What To Look For When Shopping For a Creatine Supplement

best type of creatine

Creatine; it is the most widely recommended anabolic supplement after protein powder. It is one of the most widely researched sports supplements that has been proven to safely assist in building muscle over the long-term.

With such popularity comes insane selection with hundreds of different brands competing to sell you what they all claim to be the best type of creatine.

TL;DR: There’s no scientifically valid reason to spend more $ on weird new types of creatine as good old monohydrate has proven super effective and can be found online for cheap everywhere.

From monohydrate to “ethyl ester” to “tri-creatine malate” to “micronized” to “liquid creatine” there are a dazzling array of actual “forms” of this renowned muscle builder.

One thing that creatine IS NOT is a steroid. Creatine is a molecule found naturally in all meats, from chicken to beef. It is not more unnatural than protein powder. Thus, let it be known, if you take creatine you are most definitely still a natural athlete and have nothing to fear.

creatine steroid

Creatine has become so popular in fact that companies have spent millions engineering new patented compounds.

Engineered and patented types of creatine include conjugated creatine, patented as “Con-Cret” and buffered creatine, patented as “Kre-Alkalyn”.

But which type of creatine is best and of that type, which brands are most reliable and highly reviewed by bodybuilders? That is what we aim to solve with this overview of this potent yet confusing supplement.

3 Most Popular Types of Creatine Explained

As highlighted, there are a confusingly diverse amount of different “types” of creatine. There is no need to get stressed though as they are all simply unique versions of the mother molecule naturally found in the body.

overpriced creatine

Thus, as the output, or effect is the same for all types of creatine, whether straight up monohydrate (least refined form) or some super-engineered blend, the only difference will be how easily it can be diluted and absorption rate.

Also know that generally speaking, with any supplement, the more engineered and more processing the higher the price gets.

Protein powder for example, is cheapest when in its least refined form of whey concentrate and increases in price as you go from concentrate to isolate to hydro-isolate.

Similar to protein, the outcome is the same. 25g of whey concentrate will have the same outcome of supporting muscle protein synthesis as 25g of hydro-isolate.

The only difference will be calories, fat, solubility and absorption rate.

Thus, at the end of the day, 5g of creatine monohydrate will have the exact same result as 5g of creatine hydrochloride or “Con-Crete” or “Kre-Alkalyn”.

The only difference will be how well it dissolves in your liquid of choice, how fast it’s absorbed by muscles and in some cases, how gentle it can be on your gut.

Oh and price…the more processed and engineered the more you will spend.

What Is The Best Form of Creatine?

With the above rule in mind, that is the more processed it is the pricier it is, if you are on a budget then you are best sticking to good old fashioned creatine monohydrate.

Sure, it may not dissolve as nice, it may make your shake a slightly “gritty” and you may need to load up during the first week to more quickly saturate your muscles but you will also be spending up to half of what other more engineered forms cost.

Cheapest Monohydrate Brands of 2021:

Bestseller No. 1
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Capsules
5,831 Reviews
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Capsules
  • 2.5g pure creatine monohydrate per serving
  • Supports muscle size, strength, and power when combined with high intensity activities
  • Convenient capsules 2 cap serving size makes taking creatine quick and easy without the need to mix a powder into a liquid
  • Easy to swallow capsules. Can be used for pre and post workouts
SaleBestseller No. 2
Creatine Monohydrate Powder | MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Powder | Pure Micronized Creatine Powder | Post Workout Supplement, Muscle Recovery + Muscle Builder | Mass Gainer | Unflavored (80 Servings)
18,505 Reviews
Creatine Monohydrate Powder | MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Powder | Pure Micronized Creatine Powder | Post Workout Supplement, Muscle Recovery + Muscle Builder | Mass Gainer | Unflavored (80 Servings)
  • FROM AMERICA'S #1 SELLING SUPPLEMENT COMPANY – MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Monohydrate Powder delivers 5g of 100% pure, HPLC-tested, micronized creatine monohydrate to increase strength, power and performance
  • COMBAT MUSCLE BREAKDOWN and INCREASE GROWTH – Creatine increases intracellular fluid, resulting in bigger, fuller muscles. Rest less between sets, get more power out of each set, and get more reps from each set to stimulate more muscle fibers
  • PREWORKOUT or POSTWORKOUT for MEN and WOMEN (18+) – On workout days, science shows that taking it before or after your workout delivers more lean muscle and better recovery
  • MIXES WELL with NO FLAVOR – Mixes instantly in 8 ounces of water, juice, almond milk, smoothie or your drink of choice. No fillers. No sugar
Bestseller No. 3
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder, Unflavored, Keto Friendly, 240 Servings (Packaging May Vary)
3,718 Reviews
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder, Unflavored, Keto Friendly, 240 Servings (Packaging May Vary)
  • 5G PURE CREATINE MONOHYDRATE PER SERVING
  • SUPPORTS INCREASES IN ENERGY, ENDURANCE & RECOVERY. May contain allergens like milk, soy, gluten, egg, nuts and peanuts
  • MAXIMUM POTENCY – supports muscle size, strength, and power
  • SUPREME ABSORBENCY – micronized to get the most out of each dose

Alternative Forms of Supplementation

If you are too lazy to mix in creatine with your protein shakes or with your juice for breakfast and are looking for alternative ways at ingesting this powerhouse molecule then you can consider the following:

Creatine Capsulespill form

Although creatine monohydrate is the most studied and most affordable forms some people just don’t like the added flavor or texture of pure creatine. If you have a hard time getting it down then creatine pills may be a viable alternative to hit your requirements without the unpleasant flavor or texture.

What do creatine pills do? Well, they do everything the powder does, in the exact same way, it simply bypasses your mouth. Pills can also be more convenient for busy people who may not have a mixer bottle and water on hand at all times.

Another benefit to capsules can be brought to work or school and taken quickly and discreetly at any time of the day.

Top Rated Creatine Capsules of 2021

Bestseller No. 1
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Capsules
5,831 Reviews
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Capsules
  • 2.5g pure creatine monohydrate per serving
  • Supports muscle size, strength, and power when combined with high intensity activities
  • Convenient capsules 2 cap serving size makes taking creatine quick and easy without the need to mix a powder into a liquid
  • Easy to swallow capsules. Can be used for pre and post workouts
SaleBestseller No. 2
MET-Rx Creatine 4200 Supplement, Supports Muscles Pre and Post Workout, 240 Capsules
4,113 Reviews
MET-Rx Creatine 4200 Supplement, Supports Muscles Pre and Post Workout, 240 Capsules
  • You will receive (1) bottle of MET-Rx Creatine 4200, 240 count
  • SUPPORT YOUR TRAINING: MET-Rx Creatine 4200 works with your training routine. It can accelerate your power during your workout and your recovery after.* Creatine also enhances ability to produce higher muscular force, meaning increased reps during...
  • MET-Rx products have been specifically formulated with a precise nutrient profile to produce specific metabolic effects.* MET-Rx Creatine 4200 is no exception. Try it with protein shakes or bars to superpower your workout and recovery.*
  • MET-Rx FOCUSES ON THE POWER of protein & other important nutrients for workout enhancement. Our protein blends support exercise recovery & provide important amino acids to fuel muscles, while our sports nutrition line takes care of pre-intra-post...
SaleBestseller No. 3
Creatine Pills | Six Star Post Workout X3 Creatine Capsules | Creatine Monohydrate Blend | Muscle Recovery & Muscle Builder for Men & Women | Creatine Supplements | Creatina Monohidratada, 20 Servings
1,308 Reviews
Creatine Pills | Six Star Post Workout X3 Creatine Capsules | Creatine Monohydrate Blend | Muscle Recovery & Muscle Builder for Men & Women | Creatine Supplements | Creatina Monohidratada, 20 Servings
  • TRANSFORM YOUR PERFORMANCE - Every serving delivers an impressive 8,000mg dose of a premium creatine blend, featuring creatine monohydrate and creatine HCl.
  • TRAIN HARDER, REDUCED TIME BETWEEN SETS - 2,500mg of free-form BCAAs and taurine in every scoop to help boost nitrogen levels.
  • 18.6% MORE STRENGTH - Coupled with a training program, increased their strength capacity by 18.6% compared to baseline (6,658 vs. 5,613 joules) in 10 days.
  • 4X THE MUSCLE - Testers taking part in the training program gained over 4 times more lean muscle, compared to participants who were taking a placebo

Pills are nice as you can toss them in your pill box with your multivitamin and fish oil and not worry about hitting your daily requirements. This is key because creatine must be taken daily to keep muscles saturated. You cannot simply “blast and cruise” with creatine, you need a constant drip feed.

If pills aren’t your thing there is yet another way to get your daily creatine requirements without the hassle…

Efficaciously-Dosed Creatine Pre-workouts

Pre-workouts, after protein powder are probably one of the most commonly used sports supplements and for good reason, they make you feel AWESOME!

What was once a shadowy and scammy industry has evolved in recent years with more and more companies opening up, increasing dosing of impactful compounds and offering transparent labeling of their products.

This is great for bodybuilders, both men and women, of all experience levels as it provides a whole variety of subtly different pre-workout types to suit different fitness goals.

no caffeine preworkouts

There are caffeine-heavy blends designed to maximize alertness (hello GAT Nitraflex), there are nootropic blends designed to increase focus (hello PEScience Prolific), there are citrulline and beta alanine-laden blends to increase endurance (hello Musclepharm Assault Black) and finally, there are blends dosed heavily with our favorite molecule, creatine.

The pros of having a creatine-based pre-workout is you don’t have to worry about forgetting to get your daily dosage as it’s already mixed into something you take before your workout anyways.

It’s always fun to try new pre-workout products as new ingredients are always being brought to market and each can have it’s own unique effect on your workout.

If you wan to up your creatine game you can consider the following brands when doing your next “supplement run”:

Best Pre-Workouts Containing Creatine

Bestseller No. 1
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout, Vitamin D for Immune Support, with Creatine, Beta-Alanine, and Caffeine for Energy, Keto Friendly, Watermelon Candy, 30 Servings (Packaging May Vary)
24,605 Reviews
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout, Vitamin D for Immune Support, with Creatine, Beta-Alanine, and Caffeine for Energy, Keto Friendly, Watermelon Candy, 30 Servings (Packaging May Vary)
  • VITAMIN D Provides Immune Support
  • PACKAGING MAY VARY - New look, with the same trusted Quality!
  • 175MG OF CAFFEINE- help fuel your mind and body to train at the highest level
  • 3G CREATINE - help support overall performance
Bestseller No. 2
Pre JYM Pre Workout Powder - BCAAs, Creatine HCI, Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, and More | JYM Supplement Science | Orange Mango Flavor, 20 Servings
5,719 Reviews
Pre JYM Pre Workout Powder - BCAAs, Creatine HCI, Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, and More | JYM Supplement Science | Orange Mango Flavor, 20 Servings
  • QUALITY INGREDIENTS - Pre JYM preworkout powder contains the best ingredients to optimize your workout. It has BCCAA's and creatine for muscle growth, citrulline malate and caffeine for endurance, plus beta-alanine and betaine for strength.
  • GREAT TASTE - No other pre-workout supplement surpasses the great taste, texture, and nutrition of Pre JYM. Simply mix with 12-32 ounces of water and drink 30 minutes before your workout for the best results.
  • ENHANCED STRENGTH & ENDURANCE- Creatine HCl, beta-alanine and betaine help fuel your muscles for more strength and stamina during workouts. The BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) found in Pre JYM provide a direct source of energy during your workout.
  • MENTAL FOCUS - Caffeine and Huperzine A have been suggested to naturally enhance mental focus. You'll feel super "in the zone" and ready to crush your workout. Pre JYM is not loaded with stimulants that create jitters, make you explode and lead to a...
Bestseller No. 3
Pre Workout Six Star PreWorkout Explosion Pre Workout Powder for Men and Women PreWorkout Energy Powder Drink Mix Sports Nutrition Pre-Workout Products Fruit Punch (30 Servings)
8,756 Reviews
Pre Workout Six Star PreWorkout Explosion Pre Workout Powder for Men and Women PreWorkout Energy Powder Drink Mix Sports Nutrition Pre-Workout Products Fruit Punch (30 Servings)
  • Unparalleled energy and endurance: Potent dose of caffeine that will fire you up and help power you through your hardest workouts
  • Subjects gained 18.6 percentage more strength: Subjects using the exact form of creatine in the formula increased their strength capacity on the bench press by 18.6 percentage compared to baseline (6,658 vs. 5,613 joules) in just 10 days
  • Enhances muscle performance: With powerful ingredients like ultra premium beta alanine, creatine monohydrate, arginine AKG and ultra clean caffeine anhydrous
  • Elevates mental performance and workout intensity with scientifically researched dose of caffeine

Skinny Yoked Summary

Whether you are a man or woman there is no reason not to be taking creatine to up your workout quality and thus up the quality of your gains over the long-run.

In terms of pros vs cons of creatine consumption, it is literally all pros. The ONLY cons to speak of would be:

  1. It costs money
  2. It may cause digestive issues
  3. It may not taste great
  4. It may feel a bit gritty in your mouth

If you’re like us, then none of these cons are really serious enough to warrant staying away from the stuff. We’ve all guzzled down plenty of horrible tasting pre-workouts and flavored protein blends over the years, so creatine is just another step in the process of obtaining a physique to be proud of.

 

Last update on 2021-03-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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