Creatine is probably one of the best-selling supplements in the bodybuilding industry; it can be very effective at increasing strength, adding muscle mass, and increase short bursts of energy which is essential for high-intensity training. In this article, I will discuss the following:
- What Creatine is
- How Creatine works
- Types of Creatine
- Who should take Creatine
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an ergogenic “muscle-building” amino acid found in animal flesh. Numerous scientific studies have proven that extra Creatine is ergogenic because it can help increase power during intense training. Creatine has also been proven to improve performance and add more lean muscle mass. If Creatine is used over an extended period, it can increase strength gains which equal more muscle.
How does Creatine work?
Our body’s cells run on energy supplied by a molecule called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate ). Biologists consider ATP the energy currency of life; it is the high-energy molecule that stores energy in our cells to help our body do just about everything. Think of ATP as gasoline for our bodies. Creatine binds to phosphate in our body to make phosphocreatine.
Types of Creatine
Creatine is like any other supplement; it will vary in solubility and effectiveness. Specific Creatine dissolves easier than others, which the more soluble the Creatine is, the easier it is for the muscles to absorb it. Regardless of the type of Creatine, they all do the same thing:
- Increase strength and ATP levels, which translates into more energy which is very effective for short bursts of energy required for intense strength training and sprinting.
- Increase muscle volume, which means increased muscle mass
Creatine monohydrate is probably the oldest and most well-known form of Creatine available. Most studies that have been performed on Creatine both past and present have involved the use of creatine monohydrate, making it the most popular and least expensive form of Creatine.
Micronized creatine is the same thing as monohydrate, with the exception that it has been micronized. This means the molecules in the Creatine have been made smaller, making it easier to be absorbed by the muscle. The advantage of micronized Creatine is that most people don’t experience bloating or stomach discomfort, which can be caused by monohydrate creatine.
Effervescent Creatine has been mixed with sugar and sodium to make it fizzle like Alka-Seltzer; some say it improves absorption and tastes better.
It is probably one of the most controversial types of Creatine available. Some users claim it is the best Creatine on the market, while others say it offers no results. Creatine serum is regular Creatine that has been dissolved in water. Users who did tell their results were good using creatine serum noted that the results from monohydrate were much better.
The above are some of the more popular Creatine, but many other varieties include Creatine Orate and Creatine cocktails “usually mixed with amino acids.”
Who should use Creatine?
For anyone looking to gain muscle, increase strength and improve training intensity, Creatine is a must-have as far as what kind of Creatine. For the average person, monohydrate is probably the best. It’s the cheapest and is just as effective as the others. The only downside is that it can cause bloating and water retention. If you are currently in a bulking cycle, this should not be an issue. However, for those going through a cutting cycle, you may want to consider a micronized creatine because it will cause less bloating and water retention.
So what’s the best Creatine?
This is a personal choice, and creatine monohydrate can be found in most supplement stores. I don’t have the time to go creatine shopping. I have been thrilled with a product from Bauer nutrition. They sell a 100% pharmaceutical-grade creatine monohydrate that comes in a 2.2 lb bag (1 kilo). They also sell some strawberry creatine tablets that are nice because they can be conveniently taken anywhere. This is just a matter of personal choice. I am sure there are plenty of other brands that will work just as well that can be found in your local GNC store or on Amazon.