T Nation


We all know creatine supplementation will aid strength gains and hypertrophy (besides the 10 extra pounds of water weight, strategicallky placed on your cheeks). However, I doubt most beginners know exactly how CRUCIAL Creatine is - and how much Creatine Supplementation might help (keyword: might).

When one does a set of, say, Pull-ups, your body uses different energy sources according to how long the set lasts before it replenishes these reserves again.

0 - 30 seconds: ATP and/or Phosphate Creatine
30 secs - 5 minutes: Glycogen (Anaerobic Metabolism, which produces lactic acid ultimately impairing and fatiguing the muscle which become overly acidic)
5 mins - forward: Glycogen (Aerobic Metabolism which produces 13 times as much energy using the same Glycogen your muscle used in the previous stage)

The last stage (5 mins forward) is accomplished thanks to Type I fibers (slow twitch) and Type IIA fibers (Fast Oxidative Glycolitic). This is not how long your set should last for maximal strength/hypertrophy gains.
The second stage is exclusively by the Type II fibers (mainly Fast Oxidative Glycolitic since the Fast Glycolitic fibers, or type IIB will be fatigued by now). Submaximal strength gains/hypertrophy will be optimal within this stage, with a set duration of 40-70 seconds according to Poliquin.
Finally, the first stage is accomplished by recruiting mostly Fast Twitch Fibers, in particular the type IIB fibers if the load is close to your 1 rep max. The main energy sourceduring the first 10 seconds will be almost exclusively ATP and/or Creatine - and in most people ATP/Creatine Metabolism will cease completely after 25-30 seconds. This is the best range for Maximal Strength gains.

Supplmenting with Creatine increases Creatine reserves which can be used for the Maximal strength workouts, and thus should last longer, or allow you to lift a little heavier.

Sorry for the long post - I just wanted blab a little, thats all.

thats not entirely accurate.

Creatine Phosphate is not used as a direct source of energy. Creatine phosphate lends a phosphate to Adenosine Diphosphate to form Adenosine Triphosphate which is then used as energy.

I’m with Goldie. Apparently, not even endurance athletes can mobilize fatty acids for aerobic metabolism. I guess we’re all doomed to either maintain or add to our current fat stores.

But is Creatine really that beneficial for newbies and what are posible side-effects?

My GP told me to make sure and not use Creatine since it was bad for you (this guys weighs about 100# wet).



Yes; it has value for people of all ages, training levels, and training modalities. They are also noting health benefits in the elderly.

Creatine has been shown also to increase brain activity in the elderly, and shown to decrease joint pain in some cases, similar to glucosamine supplementation.

I’ve never gained water weight on creatine. If that’s the case, then you aren’t drinking enough water (kinda contradictory, huh). If you get enough water, your body doesn’t think it needs to store it, so you don’t get the traditional bloat associated with it.

Also, I take mine about 20 minutes AFTER a high GI meal, in order to reap the benefits of insulin spike shuttling creatine to muscles. I know I’ve had the creatine shits before, and they suck.

My advice to newbies has always been this – forget the creatine FOR NOW. Get to training, give it two years, and if you’ve plateaued, then kick in the creatine. Might be just what’s needed to break the plateau.