If you want to get better results from your workouts, supplements can help.
Supplements boost energy, speed up recovery, let you work out harder or longer, enhance muscle growth, or enhance fat burning. Some are just good for your health.
There are lots of supplements to choose from, but you don’t need to take them all.
In fact, if you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, you only really need to take one type of supplement – creatine.
Supplemental creatine has been around for close to 30 years. That means one thing – it really works.
Creatine has been extensively studied and has been shown to live up to the hype surrounding it.
Plus, because it’s been in use for so long, it’s a certainty that it’s safe and healthy to use, which is something that can’t be said about all supplements.
Creatine is also very affordable, and that’s good news too. After all, some supplements are so expensive that they’re beyond the reach of many exercisers.
But, how should you take creatine?
In this article, we look at creatine powder vs. pills so you can decide which delivery method is best for you.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance. Your body makes it, and it’s also present in things like meat, fish, and poultry.
So, if you eat meat, you are already “on” creatine, albeit in quite small amounts.
In your body, creatine plays a role in the production of energy during anaerobic activities like weight training and high-intensity interval training.
Using creatine means you’ll be able to work out harder and longer than without it, and that will help you achieve better results.
Additionally, creatine is a renowned muscle builder, fat burner, and cognitive enhancer.
For best results, most people “load” creatine by taking five grams five times a day for a week. After loading, five grams once a day is all that’s needed for maintenance.
Supplementing with creatine does not affect your body’s ability to make this vital substance.
As such, there is no need to cycle creatine, and you can keep using it for as long as you wish.
In fact, it’s better to avoid breaks because, if you do stop taking it, you’ll just need to do another week of loading to restore your creatine stores.
Creatine Powder Pros and Cons
Creatine is sold as a loose powder in tubs and resealable pouches.
This is arguably the most popular and common form of creatine. The pros of creatine power use include:
Low price – with fewer materials and manufacturing processes, loose creatine powder is usually cheaper than creatine pills.
Creatine powder is your best option if you are in a tight budget.
Can be combined with other supplements – add creatine to your protein shakes or pre-workout drink for convenience.
Creatine is tasteless, so you can add it to any beverage, even tea and coffee.
Easy to consume large doses – if you need to take a lot of creatine, i.e., during loading, using loose powder is usually easier than popping lots of pills.
Of course, there are downsides to using creatine powder, too…
Less-accurate dosing – unless you have VERY accurate scales, you may not be taking the right amount of loose creatine powder.
That five-gram dose could just as easily be three grams or seven. Most creatine powders come with a scoop, but you may not be getting the correct amount even then.
Not so easy to transport – loose creatine powder is easy to spill. It’s a very fine powder and will get everywhere!
Pills are much less messy and considerably easier to transport.
Creatine Pills Pros and Cons
Creatine pills are actually capsules that contain creatine powder.
That means creatine powder and pills work in the same way. The pros of using creatine capsules include:
Easy to use – with no need to mix with water, you can take creatine pills anywhere and anytime.
Just pop them in your mouth and wash them down with a swallow of your favorite drink.
Less mess – with no shaker cups to wash and no real chance of spillage, creatine pills are generally less messy to use than loose creatine powder.
You can toss them in your gym bag with no fear of a creatine explosion!
Accurate dosing – creatine pills contain a specified amount of creatine powder. As such, you can make sure you are taking precisely the right amount. You can also easily fine-tune your intake based on your needs.
However, there are disadvantages to using creatine pills…
More expensive – pills cost more to make than loose powder. You’ll also get less creatine for your money. That’s the price of convenience!
Loading means taking lots of pills – most creatine pills contain 500mg of creatine. During loading, that means you’ll need to take ten capsules five times a day. That’s a lot of pills to take and will quickly deplete your supply.
You can’t add them to other supplements – unless you open the capsules to remove the powder, you won’t be able to add creatine capsules to your protein shakes or pre-workout drinks. You’ll just have to take them before or after.
Choking hazard – creatine pills can be large and hard to swallow. You’ll need to wash them down with fluids. Even then, there is a risk of choking, albeit a very small one.
Which Is Best – Creatine Powder or Pills?
Creatine pills and powder are the same thing but in different forms.
Creatine pills are just capsules that contain creatine powder, and creatine powder is just a loose version of what’s inside a creatine pill.
As such, both types of product can help you achieve your workout goals.
That said, some people will find creatine powder more convenient to use, while others will prefer pills.
If you need to take creatine on the go, pills will probably work best. After all, you can take them anywhere and anytime with nothing more than a mouthful of water.
But, if you want to mix your creatine with another supplement, like a whey protein shake, loose powder is a better choice.
Capsules may not be ideal for loading. Taking five grams of creatine five times a day means you could end up taking 50 creatine pills a week.
That’s a lot of tablets to take! Creatine powder is much better for high-dose loading.
So, the best option is the one that works best for you. In some cases, you may even use both – powder at home and for loading, but pills when you’re at work or school, or for maintenance.
Creatine is a potent yet safe supplement. It can help you train harder and build muscle faster. It’s also good for your brain and may even help you burn fat.
However, for creatine to work its magic, you need to take it consistently. If you don’t, it won’t accumulate in your body and won’t have much of an effect.
In the battle of creatine pills vs. powder, the winner is the one that allows you to take creatine consistently.
For some, the powder is more convenient, but for others, taking pills is easier.
Weigh up the pros and cons and base your decision on your needs and wants. You may even find that using pills AND powder at the same time is your best option. Visit the Fitness Equipment Reviews homepage for more information and advice.