Using Creatine Monohydrate As A Bodybuilding Supplement

This the first time I’ve taken creatine, and really, it’s the first time that I’ve started a serious attempt at bodybuilding.

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Optimum Nutrition For Creatine Uptake

I’ve chosen to use creatine monohydrate along with my diet. I’m currently in the first week, known as the ‘pre-load phase’ or the ‘bulk up phase’ – I’m to take 5 grams of creatine powder, four times a day – on an empty stomach.

The greatest difficulty I’m having is planning out my meal times – so that I’m ready to take the creatine a few minutes before every second meal all day! This takes a lot of planning, especially when I’m also drinking 2 or 3 times the amount of water I was consuming before!

In order to assist the muscles to uptake the creatine, specialists recommend ingesting a sugary drink at the same time as taking creatine monohydrate. The sugars cause a spike in insulin levels in your blood, and the insulin also helps the muscles with the uptake of the monohydrate form of creatine. After some research and review, I’ve chosen to use dextrose, or corn sugar, which I purchased at a local home wine and beer making store in Winnipeg.

Other Creatine Options

There are three main forms of creatine that I’ll review and comment on breifly:

creatine monohydrate micronized creatine monohydrate creatine ethyl ester

Micronized creatine monohydrate absorbs better because it is broken up to be 20x smaller. Most creatine monohydrate products come in the micronized form.

I read claims online that creatine ethyl ester is absorbed more easily, doesn’t require the same sugar dose, and has no loading phase. Perhaps I’ll give it a try after I use the container that I already have. Read more on how creatine works for strength, power recovery.

What Is The Best Creatine Option?

Creatine Monohydrate

I started out buying a 1000mg container of micronized creatine monohydrate powder for $39.99 Canadian, though you can buy 1kg of creatine from prices as low as $25 on Amazon. I’m to take 20g/day for a week (140g), then 10g/day for three to four weeks (300g), then take two weeks off… so this container will last me approximately two, complete, eight week muscle building sessions. In theory, I’d need to purchase two more containers, or another $80 – this brings the total to about $120 per year for adding creatine as a bodybuilding supplement.

Creatine Ethyl Ester

When I did some research on the cost of 1000mg of creatine ethyl ester, I found it was similarly priced to creatine monohydrate… I also found that the recommended serving size 2.5 grams – exactly half the serving size of the monohydrate form. Providing that 2 servings/day are needed for 40 days, or 80 servings, out an eight week training cycle… then it would take an average of 40 servings per month… Let’s see, 1000g/2.5g = 400 servings per container. 400 servings/ 40 servings per month = 10 months of training with just one container of ethyl ester over monohydrate!

By these numbers, it seems the best creatine supplement for my dollar will be creatine ethyl ester.

In the future, I’ll be searching for a option to buy bulk creatine that comes in a slim bag instead of a bulky plastic container.

Creatine Side Effects

Because creatine is a naturally occurring organic compound, one of the basic building blocks of proteins, it has very few detrimental side effects. Creatine is actually manufactured in the kidney and liver from basic amino acids and creatine is transported in the blood for use by muscles. It’s interesting to note that 95% of the body’s creatine is located in muscle. The rest is located in the brain or heart.

Getting Maximum Benefit from Creatine Supplements

I’m told that creatine is not going to give me extra gains unless the basics of my program are in order: the correct training, and a full bodybuilding diet program. This means pushing the muscles with the correct intensity – and then feeding the body correctly to stimulate maximum muscle growth.

First, it may take two or three weeks before I’ve written down the exact weight I’m capable of doing in order to stimulate the muscles properly for each of the exercises. And it may take another couple weeks to feel comfortable with pushing myself to failure without causing an injury. And second, and more importantly – I have started to follow the diet program of a weight lifter. I have completed workout 1 week 1, and feel the stiffness in my legs – so I’m feeding them every three hours.

Other Bodybuilding Supplements

The most important ingredient for bodybuilding is protein. I’m a little skeptical about spending money on whey powder and protein shakes, so in my next post I’ll review a number of different protein sources and compare them by cost per gram of protein, and compare that to the estimated daily protein requirement based on body mass to provide an approximation of how much I can expect to spend each month.