycling, and swimming. 

Why Take Creatine?

Our bodies naturally produce creatine daily. Plus, depending on your diet, you can get creatine in foods such as meat and fish. So, why is a creatine supplement the right addition to your musclebuilding stack? Well, research shows that we can benefit from supplementing with creatine in amounts that’ll help maximize the levels within our muscles. 

What’s more, to get creatine naturally from foods in a clinically validated dose, you’d have to eat copious amounts of meat or fish daily. In fact, you’d need to eat over 2 lbs. of beef or salmon to get a clinically studied dose of creatine. That can get expensive really quick, not to mention all the unwanted fat and cholesterol associated with high red meat consumption. 

By comparison, a creatine supplement can easily and conveniently provide anywhere from 3g up to 20g of creatine daily. Research shows that taking 3g of creatine daily for up to one month can saturate your muscles with creatine, whereas taking up to 20g daily will saturate your muscles in approximately one week.

Supporting Your Muscles at the Molecular Level

Once your muscles are replete with creatine, some amazing things happen, including right down to the molecular level within your cells. The main mechanism by which creatine has been shown to work is by helping your muscles replenish their key energy supply, called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), during short bursts of intense workout exercises, like deadlifts, bench presses, squats, or other forms of heavy-duty resistance training. You’ll find that this allows you to push out more repetitions without succumbing to the typical fatigue that leads to premature muscle failure. This will eventually translate to you upping your workout tally and increasing your 1-rep maximum lifts over time.

Besides the improvement in strength, power and performance that you’ll experience in the gym, you may even feel your muscle bellies getting pumped up or feeling satisfyingly full. That’s because research shows that creatine causes muscle cells to absorb and hold onto more water, essentially causing your muscles to become hyperhydrated. You may even notice some weight gain when stepping on the scale during your first few days of creatine use. Unfortunately, many people have misconstrued this mass gain as just useless water weight, but researchers have busted that “bro science” myth. In fact, research has gone on to show that when muscle cells are hyperhydrated, they respond with an increase in signaling molecules in the cells which have been implicated with such things as protein synthesis in response to training.  In fact, in a study sponsored by Team MuscleTech Research and Development, researchers sought to uncover some of the mechanisms by which creatine works. They showed that short-term creatine supplementation in healthy young men was able to activate specific genes in skeletal muscle that are involved in various aspects of sensing cellular hydration, as well as protein and glycogen synthesis and muscle recovery.

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