How to take creatine without excess bloating and water retention

How to take creatine without excess bloating and water retention

(4  minute read)


Over 400 studies have proven creatine safe end effective as both a mental and physical performance enhancing supplement. In fact, Creatine is, without question the most studied and most proven performance enhancing supplement in the world and it's not even close.  Yet for some unknown reason (actually, I think I know why, and I will get to that after the list) most people who workout do not consistently supplement with creatine. (This makes no sense)

The following is a quick rundown of all the known ways that creatine benefits athletes:

  • first and foremost, Creatine supplements increase your phosphocreatine stores, allowing you to produce more ATP energy to fuel your muscles during high-intensity exercise.
    Creatine’s direct role in ATP production means it can improve high-intensity exercise performance.
    Creatine improves numerous factors, including:
  1. strength
  2. ballistic power
  3. sprint ability
  4. muscle endurance
  5. resistance to fatigue
  6. muscle mass
  7. recovery
  8. brain performance
  • It can alter numerous cellular pathways that lead to new muscle growth. For example, it boosts the formation of proteins that create new muscle fibers.
  • It can also raise levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a hormone that promotes increases in muscle mass
  • Creatine supplements can increase the water content of your muscles. This is known as cell volumization and can quickly increase muscle size.
  • Additionally, some research indicates that creatine decreases levels of myostatin, a molecule responsible for stunting muscle growth. Reducing myostatin can help you build muscle faster.
  • Unlike supplements that only affect advanced athletes, creatine benefits you regardless of your fitness level. Specifically, one review found that it improves high-intensity exercise performance by up to 15%.
  • Creatine is the world’s most effective legal supplement for adding muscle mass.
    Taking it for as few as 5–7 days has been shown to significantly increase lean body weight and muscle size.
    This initial rise is caused by increases in the water content of your muscles.
    Over the long term, it also aids in muscle fiber growth by signaling key biological pathways and boosting gym performance.
    In one study of a 6-week training regimen, participants who used creatine added 4.4 pounds (2 kg) more muscle mass, on average, than the control group.
    Similarly, a comprehensive review demonstrated a clear increase in muscle mass among those taking creatine, compared with those performing the same training regimen without creatine.
  • Creatine supplements may also reduce fatigue and tiredness. A recent study determined that creatine led to reduced fatigue and increased energy levels during conditions of sleep deprivation.
    Creatine also demonstrated reduced fatigue in athletes taking a cycling test and has been used to decrease fatigue when exercising in high heat.

So, it's abundantly clear that creatine is effective at increasing muscle mass and strength. Improving high intensity performance and delaying fatigue during physically demanding exercise bouts. 

So why then do most people still not supplement creatine?

Its simple. Most people are afraid of retaining water. But is this fear unfounded? Actually, it is not. Myriad studies confirm that creatine does, in fact, increase whole body water retention.

Part of how creatine works is by increasing intracellular water within skeletal muscle tissues. This is a good thing as it helps the muscle appear more full and volumized. However, this same increase in fluid happens elsewhere as well. This increase in full body water retention is responsible for the slightly softer look some athletes report noticing when they supplement creatine.

Importantly, the vast majority of creatine studies have been done using creatine monohydrate. This is the most proven form of creatine. Simply put, it works. But as mentioned above, it also increases full body water retention.

But some potential good news has been gaining traction in the scientific and bodybuilding communities over the last several years.

A newer form of creatine, creatine hydrochloride, or Creatine HCL has been shown in multiple studies to provide the same positive effects as creatine but without the increases in full body water retention.

What that means to the athlete is that benefiting from:

  • increased phosphocreatine stores and more atp
  • improved intracellular anabolic signaling
  • better endurance
  • better peak strength
  • improved cognition
  • delayed fatigue

can all be done free from the worry of looking soft or bloated.

This means that athletes can take creatine even when cutting, which is ideal because creatine is an anti catabolic that help prevent muscle loss.

Look, all athletes should take creatine, plain and simple. But we know that most people don't want to retain fluid outside of the muscles. This is why BTN formulated Cell Swell using Creatine HCL

Because we want you to perform your best, but we also want you to look well conditioned and fit while you do it!

In summary, you 100% should be taking creatine! And, if you want to look lean while you do, you should be taking Cell Swell!

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