The short answer, yes!
Creatine is known to improve strength, increase lean muscle mass, and help our lean muscle mass recover more quickly during and after our exercise routines.
The boost that is given to our muscles has been found to help athletes achieve bigger and better bursts of speed, while also adding energy. This is especially true during short hours of high-intensity activities, such as weight lifting or sprinting.
More on muscles and energy
Real quick! Did you know that around 90% of our body’s creatine deposits are stored within our skeletal muscles?
We also cannot forget that all living cells need energy, and more than any other cells, our muscles cells require the use of large amounts of energy when in active use.
(This includes almost any physical activity, but larger amounts of energy are used during weightlifting, sprinting and high intensity interval training)
When we take creatine it helps us make this energy more readily available for our body’s use.
How does creatine make you feel?
Creatine is the supplement, (as you have learned thus far), that’s often taken by bodybuilders, or those who are just trying to bulk up their muscles, and work on training harder for an athletic event.
This is because your creatine supplement can cause rapid weight water gain because the supplement draws water into your muscles cells.
So, your muscles will then hold onto this water which is the cause of your bloating or excess puffiness in areas such as: your arms, legs, or stomach. Your muscles will then also appear bigger, (yay, tiny win), even if you have just started working out.
With older adults, (this information was in an article published on Men’s Health online), there seems to be an improvement in upper body strength and lower body strength.
This rings true for younger adults after several analyses were taken from various studies on this topic. Creatine has also been known and shown to improve an athletes performance in sports or activities such as; soccer, jumping height, and rowing.
Why or why not?
So, why does taking a creatine supplement supply us with energy? It’s because creatine increases the body’s ability to produce energy rapidly. Creatine naturally exists in our bodies and it helps fuel our muscles.
This is why some people, (as previously mentioned bodybuilders and athletes), take it as a supplement to boost their overall performance in the gym while training and working out.
Also, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus, (a trusted health information site), creatine is rated as one of the most, “possibly effective” when
it comes to improving muscle strength. Men’s Health nutrition advisor, Michael Roussell Ph.D says to take 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, (which is a form of creatine), with your workout shake to help yourself achieve and get bigger and stronger muscles.
Food that can also help you build up on creatine include: salmon, beef, and pork. Creatine also isn’t something that you have to wait awhile to see if it is going to be a positive change for you.
You should know and see your results within a week. If you notice that your training volume increases, then it’s working. But, if you haven’t noticed, then unfortunately you are a nonresponder, and taking more of it just isn’t going to benefit you.
Paul Greenhaff Ph.D, and professor of muscle metabolism at the University of Nottingham in England shares that “Only when combined with exercise does it improve the quality of training”. His final food for thought? “You still have to do the work.”
More on why
In information sourced from WebMD, creatine is a natural substance that turns into creatine phosphate in our bodies.
This creatine phosphate then helps our body make a substance called adenosine triphosphate or ATP, and ATP provides the body for muscle contractions.
The WebMD article also further explains that our body produces some of the creatine it uses, and as mentioned in the Men’s Health article, it also comes from protein-rich foods. Those would be meat and fish.
Creatine’s role in the ATP production, (it’s a predominately direct one) means that it can then drastically improve high-intensity exercise performance writes Rudy Mawar, MSc, and CISSN wrote for Healthline, which was also medically reviewed by Atli Arnadson BSc, PhD. Creatine can also improve other numerous and important factors. Those include:
- Strength: By the numbers, when creatine is added into your training routine, strength increased by 8%, weightlifting performances increased 14%, and bench press one-rep max by up to 43%, when compared to training alone.
- Brain Performance: Results have shown that brain creatine levels correlate with reduced mental fatigue, and improved recondition memory.
- Muscle Mass: Creatine helps improve overall lean muscle mass. Research in the athletic community shows that supplementing with creatine can in turn double your strength and lean muscle gains when compared to training alone.
- Recovery: Adding in a creatine supplement to your daily routine had also been shown to help muscles recover more quickly during those intense exercises.
- Ballistic Power: Which is also known as ballistic training, and involves throwing weights, and jumping with weights in order to increase explosive power. The intention of ballistic training and exercise is to maximize the acceleration phase of an object’s movement, and in return to minimize the deceleration phase.
- Sprint Ability: Again, Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN, wrote for Healthline, that creatine was shown to significantly reduce the time needed to complete 40-meter sprints. Another study found a 3.7% improvement in cycling power after a 4-day creatine load.
- Muscle Endurance: In conjunction with high intensity exercise, creatine can improve by up to 15%. Using creatine as a supplement while doing low intensity exercises has not been found to show any improvements in those areas.
- Resistance To Fatigue: In a study compared to those who hadn’t taken creatine, volunteers found themselves resistant to fatigue.