Since the 1970s, creatine monohydrate has become a staple for bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts alike. It is available in a wide variety of forms, including drink mixes, tablets, and even energy bars.
“Creatine is the most popular of these substances, believed to enhance muscle mass and help athletes achieve bursts of strength,” say experts at WebMD. “Part of the reason for creatine’s popularity might be its accessibility.”
Although many creatine forms are available for purchase, creatine monohydrate stands out due to its ability to provide several important benefits to athletes of all kinds.
Covers Your Basic Creatine Needs
Creatine monohydrate is the most basic form of supplemental creatine. Since its initial discovery, countless creatine forms and hybrids have been developed to increase absorption rates and decrease loading times.
However, according to Richard Kreider, PhD, “The only potential benefits of these different forms of creatine are convenience . . . There is absolutely no evidence that you can take less of these types of supplements (e.g., liquid creatine or effervescent creatine) and get the same benefits than ingesting higher amounts of creatine monohydrate.”
Although some companies add electrolytes and other ingredients to creatine powders, there is little research to confirm these ingredients improve performance as effectively as creatine monohydrate.
Bursts of Speed and Power
When a muscle contracts, it utilizes a molecule known as ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which fuels quick bursts of physical activity. During this process, one of ATP’s three phosphates is hydrolyzed, resulting in energy in the form of heat. The more you exercise, the more your body depletes its ATP stores.
This process leaves you with the molecule ADP, or adenosine di-phosphate, which only has two phosphates. In order to be used for additional energy, the molecule must bind with an additional phosphate to become ATP again.
Creatine monohydrate plays an important role in this energy process. Creatine monohydrate donates its phosphate to convert ADP into ATP. According to researchers, creatine supplementation increases muscle contraction without lowering ATP levels.
Consequently, the more creatine you have, the more ATP you produce, and theoretically, the more efficient your workout.
Better Volume. Better Pumps.
On average, creatine monohydrate increases total body weight by as much as 2 to 4 pounds within the first week of supplementation. But don’t let that scare you! According to studies, “mean percent body fat and caloric intake was not affected by creatine supplementation. Therefore weight gain in lieu of creatine supplementation may in part be due to water retention.”
Creatine monohydrate causes muscle cells to inflate. This draws water and other nutrients to muscle cells, increasing available nutrients for growth and repair. Some experts believe a super hydrated cell stimulates protein synthesis while minimizing muscle breakdown.
With creatine monohydrate, muscle cells not only look bigger, but are bigger, and stronger to boot. With more water and nutrients, muscles also work harder for longer.
Should You Try Creatine Monohydrate?
When it comes to boosting energy and enhancing muscle growth, nothing compares to creatine monohydrate.
It creates the ideal environment for working out harder and longer, and gives that “full” sculpted look most bodybuilders want – when combined with a healthy diet and regular strength training, of course.
“Creatine is one of the most-researched sports supplements out there,” Chad Kerksick, PhD, told Men’s Health, “and there’s no published literature to suggest it’s unsafe.”
Although you can include some creatine in your diet, creatine monohydrate supplementation ensures the high intensity exercise performance and increased strength you need to get the strong, lean, muscular body you deserve.
-  “An Overview of Creatine Supplements.”
-  Smith et al. “Effects of creatine supplementation on the energy cost of muscle contraction: a 31p-mrs study.” Journal of Applied Physiology. July 1, 1999 vol. 87 no. 1 116-123.
-  Risher, Brittany. “Creatine: Side Effects, What it is, What it does.” Men’s Health.
-  Kutz MR, Gunter Mj. “Creatine monohydrate supplementation on body weight and percent body fat.”Journal of Strength And Conditioning Research. 2003 Nov;17(4):817-21.
-  Bellavance, Jamie. “The Facts About Creatine.” MensHealth.com.