Creatine Monohydrate – The Facts
Creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied and effective nutritional supplement available today.
What it does
It replenishes ATP stores within the muscle by adding a phosphate group to ADP. The additional energy it provides allows you to lift heavier weights for more repetitions which support one of the tenets of strength training: progressive overload.
What can you expect?
5-15% gains (compared to using a training program without creatine) in strength over 4-8 weeks, which calculates to 20 pounds on a 200lb bench press, and an extra 2-4 pounds of lean muscle mass over 4-12 weeks of training.
When Should You Take It
During the loading phase, it’s best to take it 4 times daily, preferably with meals. During the maintenance phase, it’s best to take it with your pre and/or post-workout shake.
How Much Should Take?
The easiest protocol includes using a 5 day loading phase of 20 grams daily (split into 4 doses), and then a maintenance phase of 5-10 grams daily.
A more analytical approach involves using 0.3g per kg of bodyweight per day for 5 days, followed by 5-10 grams daily. So, a 200 pound lifter would use ~27g of creatine during the loading phase.
As of now, there is insufficient evidence supporting cycling creatine use. Most research suggests using it continuously does not impair its uptake.
Side effects are minimal. Dehydration, muscle cramping, and bloating have been grossly exaggerated and have never been supported by research, which includes literally hundreds of studies. The only downside is anywhere from 10-30% of the population are considered non-responders. Research has yet to find a cause. The newer creatine products have not been proven to be effective for creatine monohydrate non-responders.
The Inside Scoop from the Supplement Doc
Don’t spend the extra money on the “newer” versions of creatine. There has not been a definitive study that has shown any of the newer forms of creatine are superior to creatine monohydrate. Stick with creatine monohydrate.
What Does It Stack Best With
Whey Protein, Beta Alanine, Citrulline Malate, Leucine
Top Products Using It
Dymatize Micronized Creatine Monohydrate, Ultimate Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate, US Jack3d, Optimum Nutriton Micronized Creatine, Muscle Pharm Assault