By Don Laubenthal,
Professor and Coordinator: SES - Exercise Science
Sport and Exercise Studies
What is Tri-Blend Creatine?
I have worked in the field of exercise science for over 30 years, and I have been able to watch and experience the evolution of creatine supplements. Creatine supplementation has always been a safe and effective way to improve your strength training performance, but I am really excited about MaxEffort Muscle’s Tri Blend Creatine. So, you may be asking, “What is Tri Blend Creatine and why is the Brofessor excited about it?” Well, I need to dive into creatine and explain how it works before I can explain the tremendous benefits of Tri Blend Creatine.
Creatine is a vital compound that is necessary to produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) in the human body. The human body produces energy (ATP) through 3 different pathways, or energy systems, as they are often referred. The intensity and length of the exercise or activity determines which system is going to be the primary energy supplier. Here are the 3 pathways by which energy is supplied and/or broken down.
All 3 energy systems utilize the energy nutrients we consume (carbohydrates, fats, and some protein) to generate and/or break down Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Remember this powerful energy compound, ATP, because this is what produces energy to drive all your training and movement. Here is how ATP works:
When ATP is broken down chemically by an enzyme (ATPase), a phosphate group is removed which yields Adenosine Diphosphate, plus Phosphate, plus a large amount of Energy. Whenever a phosphate bond is chemically broken, energy is released and this energy is used to drive muscle contraction.
Each of the energy systems has a different rate of ATP supply and different length of time that the ATP can be supplied. All 3 also use different fuel source combinations and require a different recovery strategy (between sets). Here is an example of the performance characteristics of each system:
Intensity - Very High
Duration - 5-15 seconds
Fuel - Creatine Phosphate
Recovery - 2-5 minutes Rest Recovery
Intensity - High
Duration - 30-90 seconds
Fuel - Glucose/Glycogen
Recovery - 1:2 Work:Rest Ratio - Active Recovery
Intensity - Low Mod
Duration - 3+ minutes
Fuel - Carbs, Fat, Protein
Recovery - 1:1 Ratio
Take note of the Phosphagen System (highlighted in blue) because this system is going to be supercharged by creatine supplementation. The Phosphagen system is the energy pathway that you use for all high intensity efforts. It will provide you with between 5 – 15 seconds of explosive effort before the Anaerobic Glycolysis becomes the primary anaerobic system. The Anaerobic Glycolysis system is explosive also, but not quite as explosive as the Phosphagen system, and the Anaerobic Glycolysis system produces a lot of Hydrogen and Lactic Acid which speeds up fatigue.
So, think about doing a heavy 3 rep max squat. You grind out 3 tough reps and rack the bar. You now should rest at least 2 minutes before your next set. Set number 2 is also a heavy 3 rep max and you grind out another set. This time you do not feel like you have the same strength as the first set. What is the cause? More than likely, you are running low on Creatine Phosphate (CP) in the muscle and you are unable to continue to achieve the same intensity for each set.
How does Creatine help?
To answer this question, look at the Phosphagen system again. You can see that this system is written chemically as ATP – CP. This does not mean that ATP and CP are attached, but instead, this nomenclature shows that the two phosphate products work together. In your muscle cells, you have about 2-3 seconds of stored ATP in the sarcoplasm (fluid of the muscle cell). During an intense effort, such as a heavy 3 rep max, the stored ATP will be quickly used up and, at this point your ability to maintain a high intensity output would be significantly compromised. This is where Creatine Phosphate (CP) becomes critical. Take a look at the reaction below:
As you can see, the Creatine Phosphate breaks down to “resynthesize” or rebuild ATP, so that muscle contractions can continue. You have probably already figured out how a creatine supplement will “supercharge” the Phosphagen system. By adding a creatine supplement, you can add more product to generate more Creatine Phosphate, which will help resynthesize more ATP, which will enable you to train at higher intensities.
Creatine supplementation also improves muscle hydration because for every molecule of creatine stored in the muscle, 3 molecules of water are stored. This not only improves recovery rate between workouts, but also enhances protein synthesis.
What makes MaxEffort’s Tri Blend Creatine special?
The early creatine supplements were good, but they required a large loading phase and, many times, they would create considerable stomach discomfort. Also, many of the creatine supplements seemed to lose their effect after about two weeks due to the body adapting to the protein carrier and getting rid of some the positive benefits. Some creatine products still suggest a loading phase and, some still create an acid environment in the stomach. You do not have to worry about these problems with MaxEffort Muscle’s Tri Blend Creatine. Tri Blend refers to the three types of creatine product that are combined to create a superior creatine supplement.
Creatine Monohydrate is tried and true and has been an effective form of creatine supplementation for decades. It lasts in the body, provides excellent results, and gets the job done. For most of you who have taken creatine in the past, you more than likely used Creatine Monohydrate. Creatine Monohydrate just simply works, and that is why it is in MaxEffort’s Tri Blend Creatine.
So why use two other forms of creatine? Well, let us look at the benefits of Creatine HCL. To be very effective and to reduce the need for an extended (and expensive) loading phase, MaxEffort wanted to use a product that can produce more with less. In other words, you do not need to take a lot to get big results. Creatine HCL is water soluble, so it mixes and digests well (no bloating or nausea) and it also does not require a loading phase. Creatine HCL has also proven to enhance muscle cell volume (by absorbing water) which is extremely beneficial for protein synthesis (gains!!). For those lifters that occasionally suffer some stomach discomfort, Creatine HCL aligns very well with the pH (acid – base balance) of the digestive system, so there is not going to be any nausea or cramping with this product.
The third type of creatine is one that I take great interest in, because it is very interesting to us exercise science geeks. Creatine Alpha-Ketoglutarate is a fascinating product that even works for those creatine non-responders. The organic product, alpha-ketoglutarate is manufactured in the body and it is part of aerobic metabolism. This means that alpha-ketoglutarate can easily cross the muscle cell membrane, with creatine, and this results in rapid results. Other forms of creatine require a protein transport into the muscle cell, which is why some lifters are non-responders. Their body does not respond to the protein transport so the creatine cannot do its job in the muscle cell. With Creatine Alpha-ketoglutarate, this is not a problem. There will be a positive response even for non-responders. Alpha-ketoglutarate is the transport for the creatine, so it will always get into the muscle cell.
MaxEffort’s Tri Blend Creatine requires only 1 scoop (5.1 grams) per day to achieve great results. The 3 types of creatine form an amazing blend of easily digested, fast acting, powerful products that will provide you with increased strength, muscle size, and recovery ability. As an older lifter, I benefit tremendously from creatine use and MaxEffort’s Tri Blend Creatine is absolutely the best I have used. Give MaxEffort’s Tri Blend Creatine a try, you will not regret it!