There’s no doubt about it: creatine monohydrate is the real deal.

The research and real-world evidence has confirmed over and over again the direct positive effects of creatine on gym performance and muscle growth.

If you’re trying to build muscle and aren’t supplementing with creatine monohydrate, you’re definitely leaving gains on the table. (If you’re new here, check out my guide on how to take creatine to learn more.)

By enhancing the body’s usage of the ATP energy molecule, creatine amps up your gym performance by allowing you to lift more weight for more reps. As a result, you build lean muscle at a faster rate.

Creatine also has a “super-hydration” effect that forces more fluid into the muscle cells. This causes your muscles to take on a bigger, fuller appearance.

Despite these awesome muscle building effects, some people still shy away from creatine supplementation out of fear that it will cause their muscles to appear “soft” and “bloated”.

In reality, the entire notion of “creatine bloating” is a completely false concept.

Yes, creatine does increase water retention. But in order for that water retention to cause any form of “bloating”, that water would need to be stored subcutaneously (underneath the skin). This kind of water retention affects muscle definition as well.

The water retention that results from creatine supplementation is almost entirely intra-cellular.

In other words, creatine pulls water into the actual muscle cell itself with little to no effect on subcutaneous water retention.

If anything, creatine will cause your muscles to appear harder and more defined.

Where did this whole “creatine bloating” myth come from?

It’s probably the result of 2 main causes…

First, it could simply be a result of those who are using creatine in conjunction with a very high-calorie mass gaining diet.

When your overall calorie and carbohydrate intake reaches excessive levels, you will likely experience a noticeable increase in subcutaneous water retention. This will cause you to appear flatter and softer looking.

Those on a high calorie diet who are not accurately tracking their macronutrient intake may mistakenly think that it’s the creatine causing the bloating, when in fact it’s a simple issue of their excessive food intake.

Add in the fact that most people follow the unnecessary “loading phase” protocol of 20 grams of creatine a day for the first 5 days (4 servings of 5 grams), AND consume each serving alongside 20-30 grams of simple sugar, and you end up with an extra 300-600 daily calories from pure sugar alone.

Secondly, it’s an invented problem created by shady supplement companies in order to sell you “advanced” forms of creatine.

How many times have you seen a supplement ad for a creatine product that uses “doesn’t cause bloating” as a selling point?

Creatine ethyl ester, buffered creatine, and creatine serum are all examples of products that are promoted in this way.

The truth is: it’s nothing but marketing hype designed to push over-priced creatines that are equally or less effective than standard monohydrate. It sounds good on paper, but has no grounding in reality.

(As a side note, some studies have actually shown that creatine ethyl ester is more likely to cause subcutaneous water retention in comparison to creatine monohydrate!)

Don’t allow these false creatine bloating myths to hold you back.

Creatine is a must-have supplement for anyone looking to maximize their muscle gains and gym performance, and creatine monohydrate is still the king.

It will increase your strength and power, volumize muscle cells and increase lean muscle growth, and all without causing any subcutaneous water retention or so-called “bloating”.

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