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.
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 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.
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:
- 5G PURE CREATINE MONOHYDRATE PER SERVING
- 2.5 GRAMS PURE CREATINE MONOHYDRATE PER SERVING
- High Quality Micronized Creatine Monohydrate
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:
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
- 2.5 GRAMS PURE CREATINE MONOHYDRATE PER SERVING
- 3000mg Per Serving, 750mg of Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Per Capsule
- Micro Ingredients pure micronized creatine capsules. A natural workout supplement for men and women that is unflavored and designed to be easily digested and absorbed. Uses the most effective monohydrate form for maximized results.
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.
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
- C4 PRE WORKOUT POWDER FOR MEN & WOMEN - America's Number 1 Selling Pre-Workout Brand has been trusted since 2011 with over 2 billion servings sold* Optimized for exercise to beat your personal best and crush your goals
- CORE PRE-WORKOUT: Alpha Lion's Superhuman CORE pre workout provides the essentials needed for sustained energy, focus, strength, endurance and hydration. CORE is the perfect pre-workout for new lifters or advanced lifters looking for a cost effective...
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:
- It costs money
- It may cause digestive issues
- It may not taste great
- 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 2023-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API