In the last 12 months, a record number of new supplements have arrived on the bodybuilding scene.
Most of which, it has to be said, are about as useful as a cock flavoured lollipop.
From so-called “testosterone boosters”, to whey protein formulas that claim to be for toning, the supplement industry spews more bullshit than a farmer’s tractor.
But among the masses which have emerged in recent years, there is a real diamond in the rough.
A supplement which shows genuine promise and the potential to be a major player in the bodybuilding industry for the foreseeable future.
That product is creatine hydrochloride.
While new developments in the supplement world are very hit and miss, this particular formula is slowly becoming the ‘go to’ creatine supplement for athletes around the world.
It’s also the form of creatine many of my female clients use.
What Does Creatine Do?
Creatine HCL is the latest addition to the creatine marketplace.
If you’ve been lifting weights for a while, you’ve probably already seen creatine on the shelves of your local supplement store and read the recommendations on why you should take it.
But most lifters have one question on their lips, and that question is “What does creatine actually do?”
Your body’s natural reserves of creatine are responsible for short bursts of explosive activity. Think running for a bus, or picking up a heavy object.
The problem being our natural reserves are relatively small and don’t last very long before they need to recoup.
Supplementing with additional creatine via our diet has been shown to boost this ability to perform explosive activities further. A great review study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research back in 2003 found that supplementing with creatine typically yields strength gains of around 8%, while also boosting the participants’ ability to train through failure by 14%. (1)
Needless to say, these advantages can add up to serious gains in lean muscle mass.
You could increase your creatine through food (like red meat), but the easiest way to do this is to use it in powdered form, as the creatine levels in food are so small it would require a serving of red meat so big that you’d need a toilet with a nuclear flush.
Creatine will also push more water into your cells, creating a fuller, harder look to your muscles.
Which Type Of Creatine Is Best?
For over 25 years, athletes have been using various forms of creatine supplements to boost their explosive strength.
Although it started with sprinters, it’s no surprise that it quickly made it’s way into the gym and took up it’s place in bodybuilding history as the best-selling supplement of all time.
And for almost the entire time, people have been asking “Which type of creatine is the best?”
The original form, known as creatine monohydrate, is the ideal choice if you want to base your purchase on solid scientific evidence.
It’s safe from negative side effects, proven and highly effective. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
The problem with the supplement industry is that they’ve spent years pushing newer adaptations of this formula with slight tweaks and many bogus myths in a bid to get you to shell out extra revenue for supplements which offer no clear advantage over the relatively cheap original formula.
From creatine nitrate, to kre-alkalyn, the list of competing so-called “better” forms of creatine is huge and yet none of them have any scientific research to back up the big claims made on the packaging.
But in unearthing creatine HCL, finally a contender has been discovered.
Though still in it’s infancy, this is creatine with a hydrochloride group attached to it in a bid to enhance it’s stability.
Early studies have indicated that creatine HCL is more soluble than creatine monohydrate, greatly enhancing the rate at which the body can absorb it into the muscle cells. (6)
In fact, it’s almost 40x more soluble.
That’s because creatine hydrochloride is more acidic, and this also means that the required daily dosage is smaller.
These were the findings of a fascinating 2009 study by researchers from the University of Manitoba, which really set the ball rolling in terms of research on the benefits of creatine HCL supplementation for bodybuilding purposes.
Creatine HCL Dosage
Now that we’ve established some facts about creatine HCL, you should be beginning to see why it has made a larger impact on the bodybuilding world than any of the other contenders in the creatine family.
One such factor discussed above is the smaller dosages which are required compared to standard creatine monohydrate, thanks to the increased solubility the hydrochloride particle.
But how much creatine HCL should I take if I want to guarantee the best results?
Well, believe it or not, a dosage of 2.5 grams per day will provide you with the maximum benefits this substance has to offer.
This is around half the dosage you’d expect to use with mono, meaning your supplement lasts longer but yields the same results.
Is Creatine HCL A New King?
But while the research on creatine HCL is very interesting, more is needed before it can truly be proclaimed as the evolution of creatine monohydrate.
Because while it has been shown to perform just as good as monohydrate, it hasn’t been shown to surpass it.
At least, not yet.
The moment it does, I’ll let you know about it by updating this article and sharing it with you.
So, for now, creatine HCL serves one unique purpose alone – it enables you to continue using creatine while dieting for fat loss!
You see, unlike creatine monohydrate, it does not require any carbohydrates in order to help it shuttle to the muscle cells. (7)
If you are following a low carb diet, that gives you the luxury of sparing more of your daily carbs for consumption with your meals rather than needing to plow into it after a workout just to get the maximum benefits from your creatine.
This is why the majority of my female clients who train for fat loss have been using creatine HCL for the last couple of years.
If you enjoyed this article on creatine HCL, all I ask is that you are kind enough to share it with others.
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- Rawson, E.S., et al. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):822-31.
- Groeneveld GJ, et al. Few adverse effects of long-term creatine supplementation in a placebo-controlled trial. Int J Sports Med. (2005)
- Greenwood M, et al. Creatine supplementation during college football training does not increase the incidence of cramping or injury. Mol Cell Biochem. (2003)
- Lopez R.M., et al. Does creatine supplementation hinder exercise heat tolerance or hydration status? A systematic review with meta-analyses. J Athl Train. (2009)
- Shao, A., et al. Risk assessment for creatine monohydrate. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. (2006)
- Miller, D. Oral bioavailability of creatine supplements: Is there room for improvement? Annual Meeting of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2009.
- Green, A. L., et al. Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in humans. Am J Physiol 271.5 (1996): E821-E826.