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Build Lean Muscle

By Chris Terrell, CSCS

When diet and exercise aren’t producing the results you are looking for, you may want to consider supplements. Creatine, a naturally occurring substance found in meat, may be the answer.

Creatine has been available as a dietary supplement for years and has many clinical studies illustrating its ability to increase lean body mass and strength. While research has shown that creatine is beneficial for both genders, men experience more noticeable results.

The body naturally makes creatine using two amino acids (glycine and arginine) as the building blocks. Creatine works by supplying more phosphate for the adenosine triphosphate-phosphocreatine (ATP-PC) energy system. This energy system works for high-intensity, short-duration exercises, such as weight lifting, short springs, etc. These types of exercises and sports are where creatine has shown to have the most benefit. Individuals who participate in endurance exercises, such as marathons, receive little, to no, benefit from supplementing with creatine. Along with resistance exercise, creatine has been shown to increase the size of muscle fibers by up to 35 percent. Creatine supplementation causes the cell to become hyper hydrated. When a cell is hyper hydrated it sends signals to increase protein synthesis and spare protein break down.

Taking creatine with a protein shake or a drink with carbohydrates has been shown to increase the effectiveness of creatine. Most research done uses a loading phase of five grams of creatine, split into four doses throughout the day for the first three days to a week, followed by a maintenance dose of five grams a day. The only adverse reactions that have been reported regarding creatine use have been mild gastrointestinal discomfort, usually associated with taking too much creatine at one time during the loading phase.

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