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Exploring the Carnivore Diet: The Creatine Phosphate Energy System

The ability to use the creatinine from the meat we ate to provide that fast burst power may be the missing link of how we thrived pre-agriculture.
Josh Koop
August 3, 2020

Most of us are familiar with the aerobic and anaerobic systems and what most of us have been taught is around the carbs and sugar fueling the anaerobic activities and long duration activities are typically powered more from fat stores or slower continuously available energy.

Why then is it that many carnivores say they are just as explosive in their workouts after changing their diet as they were prior, by nature this shouldn't happen. This is where the creatine phosphate energy system can come into play for carnivores to provide that pop.

What is the Creatine Phosphate Energy System?

Essentially, the Creatine Phosphate Energy System is an energy system your body uses in specific types of training or heavy exertion.

You start out with Adenosine Tri-phosphate (aka: ATP) and when your energy system is put into action chemical reactions occur to create the energy you expect.

This leads to where a phosphate (P) splits off and energy is released which then leaves you with Adenosine Di-Phosphate (ADP).

The Creatine Phosphate (CP) system is primarily used in short high intensity and explosive training. Its purpose is to give you that extra exertion when needed on-demand, this then allows you to push your body harder than you normally could which can yield you the benefits.

This is one of the big reasons why athletes and bodybuilders choose to use Creatine Supplements is largely due to the fact that it increases your body’s store of Creatine, this then leads to an increase in your energy levels and a few more reps.

There are many options that exist but the two primary choices for Creatine supplementation are Monohydrate and Phosphate. Monohydrate is often recommended due to it being the more effective of the two and typically far less expensive.

How Long Does Creatine Phosphate Last?

Creatine phosphate has the ability to supply the energy needs of your working muscles at a superior rate, the only issue with this being that it lasts for only for about 8–10 seconds.

Where is Creatine Phosphate Stored in the Body?

Your body stores the majority of the creatine within the skeletal muscle, this works out to about 95%. In addition, you store about 5% within the brain itself, and the total comes out to around 1% of the total volume of your blood itself.

How Much Creatine is Stored in the Body?

While reading up on the science it looks like the normal total creatine (creatine and phosphocreatine) stored is around 120 mmol/kg of dry muscle mass.

Creatine monohydrate powder isolated on black background - Carnivore Diet: The Creatine Phosphate Energy System

If you were to work on dietary and supplementing your creatine though the top limit is believed to be around 160 mmol/kg(source).

What is Creatine?

Creating is a naturally occurring chemical in the world, it is also the number one supplement in the bodybuilding and workout world. This is due to the fact that there are numerous studies(source) that show it has benefits to building strength and that it has no side effects from long term use.

Hopefully you learn that is is a natural chemical you get from eating foods which is then converted and stored for use in your muscle cells for use when explosive energy is required.

Where Does Creatine Come From?

Creatine is found naturally in all of your bodies muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise which is the anaerobic system.

Naturally, you are able to produce it from the amino acids glycine and arginine. Or you can eat it through red meat and other proteins which contain it in certain varying amounts.

How is Creatine Used in the Body?

Basically your body stores the creatine for using in the Creatine Phosphate Energy System to replace used ATP from use as this system is much faster than many other processes that could replenish this energy loss.

What Are the Benefits of Taking Creatine?

As to strength and performance creatine has direct studies showing that once you hit saturation levels in your body you have tremendous benefits to overall length lift time which helps improve total weight lifted per workout(source).

In addition there have been links to helping with mental decline(source) and many other sub-topics since the use of creatine long term has been shown safe in studies out to 24 months.

How Quickly Does Creatine Work?

If you follow a load strategy then you are looking at about a week of large consumption to maximize the content in your muscle to reach saturation levels.

If you take the slow and steady way, which helps cut down on bloat feelings, then it is suggested to take it at maintenance (5g) daily for a month. After this month has passed you should be close or at saturation levels similar to loading.

Why Does the Creatine Phosphate Energy System Matter to Carnivores?

Well when you start on a carnivore diet you will not be taking in the same level of carbohydrate as prior, when you workout hard this can and will be seen as "hitting the wall".

Many think that it is body fat that gives you your energy and while not untrue, it is more than that. Your body fat is more an endurance based energy that is able to be consistently utilized.

A carnivore doesn't know it but they should love the Creatine Phosphate Energy System because it is able to provide the explosive energy that is missing from the lack of overall carbohydrate intake.

The explosive push of the muscles needs the energy expenditure which far exceeds the bodies ability to convert fat itself into energy.

What is the Role of Creatine Phosphate in Muscle Contraction?

The way it is used in your body is to help provide faster replenishment of your ATP so that you are using multiple systems to ensure the levels are up allowing for heavy lifting consistently.

Tired athlete runner exhausted of hard cardio workout after difficult exercise - Carnivore Diet: The Creatine Phosphate Energy System

From people way smarter than me in physiological functioning, the reaction is catalyzed by the enzyme creatine kinase and occurs super quick which allows the creatine phosphate-derived ATP to power the first few seconds of muscle contraction.

How Long Does it Take for the Creatine Phosphate System to Recover?

While the energy system is able to power dramatic exercise and energy expenditure it also can replenish incredibly fast so it can be good for short hard sprints, or immense power pushes and doing hard workouts without bonking.

For explosive type efforts such as throwing, hitting, jumping, and sprinting the system is amazingly helpful and can be rapidly replenished during recovery.

Whats pretty interesting is that it requires only about 30 seconds to replenish back to around 70% of the phosphagens and 3 to 5 minutes to replenish 100%

What Happens When You Stop Taking Creatine?

Slowly your body will not replace the optimal levels and the overall stored level will move back towards the normal levels of 120 mmol/kg of dry muscle mass.

There is no ill effects from stopping your use of creatine other than the lessening of storage and maybe a little of the additional puffy look on your arms as the water weight also is released.

Final Thoughts on the Creatine Phosphate Energy System

I feel that this may have really been how our ancestors managed to do their bouts of long fast running for getting that next kill. The ability to use the creatinine from the meat we ate to provide that fast burst power may be the missing link of how we thrived pre-agriculture.

I would like to say this has me engrossed and I have been stuck trying to find anything and everything I can about it, if you have some time to learn I should suggest looking into this if you plan to lift big and heavy as those are the energy needs that would be fueled by this system!

Additional Creatine Phosphate Energy System Study Reading

To the Carniovore Dieters Who Will Settle for Nothing Less Than Quality Meats

I have used ButcherBox now for going on nearly 3 years as finding meat that isn't raised on candy or junk like corn isn't easy. Instead of spending hours searching to get the best quality I have chosen to have ButcherBox deliver me high quality meats, from Ribeyes, Brisket, ground beef... Others may choose chicken with all cuts from whole to breasts, thighs, and more Then add in my side favorite which is heritage pork that tastes sooooooo much better than any store bought pork I have ever had.
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