Protein powder might be a popular talking point amongst those looking to gain muscle mass at the gym, but you can’t deny the immense benefits that creatine supplements can bring to the table.
Now that gyms have officially reopened again, there’s never been a better time to rethink your workout regime, and if muscle building and toning are part of the plan, you’re going to want creatine on your team.
Although one of the most effective and well-researched supplements in the market, creatine is also a substance that’s found naturally in muscle cells, and it aids in the production of energy during a workout. Chemically, it shares similarities with amino acids, and can be produced by the body from glycine and arginine, which can be found in foods like meats, nuts, and dairy products.
In the body, 95 percent of creatine is stored in your muscles as phosphocreatine, which helps it produce more ATP, a high-energy molecule that determines how well your body can perform during exercise. It also plays a part in cellular processes that lead to increased muscle mass, strength and recovery. This means that the more creatine you have in your body, the harder your muscles will work to rebuild itself.
Because there are many factors that could affect your body’s creatine stores — think meat intake, exercise intensity and hormone levels — you may not have enough to supplement your muscle gains with, which can lead to slower progress in the long run. The only downside of taking the supplement? You’ll need to stay hydrated throughout the day because it pulls water into your muscle cells, so you’ll want to get into the habit of chugging that H2O ASAP.
If you’re ready to kick your 2021 fitness regimen back into high gear (again) here are the best creatine supplements to start including in your diet.
One of the most highly rated creatine supplements out there, Muscletech used its know-how in sports science and research to formulate this ultra-pure micronised creatine powder, with users reporting almost 3kg of increased muscle mass in just six weeks. Each serving gives 5g of easily soluble creatine, with 80 servings per tub to fuel your workout for months.
Another that’s been making rounds within the gym circuit is this one by popular sports brand Optimum Nutrition. With 5g of pure creatine monohydrate in each serving, this unflavoured option packs a punch while being easy to ingest, and will give your body the muscle building support it needs, even long after your workout.
If you wanted an even bigger boost than what creatine can offer, Transparent Labs’ offering might be just the supplement you need. HMB — an active metabolite of the amino acid L-Leucine — has been shown to reduce muscle protein breakdown. If your body hasn’t been producing enough of this, muscle gain and muscle repair can take much longer. When combined, creatine monohydrate and HMB have been shown to increase endurance, enhance strength, help decrease fat mass and even prevent lean muscle loss — exactly what you need when you go back to the gym.
Frustrated with powders that have difficulty dissolving? These capsules will fuel you up just as well — minus the need for vigorous shaking or stirring. Each creatine capsule here supplies 500mg of easily absorbed creatine monohydrate, and supports overall exercise performance by maintaining healthy muscle function and energy metabolism. The best part? It’s only S$11 a pop, so the two-month supply won’t exactly burn a hole in your wallet.
Made by Thorne Research, a company focused on producing high quality, sustainably sourced supplements, this unflavoured version mixes well with any beverage to support strenuous regular exercise. It’s also NSF Certified for Sport, which means its undergone third-party testing to ensure that it’s free of harmful contaminants and specific substances that are banned for athletes.
Allmax Nutrition takes its creatine very seriously, and so besides rigorously strict standards and ultimate purity has ensured that its creatine is micronised to be 250% smaller in particles than others on the market, which means that you won’t have clumps at the bottom of your glass that you can’t drink. The supplement has been proven to improve performance in high-intensity strength training while increasing muscle mass and strength over time.