No matter why you started lifting weights in the first place, there will come a time when your primary goal is to build muscle fast. Whether you’re buffing for the beach or gearing up for football season, you just want to pack on some solid pounds in a few weeks.
For most guys, though, the gains always come too slowly, and we could use some help along the way. If you find yourself in this situation, then it might be time to consider taking a creatine supplement.
While there are reams of scientific literature about this powerful amino acid, when you’re in the market for quick gains, it’s enough to know that creatine can help your muscle-building efforts in at least three ways.
Creatine tends to pull water inside muscle cells from other parts of your body. Within a few days of beginning to take creatine, particularly if you use a load phase, your muscles will begin to swell with the extra water. That means bigger pumps and tighter, fuller muscles when you’re just walking around.
Just be sure to increase your water intake, and you should see a nice bump in lean weight over the course of a couple of weeks.
Creatine initially gained interest from scientists because they realized that it’s stored in muscles as creatine phosphate. That’s potentially important, because the main fuel for muscular contractions is adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, and it degrades after a few seconds of intense effort by losing a phosphate group and becoming ADP (adenosine diphosphate).
When that happens, creatine phosphate molecules stored in muscle cells can donate their phosphate groups to help restore ATP and keep the muscle pumping.
Theoretically, then, creatine supplementation would top off your creatine phosphate stores and allow you to train harder and longer. As it turns out, studies and gym results have shown that’s exactly what happens when you take creatine for even a couple of weeks.
Heavier loads, better contractions, and longer sets lead you where you want to go — bigger muscles.
Anabolic Muscle Environment
While the quick gain in muscle bulge that creatine can give you thanks to improved hydration is awesome, it’s the side effects of that “swole” that can have real benefits to your muscle-building goals.
You see, fully hydrated muscle cells are not only bigger in the short term due to being pumped full of water, they’re primed to grow in the longer term, as well. Several studies have shown that having plenty of water inside your muscle cells increases the rate of protein synthesis of those cells, meaning that they make new protein at a faster clip and grow as a result.
In contrast, dehydrated cells experience a decrease in protein synthesis and an increase in protein breakdown.
By filling your muscle cells with water, then, creatine can help you move into an anabolic, anti-catabolic state where you STOP tearing down muscle and start building new muscle. It’s a combination that should get your lean body mass moving in the right direction in a hurry.
Get Ready to Grow
While creatine supplementation has some potential drawbacks and you should check with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen, there are few better options for the guy who wants to build some solid muscle quickly and naturally.
So, if you’re aching to change your physique in the next few weeks, it just might be time to give creatine a try and watch your muscles swell.