Creatine & Endurance Tasks

Creatine Supplementation Exerts Dichotomous Effects Over Endurance Exercise

Creatine’s Effect Over Endurance Tasks is Mixed

1. During Endurance Exercise – No Clear Benefit Over Actual Performance

2. Following Endurance Exercise – Muscle Recuperation is Improved


1. Creatine has Limited Influence Over the Actual Performance of Endurance Events

Shortly after the appearance of the first study showing that creatine supplementation increases muscle creatine content and as a consequence, improves performance during resistance exercise, a multitude of other studies tested the effects of creatine supplementation over a broader larger range of exercise modalities. These studies subsequently showed that an ergogenic effect of creatine supplementation was largely limited to resistance exercise, also known as anaerobic exercise. That is, the performance of endurance (or aerobic) exercise appeared to be largely unaffected by creatine supplementation, at least, over the time course of one week to a few months of supplementation.

This was a preliminary assessment. As you will soon see creatine supplementation may have hidden benefits for the endurance athlete.

Selected Scientific Reference

Creatine Supplementation Improves Physical Performance During Resistance Exercise;
the Situation is a bit Less Clear for Endurance Exercise.

Below is the reference to the first published study clearly showing that creatine supplementation increases muscle creatine content.

Harris, R. C. et al. (1992) Elevation of creatine in resting and exercised muscle of normal subjects by creatine supplementation. Clinical Science, Volume 83, pages 367-374.

Avoiding Possible Dehydration

One of the major mitigating influences of creatine supplementation over endurance performance is the gain in body mass that often accompanies creatine supplementation, a process known as muscle volumizing. It is easy to imagine how the addition of just a few extra kilos might hamper your performance while running a marathon. By contrast, an increase in body mass might be a desired outcome, or an accepted tradeoff, of supplementation for other types of athlete. Strength athletes and bodybuilders may view an increase body mass as an added benefit of creatine supplementation, whereas distance runners and endurance athletes may wish to avoid an increase in body mass for fear of it impeding their performance in their respective events.

Also, recall that creatine induces muscle to take up fluids from their surroundings, a process known as cell volumizing. If compensated for with adequate fluid intake, however, cell volumization is relatively harmless. On the other hand, large uncompensated shifts in body water might result in dehydration, hypertension and faulty thermoregulation, particularly if exercising in hot and humid conditions.

Learn which of creatine’s side effects have been actually validated by scientific study.

Recommended Fluid Intake

Proper Hydration During Creatine Supplementation

To prevent dehydration we recommend that those supplementing with creatine drink a minimum of 30-60 milliliters (1-2 ounces) of water for each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight each day while supplementing, especially during the loading phase when greater amounts of creatine are being consumed on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, despite these caveats, recent studies are now providing compelling evidence that creatine supplementation might help in the initial preparation for, and in the recovery following, the race (see next, Creatine Reduces Signs of Cellular Damage Following Exaggerated Exercise).

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