How Effective is Creatine for Building Muscle Mass?

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question-icon-newA lot of guys at the gym that I workout with say they are taking creatine supplements and they all love it. They say they are packing on muscle and getting a lot stronger. I have also noticed that many of them look bigger and they are all lifting much more weight than me. I was thinking I might go out and buy some supplements since I want to pack on muscle and gain weight. I was wondering if creatine actually works and if there are any specific supplements you recommend.

answer-icon-newCreatine has been used as a strength training and athletic supplement since 1992 and is the world’s most popular bodybuilding supplement. It’s important that you remember that our bodies already produce creatine naturally and over 95 percent of creatine is found in our muscles. The main function of creatine is to provide our muscles with more energy. This energy is called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and it is important to understand that ATP is essentially the fuel that the human body recognizes. More energy means that our muscles can contract harder therefore our body must adapt to the greater amount of stress that we put it through. The more stress we place on our muscles (during a weight training workout), the bigger our muscles will grow.

Benefits of Taking a Creatine Supplement:

  • Enhances Muscle Recovery. Muscle fibers are broken down after working out and need to be repaired in order to grow.
  • Super Hydrates The Muscle. Saturates cells and increases water retention which makes the muscle appear larger through a volumization effect.
  • Improves Protein Synthesis. Process in which cells build proteins so the more protein synthesized into the muscle, the larger it will become.
  • Extra Supply of Energy. The biggest advantage of creatine is having an extra supply of energy to get through a few more intense sets. More sets equals more stimulation to your muscles which equals more muscle growth!

Different Types of Creatine
There are many different types of creatine on the market and this makes it even more confusing on which one to choose when picking a creatine supplement. Some of the different types include:

  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Micronized Creatine
  • Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE)
  • Creatine Serum
  • Effervescent Creatine
  • Creatine Citrate
  • Tri & Di Creatine Malate
  • Creatine Kre-Alkalyn
  • Creatine Orate

Which Type of Creatine To Take
I recommend either basic creatine monohydrate or creatine ethyl ester (CEE). Creatine monohydrate is very inexpensive and provides great results. For a little more money, choose the creatine ethyl ester (CEE) supplements since much more is absorbed into the muscle. Go to your local supplement store and ask the salesperson about which types they carry to get more information. Many of the sales reps at bigger chain stores like Vitamin Shoppe are very knowledgeable and will able to point you in the right direction.

Remember that creatine has a volumizing effect which means it makes the muscle hold more water. More water retention will cause you to look more bloated and soft so you will probably lose some definition when supplementing with creatine. Since it sounds like you want to bulk up and get bigger, this should not be an issue for you. If you start having issues with bloating too much on creatine monohydrate, then switch over to creatine ethyl ester since it’s a much more absorbable form and you will have less water retention and bloat from it.

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