Everything You Need To Know About Creatine Monohydrate?
As a fellow gym rat, I have an unhealthy obsession with taking the perfect concoction of supplements to maximize my strength and muscle gains.
There are certainly levels to the intricacy of supplements. On a rudimentary level, many fitness enthusiasts love taking protein powder and maybe some multivitamins for general health.
However, upon deeper inspection, there are a million different supplements that bodybuilders and gym-goers need to consider.
One of these is creatine monohydrate.
What is creatine monohydrate?
Generally, I like to know what I'm putting into my body before I take it. I'm going to take the liberty of assuming you feel the same way.
So, what is creatine monohydrate?
Creatine monohydrate is simply creatine in monohydrate form. Creatine monohydrate is a naturally produced compound that helps supply energy to muscle cells for contraction. Supplementing the naturally produced amount can help weightlifters resist fatigue and lift heavier weights.
Creatine is produced naturally by the body, and it is also found in red meats; creatine monohydrate is a form of the compound with only one water molecule.
Creatine monohydrate has many scientifically-backed benefits. Most commonly cited are the strength gains and extra pump that creatine monohydrate gives to lifters.
How does creatine monohydrate work?
By taking creatine monohydrate as a supplement, lifters are providing their body with more phosphocreatine to transport ATP to muscles when lifting. This is a complex mechanism, but essentially it allows more energy to be utilized by the muscles.
This leads lifters to lift heavier weights for longer periods. With extra phosphocreatine, the muscle cells are aided in contraction and do not fatigue nearly as quickly.
Does creatine monohydrate give you a pump?
One of the most touted benefits of creatine monohydrate is its ability to give weight lifters a massive pump during workouts.
This occurs as a result of water retention. Creatine monohydrate is an osmotic compound, or capable of attracting and retaining water.
With more water in the body and the muscle cells, your muscles will appear bigger and more full during workouts.
Pumps occur when a high volume of blood fills the muscle because of many muscle contractions; increasing water volume only accentuates that effect.
Is Creatine Considered Natty?
There's certainly a fine line between what is considered "natty" or not. Taking steroids is widely frowned upon in the world of fitness and bodybuilding.
Is creatine monohydrate considered a steroid?
No, creatine monohydrate is not a steroid. Anabolic steroids, or performance-enhancing drugs, are synthetic and typically provide the body with testosterone. Creatine is a naturally produced substance in the body that one can supplement with, Therefore you are still a natty lifter when taking creatine.
Especially in the world of bodybuilding, steroids are a big deal! Taking steroids is seen as cheating by many, and it is often grounds for elimination in serious competitions.
Luckily for bodybuilders and lifters alike, creatine monohydrate can be taken without any worry of testing positive for steroids.
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found in the muscle cells of humans; supplementing with creatine monohydrate capsules or powder only adds to the amount you naturally produce.
On the contrary, steroids introduce synthetic chemicals into the body to boost muscle growth and recovery. Because creatine is a naturally occurring substance that has nothing to do with increasing testosterone levels, it is definitely not a steroid!
What is the optimal amount of creatine monohydrate to take?
Supplementing with creatine monohydrate has its benefits. How much creatine monohydrate should you take to see the best results?
When first taking creatine, users should take 20g per day for the first week. After the first week, users should take 5g of creatine monohydrate per day.
Taking creatine monohydrate involves putting the body through what is known as a loading phase. A loading phase speeds up the process of creatine supplementation by increasing muscle stores very quickly.
During this phase, lifters should take 20g per day. Typically, this is accomplished by taking creatine monohydrate in 5g doses throughout the day.
After the loading phase is over, lifters move into the maintenance period. Users will take less creatine, only about 5g per day to maintain their increased muscle stores.
Of course, this number varies. Heavier individuals should take more, whereas lighter individuals should take less per day. A study performed on creatine monohydrate supplementation showed the most effective dosage is around 3g to 5g.
How do I take creatine monohydrate?
Taking creatine monohydrate is a simple process. There are different supplementation options for everyone!
Creatine monohydrate can be taken through creatine tablets, capsules, or powders.
How you take creatine is purely a personal preference; as long as the creatine monohydrate compound is high-quality, the form you consume is irrelevant.
Most commonly, creatine monohydrate is sold in powder form. Users can take the powder and mix it with water that they then drink to consume the supplement.
Additionally, creatine monohydrate can be taken in capsule or tablet form. Simply take the capsule or tablet with water, just like any other vitamin supplement or pill.
What are the potential side effects of taking creatine monohydrate?
As with everything in life, there are always going to be trade-offs.
Creatine monohydrate is a beautiful thing: it helps us lift more weights and look massive! However, there are side effects that are important to acknowledge.
Creatine monohydrate is purported to lead to kidney and liver issues, as well as a lower libido. However, upon further research, there is no credible evidence to back these claims. Creatine monohydrate is safe to take!
A 2017 study reviewing the safety of creatine monohydrate supplementation 2017 study reviewing the safety of creatine monohydrate supplementation, it was found that the only scientifically-backed side effect is weight gain. This comes as a result of increased water retention; in other words, the gained weight is purely water weight.
Many opponents of creatine claim there are adverse health effects on kidney and liver function when in fact, years of studies have proven the safety and efficacy of creatine.
In short, most of the "severe side effects" people cite when arguing against creatine monohydrate have no basis.
By knowing both the benefits and drawbacks, you can make the most educated decision about whether or not creatine monohydrate is right for you.
The best creatine monohydrate brands
If you've made it this far, I'm assuming you're intrigued by the prospective payoff that creatine monohydrate has to offer.
Lucky for you, we have some great suggestions for those looking to buy their first supplements!
Best quality creatine monohydrate: Klean Athlete Creatine
For bodybuilders who don't want to compromise on quality, purchase Klean Athlete Creatine.
Not only is this creatine internationally certified, but users claim benefits are seen lightning fast and it has no taste so you can take it with anything you like!
Most environmentally-friendly: Naked Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate Powder
Vegan bodybuilders and weightlifters will love Naked Nutrition! It's vegan-certified and is also gluten-free for those with dietary restrictions.
Users of Naked Nutrition claimed their maxes exploded after starting to use the supplement! They've also said that for the price, the value is phenomenal.
Best flavored creatine monohydrate: Nutricost Fruit Punch
If you want a good-tasting supplement, look no further than Nutricost creatine monohydrate powder. Their fruit punch flavor is a huge hit with the lifting community!
Users say they look forward to taking Nutricost; it makes creatine an enjoyable experience with real benefits.
Best muscle-building creatine monohydrate: Thorne Creatine
Like Klean creatine, Thorne is internationally certified and approved for athletes of all levels to take. It's NSF certified for sports and great for building muscle.
Many creatine users claim having experienced stomach pain and bloating, but not with Thorne. Thorne is an effective, affordable creatine that fellow lifters love taking.