Creatine is one of the most popular sports performance supplements on the market and can often be found in many pre-workout products. Many athletes take creatine to build more muscle mass and improve athletic performance.
But does creatine actually give you energy for your workout? This article will explore if creatine can give you energy, how creatine works in the body, the benefits of creatine for athletic performance, as well as the benefits of creatine for brain health.
What is Creatine?
Before delving into the details of the many benefits of creatine, it's important to understand what creatine is.
Creatine monohydrate is an amino acid natural substance that is found in foods and naturally within the body's muscle cells. It is derived from amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Most of the body's creatine is stored within skeletal muscle. Creatine supplements can help optimize the amount of creatine stored in the muscles, brain, kidneys, and liver.
Creatine monohydrate is one form of creatine, although there are a few forms available in supplement form.
Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation is very popular as it has been effective at increasing muscle mass, improving muscle strength, and providing more energy during workouts.
In fact, creatine is the most popular dietary supplement available in the sports nutrition world. There has been significant research and many randomized clinical trials to support the use and efficacy of creatine supplements.
Does Creatine Give You Energy?
Creatine supplements provide energy for your muscle tissue to allow for a boost in strength and exercise performance. Evidence suggests that creatine increases water in muscle cells which may play a role in muscle growth and the development of lean muscle mass.
However, despite its presence in many pre-workout products, creatine supplements do not give you mental energy like other supplements, such as caffeine does .
Creatine does give you energy, it's just a different kind of energy than caffeine. If you are looking for a supplement that gives you an energy boost and enhances performance, taking a creatine supplement is definitely an appropriate choice.
But if you are looking for something to make you more mentally alert and motivated, taking creatine may not be your best bet and you might consider caffeine or something else.
How Does Creatine Work in the Body?
Creatine is a natural compound found mainly in your body's muscle tissue. Taking creatine supplements helps provide energy so that muscle fibers contract and can help improve overall muscle strength, muscle performance, and muscle mass.
Once someone consumes creatine, it is then converted to creatine phosphate and then stored in the muscles to later be used for energy.
Your muscles use creatine to create energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The more saturated your muscles are with creatine, the more ATP is produced for high-intensity exercise. This means you can do more reps with higher weight before hitting exhaustion. The more reps you are able to do, the better potential people have to build muscle.
While your body makes creatine on its own, you can also obtain it from protein foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Most people consume roughly 1-2 grams of creatine daily through diet alone.
However, regardless of consuming protein-rich foods, eating a balanced diet, muscle creatine stores are typically not completely saturated. In fact, most people have about 60-80% saturation. By taking a creatine supplement, people are able to fully saturate their body's creatine stores and therefore boost athletic performance. Creatine supplements increase muscle creatine levels by an additional 20-40%, which provides a significant boost in available energy for exercise.
Why Do Athletes Take Creatine?
Creatine supplements are one of the most popular nutritional supplements on the market. Creatine is a natural performance-enhancing supplement for athletes because it has been proven through extensive research to effectively improve performance in the gym, increases exercise capacity, and boost lean body mass during training .
Most athletes are looking to improve their body composition and boost muscle mass, which is one of the biggest reasons that athletes take creatine.
Plus, creatine may even improve post-exercise recovery and help to prevent and even manage injuries.
Creatine is one of the most extensively studied and clinically effective performance-enhancing supplements which gives athletes a piece of mind that they will get results without worrying about potential health complications.
What are the Benefits of Creatine?
There are many benefits to creatine supplements including boosting high-intensity exercise capacity, increasing muscle mass during training, assisting in post-exercise recovery, and enhancing cognitive function. The following sections will further detail some of the benefits and positive effects of creatine.
High-Intensity Exercise Performance
Creatine supplements play a significant role in producing ATP, which is what is responsible for its potent boost in performance. Creatine can improve athletic performance in a variety of ways including increasing strength, muscle endurance, resistance to fatigue, and ballistic powder.
High intensity exercise is especially enhanced when athletes incorporate creatine into their daily dietary supplements.
Taking creatine can increase muscle mass which is one of the most prominent reasons for athletic creatine intake. Because of the additional ATP production from creatine supplementation, exercise performance is improved and therefore results are enhanced, specifically muscle growth.
Creatine supplements also support a variety of functions that lead to new muscle growth, including raising the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which is a hormone that promotes the production of new muscle tissue.
Creatine benefits extend beyond just improving performance at the gym. Creatine consumption may also be helpful for those looking to improve post-exercise recovery.
Studies have found that creatine supplementation may help decrease recovery time between bouts of intense exercise by mitigating muscle damage and speeding the healing of muscle fibers. This can prevent potential injuries and further improve performance and results.
Aside from targeting muscle function, creatine supplements may also provide improvements in brain performance. Creatine plays an essential role in brain health and can boost ATP levels available to brain cells, which is helpful while trying to complete difficult tasks.
Just like taking creatine gives energy to our muscles to perform at a higher capacity, it does the same for our brains . Some people find that when they take creatine they can think faster, clearer, and have overall better brain function.
FAQs About Creatine and Energy
Does Creatine Make You Feel Awake?
Creatine supplements can provide energy however, it does not make you feel more awake or alert. Creatine provides a different form of energy that can help with exercise performance but if you are looking to feel more awake, stimulants such as caffeine are going to be more helpful.
Does Creatine Get Rid of Fatigue?
Creatine supplements may help reduce both mental fatigue and muscle fatigue however, its role in mental fatigue is not well known but is believed to be related to its role in the production of ATP in the brain as well as the muscle tissue .
Does Creatine Feel Like Caffeine?
Creatine does not act like caffeine in your body therefore it doesn't feel the same taking creatine as it does consuming caffeine.
Caffeine, which is a stimulant, blocks the receptors in your brain that cause drowsiness. This makes us feel more alert and focused. Caffeine can provide an extra boost of motivation and energy for our workout.
Creatine supplements provide energy to our muscle tissue so we can do more high-intensity exercise before getting fatigued.
While both help enhance a certain type of energy, they do not act in the same way or provide the same results. However, some studies have found combining creatine with caffeine may help further enhance performance but more research on this is still underway .
How Long Does it Take to Feel Energy From Creatine?
When people take creatine, it could take 2-4 weeks before you notice an improvement in your exercise performance. If you're wondering how much creatine you should take, it's recommended to take the maintenance dose of 3-5 grams per day on a consistent basis.
However, some people may notice the positive effects and have more energy from creatine in a shorter period of time. Ultimately, everyone is different and it might take different amounts of time to feel the effects.
What is Creatine Loading and Is it Helpful?
A loading phase can saturate your muscles with creatine faster than if you just took the maintenance dose. However, when you decide to take creatine, a loading phase is not necessary to see results with creatine supplementation, it just makes it a little faster.
A loading phase means that you would take a higher dose of creatine (20-25 grams) throughout the day for 5-7 days, and then tapering down your daily dose to about 3-5 grams daily. You may notice the benefits of creatine supplements quicker if you engage in a loading phase, however this is not necessary to reap the benefits .
Does Creatine Cause Weight Gain?
Creatine supplementation itself does not cause an increase in body fat. There is no reason to avoid taking creatine if you are concerned about weight gain.
However, if you do take creatine, it may cause a temporary marginal increase in water retention. However, it's important to keep in mind that changes in weight would simply reflect fluid shifts rather than true weight gain.
In fact, if you're looking to improve body composition, keep in mind that creatine can help optimize your lean body weight since it can improve your body's ability to build muscle. Adding muscle mass speeds up metabolism and makes the body more efficient at burning fat.
Does Creatine Cause Muscle Cramping?
There have been some concerns that creatine supplementation can cause muscle cramps, however, research does not indicate that this is the case. When people take creatine in the recommended dosages, there is no reason that creatine would cause cramping.
In fact, there is some research to suggest that taking creatine supplements can even reduce the likelihood of getting muscle cramps. In addition to taking a regular supplement, it's of course important to also maintain a healthy diet and stay well hydrated.