How creatine monohydrate supplements work

By on June 24, 2014
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Most, if not all, bodybuilders use creatine. It is a staple supplement in the diet of athletes and can be used across most training platforms – rugby, strongman, athletics the list goes on and on.

Creatine supplements have been proven to increase physical performance in successive bursts of short-term, vigorous exercise and is ideal for sports which require high-intensity, explosive movements such as bodybuilders, powerlifters and sprinters.

There are many forms of creatine: with creatine monohydrate and creatine ethyl ester being the most popular. The two differ in the raw form of the product with monohydrate being the more popular and most crucially the least expensive of the pair.

Obviously price isn’t everything. How the product works is also a key factor in anyone’s choice, and most will tend to spend a little extra to get closer to that ultimate goal. For most of us it is to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger while relaxing in 40 degree heat on a beach in the Cote d’Azur next to Kelly Brook.

Creatine monohydrate supplements

Creatine is a nitrogen-based acid and helps provide energy to cells. It is sold in two main forms: creatine tablets and creatine powder. Both work in the same way, the choice generally comes down to preference, with powder generally providing better value for money.

If you don’t mind measuring and adding a scoop of creatine to your protein shake, then creatine powder is the way to go, but if you want to wash it down quickly with water then go for creatine pills instead.

Creatine is synthesised in the liver and kidneys and then transported to the area needed, mainly the brain and muscles of the body. With more energy you train longer for harder, helping you live up to the phrase “no pain no gain”.

Approximately 95% of all the creatine within the human body is kept and located in the skeletal muscles. The reason creatine monohydrate supplements are used is because it is not an essential nutrient and thus is manufactured by the body from three other compounds.

From personal experience I find that pill form is easier to swallow and a lot better tasting. Most powders are mixed with water and have a fruit flavor, but these are an acquired taste.

Also I have found that people tend to prefer the pills since they are easier to consume, take up less room in your bag (which is an aspect used by the working person), but studies and research shows that powders are better to use since other forms are easily broken down in the blood and so the benefits can be lost. That’s nails on a chalk board to any gym goer.

Creatine is best for high intensity sports

Even though creatine monohydrate supplements are used across a lot of sports, they are at their most effective in high intensity sports. Research has shown that creatine monohydrate supplements are very limited in their ability to enhance performance in sports that are more endurance based.

At first the gains are only noticeable in water weight (around 1-2kg), an effect that creatine has on the body by making the muscle pull water into it an act which enhances muscle gains but from then on the gains are muscle as the body has more energy to shift the iron plates.

They key is to remember that creatine monohydrate supplements do not directly make your muscles grow. They provides the energy required to lift heavier weights and allow more repetitions, which will in turn initiate greater strength and muscle growth.

Choosing a good quality creatine

Another thing to consider with creatine monohydrate supplements is that brands differ. If there is a gluey substance at the bottom of your shaker, you know it’s a cheap product and that’s a good reason to switch brands. You want the creatine in your ‘guns’ not the plastic of the shaker. Creapure is considered the best you can buy.

Obviously you can have a great workout program, get lots of rest and use the best quality products available, but if you eat junk food your results will be junk too. Diet is the most crucial aspect – get that right and creatine monohydrate supplements will be the perfect boost for you.

Christian Simmons

About Christian Simmons

Christian Simmons in 2014 graduated with a BA Hons degree in journalism at a 2:1 grade from the University for the Creative Arts. He has a huge passion for rugby union, having played tighthead prop for 2 years at his University along with hitting the gym, heavy lifting and pretty much everything in between.