For anybody out there looking to build muscle, burn fat, tone up, and just generally build themselves an aesthetic physique to be proud of, bodybuilding/health supplements are incredibly useful tools to have at your disposal.
The main issue that people tend to have with these supplements, however, is that they simply don’t quite know how to use them correctly, or they may expect too much from them.
For example, you may lift all the weights you like, and follow a routine similar to that of an IFBB pro, but if your diet just downright sucks, no amount of bodybuilding supplements is ever going to transform your physique in the way that you may have hoped.
If, however, you follow a sensible training program, alongside a balanced, healthy diet rich in natural goodness, these supplements will then be able to provide you with the tools necessary to take your physique to the next level.
In terms of popularity, whey protein is the number 1 best-selling supplement in the bodybuilding and fitness community, closely followed by creatine monohydrate.
It’s creatine monohydrate we’ll be concentrating on in this article, by taking an in-depth look at what it is, why it’s beneficial, plus a few potential downsides associated with it.
So, what is creatine monohydrate?
without any further beating around the bush, let’s get started.
What is Creatine Monohydrate?
Creatine monohydrate is a naturally occurring amino acid compound that is actually found naturally within our own bodies, as well as in various meats and seafood.
Our bodies are able to naturally synthesize creatine, and whilst beneficial, the amounts were able to naturally produce are unfortunately too low to be of any real noticeable benefit.
When we produce or ingest creatine, it is stored in our muscles and used to help generate ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) which is a primary source of energy for the muscles.
In our bodies, it is naturally synthesized within our liver, our kidneys, and even our pancreas.
You may be wondering why creatine monohydrate supplements are so popular, if we already produce creatine anyways.
Well, as mentioned, the amount we produce isn’t enough to be of any real benefit when it comes to athletic performance, hence the need for the powdered supplement form of this amino acid instead.
Here’s a look at a few of the main benefits associated with using creatine monohydrate:
Increased Muscle Mass
Unlike Whey protein, creatine monohydrate doesn’t actually help the body to generate new muscle tissue internally.
Instead, what it does is help you to build muscle by supplying your muscles with extra energy.
As mentioned, creatine plays a key role in the production of natural ATP, which is a primary source of energy for the muscles.
The more ATP the cells in our muscles can absorb, the harder our muscles can work, and the longer they can work before we begin to fatigue.
Obviously, if you’re able to increase your workout intensity along with the productiveness of your workouts, you will get much more effective workouts in, which will translate into an increase in muscle mass.
Enhanced Athletic Performance
Another benefit of creatine monohydrate is the fact that it has also been found to improve and enhance athletic performance.
This is especially beneficial for sports and activities in which you need to utilize explosive power, sprinting for example.
The energy provided will recruit more fast-twitch muscle fibers, allowing you to generate more explosive power.
This is also beneficial for strength training purposes where these same muscle fibers will need to be recruited.
The Olympic lifts are prime examples.
Improved Muscle Pumps
Creatine monohydrate is also extremely beneficial for creating improved muscle pumps during and after a workout.
This happens for two reasons.
The first is the fact that as it allows the cells in your muscles to absorb more nutrients, including water, the cell volume actually increases, causing them to swell up and expand in size, which in turn makes your muscles look much fuller and larger.
The second reason for this is that creatine leads to higher concentrations of glycogen, which is another primary source of energy for the muscles.
Although muscle pumps quickly wear off and offer little physical benefits, the psychological benefits can be huge as seeing yourself pumped and vascular during and after a workout will boost your motivation and self-confidence levels, meaning you will continue to push yourself even further.
How About a Few Downsides To Creatine?
Whilst creatine monohydrate is extremely beneficial and popular, there are still a few issues for some users to contend with.
Most people who use creatine supplements will benefit in numerous ways, including the examples listed previously.
Some people, however, are what is known as “creatine non-responders” which basically means that their bodies simply do not respond to the creatine at all, making using the supplements pointless.
Loading Phase Issues
When a person begins using creatine, they are advised to perform a “loading phase” in which they will have 5 times the regular amount for 5 days, in order to saturate the muscles with creatine.
Some experts, however, have deemed this a waste of time and have pointed out that there is no evidence pointing to the fact that a loading phase is necessary at all.
Other people will swear that it’s vital, however, so who do you trust?
Well, that’s the problem as opinions are so mixed.
If you’re still unsure about Creatine, we’d suggest trying everything you can to maximise your testosterone and energy levels through dietary means. Need help? Check out this additional source from anabolic health.com.
About the Author
My Name is Reda El, entrepreneur, and fitness fanatic for 8 years, and also BJJ blue Belt, I’ve gathered both my experience and the information I’ve read throughout these years on my website. Feel free to check my article about how to increase testosterone naturally.
Great post, really informative.
I think creatine should be one of the staples of any bodybuilders supplement list!
Sorry I’m so late replying to you. I’m sure the author will be delighted with your kind words. Certainly in my own case I’ve found creatine to be very beneficial. Be it in supplement or meat form
Great article. Creatine has many benefits. Especially when it comes to bodybuilding. Creatine is really useful for energy and strength. And yes creatine is safe and effective. A cup of creatine before the workout can charge you to push more. If you really serious about bodybuilding then you can also add BCCA supplement like RAD-140 in your diet.
Hi Jack, thanks so much for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed it, I’m sure the author will be happy! As you say, creatine can make a real difference in the gym