What are the benefits of Creatine and Does it Work?

Benefits and Adverse Effects of Creatine

Creatine is an element that naturally occurs in the human skeletal muscle. It can be easily obtained from fish and meat. Once it is taken, it travels to the muscles and increases stored energy by making ATP easily accessible. Increased ATP levels give extra energy boost during hard physical activities that is why the body is assisted in making new muscles.

Benefits

Aside from indirectly enhancing the growth of muscle fibers by enabling frequent weight lifting, the main advantage of creatine is its ability to increase the volume of the muscles. This is attributed to its water retention effect. Muscles that are fed with creatine have a tendency to hold water and store it which results to higher volume. During the initial introduction of the supplement, there will be a slight addition to your weight of around 5 to 10 pounds every month.

Creatine

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But, this is not due to increased lean muscle or additional fat. This is actually caused by fluid retention. Once the intake of the supplement is stopped, the gains in volume will gradually decline. However, the increase in muscle strength and fiber will stay.

Adverse Effects

Since creatine is a widely used supplement various researches have already been conducted about it. Most of the studies showed that there are no real hazards to the intake of supplement. However, if you are concerned about gaining extra weight, you might have to prepare yourself for this before taking creatine. But then again, note that the weight gain is only due to the liquid you retain and not to additional fat stores or lean muscle mass. Also, some individuals who have taken creatine have reported cramps in their abdomen, nausea and discomfort. Others also claimed that they were dehydrated after taking the supplement. All these possible side effects can be easily remedied by simply taking enough amounts of liquid.

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Is it Possible to Turn Body Fat into Muscle?

Fat-Muscle Interplay Converting Fat into Muscle

It’s impossible to change body fat into muscle. Though it has become a popular saying, what it really means is to lose body fat while retaining and or gaining muscle mass. Charles Poliquin and many other bodybuilding gurus advocated a training protocol called German Body Composition (GBC).

GBC loses fat through weight training. Aerobic training is not utilized. The method primarily preserves hard earned muscles while losing fat and adding lean tissue throughout its course. Contrary to popular belief, aerobics usually cause a loss of muscle tissue. GBC yields to a loss of approximately one half percent of body fat per week.

The basic premise of the method is the promotion of fat loss by increasing lactic acid levels in the body. This in turn produces higher growth hormone levels which place the body in an optimal state to burn fat and build lean muscle tissue. How is this done? Below is a list of the workouts that you have to do.

First you have to do full body workout utilizing upper and lower body supersets. This is done by alternating between upper and lower body exercises which makes it possible to keep the rest of the intervals short, even with big compound movements like the squat and bench press.

Doing this saves you time while accomplishing big time workout. Another workout is doing high reps (10-15) stopping short of failure. According to studies, high rep sets with a time under tension of 40 to 75 seconds produce an appropriate amount of lactic acid for the purposes of GH release and fat loss. Remember that you are after an environment within your body to burn fat.

One should stop about two reps short of concentric (positive) failure because training to failure has potential drawbacks and fewer benefits. Also if one trains to failure it would be highly unlikely for him or her to last until the end of the workout. Next are short rest intervals (30-75 seconds). Alternating upper and lower body exercises cuts down on needed rest intervals greatly compared to repeating the same movement in a straight set manner. These accelerate the accumulation of lactic acid and create the desired state in our bodies.

Studies have also shown that weight training lasting over an hour tip the anabolic-catabolic scale in the negative direction. Hence, workout duration of less than an hour or doing it in 50 minutes seems to be the ideal time frame exclusive of warm ups, stretching and cool downs. Listed below are three sample workouts fashioned from the GBC protocol.

These may be alternated throughout the week with relative frequency depending on training age and starting condition. It is highly recommended to perform this at least twice a week or a maximum of five per week. The examples used contain a notation system such developed by Charles Poliquin which provides detailed information on each of the workout variables. Two of the notations that might not be easily deciphered below are tempo and supersetting.

Tempo, the speed at which one performs the movement is designated by a three digit number in units of seconds. The first digit signifies the eccentric or lowing portion, the second digit signifies the isometric or pause while the last digit signifies the concentric or positive portion. (e.g. bench press with a 311 tempo means lower the load for three seconds, pause on the chest for a second and extend to the start in one second. Note: “X” denotes explosive effort).

Supersetting on the other hand is designated by the use of letters and numbers (e.g. A1 and A2 or B1 and B2).

Day One
A1 - Step Ups 4 x 12 (20X) 60 sec
A2 - Chin Ups 4 x 10 (311) 60 sec
B1 - Lunges (dynamic) 3 x 12 (311) 45 sec
B2 - Incline Dumbbell Chest Press 3 x 10-12 (411) 45 sec
C1 - Seated Leg Curl 3 x 10 (401) 45 sec
C2 - Barbell Shoulder Press 3 x 12 (311) 45 sec
D1 - Seated Dumbbell Hammer Curl 2 x 10-12 (411) 30 sec
D2 - Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 2 x 10-12 (422) 30 sec

Day Two
A1 - Deadlift 4 x 10-12 (311) 60 sec
A2 - Swiss Ball Push Ups 4 x 12-15 (222) 45 sec
B1 - Leg Press 3 x 12-15 (411) 60 sec
B2 - Seated Cable Row w/rope to Neck 3 x 10-12 (321) 45 sec
C1 - Single Standing Leg Curl 3 x 10 (411) 45 sec
C2 - Lateral Raise 3 x 12 -15 (221) 45 sec
D1 - Barbell Curl 2 x 10 - 12 (311) 45 sec
D2 - EZ Bar French Press (seated) 2 x 10- 12 (311) 30 sec

Day Three
A1 - Squat 4 x 12-15 (401) 60 sec
A2 - Bench Press 4 x 10-12 (411) 60 sec
B1 - Lunge (static) 3 x 15 (311) 60 sec
B2 - Barbell Rows 3 x 12 (311) 60 sec
C1 - Good Mornings 3 x 10 (312) 60 sec
C2 - Standing Alt. Dumbbell Press 3 x 12 (201) 45 sec
D1 - Reverse Barbell Curls 2 x 12 -15 (212) 30 sec
D2 - Triceps Pushdowns (underhanded) 2 x 12 -15 (312) 30 sec

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“The Fat Fighting Pill”