Creatine is one of the cheapest and most effective muscle building supplements available, so whether you’re trying to bulk up on a budget or looking to find the ideal range of supplements to go along with your workout programme, knowing how to get the most out of creatine makes a lot of sense for anybody with an interest in bodybuilding.
We’ve already talked about the basics of creatine and how it improves your athletic performance here, and it’s useful to read for an overview of what it is and some of the ways it can help. But creatine also has some great properties we didn’t touch on that make it an ideal supplement for bodybuilding, so here we’ll explain how it can help in a bit more depth.
A lot of the strength training exercises bodybuilders do to increase mass tend to involve reps and sets, exercises that stop and start in quick succession in order to overload groups of muscles and increase their strength, size, and endurance. These sorts of activities rely on your body’s CP-ATP system - the way in which creatine phosphate (CP) is broken down into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the muscles.
While CP and ATP are both stored in your muscles, they can only use the chemical energy contained in its ATP form. Whenever you contract your muscles the CP is broken down, releasing a large amount of energy which allows it to resynthesise as ATP and become available as fuel for the muscle. Usually the stores of CP and ATP are quite low, meaning they get exhausted fairly quickly and are most useful for giving you a quick burst of energy rather than helping to sustain your workout, but by supplementing your creatine intake you can dramatically increase the concentration of CP in your muscles. Simply put, you’ll find it easier to do more before your muscles start to feel overwhelmed.
Creatine is an osmotically active substance and when it is stored in your muscles it pulls water in from your bloodstream. Essentially it makes sure your muscles are well hydrated. This provides two other key benefits for bodybuilders - one physiological, one psychological. Well hydrated cells tend to be more metabolically active and they will appear to be bigger. You’ll have more energy available to burn fat, which in turn makes your muscles look more defined. At the same time, the extra hydration causes a volumizing effect that makes them look bigger. Particularly when you start using creatine supplements you’ll see more muscle pumps at the end of each workout, and - even though they don’t help you increase your muscle mass on their own - they can really help to motivate you to get back to your workout and do it all over again the next day.
When you’re trying to build up your muscle mass, more workouts are the best way to hit that goal. With creatine supplements you’ll be able to train more often and for longer periods, stimulating the muscles more frequently and allowing you to see those gains quicker. If you do decide to start taking creatine supplements to help boost your bodybuilding, keep your eyes on this site to find even more ways to get the most out of your supplements.