Sunday, December 11, 2011

Creatine, the most tried and tested supplement of all time!- Part 2 (How to take it, and what to take)

Doses for creatine depend on several different factors including: type of creatine, body weight, and phase of dosing.  The most well known and reliable form of creatine is creatine monohydrate, but I will also talk about my favorite types of creatine, and also what I have used without any success.  I will also give you some general tips on how to take creatine to receive maximal results and what to avoid with supplementation.

Creatine Dosing Table
Creatine dosing table for creatine monohydrate. (courtesy of

Creatine AKG is my personal favorite type of creatine.  Since this creatine is bonded to AKG (a well documented transporter that easily travels through the cell wall) it becomes much more potent than creatine monohydrate.  Because of its efficiency, it takes much less of creatine AKG to yield the same beneficial results as creatine monohydrate.  Since you don't have to use as much you have less of the negative side affects of creatine use and also less stress on the kidneys.  Creatine AKG has yielded the same results for me as creatine monohydrate, but with taking much less of the supplement, and I also have a little bit less of the associated water gain.  Creatine AKG is very affordable and easy to find in pure powders without fillers, artificial sweeteners, flavors, or dyes.

Creatine monohydrate is the form of creatine most often used in testing and is the most basic of all types of creatine.  Creatine monohydrate is often associated with bloating (which as I mentioned in an earlier article is actually a benefit not a side effect).  Creatine monohydrate is my second favorite form of creatine that I have used, right behind creatine AKG.  Creatine monohydrate has been very effective for me, but does add a very high amount of water weight which isn't always preferable with BJJ training or when you do a lot of heavy cardiovascular exercise.  Below is a chart showing dosing for creatine monohydrate.  This is a highly recommended, highly effective, highly studied, and inexpensive form of creatine.  Creatine monohydrate is also very easy to find in a pure powder without any added ingredients.

I have tried many other forms of creatine, some successfully and others without success.  I had moderate success with creatine ethyl ester, this form of creatine is a very "lean" form and causes very little water gain, but as mentioned this is actually one of the benefits of creatine.  I have also tried kre-alkilyn, and despite it's rising popularity I experienced ZERO results with this product (I used both capsules and liquid, neither with any results).  I have NEVER experienced any noticeable benefits from any form of creatine in pill or capsule form.  The most successful creatine cycles I have done involved pure powders with no other ingredients.

If you should choose to give creatine monohydrate a try then use the dosing chart above.  Creatine monohydrate usually requires a five day loading phase in order to saturate muscles with creatine.  For five days you take the recommended dose for your body weight divided into 4 equal doses at least five hours apart (this helps increase absorption).  On the sixth day you begin taking the maintenance dose, one dose each day.

If you choose creatine AKG it does not typically require a loading phase due to it's increased absorption.  I usually take 3 grams per day, everyday.  After about a week I begin to notice a huge difference in my strength and endurance.


If you decide to give creatine a shot there are a few things you should know to ensure you are getting the most out of your supplementation.  

1) Cycles should last no more than 4-6 weeks (some studies suggest long term supplementation may affect your body's natural production of creatine)
2) In between cycles you should take at least 4 weeks off from creatine (this is called a wash out period and allows muscle creatine levels to completely go back to normal)
3) Creatine should be taken first thing upon waking with breakfast on off days.
4) Creatine should be taken immediately post work out with a high GL carbohydrate to maximize absorption.
5) Always drink at least 8oz of water with creatine.
6) Follow dosing instructions on containers as manufacturers know best what it actually in their product.

Here is my personal favorite.  It is effective, cheap, and doesn't bloat too badly.


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