Few sports supplements have been more intensely researched in recent years than creatine monohydrate . Already this year, significant findings on this amazing supplement have been pub-lished in leading scientific journals – findings that can help you achieve that ultimate physique. Before I share those findings with you, here’s some background information on how creatine works.
Inside muscle cells, creatine helps produce and circulate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy-producing molecule of all living cells. By taking supplemen-tal creatine, you can build the volume of creatine in your muscle cells. Inside cells, creatine increases levels of a high-energy compound called creatine phosphate, which serves as a tiny fuel reserve, enough for several seconds of action. Creatine phosphate also allows more rapid production of ATP. The more ATP that is available to muscle cells, the longer, harder, and more powerfully you can work out. Thus, creatine can indirectly help you lose body fat, since longer, more intense workouts help demolish fat and build lean muscle. The more muscle you have, the more efficient your body is at using energy and burning body fat. Additionally, in many studies, creatine has been found to affect protein synthesis – which ultimately leads to muscle growth.1 Now, here’s a look at some creatine news you can use:Build Bigger Arms If you’re familiar with the Parrillo Train-ing Program, you know that I recommend some very specific techniques for building arm mass.
Exercises such as drag curls for the biceps, preacher curls with elbows pressed toward the center of the pad, vari-ous triceps exercises, and, of course, fascial stretching between arms sets. In addition to these training techniques, make sure you’re supplementing with creatine. A recent study found that supplementation with creatine monohydrate produced remarkable ef-fects on arm mass. In this study, 23 male weight-trainers took either a placebo, or five grams of creatine, four times a day, for five days. After five days, they took two grams of creatine a day, while the other group continued to take the placebo. All the men trained their arms twice a week, starting with six-rep maximums and progressing to two-rep maximums. The experimental period lasted six weeks. At the end of six weeks, the creatine-takers experienced ex-traordinary gains. Combined with weight training, creatine supplementation produced greater arm strength, boosted muscle mass, and increased upper arm girth . Those in the placebo group had no such gains whatsoever, even though they were exercising.2Creatine can indirectly help you lose body fat, since longer, more intense workouts help demolish fat and build lean muscle.
The more muscle you have, the more efficient your body is at using en-ergy and burning body fat.Aerobic Power The ability to train longer without feel-ing pooped is certainly a plus when you’re trying to build quality muscle. Time and again, creatine has proven its merit in de-laying the onset of fatigue. One of the most recent studies to look into this involved 14 men who were tested on stationary bicycles at varying levels of exercise intensity after having supplemented with 20 grams of creatine daily for five days. Half the group took a placebo. Some interesting effects were observed in the creatine-supplement takers. First, creatine appeared to decrease ammonia build-up in the body. This is significant. Ammonia is a waste product generated during intense exercise. It is very toxic and will stop energy production in the cell. When your body can eliminate it efficiently, you have more energy to train. Creatine may help the body clear ammonia from the system. Second, creatine enhanced “oxygen uptake.” This represents your body’s maximum capability to deliver oxygen to the working muscles. With greater oxygen delivery, you can increase your aerobic performance.
Third, the creatine-supplement takers had more endurance and could train longer before becoming tired.3More get-up and Go It’s a fact of life: Some people just naturally slow down physically with age and can’t last as long in the gym as their younger counterparts. Creatine to the rescue. In a re-cent study, twenty men (aged 60 to 82) took either a placebo or 20 grams of creatine daily for 10 days, followed by either four grams of creatine or a placebo daily for 20 days. Researchers measured the subjects’ exercise performance on leg and arm exercises and found that creatine supplementation reduced muscle fatigue.4 How to Supplement With Creatine Probably no other sports supplement (to date) has been as thoroughly researched as creatine. In addition to its performance advantages, creatine has virtually no side effects according to research. Building the levels of creatine and cre-atine phosphate in your muscles gives you another fuel source in addition to glycogen from carbohydrates. The question is, how much creatine do you need? To use creatine in your supplement program, I recommend taking four 5-gram doses a day for five days. This is known as the “loading phase.” From there, five to ten grams a day will keep your muscles saturated with enough extra creatine.
This period is called the “maintenance phase.” One of the best times to supplement with creatine is with your meals. That way, you can load it into your muscles at just the right time to start replenishing muscular reserves and restocking ATP. Taking it after your workout is a good idea too. Creatine enhances the movement of amino acids in cells for tissue growth and repair following exercise. Creatine has no flavor, and you can mix it with plain water or a sports drink. Coffee is not a good choice. Research shows caffeine counteracts creatine and blocks its strength-producing benefits. I recommend that you take the Parrillo Creatine Mono-hydrate™ with our ProCarb Formula™. Scientific research shows that taking cre-atine with a liquid carbohydrate supplement boosts the amount of creatine accumulated in muscles by as much as 60 percent.5 This is not to say, however, that taking Creatine with an exorbanent amount of sugars would be beneficial. It would not. Diet is critical too. To support muscle growth, creatine works best if you follow the Parrillo Nutrition Program™, which supplies ample calories from the proper categories of lean proteins and natural, high-fiber carbohydrates.
1. Kreider, R.B. 1999. Dietary supplements and the promotion of muscle growth with resistance exercise. Sports Medicine 27: 97-110 .
2. Becque, M.D., et al. 2000. Effects of oral creatine supplementation on muscular strength and body composition. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 32: 654-658 .
3. Rico-Sanz, J., et al. 2000. Creatine en-hances oxygen uptake and performance during alternating intensity exercise. Medi-cine and Science in Sports and Exercise 32: 379-385 .
4. Rawson, E.S., et al. 1999. Effects of 30 days of creatine ingestion in older men. European Journal of Applied Physiology 80: 139-144 .
5. Editor. 1994. The promise of creatine supplements. Penn State Sports Medicine Newsletter, January, 1-3.