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Creatine Blog - Part 3

Creatine builds strong bones… part 3

Life without calcium would not be possible. Calcium is an indispensable regulator of many essential biochemical processes. The cellular behaviors regulated by calcium range from the reading of genes to produce cellular components to the activating of all forms of cellular movement, including muscle contraction. In fact, creatine makes muscle contraction more efficient by increasing the availability of calcium.
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Creatine builds strong bones… part 2

Although nowhere nearly as robustly (or obviously) as muscles, bones also develop in response to exercise. Because this effect is largely hidden from view, however, most athletes are not aware of its importance to athletic performance. In truth, bones must increase in strength in parallel to muscle mass in order to support the higher levels of mechanical stress being placed upon them by stronger, larger muscles. As we will learn today both these processes are reliant on creatine…

In my last post (see Creatine builds strong bones… part 1) I made the case that creatine supplementation, by way of maximizing muscular force generation, promotes bone formation (osteogenesis). Although muscular activity surely contributes to the bone formation observed with creatine, this cannot be the entire story. Situations have been described where creatine treatment promotes osteogenesis outside the animal. That is, creatine supplementation, in the absence of mechanical stimulation imposed by skeletal muscle, also appears to promote bone formation.

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Creatine builds strong bones… part 1

Most athletes are trying to take greater advantage of the fact that muscle develops in response to physical exercise. One important way to optimize the anabolics of exercise is through the application of smart nutritional strategies, the reason, I suppose, that many of you are reading this blog today.

We Are The Product of Mechano-sensitive Developmental Programs
Muscle, however, is not the only tissue of our body that develops in response to physical (aka “mechanical”) stimulation. In fact, over 80% of our entire body mass arises from tissues whose developmental programs are regulated be mechanical stimulation. Such “mechanosensitive” tissues include not only skeletal muscle, the most obvious example, but also tendons, cartilage (as that which cushions the contacts between bones in our joints) and bones, to name the most notable. Of these common examples, skeletal muscle is the most predominant in mere proportion of total body mass as well as the most sensitive to mechanical input.

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How to Build Muscle While Sleeping…

(updated: 26 April 2012)
It is often heard that muscle is built while resting, not in the gym, but what does this really mean? In brief, this statement extrapolates from the fact that the regenerative response to exercise is initiated AFTER exercise has already taken place and requires some time to take full effect. Pounding the same muscle group again before this second phase of muscle regeneration has been able to play out sufficiently will only serve to put you into the realm of “No Gains”.

Muscle Growth - A Delicate Balance Between Training and Rest
Exercise causes muscle damage. The more intense the exercise, the more severe the trauma, and the greater the need for subsequent repair. The good news is that muscle damage stimulates muscle regeneration. And, in an analogous manner, the greater the muscle damage induced by exercise, the stronger the stimulus for them to regenerate. All seems clear, right? Pound your muscles to make them grow. Simple. Wrong… Life is rarely this straightforward. Greater muscle damage, though providing a stronger anabolic stimulus, requires more time to regenerate. Otherwise, the muscle will not be able to withstand the next bout of exercise. That is, not enough rest and you’ll end up destroying more muscle than you are able to rebuild. Welcome to Overtraining Syndrome - not good.


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Damage Control - Allow Enough Time to Rebuild
Given sufficient recovery time and appropriate nutrition the amount of new muscle produced may exceed the previous level and your muscles will increase in overall size (hypertrophy). This is a process sports physiologists like to call “supercompensation”, the physiological basis for bodybuilding - that is, if all goes well. If, on the other hand, sufficient time is not allowed for muscles to fully recover, or if your diet does not supply adequate substrates to support new muscle synthesis, then the growth phase will be blunted, entirely absorbed, or possibly even reversed. Excessive exercise furthermore, will destroy already damaged muscle tissue before it has had a chance to rebuild; we then enter a state of negative muscle growth (net muscle loss), aka Overtraining Syndrome. In essence, building muscle is a tradeoff between resting too little, which destroys overexerted muscle, or resting too much, which does not force muscles to functionally adapt (increase in strength and size) to the heightened loads you are placing on them.

So, yes, exercise, but smartly. Learn to create a simple set of circumstances that promote muscle growth while mitigating muscle loss. These circumstances are completely under your control and are really not that difficult to establish. In fact, it all comes down to just three simple rules. Read on…

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Setting the Stage for Maximal Muscle Anabolics

Three conditions must be met in order to establish the best metabolic conditions for muscle anabolism: 1) an exercise stimulus is required to incite muscle’s biosynthetic machinery into action; 2) proper nutrition is needed to provide the proper substrates for growth and; 3) adequate rest is required so that muscle’s biosynthetic machinery can work at optimal efficiency.
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