Creatine for general population clients

Unlike protein powder, creatine supplementation can have an ergogenic effect to increase performance that cannot be achieved through food intake alone.

Many people know creatine is proven to be beneficial for performance, but they don’t quite get how it works and who it’s best suited for, which makes it easy to buy into creatine when it’s not needed.

Energy is required for muscular movement to occur, which is provided by the breakdown of a high-energy compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

When ATP is broken down, we are left with adenosine diphoshate (ADP) + phosphate + the energy that can be used for movement.

You would have noticed that triphosphate has three phosphate molecules, whereas diphosphate has only two.

Until the diphosphate can bind with another phosphate to reform ATP, it cannot be cleaved to produce energy for movement again, which can take a little while.

Enter creatine phosphate (CP), a combination or creatine and phosphate which can more rapidly regenerate the adenosine triphosphate.

However, there are limited CP stores in the muscle which last about 8-10 seconds.

After this, ATP regeneration slows to normal levels and performance drops, which explains why all-out performance can only last for a short period of time.

Creatine phosphate stores can be enhanced with through supplementary intake of creatine.

This can lead to an increased capacity to regenerate ATP and therefore maintain performance at the highest level for a longer period of time, leading to improvements in mostly strength, speed and power sports. 

These improvements do carry over to general population clients, particularly those doing a lot of strength training.

This doesn’t mean that supplementation is necessary to gain strength, but it can be useful for experienced trainees looking to increase their training performance.

Creatine draws water wherever it goes, so it helps muscle retain their fluid and appear a bit larger.

However, creatine supplementation can also lead to intestinal discomfort because the creatine also promotes water retention in the stomach.

It can take up to a month of consistent supplementation to realise the benefits, as it takes time for the creatine to saturate the muscle.

The majority of my clients don’t use creatine because they are sufficiently improving strength and performance without it.

The client who use creatine are predominantly doing resistance training for strength goals, while mostly maintaining body composition.

Tom Fitzgerald