Pre workouts can be great for giving you that ‘kick’ to reach new PB’s or your fitness goals, faster. But the most important features of these products are their ingredients.
Simply put, you need to make sure the nutrients that make a supplement are both safe and effective; this ensures that you get the best value for your money, and avoid potential side effects.
One ingredient stands out when it comes to improving your sporting performance – creatine. It’s a tried-and-tested compound that’s used by bodybuilders and athletes to boost their performance, both in and out of the gym.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- History of Creatine
- How Does It Work?
- The Benefits
- Creatine HCL vs Monohydrate?
History of Creatine
The first documented appearance of creatine is a study conducted by Folin. Op  in 1912; he found that orally supplementing creatine could improve the creatine content of the muscle  (which was found to promote muscle growth).
From this point on, scientists began researching the effects of this new wonder drug – but it wasn’t until the 1992 Barcelona Olympics when it gained public attention.
After gold medal winning athletes were reported as using creatine during their preparation for this event , many began supplementing with creatine phosphate (the first form of creatine that was available to the public).
How Does It Work?
Since then, other forms of creatine have been marketed – most notably monohydrate and hydrochloride. These both differ slightly; we’ll expand on this in a later section, but all you need to know is that they’re both designed to deliver the same benefits.
Simply put, creatine encourages your body to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the only source of energy that your body uses – for example, if you consume carbohydrates, then your body will convert this to ATP.
As a result, it makes sense why creatine is able to provide benefits to improve your gym session. Read on to find out about these benefits in more detail below.
We mentioned that creatine is one of the most reliable pre workout ingredients to help improve your gym session. Well, we’ll explain exactly why in this section.
One of the key reasons why creatine is used by bodybuilders and athletes, is due to it’s ability to take your strength to the next level.
It’s been proven to enhance high intensity exercises that require short bursts of power – perfect for weight-lifters and sprinters to improve their sporting performance.
A study by Candow D.G  examined the effects of creatine supplementation in young adults. To do this, 38 physically active university students (between the ages of 21-28) were either given a placebo or dosages of creatine.
The participants were then analyzed over the course of 3 weeks – during which they were asked to continue exercising.
Result: This study showed that creatine supplementation was able to benefit subjects’ strength levels, as well as promoting muscle gains.
Another study by Banerjee B  saw the results of this study replicated.
The second main reason why athletes consume creatine is to experience enhanced endurance. Again, as creatine is such as well-documented compound, there are numerous studies that show it’s effectiveness at delivering this benefit.
A study by Graef J.L  set out to determine whether creatine had any impact on endurance. To conduct this experiment, 43 active men were analyzed while they completed cardio extensive exercise – during this period, the subjects’ time to exhaustion was measured before and after creatine supplementation.
Result: The participants were able to perform cardio for longer, after consuming creatine.
The result of this study was also reinforced by Juhasz I’s study 
Increased Cognitive Ability
Creatine is not only physically beneficial, but mentally too. After scientists were satisfied that this compound was able to improve sporting performance, they began looking creatine’s other potential benefits – as a result, they found that it can enhance your cognition and delay mental fatigue.
A clinical study by Caroline R and her colleagues  analyzed creatine monohydrate’s effect on cognition. To complete this experiment, 45 young adults were examined in a double-blind (they gave half placebo’s and the other half creatine dosages).
Result: Creatine supplementation was shown to have a significant impact on working memory and intelligence.
Creatine HCL vs Monohydrate
As pre workout supplements have progressed, the ingredients inside these products also advanced; companies began adding the new form of creatine (hydrochloride), which is believed to be more beneficial than the proven creatine monohydrate.
For this reason, any began wondering which form was better than the other – which is exactly what we’ll analyze here.
Creatine Monohydrate has been around since the 1980’s, and has proven to be safe and reliable over time – as a result, it’s gained a reputation as one of the best ingredients available.
There’s no arguments about whether creatine monohydrate works. Learn more about creatine monohydrate in our previous article here.
This is the ‘new kid on the block’, and is believed to be more water soluable than monohydrate (meaning it requires less water to maximise absorption).
However, as it’s been created more recently, there are less studies proving its effectiveness. As a result, creatine hydrochloride is less reliable than creatine monohydrate; although it’s believed to be more water soluable, there’s no guanrantee that it’s as beneficial.
There’s no doubt that creatine can deliver numerous benefits to improve your sporting performance (strength, endurance and even cognition). However, there’s a big difference between the different forms of this compound.
As we’ve mentioned, companies have started including the more recently discovered creatine hydrochloride (HCL) in pre workout supplements (to try and make their products as ‘modern’ as possible). These companies claim that this form is more water soluable and beneficial – but the truth is, there’s not enough studies to prove this to be accurate.
On the other hand, creatine monohydrate has been used by athletes since the 1980’s – with countless studies having proven it’s both safe, effective and reliable.
For this reason, 4 Gauge contains creatine monohydrate – to ensure you experience creatine’s full range of benefits.
4 Gauge has been extensively researched to provide you with key benefits such as:
Explosive Power – Form stronger mind-muscle-connection to make the most of every rep.
Laser Focus – Concentrate of your session without any distractions from the outside world.
Extended Stamina – Be more productive in your workouts by performing at your peak for longer.
Incredible Muscle Pumps – Experience skin-splitting pumps by looking thicker and tighter.
- Spilane M. The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 19;6:6.
- Folin, O. Protein metabolism from the standpoint of blood and tissue analysis. Journal of Biological Chemistry. July 1, 1912The Journal of Biological Chemistry 12, 141-162.
- Stephen P. B. Creatine Supplementation and Exercise Performance: A Brief Review. J Sports Sci Med. 2003 Dec; 2(4): 123–132.
- Candow D. G. Effect of different frequencies of creatine supplementation on muscle size and strength in young adults. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Jul;25(7):1831-8.
- Benerjee B. Effect of creatine monohydrate in improving cellular energetics and muscle strength in ambulatory Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients: a randomized, placebo-controlled 31P MRS study. Magn Reson Imaging. 2010 Jun;28(5):698-707.
- Graef J. L. The effects of four weeks of creatine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on cardiorespiratory fitness: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Nov 12;6:18.
- Juhasz I. Creatine supplementation improves the anaerobic performance of elite junior fin swimmers. Acta Physiol Hung. 2009 Sep;96(3):325-36.
- Caroline R. Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Proc Biol Sci. 2003 Oct 22; 270(1529): 2147–2150.