Most likely, all of you “gym rats” at one time have heard of creatine and all the magical powers that come along with it. Well some of these “magical powers” are legitimate and have science to back them up. Creatine, simply put, increases muscle energy availability. Our cells store their energy as adenosine triphosphate or ATP. The amount of ATP in our cells directly relates to the amount of work our muscles can perform. ATP is then regenerated with the help of creatine during exercise.
Creatine is naturally produced in the body and is found in most diets in the form of fresh meats. So why supplement with creatine, if our body already produces it? Supplementation allows your body’s creatine stores to be more readily available for immediate use by the muscles. Creatine, behind protein powders, is the most studied sports supplement on the market and has long been shown to increase maximum power output (lifting heavier weights, sprinting faster, etc.).
In a study published by the “Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research”, they took sixteen collegiate football players for a 10 week period and randomly put each into a creatine monohydrate supplementation group (5 grams per day) or a placebo group. Pretesting and post-testing consisted of 1 repetition maximum bench press, squat, and power clean. Results discovered the creatine group significantly increased strength and power, while the placebo group showed no significant change.
As you can see, these athletes improved strength and power from 5 grams a day of creatine monohydrate supplementation. The standard dosing on most creatine products is 5 grams, but anywhere from 5g to 20g per day has been deemed safe and effective. If you are looking to PR on your next big lift, consider supplementing with creatine.