Creatine Monohydrate Explained

Creatine Monohydrate Explained

I just wanted to make a quick but factual post about probably the most common supplement out there, creatine monohydrate. I get asked it about a lot still. Here is a quick rundown of this supplement.

What does creatine do ?
Taking creatine will increase the intramuscular stores of phosphocreatine which will be used to regenerate ATP and these are used for muscular energy. This provides muscular contraction. Creatine has been proven to improve performance, strength, and muscle size.

What form of creatine is the best ?
Creatine Monohydrate, the original form is still the best out there. It is the most studied and widely used because it is effective and cheap. Creatine monohydrate will saturate your muscle cells with phosphocreatine 100% and you can beat 100%. So please do not buy into the hype of all these companies who put out these so called “new” forms of creatine by saying they are better. They are not. You can’t be better than 100%. This is a marketing gimmick for these companies so they can charge you more and to make more money. You keep the money, don’t give it to the company. Regular creatine monohydrate is so much cheaper and the cost to effective ratio is second to none. Now, I am not saying, these so called “better” formulas are bad, they will work, but why spend a lot more money on them to get the same results ? Makes no sense.

Creatine Dosage

The proper dosage of creatine is 3-5 grams per day. Taking this much will have your muscle cells completely saturated within a month. Loading is not necessary. A loading phase consists of taking 20 grams per day for 5-7 days. You will get saturated within a week and get there quicker but other than that, there is no benefit to loading. Loading this much is also why a lot of people complain about stomach issues when taking creatine. They are taking too much for them to handle it.

Is Cycling Creatine Necessary ?

No. It is not necessary to cycle creatine. Cycling creatine has been shown to not increase effectiveness over not cycling.

Best time to take creatine ?

There is no best time. However, I always take it pre workout, this way I don’t forget to take it. It just one thing less to remember. You can take it anytime of the day you want, its purely up to you. But I recommend taking it around your training so you won’t forget.

Creatine, Water Retention, & Cutting cycle ?

Creatine does pull more liquid into your cell, however, this is a good thing. It increases cell volumization which is a good thing. This is basically an anabolic process. The water you hold with creatine is intramuscular, not outside of the muscle, so do not be afraid of the water. Water is lean body mass. This muscle cell volume will make you look fuller. Water is not fat so do not be afraid to take creatine even during contest prep or if on a fat loss diet. This will not effect your fat loss goals.

I hope this helps some of you new members here if you had questions on creatine. These are the most common that I get. If you have any other questions on it, just post them, I will try and answer it.

Oh and lastly, I still take creatine the old fashioned way, I take one heaping teaspoon(5grms) and put it in my mouth and chase it with my pre workout. On my non training days, I chase it with some type of juice. This method has never failed me. Plus, no mixing.


Great post, absolutely in agreement with every point, down to how you take it. Glad to have this all in one place now so I can just send it to people when they ask

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I can only speak to myself, but unless it extra-micronized or HCl, creatine Mono doesn’t absorb well for me and gives me bad stomach issues.


Glad to have helped. Yeah, I get asked about it a lot so I figured I would put the most common questions in one spot for reference. It just frustrates me when I see these companies making all these so called better versions of creatine with all this fancy flavoring and only give you like 20-40 servings a tub and then turn around and charge you an arm an leg for them. I try and educate new lifters as soon as possible so they don’t waste hundreds of dollars on stuff they do not need or simply doesn’t work. These companies prey on people who don’t know any better.
Yeah, I still do the old grape juice method of chasing it. Sometimes I do cranberry juice. It’s just the fact that creatine doesn’t mix the best so this is the best way to do it.

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Some more detailed information on dosing and what to expect timing wise, with studies for us nerds:

“Muscle total creatine concentration increased by -20% after 6 days of creatine supplementation at a rate of 20 g/day…

similar, but more gradual, 20% increase in muscle total creatine concentration was observed over a period of 28 days when supplementation was undertaken at a rate of 3 g/day. In conclusion, a rapid way to “creatine load” human skeletal muscle is to ingest 20 g of creatine for 6 days. This elevated tissue concentration can then be maintained by ingestion of 2 g/day thereafter. The ingestion of 3 g creatine/day is in the long term likely to be as effective at raising tissue levels as this higher dose."

And post-workout use (5g) may be somewhat superior to pre-workout use, at 4 weeks anyway. Maybe loading/saturation is quicker this way, leading to more gains at the 4 week point, but I’d imagine the differences would subside to being pretty negligible once saturation is achieved and maintained.

Edit: I’d also add 2.5g/day betaine anhydrous to your daily Creatine. It’s also cheap, safe, and effective. No reason not to use them both IMO.


Betaine is a top 5 ingredient for me.


Daily betaine… Why have I never! Time to get on that train.

I’m a strong advocate of betaine and creatine hcl (throw In some BCAAs if you want) for my intraworkout. I also go do 30min if steady state cardio after sessions, so it helps keep me hydrated and decent energy levels.

Personal preference.

No reason not to IMO.

Probably best to supplement with choline too, if your diet isn’t high in it already:

And while you’re at it, ALCAR (for cognition) or LCLT (for muscle and recovery) is probably worth an add, as is taurine for endurance and general health.

Edit: costs for each (per 30 days from Nutrabio unless otherwise noted):

Creatine (3g/day): $1.89
Betaine (2.5g/day): $4.50
Taurine (2g/day): $2.40
ALCAR (2g/day): $6.00
LCLT (2g/day): $6.47 (Bulk Supplements)
Choline Bitartrate (2g/day): $2.64 (Bulk Supplements)

That’s a grand total of $17.43-17.90 per 30 days, taking it all every day.

Edit 2: add in a cap of rhodiola pre-workout for $0.20 a cap, and either 4g citrulline or some potassium nitrate caps for $0.20-0.30 per serving, and 200-300mg caffeine for under $0.10/serving, and you’re looking at $0.50-0.60 per PWO. Assuming 5 workouts per week, you’re at ~$11-13 per month. Add that to your ~$18, and you’re up to $30/month, or about $1 day for a pretty comprehensive stack of daily and acute ergogens that will help with body composition, strength, and endurance.


Why BCAAs and not EAAs? Preferably with leucine at at least 3g?

great post! I only do micronized because i find it mixes better…at least based on the ones i’ve tried so far!

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Honestly don’t care - I get enough protein throughout the day and a whey isolate shake post workout.

Most creatine and betaine isn’t flavored, so it’s more so for taste.

Ok. I guess flavored BCAA powder probably isn’t terribly expensive to flavor stuff with. And good EAA powder can be more expensive and is also often unflavored, so I get that.

My favorite is Gatorade powder, NOW Amino-9 EAA powder, and added leucine powder.

I like the way you think

Heck - Mio flavor enhancer works too!

I’ve just got a pantry full of supps (esp BCAAs and EAAs) I need to burn through. Haha.


I’m still waiting for a House Hunters episode when the guy says ‘I’ll need some room for my supplements’.

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That would be @Mike @Extrabeef or @TheSolution - a year ago, I needed it too!

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