Creatine is involved in the phosphagen energy system, in the regeneration of ATP during short-term, high intensity activities. Creatine exists as both free form creatine and phosphocreatine in the body. Phosphocreatine functions as a storage molecule of energy during exercise.
Phosphocreatine functions to replenish ATP in muscles that are rapidly contracting by transferring a phosphate group to the ADP that was formed from the hydrolysis of ATP for energy in the contracting muscle. When our muscles run out of creatine, our short-term anaerobic energy system shuts down and our muscles can no longer perform optimally.
From decades of research and hundreds of studies, there are several benefits to creatine monohydrate including:
- Increased muscle levels of creatine
- Increased work capacity and improved training
- Greater increases in lean body mass
How to Use Creatine:
The entire goal of creatine supplementation is to saturate muscles stores with creatine. There are two primary way to achieve saturation:
Pre-Loading Method: Take approximately 20 grams of creatine monohydrate per day for 5-7 days, followed by a ‘maintenance dosage’ of 3-5 g/day thereafter.
Steady Load Method: Take 3-5g of creatine monohydrate per day. Saturation is typically achieved within 30 days.
Timing is not really critical with creatine supplementation, but the science suggests that there may be a slightly higher benefit to taking creatine after your workout.