Saturday, February 25, 2012

Universal Creatine *Review*

Sometimes, the simplest, purest, most basic things in life work out the best for you and your goals.  When things get too complicated, too fruity, too doctored up and fooled around with, their real effectiveness can really be brought into question.  Take one step into GNC and you'll see exactly this, supplements with so many ingredients they basically sell you a novel along with the powder.  Are some of the supplements effective?  Sure thing!  But they sure are complicated, and if you don't know what to look for, you can end up paying a lot of money for something that doesn't do much at all.  Isn't there anything out there that's simple and effective?  Something you can trust, and just plain works?

Yes, as a matter of fact there is.  It's called Universal Creatine Monohydrate.  Now I've done an article on creatine before, and as I've said, creatine is the old school powerhouse in muscle building.  It was one of the first supplements ever to hit the shelves, and it's still one of the most tried and true muscle builders out there today.  Why do so many people use such an old, seemingly outdated supplement?  Because it works, that's why.  And believe me, almost anyone who knows their stuff as far as supplements go will tell you that good ol' creatine is something they'll always turn back to after their complex BCAA glutamine super amino blah blah pills have left them with little to show for their money.

Now don't get me wrong, companies have definitely tried to improve creatine over the years.  Right now you can buy creatine "blends" from all sorts of manufacturers like Muscle-tech, BSN, Muscle Pharm, BPI, Driven Sports, and countless others.  These blends are filled with strange forms of creatine like "creatine ethyl ester," and "micronized creatine," along with the original creatine monohydrate.  And boy, will they all suck your wallet dry quickly.  I'm not saying they don't work, and I'm definitely not saying they don't taste good, but I will say that you can get quite a bit more bang for your buck if you look at the simpler stuff from Universal.  There is no study out there that proves one form of creatine is better than another, and a TON of studies that back up the raw effectiveness of simple creatine monohydrate.  And the good news for you is that pure, unflavored creatine monohydrate is cheap.  That's why I firmly believe that Universal Creatine Monohydrate is one of the best supplements you could ever buy for your money.

What's in it?  Nothing but certified pure, unflavored, creatine monohydrate.  One serving size is 5 grams, or one teaspoon.  In a 200 gram container you'll get 40 servings (yay math), and two of these bottles packaged together from costs you $12.  One 300 gram bottle costs only $8.65.  If you're a veteran at buying supplements, you'll know that price is DARN CHEAP, and that amount of product will last you for quite a while (definitely enough for one to two full cycles.)

300 GramsUnflavored
Serving Size1Teaspoon(5g)
Servings Per Container60
Amount Per Serving% DV
Creatine Monohydrate5g*
* Daily Value (DV) not established.
Other Ingredients:
Contains Pure Micronized Creapure® Creatine Monohydrate.
Made in a GMP facility that uses milk, soy, egg, peanuts.

How's it taste?  Like what ever you put it in.  It's unflavored, which may be a bit of a buzzkill when you first get it, however you'll soon realize is actually a big bonus because you can throw it in with pretty much any drink and never know it's there.  Even in plain water it doesn't reveal itself as a supplement, it just goes right down your gullet with no nasty aftertaste or texture.  I usually stick one teaspoon in with my pre-workout, and another in with my post workout shake.  Again, I cannot ever tell the difference, and it's great to know I'm getting my muscles all that creatine with so little hassle.

How's it mix?  Well, creatine monohydrate mixes OK, but never fully dissolves, so at the end of your drink I suggest swishing the little bit of liquid left around the glass a couple times, then quickly chugging it to avoid a little pile of undissolved powder at the bottom of your glass.  This tiny issue in mixibility isn't the product's fault though, it's just the properties of creatine mono itself.  Not hard to overcome though, as long as you're capable of keeping track of how much liquid you have left.

Does it work?  YES!  YES IT DOES!  I've been on a horrendously difficult training program, and even consuming more food was not drastically helping my strength gains.  I decided to go back on creatine (I had used it years ago, and took a long hiatus).  My god, my workouts are entirely different!  I feel stronger, more energized, like a true beast.  I've hit a few new PR's in one week on this stuff, and just keep wanting to hit the gym over and over again.  It's a great feeling, and it's a common result of creatine supplementation.  Creatine will increase energy levels, muscle volume, and protein synthesis (it helps your muscles to more effectively build up bigger and stronger each time after a workout.)  If you want strength gains, get on creatine, it's as simple as that.

How do I take it?  Well, there's controversy on this topic, but in general there are two main trains of thought.  The first supports what's called a "loading phase," which is meant to saturate your muscles with creatine over a period of five days by taking 20 grams of creatine per day (4 tsps), then cut back to around 10 grams per day for the remaining 4-5 week cycle.  The second train of thought says to nix the loading phase and just enter in with a normal daily dosage of 10 grams per day, which will eventually saturate your muscles to the same level as with loading.  I personally side more with the loading phase, as it really does seem to more quickly get creatine into your system (your muscles take time to absorb larger amounts of creatine than natural levels, so you're basically "forcing" more into them), and you'll see better results sooner.  I doubt you'll see much difference either way, but read up on the subject if you're really interested.

Regardless of the initial method of starting supplementation, you want to remain on creatine for 4-5 weeks, then cycle OFF creatine and allow all the extra to completely wash out of your system.  This takes a lot of stress off of your kidneys, and allows them to recover (because they'll be working double time to filter all that excess creatine out of the liquids you're drinking.)  Also, your body likes to maintain a stable equilibrium above all else, and therefore continued usage of extra creatine supplementation will eventually lose its powerful strength building effect (you'll build up a tolerance to a point where the creatine is ineffective).  By cycling off creatine, you can get greater strength gains when you eventually cycle back on.  And after this 4 week "wash out," you can immediately cycle back onto creatine if you wish, and just keep repeating the process.

How does this stuff even work?  Well, in the most basic sense, creatine works in two ways.  First, it volumizes your muscles by hydrating them to extreme levels.  It pulls a LOT of water into your muscle fiber, which has been shown to drastically increase the efficiency of protein synthesis.  Secondly, creatine adds to readily available energy stores by converting to adenosine-triphosphate or ATP (your muscles' main energy source) when your original stores of ATP run out.  This means that if you exhaust your muscle ATP in 8 reps without creatine, when you have extra creatine in your muscles it can be rapidly converted to form more ATP and you can keep pushing for a few more reps.  Those extra reps will translate directly into strength gains, and therefore you'll get stronger, faster.

Note:  You must drink a LOT of water with creatine, and don't be surprised if you seem to soak it all up like a sponge.  Slight water bloating is completely normal with creatine supplementation, and it's not unusual to gain 3-4 lbs of water weight in the first week upon starting it.  But seriously, when it comes to water, try for a gallon a day at least.

All in all, Universal Creatine may be the best bang for your buck out there on the market today.  It's certified to be some of the purest creatine monohydrate you can buy, and therefore you can be sure you're getting maximum benefits from every teaspoon you take.  You can expect immediate strength gains, muscle volume, and increased energy from this stuff, which is a lot more than you can say for other, more expensive supplements.  Yup, when it comes to creatine, Universal will be my brand of choice again and again.  I rate it a 10/10.  It's cheap, effective, and SIMPLE.  I love it.

Here's the link to the order page:

Crank hard, lift heavy, and as always, good luck!


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  4. I agree with most of your points but I think most creatine products are all about bs marketing. As long as you get a product that is mainly or only creatine monohydrate, you're good. Check out the following list for the best cheap creatine products

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