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  1. #1
    Royal Grand Exalted Pooba smoke's Avatar
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    Is Creatine Safe? Would it Help my Cycling?

    i read conflicting reports about the stuff, and most of them are years old. good and bad reviews concerning liver and kidney damage. i'm not into weightlifting, and i'm sure not looking to bulk up. but somebody mentioned creatine in another thread, and it got me thinking. since i don't eat meat, would a little creatine be okay for me and help with my cycling strength without adding weight, bulk, or organ damage? danno and caperoadie feel free to chime in. thanks

    smoke

  2. #2
    Killing Rabbits
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    During your off season weights phase it has been shown to help. In season (for road cyclists) it has produced conflicting results with positive effects leaning towards shorter events. If you were into track or very short TT's maybe take it year round.

    It is naturally found in your body. It is considered safe. If you chose to take it follow the directions.

    If you don't eat meat, you are the most likely to get positive results.

  3. #3
    '05 NUEser EJ123's Avatar
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    I would never use it. It was in an energy drink that tasted really bad though.

  4. #4
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    It's safe, but the point of it is to put on muscle faster, so generally it comes with bulk/weight gain (muscle). Women put on muscle weight/strength pretty quick with it, so I imagine men do too.

  5. #5
    sch
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    Taste is not really a problem with creatine in my experience, it was quite neutral. The boost that it gives is in the time frame of minutes, closer to 1 minute. Power lifters, sprint runners and such with explosive muscle activity over very short times. It has no use on the bike and not much use in weight training for biking purposes. Not much credible evidence that it is not safe, assuming you are healthy, but there are minor side effects in larger doses. But if you dose up like a crazed weight lifter scarfing protein supplements you might have some problems. The idea is that you prime your system with creatine and charge up the energy generating parts with precursors. Problem is humans can't really store that much of the precursors and they get used up fast, 30-90sec. After that you are back to status quo. There are better ways.
    Steve
    Last edited by sch; 12-05-05 at 08:56 PM.

  6. #6
    Videre non videri
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    Creatine is naturally found in various kinds of meat. The highest levels are in beef, so if you eat plenty of beef regularly, you're likely to benefit far less than a strict vegan, for example.

    Its use in muscle building is to allow you to put out that little bit more effort when lifting, so that you get effectively work out harder, which in turn should give you better/faster results.

    I've used it myself a few years back, and found it to be effective, but it's not a miracle substance by any means...

  7. #7
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    It seems to give you a quick boost of water weight, which I think is often misperceived as actual quick gains in muscle mass. I would skip it. It is safe, but won't help much for cycling- which is much more cardio dependent than strength dependent - unless you are a track monster or something like that.

    My take on supplements is that if they are legal, they generally don't work (or offer very little bang for the buck).

    If you really want to bulk up, stay off your bike for a month and do nothing but resistance training.

  8. #8
    Videre non videri
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep
    My take on supplements is that if they are legal, they generally don't work (or offer very little bang for the buck).
    Well, how about this then. I can tell you that there's a type of substance that is hugely effective for building muscle mass - much better than anything else, cheap, safe and perfectly legal.

    Carbohydrates.

    Really, creatine does work, but it offers few or no benefits for endurance training. Only for relatively high intensity weight training.

  9. #9
    Directeur Sportif
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    Quote Originally Posted by smoke
    i read conflicting reports about the stuff, and most of them are years old. good and bad reviews concerning liver and kidney damage. i'm not into weightlifting, and i'm sure not looking to bulk up. but somebody mentioned creatine in another thread, and it got me thinking. since i don't eat meat, would a little creatine be okay for me and help with my cycling strength without adding weight, bulk, or organ damage? danno and caperoadie feel free to chime in. thanks

    smoke
    There are conflicting reports. You have to dig a little deeper if you want to find the truth, that's for sure. Sounds like some of the other posters have done some research on the topic. Let me see if I can add anything.

    My understanding is that phosphocreatine, a.k.a. creatine phosphate (CP) allows for near maximum muscle contraction after stored ATP in the muscle gets used up. ATP allows maximum muscle contraction to occur for about 4-5 seconds. After that, CP allows another 4-5 seconds of near maximum muscle contraction. The biochemistry is anaerobic. After about 10 seconds, glycogen in muscle becomes the dominant energy souce. Glucose and glycogen allow for sub-maximal muscle contractions for up to 120 seconds. After 120 seconds, fatty acids are the dominant energy source, and amaino acids also play a role (about 10%).

    In my old notes the name Paul Greenhaff keeps coming up regarding creatine. A quick PubMed search yields about 40 studies relating to creatine. A review of CP by Greenhaff from 1995 states:

    "Phosphocreatine (PCr) availability is likely to limit performance in brief, high-power exercise because the depletion of PCr results in an inability to maintain adenosine triphosphate (ATP) resynthesis at the rate required. It is now known that the daily ingestion of four 5-g doses of creatine for 5 days will significantly increase intramuscular creatine and PCr concentrations prior to exercise and will facilitate PCr resynthesis during recovery from exercise, particularly in those individuals with relatively low creatine concentrations prior to feeding".

    If you read more studies, you'll see that if CP is effective, it's for short, high power exercise only. More studies from Sweden (Karolinska) and the United States (Cooper Clinic) show similar results as Grennhaff. It appears that CP could be of benefit in cycling for sprinting and weight training for cycling.

    Another benefit of CP could be that of better recovery. CP acts as a acid buffer, and could reduce lactic acid build-up. Blood levels of ammonia rise dramatically when ATP is depleted, and this hurts performance, so CP can help there as well since CP reduces levels of blood ammonia. So CP can increase the number of reps before failure during weightlifting and add strength and power in the very short term. But for longer duration exercise, CP appears to have no appreciable beneficial effect in terms of lactate or anything else. So we're talking short-term recovery only, unless an extra minute of glycogen-sparing in a 120-mile ride is important to you.

    How should you take it? Well, that depends on how much muscle you already have, and how much exercise you're doing. To get any benefit from creatine, you have to train, and you have to train probably an hour each day minimum. You should know what your LBM, lean body mass, is. If you take too much, you will definitely tax your liver and kidneys. People with kidney and liver problems should stay away from creatine altogether, IMHO. Anyone who wants to take it need to know that if they take too much, then long-term damage will likely result. Knowing how much is too much is a very difficult thing to nail down, which is why so many doctors are against it.

    One regime I've seen is here:

    http://www.healthy.net/scr/article.asp?ID=1188

    The Colgan Institute in Canada also has similar advice. I found it interesting that creatine monohydrate is colorless and odorless, so if you have something with color or smell, it isn't pure.
    I love France. I just hate Toulouse. I'd really hate to lose le Trek.

  10. #10
    Royal Grand Exalted Pooba smoke's Avatar
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    so it will help my sprint and my recovery, eh? great. thanks

  11. #11
    sch
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    After the 5:00 news version I gave and the WSJ editorial Caperoadie provided it should be apparent that creatine would be of benefit only for the first and maybe second sprint on the bike and then the creatine induced buildup of high energy precursors will be gone. If you get on the bike and warm up for a few miles then precursors will be used up. There might be a subtle effect on recovery, but biking depends on muscle glycogen and creatine does very little for this. Creatine has no value for endurance athletes, in particular for cyclists.
    Steve

  12. #12
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    Of course it has - when you build muscle in the gym!
    That's important for cyclists as well, unless you're a super-endurance-type...

  13. #13
    help meeeeee
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    Back in high school when I was wrestling, we had a guy gain close to 35lbs of muscle weight (went from wrestling 125s to like 160s) in less than 6 months thanks to creatine. Can't imagine how that much gain could be useful for a cyclist.

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    15 lbs muscle, 15 lbs fat, 5 lbs water...

  15. #15
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    Well, how about this then. I can tell you that there's a type of substance that is hugely effective for building muscle mass - much better than anything else, cheap, safe and perfectly legal.

    Carbohydrates.

    Really, creatine does work, but it offers few or no benefits for endurance training. Only for relatively high intensity weight training.
    Carbos don't do much for building muscle mass... you still need protein... lots of it. Steroids are quite effective for building mass, however. Actually, they are much maligned. I'm guessing by the time we are pensioners, we will have legal male hormone replacement therapy available to us so we can age more gracefully.

  16. #16
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    It's actually the workouts that build muscle and strength. You can sit around watching TV and eating all the protein all you want, but you're not going to gain any lean muscle-mass at all no matter how much protein you eat.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 12-08-05 at 01:49 PM.

  17. #17
    sch
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    So creatine is good for downhillers, increasing their dense muscle mass makes their terminal speed higher and they have explosive capabilities the creatine deficient don't have. Meanwhile a perusal of videos and pixs of riders in the major tours and 5K and above runners groups shows the top athletes all to be asthenic types with a deficiency in the upper body muscle development and remarkably slim legs. Interesting post elsewhere in this forum quoting the coaches of the very successful Australian track riders that the best way to get strong in biking is to ride big gears sitting down up long hills. Weight training IS used. As Danno says: its the workouts....
    Steve

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep
    Carbos don't do much for building muscle mass... you still need protein... lots of it. Steroids are quite effective for building mass, however. Actually, they are much maligned. I'm guessing by the time we are pensioners, we will have legal male hormone replacement therapy available to us so we can age more gracefully.
    You need protein, and more of it than someone who doesn't lift does. But carbs are "more" important. If you take in, say, 60% of your required energy in protein, you won't build much muscle...
    Your body needs the carbs for energy, and an excess of energy is what allows your muscles to grow the fastest. Protein is important as well, but without carbs in sufficient quantities, not much will happen.

    And it's REST that really builds muscle! When you work out, you're not building at all. But rest without workout is useless, of course...

  19. #19
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    yeah, and endurance sports require more carbs than lifting or even running. Being low on carbs will be counter-productive because your body will eat up muscle for energy...

  20. #20
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    I would never touch the stuff. The closest thing to creatine that I take is Accelerade!

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    LBmtb, I suppose you're a vegan then?

  22. #22
    oh no! LBmtb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    LBmtb, I suppose you're a vegan then?
    No . . . I love my meat. I'm just careful of not messing up my body with something like creatine. I like to keep it as natural as possible I guess you could say.

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    You don't realise then, that creatine is a naturally occuring substance in meat?
    And that it's naturally occuring within your own body...?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creatine

  24. #24
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    You don't realise then, that creatine is a naturally occuring substance in meat?
    And that it's naturally occuring within your own body...?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creatine
    I think his point is that there are MANY naturally occurring substances found in the body that can be harmful, or fatal if unnaturally administered.

  25. #25
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    Heh, sure... We can drown in plain water...

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