Why Creatine Monohydrate?
Other forms of creatine supplements are available, and may claim to be absorbed quicker or you need less because it’s concentrated for example. Creatine monohydrate saturates creatine stores 100% and is the cheapest available option.
What is creatine and how does it work?
Creatine is found in meat and fish, but some is “cooked off” during a meal preparation. Most people can store and use much more than is found in a regular diet. For an example, you need 1.1 kg of raw beef to get 5 grams of creatine (Harris, 1992). For most individuals, you get a benefit from creatine without "diminishing returns" from 0.05 grams of creatine/kilogram of bodyweight (Examine, 2016). This translates to 5 grams per day for a 100 kg individual, many users opt to increase intakes to 5-10 grams per day because it is an inexpensive supplement and there is the possibility of increasing the effects.
Creatine works in your phosphocreatine energy system to create ATP (energy) through the phosphagen energy system, this is the “shortest” energy system lasting 10-30 seconds, it resynthesizes stored creatine phosphate in skeletal muscles. Any athlete who expends very large amounts of energy in short time periods benefits the most from creatine monohydrate supplementation. Supplementing with creatine may help you in increasing the length of time you can use the phosphagen system and the amount of times you can resynthesize creatine phosphate for more ATP production, for instance grinding out an extra few reps or sets or holding on to a sprint for longer.
Research and FAQ about Creatine...
Is Creatine Safe?
Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements available, it is safe to use (Shao, 2006). If there are issues it is likely to do with taking too much too quickly or from not drinking enough water when you are supplementing creatine. Issues with bloating, diarrhoea and cramping have been noted but mainly with insufficient water intake (Groeneveld, 2005).
Do I need to cycle or load Creatine?
In our view, cycling creatine is unnecessary, it has not been shown to have any benefit and long-term creatine use has been shown to have very few side effects in most individuals (Groeneveld, 2005). Loading creatine monohydrate is useful if you want to saturate the creatine content in your muscles faster - Take in 4x the regular daily intake for one week (Examine, 2016). Be careful with jumping straight into loading if you’ve never tried creatine before and drink plenty of water!
When is the best time to take Creatine?
Our advice is take your creatine at whatever time of day is most convenient, whether it be in the morning, just before or just after exercising - It really comes down to personal preference.
In our view, exactly when you take creatine probably makes little difference because once your body has reached full creatine saturation (within 2 to 3 weeks of continued use) it is always readily available to your muscles. In addition, regardless of the time of day you take your creatine, it will eventually be absorbed by the muscles.