Creatine and Currency (Supporting a Robust Creatine Phosphagen System)
There are three basic biological energy systems our bodies use to function and exercise each day.
Phosphagen System, Glycolytic System, & Oxidative System
The phosphagen & glycolytic systems are used primarily in anaerobic activity (high intensity/short duration exercise). The Oxidative System, uses aerobic mechanisms (i.e. Krebs Cycle) to provide energy over longer durations of exercise at a lower intensity (think long distance running).
It is important to note that all energy systems are essentially operating simultaneously. The degree to which each system contributes is directly dependent on the intensity of work being performed as well as the duration of activity.
During the sport of baseball and any activity regardless of intensity, athletes will find themselves operating initially in the phosphagen system. Its purpose is to replenish ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) quickly for those high intensity/low duration activities (i.e. throwing, hitting, sprinting.)
The Phosphagen System primarily relies on the hydrolysis of ATP. A way to think about ATP is that it acts as the energy currency of our body. If we go to the store to buy the new Jordan’s but don’t have enough money, well, you can’t buy them. It’s the same with ATP! If you do not have the required amount of ATP (money) we cannot “afford” to do any more work in the phosphagen system.
The body stores anywhere from 80g - 100g of ATP at any given time, and to continue with the money example, this is our energy savings account!
80g -100g of ATP is not an adequate amount of an energy reserve for exercise. A significant amount of those stores must be maintained for basic cellular function (normal everyday body function). This means our bodies need another “stream of revenue” to afford exercise.
So wait, if we don’t store enough ATP to exercise then how the heck are we supposed to get big and throw gas?? Luckily for us, God thought of it all! We can also use another high energy phosphate molecule called Creatine Phosphate.
Creatine Phosphate pairs with ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate) to quickly create more molecules of ATP. The phosphagen system or the reaction of ADP combining with CP serves as a reserve for rapidly replenishing ATP. Type IIx muscle fibers (Fast Twitch) also contain higher stores of CP than Type 1 fibers.
With most of a baseball player's time being spent in the Creatine Phosphagen system, it is vital to support its function from every available angle. One way we can offer support is with a clean creatine monohydrate supplement.
Taking creatine on a regular basis can help increase levels of phosphocreatine stores in skeletal muscles. Increasing the storage of free creatine and creatine phosphate can help prolong use of the phosphagen system. This in return may help increase anaerobic (explosive) power as well as overall strength performance.