How to Take Creatine Monohydrate
Fitness nutritional supplements come in many shapes and sizes. Athletes of all levels often have an array of pills and powders to take throughout the day–at breakfast, pre-workout, post-workout, and before sleeping. Within each type of supplement, the different brands and marketing campaigns will be similarly varied. It doesn’t take long to find some pretty incredible claims. Don’t be fooled–no drug-free product on the market will make you gain 20 lbs of muscle in a month! However, some supplements do have solid scientific backing. Creatine is one of them.
What is Creatine and How Does It Work?
Creatine is a commonplace substance. It is produced within the body and is also taken in through diet, especially when we eat red meat. Therefore, people’s baseline levels of creatine may differ depending on a few factors. Its job, in layman’s terms, is to supply energy to your muscle cells. More specifically, it is used to form ATP, which is the chemical responsible for making our muscles contract. By supplementing with additional creatine, you can expect a small increase in your strength.
Creatine Monohydrate vs. Creatine Ethyl Ester
Don’t be deceived by marketing hype. The form of creatine which is most well-studied, creatine monohydrate, is also the cheapest type. More expensive alternatives, such as creatine ethyl ester (CEE), lack any evidence for their claims of increased efficacy or fewer side effects.
The Best Way to Take Creatine Monohydrate
Because of the manner in which creatine works, it is possible to simply take approximately 1 teaspoon (3-5 g) each day. This will slowly build your stores to a maximum and then sustain them.
However, if you’re less patient, you could perform a ‘loading’ period. This is commonly done in studies where quick results are required. To load up on creatine, take 2-4 teaspoons (up to 20 g) spread throughout the day for 5 days, and then reduce to 1 teaspoon per day.
Another popular method to speed up delivery even more is to consume creatine alongside fast-acting carbohydrates immediately after a workout. This way, the chemical is ‘pulled’ into your muscles alongside the sugar and water required following strenuous activity.