Hit a plateau with your muscular gains? Do you want to reach the next level with your personal bests? Maybe it's time you considered adding creatine to your supplement plan.
When it comes to supplements for gym goers, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts’ alike, creatine has become one of the ‘must have’ supplements and a staple part of all supplement regimes.
In this article, we are going to tell you all about creatine - what it is, how it works, and how you can benefit from taking it.
We'll also review 3 products we recommend worth checking out.
Enjoy everything you need to know in one easy-to-read piece and why it’s an imperative supplement crucial to your gains!
Our Top 5 Creatine Supplements (2019 Updated)
#1 Transparent Labs
#2 Battle Ready Fuel
#3 MuscleTech Platinum
#4 Optimum Nutrition
#5 Bulk Supplements
1. Editor's Choice: Transparent Labs Creatine
What Transparent Labs has done here is combine two highly effective supplements in the form of creatine monohydrate and β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (just call it HMB). And, this is not just some accident, but a decision made after assessing clinical trials.
The company of HMB has proven the product to improve strength and muscle definition (1), while the creatine will speed up muscle recovery and the creation of new muscle tissue.
This all sounds promising, so I went and checked out online reviews, and most users are commenting that it provides quite a significant energy boost and recovery times are often cut in half.
Essentially, you can work harder for longer, and then get straight back into the gym the following day without feeling a drop in performance levels.
2. Battle Ready Fuel
One of the more recent products I noticed at the gym is this Battle Ready Fuel. It’s a clever name, but it’s the ingredients that caught my eye.
I’m not a vegan personally, but I have found that plant-based proteins seem to work better than animal products when it comes to building lean muscle.
But, the makers have taken this one step further by adding in some digestive enzymes and a lot of users have commented that this does seem to help speed up the protein absorption and processing.
The idea is simple: the quicker you can get protein from your shake to your muscles, the faster your recovery and bulking time will be.
3. MuscleTech Platinum
MuscleTech Platinum contains pure creatine monohydrate which helps to quickly improve your muscle cells' ability to restore ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the primary source of anaerobic energy. Higher ATP levels will give you the strength to train harder and recover faster.
One clinical study shows that the test subjects who consumed Platinum 100% Creatine gained 6 pounds of muscles in 6 weeks.
Another study has proven that test subjects improved their bench press strength by 18.6% in just 10 days.
This is our #1 recommend creatine supplement to help build your strength and muscles.
4. Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine
This product is made with Creapure Creatine, a creatine monohydrate known for its extraordinary purity. The powder is micronized, which means that it mixes easier and stays in liquid longer than other brands.
It is known to help increase muscle strength, improve performance especially in high-intensive exercise, and helps increase energy reserves while lessening protein breakdown.
This product is ideal when taken before and after workout.
Optimum’s Micronized Creatine Monohydrate is available from different sizes, definitely something that fits your budget.
5. Bulk Supplements Creatine Powder
If you want to experience high-intensive workouts at the gym, you might want to try BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate Powder. This product is made to help give you the stamina you will need in bodybuilding, intense crossfits, and any strength training workouts.
Taking this supplement along a healthy diet and regular workout, you will experience favorable muscle growth and increased overall performance in workouts.
This product is also ideal for your pre and post workouts. It is made from 99.99% micronized creatine monohydrate that is sugar, yeast, soy (see here), and gluten-free, suited for those who are vegan-friendly.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is also often referred to as creatine phosphate, this is because once it reaches the inside of your muscle cells, a high-energy phosphate attaches to it thus giving it the chemical name of phosphocreatine (PCr) or creatine phosphate for a simpler phrase.
Creatine, a protein-like compound, is found naturally in muscle cells. It helps muscles produce energy during weight lifting or high-intensity training. It's a very popular supplement to take for muscle gain, enhanced strength, and improved physical performance.
It has been theorized that supplementing with creatine can lead to an increase in PCr in muscle by as much as 20%.
It can be found and sourced in high abundance from fresh meats and fish. It is synthesized in your body, largely in your liver, from the three amino acids, arginine, methionine and glycine.
Your muscle tissues need to source creatine from your bloodstream; therefore you must ingest potent forms of creatine for your body to use it.
Creatine is most popular for its ability to help with:
How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine essentially allows the human body to perform muscular strength based exercises successfully.
See, the body actually has its own natural store of creatine readily available.
It’s a naturally occurring substance within the muscle cells of the body that lead to us being able to perform explosive, singular feats of strength (or in the case of traditional resistance training, sequences of singular exercises).
This is due to a chemical reaction, whereas Cr (the body’s free creatine stores) bond with the stored version of creatine (known as creatine phosphate, found in the muscle cells themselves) to allow the body to create a muscular contraction when combined with ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and ADP (adenosine Diphosphate).
Basically, it is an important component that’s absolutely vital for lifting weights, especially at high levels of intensity.
Is Creatine Safe? Any Side Effects?
Before taking this supplement, we want to know if creatine bad for you. There’s no published literature to suggest it is unsafe.
That’s because It’s a naturally occurring compound found within the human body, so if it isn’t safe, we’d better all set out to start extracting it from within our muscle cells immediately! You could instead take solace in the fact that it’s clearly not only very safe, but also very compatible with the human body. After all, the body couldn’t function without it.
So There Are No Risks At All?
Any risk from creatine use could potentially come about from excess loading of the product, i.e., completely ignoring the recommended serving suggestions on the packaging of your chosen creatine brand. It's generally considered right up there among the safest, along with mass gainers and whey protein (see here).
Risk would come in the form of excess stress on the kidneys and liver due to having to process more than the “normal” amount of the compound, but with that said, there is absolutely nothing at all that is ever safe in excess - even water.
Diarrhea is also a reported side effect reported by some users, but it’s not often this will occur if dosage instructions are followed.
Simply put, it’s absolutely fine provided you don’t decide to take an entire tub at once in the pursuit of world-class level strong man style strength. In truth, at worst - you’ll probably just find yourself urinating more than normal. On that note, it only really works if you’re very well hydrated - so drink plenty!
The 4 Types of Creatine
There are several different types of creatine available, all of which claim to produce roughly the same end result, in that they lead to enhanced performance with resistance and strength based exercises.
There are 4 types of creatine, which are:
What are The Benefits?
Supplementing with creatine to either improve your sporting performance or increase your muscle mass have been proven to be successful time and time again as long as you stick to regular usage.
Studies on the creatine benefits have repeatedly shown that supplementing your diet with roughly 20 g·d-1 of creatine monohydrate may elevate the total creatine content in your muscles by 10-20%, which is pretty significant really.
This means that with more creatine in your muscles you are better equipped to perform more explosive movements such as sprinting, rowing and weight lifting.
Creatine Has Been Proven To Work…
It has also been suggested through sufficient evidence that ingestion of a carbohydrate source, for example tri-carb or dextrose with creatine can effectively enhance intramuscular creatine uptake and glycogen.
Another great aspect of the positive effects of creatine is the fact that it is so adaptable – considering that explosive muscular power is the primary result that creatine delivers.
“The addition of creatine promoted greater gains in fat/bone-free mass, isotonic lifting volume, and sprint performance during intense resistance/agility training.”
Professor and Department Head, Health and Kinesiology
It can be applied for anything from powerlifting to mixed martial arts thus providing athletes all over the world with a readily accessible source to enhance their chosen sport.
It’s worth noting that explosive muscular power is used at varying intensities for almost every form of activity aside from aerobic exercise where the respiratory system is the primary fuel source.
As a result, you could experiment with creatine use for pretty much any form of exercise and it could enhance your performance drastically.
There aren’t many supplements on the market today that can boast this level of adaptability for just about any form of physical endeavor; this is perhaps one of the main reasons why creatine has become so popular.
What's The Recommended Dosage?
This varies greatly depending on the type being used, but in many cases it’s advised by the manufacturer that the user goes through a “loading” phase, before tapering off and having a smaller dosage over a period of several weeks.
In truth? Have between 2.5 - 5 grams one hour before, and again immediately after training if you’re taking monohydrate.
You could also take any other form of creatine in this manner too without much detriment - as a rule of thumb this will suffice for most people without excessive waste during an often-unnecessary loading phase.
When is the best time to take Creatine?
Your two options on how to take creatine are loading and maintenance phase, which both have their own benefits. You can read take full article here: The best time to take creatine
SHOULD I TAKE CREATINE?
There is absolutely no guarantee that creatine will work for you – but that could be said about any supplement or training regime. If you perform resistance training, and you want to break into new strength territories and develop more size, then creatine in any form is worth a try.
Stick with monohydrate to begin with, see how you progress, and if you experience any negative side effects or simply don’t see any results, then it might just be that you need a purer form to help guarantee more concrete results.
If none of them work, then at least you tried one of the most popular and proven supplements on offer and can now check it off the list.
It’s important to remember that anything capable of healthily and positively affecting the outcome of your training is always going to be a desirable addition to your arsenal.
Which Creatine Supplement Should You Choose?
After spending a month on each of the above products and keeping a very detailed training diary, I took a closer look at the numbers. First of all, compared to no supplement, all of them improved my performance and recovery times.
But the one I found that was the most favorable of all was Transparent Labs Creatine HMB. And this was also confirmed by online reviews and conversations with some friends and colleagues at the gym.
Adding the HMB seems to give it that little edge that will allow you to workout harder without having to worry about your performance levels the next day.
Consider giving this product a try and keep track of your training data in close detail.
Transparent Labs Creatine
Our #1 Creatine Supplement