Studies have shown that Creatine can increase exercise performance, strength, and muscle mass as well as have other health benefits. To this day, it is said to be the best exercise supplement to improve performance. Surprisingly, it’s one of the least expensive as well. So what is the best Creatine for muscle growth?
There can be some differences in price, purity, and ratings based on the brand, so I will give you some insight into this. I’d also like to go over the many pros and possible cons of this supplement, and I’ll illustrate what Creatine is.
Personally, I’ve been using Creatine on and off in combination with other supplements for quite some time. Because of this, I can give you some hands-on answers along with research from others.
You also may be wondering what proof there is about these results, so I will introduce some non-biased studies on Creatine. This information should help you decide which Creatine is right for you.
What Is Creatine
What is in the best Creatine supplements? Since Creatine is found naturally in your body, supplementing this substance is not harmful. When created in your body, Creatine is made from the biosynthesis of Amino Acids. Your body controls the amount that is manufactures depending on its needs, and exercise triggers it.
Creatine is taken as a supplement to add more benefits to what is already produced by your body and through your diet. Creatine as a supplement is made in a lab synthetically from organic compounds that normally are not fit for consumption.
These organic compounds are combined and heated under pressure to form a crystallized version of Creatine. It is then milled, packed and sold as Creatine Monohydrate
The Best Creatine for Muscle Growth
Here are some of my top Creatine supplements based on quality and value. After reading this article, you should know what kind of Creatine is best for you. These selections include Creatine HCL, Creatine Monohydrate, and Creatine HCL/Monohydrate blends.
Creatine is a relatively inexpensive muscle-building supplement, and don’t need to pay a lot of money to reap the incredible effects from Creatine. Because of this, I’ve kept my best Creatine for muscle building selections to under $20.00.
|Image||Name||Type of Creatine||Price||Buy|
|Kaged Muscle||Creatine HCL||$$||CURRENT PRICE|
|Evlution Nutrition||Creatine Monohydrate||$||CURRENT PRICE|
|Muscle Beach||Monohydrate/HCL Blend||$$||CURRENT PRICE|
|The Genius Brand||3 in 1 Creatine Blend||$$||CURRENT PRICE|
How Creatine Works
Although Creatine is produced by the body as well as consumed in your diet, when taking it as a supplement your stores of Creatine become elevated. Creatine is used in your body on a regular basis for exercise and heavy lifting by producing muscle energy.
This increase in stored Creatine throughout the body is where the benefits come into play. At this point, Creatine encourages your body to create a high energy molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
ATP is the major source of energy for cellular reactions. As this organic compound is broken down and metabolized, it releases energy. It gives athletes their increased power and performance.
This energy molecule will help with muscle strength for longer periods of time by reducing fatigue. ATP will also help with protein synthesis just as Amino Acids do.
Creatine seems to come with more benefits than any other single ingredient made for performance. There are several studies that show many other health benefits to Creatine, but I’m going to stick to how it benefits of exercise. Of course, not all of these will come true for every individual. But if Creatine brings you just a few of these, it’s well worth the price.
- Enables muscle cells to produce more energy
- Improves performance during high-intensity exercises
- Increases muscle mass
- Speeds up muscle growth
- Helps to provide more strength and endurance
- Provides resistance to fatigue
- Speeds up muscle recovery
- Increase water content in muscles so they will appear bigger
- Improves brain function and performance
- Great price – one of the least expensive exercise supplements
Potential Negatives Of Creatine
Creatine side effects are rare. Studies have shown that taking additional Creatine as a supplement has no negative side effects. Many of the Creatine side effects are rumors and have been proven to be false.
It has been said that Creatine can increase water content known as cell volumization which can add water weight. This is important since one of our goals is to look more toned. If Creatine were to effect you this way, simply avoid Creatine with supplements such as Creatine Free Pre Workouts.
- It is possible to cause nausea and stomach pain
- May cause the body to take on water weight
- Inconclusive studies on possible dehydration, but drink plenty of water anyway
Creatine For Pre Workout and Post Workout
Many bodybuilders take their Creatine as a separate supplement before and after their workout. Some of the best creatine for bodybuilding already come in their pre workout supplement. However, some will add an additional Creatine supplement to their regime. It is best to take your Creatine right before or after (or both) your workout rather than any time during the day.
For maximum muscle growth, I recommend taking a pre workout, BCAA intra workout and a post workout protein all consecutively along with your Creatine supplementation. I call this the ultimate muscle growth trifecta.
Pre Workout And Creatine
A common way to take your Creatine is before your workout because it’s the best way to saturate your muscles prior to exercise. This can provide you with faster ATP regeneration. See my review on the Best Pre Workout With Creatine.
I highly recommend taking a Pre Workout Supplement with your Creatine for increased energy, strength, and endurance. It is beneficial and totally fine to load up with compounds that compliment Creatine such as a pre workout supplement.
This will flood your body with the energy and strength to help you train harder and at higher intensities. If you happen to be Creatine Intolerant and need a pre workout supplement, I have some Creatine Free Pre Workout Recommendations.
Post Workout And Creatine
Some post workout protein powders will contain Creatine, but not many. Since Creatine powder is so inexpensive, I would recommend purchasing this supplement separately to take with your post workout protein powder. It will mix easily, and you can adjust the amount of Creatine that you want to take.
After a workout your muscles will be depleted of nutrients, therefore this can be a peak time for them to soak up the Creatine because the muscle concentrations are low. Taking post workout protein powder and Creatine together combine the benefits of both to support your goals.
Here are some of my protein powder recommendations at “What Is The Best Post Workout Supplement”.
This may not be as effective as taking before exercise because you won’t be able to benefit from the strength and power during your workout. This is why you may be better taking your Creatine before and after exercise. Of course, this is up to your preference and what works best for you.
For any questions or comments on how should you take Creatine, please leave them at the bottom and I will respond.
What Is The Best Creatine For Muscle Growth
Finding a Creatine that’s right for you should be an easier chore than selecting other types of exercise supplements. The recommendations in the chart at the top of this page are all quality products.
Most Creatine supplements are comparable in quality and consistency whether you are looking for a pure Creatine Monohydrate or HCL.
Most Creatine brands are safe and effective because this is a synthetic product that is very consistent. Many will advertise that their Creatine is tasteless, unflavored, and doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors. Most powders have these qualities.
You will see many Creatine brands advertise soy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, Keto friendly, and vegan. Once again, these supplements are 100% Creatine Monohydrate, so these claims are true across the board.
100% Creatine in powder and capsules are quite inexpensive and are usually under $20.00 per container or bottle. As far as the price point, the quality of Creatines base on cost doesn’t seem to make a huge difference. This inexpensive supplement is well worth the price from the number of benefits it provides.
Price variations are mostly from the number of servings per container. You may find some higher priced blends that mix Creatine with BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids), Glutamine, and other Amino Acids.
These blends are usually known as Intra Workouts. They are recommended to be used for drinking throughout your workout to help stay hydrated and fight fatigue.
Even though most Creatine supplements are pretty much the same (except some have fancy labeling), I would read the ratings on the one that you choose before purchasing. Some may clump easier than others or have a nasty taste from a possible bad batch.
Keep in mind that these supplements will have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Most distributors will take it back even if the container is half empty.
There is a big debate on Creatine HCL vs Monohydrate, so I will break them both down to help you decide what is best for your individual fitness goals.
Both forms of Creatine provide the excellent benefits that we are talking about. They just go about things in a little different way. Also, some individuals can feel slightly different results.
Creatine Monohydrate has been around longer, but Creatine HCL is a valid alternative. Manufacturers may even combine Monohydrate and HCL for a more well-rounded, supplement blend.
What is the difference between Creatine Monohydrate and HCL? The main difference comes down to solubility. They both have similar the same chemical makeups, but they absorb water and in your body differently.
HCL will dissolve easier and is about 40 times more soluble in water. This makes for more efficient uptake in the intestinal tract. This can make a significant difference in how much is absorbed.
With both Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine HCL, it is important to drink a lot of water. Be sure to keep yourself hydrated before and after your workout. Creatine can cause your body to take on water, so this will help you avoid bloating. Another reason to drink plenty of water is to help your body absorb this supplement.
Creatine Monohydrate is the form that is most likely to come with small side effects. This can be avoided by making sure that the powder is fully absorbed in water before drinking it. Creatine HCL is the only one that also comes in a pill form since it more easily absorbs in the stomach.
To wrap this up, the best Creatine for muscle mass can be both Creatine HCL or Monohydrate. If you have any other questions or comments regarding Creatine Monohydrate and HCL, please leave them below and I will respond.
What Is Creatine HCL
Creatine hydrochloride is made by attaching a hydrochloric acid group to a regular Creatine molecule to enhance its stability. Hydrochloric Acid is a safe chemical compound that has been incorporated into foods for years.
This product was basically made in a lab by accident while experimenting with Creatine compounds. The result was a purer and more soluble Creatine powder.
Creatine HCL Pros and Cons
The biggest difference between Creatine HCL and Monohydrate we have learned so far is the obvious pro to HCL, its ability to mix in water. This means that your body will absorb a greater percentage of the powder. Is Creatine HCL better? Many in the weight lifting profession think so, but not everyone as there are mixed thoughts on this.
A benefit to HCL is that it’s more convenient because of its ease of blending since some Creatine Monohydrates need warm water to dissolve. Creatine HCL can reduce any possible side effects that people may get from under mixing Creatine Monohydrate.
HCL also has fewer impurities and is more concentrated, so the average serving is less than half the amount of Monohydrate. Another benefit to HCL is that it seems to help to avoid any possible side effects such as bloating and stomach irritation. For these reasons, Creatine HCL is becoming the most popular form.
As far as the “cons”, the one that stands out is the price compared to the Monohydrate form. It’s around three times the amount. With any Creatine, you may incur some additional water weight but also muscle mass weight as well.
Most problems occur when taking extremely high doses. This is a bad idea to do with any exercise supplements. People with intestinal issues, kidney disease, diabetes or other issues should consult with a doctor before taking any type of Creatine.
What Is Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine Monohydrate is the first and most popular form of Creatine. It is also the most widely studied and most used form because it closely resembles the structure of our naturally synthesized Creatine.
The Monohydrate part of Creatine just means that it is one part Creatine to one part water molecule (mono).
Creatine Monohydrate Pros and Cons
Monohydrate has the most scientific support for its benefits since it has been around longer. This type is just as effective as HCL and has the same effects such as increased muscle gain and exercise performance.
The Creatine Monohydrate form rarely has side effects if taken properly, so always completely dissolve this powder in water before taking it. Also, make sure that this supplement is manufactured by a reputable company. Because the Creatine Monohydrate is just as effective as other forms and is the most affordable, it is still the most widely used type of Creatine.
Monohydrate is known to have a few more “cons”, although proper supplementation is generally side effect free. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after taking it.
Besides not being as soluble in water, this kind of Creatine supplement has a recommended “loading” cycle. This is where one should take this in larger doses for the first couple of days to build up the saturation in the body.
Unlike the HCL form, Monohydrate can be more likely to cause stomach discomfort and bloating in some. There could be a possibility of water retention, but the best Creatine for weight gain will show results mainly from increasing muscle mass. There is compelling scientific evidence that short or long-time use of Creatine Monohydrate does not have any detrimental effects.
Creatine Loading for Monohydrate Only
With a regular diet of meats and fish, your muscle stores of Creatine are still not full. Since meat is the best natural source of Creatine, vegetarians often have even lower levels. That is why adding a supplement to maximize your Creatine stores is a good idea. Unlike a pre workout or a post workout, it is more important with Creatine supplements that you take it properly.
There is a recommend loading phase, especially for Creatine Monohydrate, to saturate your muscles that will maximize your muscle stores more quickly. This phase is basically taking larger amounts of Creatine in the beginning. There are a few different theories on the amount, but whichever one you choose will be fine.
Once again, with “Creatine Monohydrate”, a common approach is taking 20 grams every day for five to seven days. These 20 grams should be taken in four, 5-gram increments throughout the day.
After the loading phase, you will take a lower dose of about 5-10 grams per day (right before or after exercise). Each container of Creatine should have specific directions on its label.
You can purchase Creatine either in capsule form or powder. Creatine is tasteless and odorless, so it can easily be mixed in your pre workout drink or post workout shake.
From my experience, the capsule form is better for on the go. Instead of having to prepare something to drink, capsules can be easily swallowed with water.
Let me know if you have further questions on Creatine loading. You can leave any comments at the bottom.
The Best Creatine for Muscle Growth Conclusion
Creatine is one of the most extensively studied and validated nutritional supplemental products for exercise performance. The benefits for athletes and amateurs have proven to give increased strength, enhanced muscle gain and endurance, and delays the onset of fatigue.
What is the best Creatine for muscle growth? The answer is all of them. Any 100% Creatine Monohydrate, HCL, or Creatine blend will bring the same benefits. Of course, there will be many differences in quantities and labeling.
There isn’t much variance between the many choices. Most of these are priced under $20.00. Therefore I consider any one of the Creatine supplements to be a good value, especially for the number of advantages that they provide.
As far as HCL Creatine vs Monohydrate, the documented benefits of both Monohydrate and HCL Creatine supplements are numerous. There is no strong argument for any Creatine negatives for either of these. I would have to say this is a great payoff for little risk. Some of the many benefits are that Creatine will intensify the exercise, bring strength and increase muscle gain.
With this or any exercise supplement, it is a good idea to drink plenty of water to get the best results. Lastly, always take supplements according to the recommended quantities. Take too much and there can always be a chance for negative side effects.
If you have any questions or comments about the best Creatine for bulking or the best way to take Creatine, please leave them below and I will respond.