The Effect of Creatine Supplementation on Muscle Fuel Stores, Body Composition, and Exercise Performance During Energy Restriction


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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of a four day creatine load and simultaneous energy restriction on muscle creatine content, exercise performance, and body composition in 24 male recreational resistance trainers, age 18-26. Sixteen subjects were randomly divided into placebo (Pl, n=8) and creatine supplement (CrS, n=8) groups. Control (C, n=8) subjects of the same age were recruited separately g à d-1 to complete the performance and body composition tests while consuming their normal diet. The CrS group was administered 20 g à d-1 of creatine monohydrate (Cr) mixed with 5 g à d-1 of sucrose, while the Pl group was administered 25 of sucrose. Both CrS and Pl consumed a formula diet of 75.3 kJ (18 kcal) à kg-1 à d-1 for 4 d. Testing before and after energy restriction consisted of a repeated sprint cycle performance test (10 sprints of 6s, with 30s rest), hydrostatic weighing, and resting needle muscle biopsy. Testing revealed that subjects in CrS and Pl demonstrated significant decreases in body weight and % body fat (%BF) with no difference between groups. However, Pl demonstrated a significantly greater % loss in FFM (2.4 ± 0.25%) compared to CrS (1.4 ± 0.4%) (p<0.05). The muscle fuel stores of CrS and Pl responded significantly to the diet. Significant increases in muscle total Cr (p<0.01), free Cr (p<0.01), and CrP (p<0.05) of 16.5%, 16.8%, and 16% respectively were demonstrated by CrS over the energy restriction period, while Pl demonstrated significant decreases of 7.2% and 8.2% respectively in muscle total Cr (p<0.01) and free Cr (p<0.05). There were no significant differences between groups for performance during the cycle test, however, there were trends toward group by time interactions for performance enhancement in CrS relative to Pl, as total work (p=0.078) and work capacity (p=0.058) increased 3.8 ± 2.2% in CrS and decreased 0.5 ± 0.4% in Pl. It was concluded that short-term energy restriction resulted in decreased muscle Cr storage, and that Cr supplementation during energy restriction increased muscle Cr and CrP stores. Consumption of Cr allowed CrS to lose a significantly lower % FFM compared to Pl. Cr supplementation resulted in trends toward improved performance in CrS relative to Pl after energy restriction, but did not influence losses in body weight or %BF.



Sprint Cycling, Muscle Biopsy, Hydrostatic Weighing, Ergogenic Aids