What about the effectiveness of Creatine? I've read that creatine should be taken 30 min before working out to stimulate muscle growth, any truth to this or is it a waste of money. (though its very cheap in comparison to other suppliments)I don't think creatine directly stimulates muscle growth, rather it gives you the ability to a do a bit more anaerobic work (few more reps on your sets or a a bit more weight type of thing), and adds a bit of water weight to the body. The hope is that this indirectly leads to more muscle, but I'm not sure whether this has ever been proven.
Also, it doesn't work for everyone (I for one am a non-responder).
In my opinion, if you're going to insist on using some type of supplement for your gym efforts (in general I don't think supplements are worthwhile), creatine is one of the only things worth getting, provided it works for you.
Your muscles run on a chemical called ATP
, it's like fuel for them. Each muscle cell contains a certain amount of ATP floating around. When you perform anaerobic work, e.g. do a set of weight training, you use up ATP and eventually you'll run out.
ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate
. The triphosphate
part means that it contains 3 groups of phosphate
(the P in ATP). When your muscles use ATP to perform work it releases one phosphate group and becomes ADP
ATP -> ADP + P + Work
Your cells also contain a chemical called phosphocreatine
(PCr) which contains one phosphate group. When ATP loses a phosphate group and becomes ADP the PCr releases its phosphate group and it's added to ADP restoring it to ATP.
ADP + PCr -> ATP + Some other stuff
You can look at ATP as the main gas tank of a car and the PCr as its secondary gas tank. Whenever the gas level in the main tank drops it gets refilled from the secondary tank.
Eventually you will run out of both ATP and PCr and you won't be able to do any more work, e.g. reps during weight training, without taking a break.
Now you will probably have already figured out that phosphocreatine is phosphate + creatine. For reasons I'm not gonna get into it's better to supplement with creatine than directly with PCr.
The theory behind creatine supplementation is that you're maximizing your muscle cells PCr level (filling the secondary fuel tank). If you add too much you will simply pee out the excess amount as creatinase
. If your cells are saturated with PCr then you will always be able to do the maximum amount of reps your muscles can handle and this will, according to the theory, indirectly increase your performance in the long run as your body adapts to the increased load.
You can get creatine from meat and fish (could be more sources, don't remember). Your body even produces about 1 g of creatine per day. This means that if you eat enough meat (or other foods that give you creatine) you will saturate your cells with PCr so additional supplementation with creatine does nothing.
I have no idea what Plastique means with that he's a "non-responder" given how the system works.
A lot of creatine supplements I've seen say you should start with a "loading period" of 5 scoops per day for 5 days or similar. They say this only so that you will empty your container faster. Remember that you will just pee any excess creatine you take.
It doesn't really matter WHEN you take your supplement, as long as you do it every day. Your gas tank won't empty if your engine isn't running.
I'm no expert on the matter though. This information is mostly from an essay in basic biology I did in the Icelandic equivalent of high school almost 10 years ago. I would post it but it's in Icelandic and I doubt you could read it
I'm pretty sure jt512 will correct any errors I have made in my description