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Thread: Creatine

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    Creatine

    I did a quick search and didn't find much...but sorry if this is an old topic. I am new to the Nutrition forum. My question is on creatine. I come from a weight lifting background where I used creatine for many years to great success, but stopped using it when I got serious about cycling - largely because it seemed other cyclists didn't use it. But I have always wondered why. It seems many of it's benefits would also be applicable to cycling. Do others use creatine and I just don't know? Or are there reasons why it doesn't make sense for cyclists? I know that weight gain due to water retention would be a negative, but other than that...? Thanks!

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    I think its great for strength training and building muscle mass, but most of cycling sports are endurance focused. I use it for heavy weight lifting days, but i doubt it has a huge effect on my biking performance.

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    Creatine does not increase aerobic capacity. Its effect is on skeletal muscle fiber. The heart is a different type of muscle fiber.
    Some anecdotal evidence creatine reduces endurance.
    So many trails... so little time...

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    Good stuff. Thanks for the replies guys.

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    Some creatines can be loaded with sugars. It can also make some people jittery. You'll have to take enough daily for long enough to build up levels for it to be useful. Some newer stuff is coming with fast absorbing carbs which seems interesting. Some say that the added water weight that they gain slows them down, and you will add water weight. i'm not a big supplement person but have cycled on/off creatine a few times with effects/results that impressed me, even for cycling. Energy is more explosive, comes easier and happens longer. can't see how that doesn't push boundries/limits, or is bad for training, if you don't get crazy with it, and are otherwise in good health.
    Round and round we go

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    I use it for soaking up water is my muscles. Helps me personally from dehydration. It's just one supplement tho. Don't expect the world just by adding two scoops a day of it.

    A good multi vitamin, bcaa's and a clean diet would help much more. For what it's worth.

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    Before I give my own opinion ill explain what my understanding creatine is.

    When we exert energy over a short time period or explosively (~10sec) we use the energy pathway known as the ATP-PC cycle. Trying to keep it simple.

    ATP - adenosine triphosphate (triple phosphate)
    PC - phosphocreatine (phosphate and creatine binded)
    ADP - adenosine diphosphate (double phosphate)
    Pi - phosphate

    The body has stores of ATP and PC

    To get energy the body breaks down ATP. This creates ADP and now 1 free phosphate (pi).

    When ATP runs out you have a bunch if ADP floating around.

    The body then uses a process to break down its stores of PC, this breakdown creates creatine and a free pi and the energy released binds the now free pi with ADP to create ATP again this continuing the cycle.

    What creatine does is it allows the body to create and store more PC which will help cycle and refuel hence you get slightly more ATP hence energy.

    So do you need creatine supplements? Not really purely because we get it from food and our body produces all we need, it does offer some additional energy though so arguably it will allow you to maybe hit your goals a little sooner than if you didn't take it.

    For running particularly, multiple sprinting or cycling efforts where we are doing short burst of exercise repeatedly, the ATP-PC cycle is the primary source of energy, for a few efforts of 10-12 seconds the body usually has more than enough to supply you, so for these sports a creatine supplement may be beneficial, more so for multiple efforts over and over it might help keep the intensity up longer.

    So the decision is up to you, if and how you use it. I could see more use for it off season when you're doing many many sprints over and over, it in theory should help you keep the intensity up and allow you to work a little harder therefore getting more results from training, for in season when you're not doing tonne and tonnes of sprints over and over you probably don't need the extra load of creatine if your diet is in check but it may offer some benefit. More so for dh where milliseconds count.

    Will it make you a better cyclist, no, you still need to get diet in check and cycling techniques and all those skills right, what it may do is help you workout a little longer or at a slightly higher intensity. It wont give you any magic results.

    Just my complete unprofessional/unqualified understanding and opinion on the topic, take what you will from my post at your own risk.

    More simple

    It increases short burst energy (effort for about 10seconds), it is primarily used in power and explosiveness, like sprints and weight lifting. It wont give you results unless you use the extra energy to train harder.

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    Good stuff DK. Very informative. I guess at the end of the day, if it really helped with endurance and cycling, you would hear of more top end guys taking it...which unless I am completely out of the loop (always a possibility), I don't. I will probably hold off for now unless I see some compelling evidence that shows it helps or hear from some others that they have used it with great success.

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    yeah I have to admit I have not looked at it for longer distance stuff, given it primarily effects the ATP-PC cycles it really shouldn't have any benefit at all and there has not been any reason for me to look at it.

    There are a few hypotheses where it may help indirectly but ill need to look at it.

    Ill see what i can find on it for long distance events and get back to you here.

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    Much appreciated!

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    Just updating, I have not forgotten about this. I did some research and I sent an email off to someone who for me is a reliable Source so I am just waiting back to see what they think about the concept and I will let you know once they do.

    I found some interesting things that possibly indirectly may help but I will wait till I hear back to draw a conclusion on the topic.

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    Ok so my original thought was that creatine is a full placebo and does nothing even for strength training, however I read up on it at a time when the majority of the studies were very negative about the benefits of it increasing performance for strength and power workouts. I just did a quick look up of a couple of article reviews and it seems there is more to it and there is still a lot of controversy over the effectiveness of creatine. I am interested to hear more.

    Saying this I am going to say that nothing is better then putting in hard honest work, and doing your best to follow a good natural nutrition plan, it will make your biking better and your life happier.
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    Creatine

    Quote Originally Posted by jrastories View Post
    Ok so my original thought was that creatine is a full placebo and does nothing even for strength training, however I read up on it at a time when the majority of the studies were very negative about the benefits of it increasing performance for strength and power workouts. I just did a quick look up of a couple of article reviews and it seems there is more to it and there is still a lot of controversy over the effectiveness of creatine. I am interested to hear more.

    Saying this I am going to say that nothing is better then putting in hard honest work, and doing your best to follow a good natural nutrition plan, it will make your biking better and your life happier.
    The problem with creating is that it's a great base supplement. Its a slow build, low key supp. No evil drop off. No terrible bowel issues. But no mind numbing power gains either. But a sold base none the less.

    The shitty thing is that creative is often marketed as this amazing strength supplement.

    It simply puts more water in the muscles. That water protects your joints better and makes it harder to get your body dehydrated.

    It's all about build up. Adding it to your protein shake and consistently taking 5-10g/day and you won't notice what it's doing until you see others around you falling short b/c of dehydration.

    I have used it for years but I am realistic about my supplements. There is no end all sup that you can get it gnc. You want magic you really need to start at test and go on from there.

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    In summary: ATP is the chemical messenger that makes muscle fibers contract. The cells continually make new ATP, but in heavy weight lifting you are using it up faster than the cells can make it. So after only a very short time your muscles have ran out of ATP and you need to rest until the cells make more. ATP is made from creatine. The creatine supplement lets the cells make more ATP faster, so you can do more reps before the muscles run out. The creatine itself does not increase strength or increase hypertrophy. It enables you to lift longer, do more reps, so you have a harder workout.
    Creatine is naturally found in many foods, especially meat. This is why it is not banned as an illegal performance drug.

    It does work, especially in conjunction with HMB. Some studies have demonstrated the creatine/HMB combination increases strength more than any other supplement or either one alone. As with any supplement -- read the recommended dosages carefully and follow them. More DOES NOT mean better. Consuming more than recommended may have serious side effects.
    So many trails... so little time...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave54 View Post
    In summary: ATP is the chemical messenger that makes muscle fibers contract. The cells continually make new ATP, but in heavy weight lifting you are using it up faster than the cells can make it. So after only a very short time your muscles have ran out of ATP and you need to rest until the cells make more. ATP is made from creatine. The creatine supplement lets the cells make more ATP faster, so you can do more reps before the muscles run out. The creatine itself does not increase strength or increase hypertrophy. It enables you to lift longer, do more reps, so you have a harder workout.
    Creatine is naturally found in many foods, especially meat. This is why it is not banned as an illegal performance drug.

    It does work, especially in conjunction with HMB. Some studies have demonstrated the creatine/HMB combination increases strength more than any other supplement or either one alone. As with any supplement -- read the recommended dosages carefully and follow them. More DOES NOT mean better. Consuming more than recommended may have serious side effects.
    id say you got about 90% of that right. But well on your way to getting it 100%
    read my previous post.

    Creatine doesn't make atp creatine binds to phosphates which creates Phosphocreatine these than break down and react with ADP to produce ATP.
    Its used in the creation of ATP but it doesn't create it in itself.

    You are right that the basis of it is that it gives you slightly more energy and therefore unless you workout a little harder with that energy you wont get gains.
    However the research I am looking at now may indication it might have some other effects which may actually make it effective in other areas. Still waiting for a reply from my source but I will get back when I get a reply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Driftking View Post
    id say you got about 90% of that right. But well on your way to getting it 100%
    read my previous post.

    Creatine doesn't make atp creatine binds to phosphates which creates Phosphocreatine these than break down and react with ADP to produce ATP.
    Its used in the creation of ATP but it doesn't create it in itself.

    You are right that the basis of it is that it gives you slightly more energy and therefore unless you workout a little harder with that energy you wont get gains.
    However the research I am looking at now may indication it might have some other effects which may actually make it effective in other areas. Still waiting for a reply from my source but I will get back when I get a reply.
    I intentionally simplified it rather than get into all the chemistry. I do not think this is the best forum to explain in detail how muscle fibers contract. Anyone interested in the subject can consult a physiology text.

    The take away point is creatine does work. It is not a magic bullet. The user still needs a lot of sweat to make it work. There is no indication so far long term use creates any significant health problems, unless it interferes with diet and eating patterns. Most people only use it for a year or two before discontinuing. I stopped after I reached my goals, and only do body weight workouts now, without supplementation.
    So many trails... so little time...

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    So my source has still not gotten back to me so I will post what i found although I cannot make a conclusive statement on these and as i am not qualified my current preliminary conclusion may be wrong but here it all is.

    Creatine may increase the mRNA of protein synthesis and therefore decreasing protein degradation which may actually offer an anabolic effect or for endurance athletes a muscle protection effect during events.
    https://lirias.kuleuven.be/handle/123456789/279694


    Further more creatine may reduce the oxidation of leucine
    Effects of acute creatine monohydrate supplementation on leucine kinetics and mixed-muscle protein synthesis

    The importance of leucine is clear and One study looked at the benefits of increasing leucine supplements and its role in muclse protien sythesis with good results.
    Leucine-enriched essential amino acid supplem... [Am J Clin Nutr. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI

    So by preventing the oxidization of leucine we may actually improve protein synthesis and reduce fatigue and improve recovery.

    There is some evidence that creatine will also improve glycogen storage in the muscle which inevitably will be beneficial for endurance athletes, however endurance athletes generally load before hand so I'd need to see a study on carb loading with and without creatine to see if the effect is still a larger muscle glycogen level.
    Creatine supplementation increases glycogen ... [Clin Sci (Lond). 2004] - PubMed - NCBI

    A small study also showed that creatine may potentially reduce glycogen and protein degradation
    Contribution of creatine to protein homeostasis i... [Eur J Nutr. 2014] - PubMed - NCBI

    So while I am unsure if creatine will improve performance times as it increases water weight may decrease performance times. It may improve the recovery process afterwards by preventing muscle breakdown and by extending the period of time the body remain in an anabolic state before reaching a catabolic state.

    So there is all the stuff I could find that may be worth looking at it seems to me that creatine may be used in muscle preservation and recovery mostly for endurance athletes but until I can speak to someone who is qualified to really dive into the studies fully i cant say if it will or wont.

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    Creatine has improved my CrossFitting...I'll be taking it this upcoming cycling season as well. Way I see it, even if it doesn't improve endurance it does improve my strength and strength on the bike certainly isn't a bad thing.

    Another supplement I've been using that works awesome is Beta Alanine. It's an amino acid but it works to prevent that muscle burn that you get with exertion. It's worked wonders really.

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    updating again.
    Spoke to my source, they have passed on the question to someone who specializes in this area so hopefully in a few weeks I will have a reply from a very reliable source so we can get to the bottom of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Driftking View Post
    updating again.
    Spoke to my source, they have passed on the question to someone who specializes in this area so hopefully in a few weeks I will have a reply from a very reliable source so we can get to the bottom of it.
    I noticed the extremely small sample sizes in the papers you referenced earlier. And only one of the papers used double blind tests.

    This of itself does not mean the findings are unreliable, but should be noted when interpreting results. We should look for a meta-analysis.
    So many trails... so little time...

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    Sorry if this post reads like spam, I'm not trying to. But if you want more sources and studies, give Examine.com a try. They do a lot of analysis of research on supplements, it is supposed to be completely independent and unbiased. I use the site when looking at supplements and potential benefits, especially when some one claims it works miracles.

    Creatine - Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com

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    I started taking Creatine just a bit ago and have noticed gains in strength and running. My legs are a bit stronger, which makes it easier to keep going for longer periods. I think if I were to be doing endurance cycling, there might be negatives, but I typically ride jump lines and down hill. Bursts of high intense energy for shorter periods of time, rest, then do it again. I think Creatine works great for this particular situation. Maybe cycle on creatine increase some strength during off season, then cycle back off during the dryer season?

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    I think that the best advice that has been given is "eat a clean diet." I used creatine when I was younger and in college trying to impress the ladies. I'm not sure if my gains had anything to do with the supplements. Creatine was pretty new back then so todays mixes might be more advanced. No that I'm older, mid 40's, I find that I can feel the effects of my diet more than ever. I've been eating "clean" for the last 7 years or so and I can feel the difference. My definition of "clean" is a diet of primarily fresh organic in-season vegetables, cage free eggs, and minimal meat. Nothing processed and NO fast food. I think if you can make the effort to switch to a diet like this the gains will be much more dramatic than using creatine.

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    Diet plus creatine FTW. Creatine is one of the few supplements shown to actually work. And it works well. Tons of studies done on it. It's safe and it works and it's natural.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Diet plus creatine FTW. Creatine is one of the few supplements shown to actually work. And it works well. Tons of studies done on it. It's safe and it works and it's natural.
    I agree creatine is safe. I also agree that you put diet before creatine. If your diet is not healthy no amount of supplements will make you faster.
    ​Peace and Health -James

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