Creatine Monohydrate - Our number one recommended supplement!
Creatine is one of the most widely researched supplements and has been shown by numerous studies to have positive effects (when combined with resistance training) on strength, muscle hypertrophy and fat-free mass. These positive effects are attributed to an increased total creatine pool in the body, resulting in faster adenosine triphosphate (ATP) regeneration between sets of high-intensity exercise, allowing athletes to maintain a higher training intensity. Maintaining a higher training intensity (in practical terms this may be getting an extra rep/more weight in the 3-8 rep range) leads to increased total volume for that session. Increased total volume (weight x reps x sets) over a prolonged period of time, leads to increased gains in strength, hypertrophy and ultimately fat free mass.
Studies show that creatine supplementation has the most pronounced effect on short duration (less than 30 seconds), high intensity, intermittent exercise. For this reason, creatine supplementation is advised for periods of heavy lifting (when working in lower reps with sets lasting shorter than 30 seconds) and periods of intermittent, high-intensity training. It has been shown to have minimal (if any) effect on exercise lasting longer than 150 seconds, and so will not have much impact on endurance training over long durations.
In terms of what ‘type’ of creatine to take, creatine monohydrate is the most well-supported supplement so we suggest you stick with this. The most commonly recommended does in the literature is a ‘loading phase’ of 0.3g per kg body-weight per day (24g for an 80kg athlete) for a five-day period, followed by 0.03g/kg per day (2.4g per day for an 80kg athlete) for a sustained period of time. However, the ‘loading phase’ can commonly cause bloating along with gastric discomfort and so a more moderate dosing strategy of simply taking 3g-5g per day is suggested. Using this strategy, there is no need to ‘load’, rather be consistent with your intake!
Furthermore, supplementing with creatine only on training days (example 3 training days per week) has not been shown to be beneficial, and some studies have shown that supplementing only on training days (provides little benefit if training 2-3 times per week). We suggest you supplement with 3g-5g per day and be consistent with your supplementation every day.