The Creatine Graveyard

The only negative side effects I have seen are from creatine "products" and not pure monohydrate. I have taken CM off and on for gosh probably 10 years it seems and have never once had anything negative. I have however tried several creatine "delivery systems" and preworkout formulas that have had undesirable results like cramping, and a serious need to run to the bathroom (You know what I mean!) Most of these formulas are packed with fillers which are completely unnecessary. I've had best results with Creapure.

I've also read several articles and the only creatine on the market with any kind of valid research behind it is CM. Most other versions of creatine aren't even proven to work. CM is safe effective and inexpensive. Hard to beat that. I've always taken 5-10 grams daily with grape juice. What is anyone else's preferred method?
Creatine in any liquid form should be questioned. Creatine breaks down into creatinine within 24-48 hours in water. Absorption is a non issue with creatine. The effects are determined at the muscle cellular, not the intestines. Absorption is not a limiting factor for creatine.

I've used creatine for almost 20 years now. I first started using it after reading about it in Muscle Media 2000. I put it in my pre-workout protein drink.
I thought I read that it's best to take CM after workout. E.g. 5g after workout daily, and you'll still have plenty of CM "in the tank" for your next workout.

Am I "doing it wrong" by only taking 5g with my post workout shake?

Should I be taking 5g before? or maybe 2.5 before and 2.5 after??
Timing doesn't really matter much with creatine. You'll be getting some in your diet anyway, unless you're like a vegan or something.
The HST FAQ recommends taking creatine pre-workout:
6) Exercise increases creatine uptake. If you take some creatine and sit on a stationary bike and
only peddle with one leg, the leg you peddle with will take up more creatine than the leg that is
not peddling. (Hint: take you creatine pre-workout)
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The HST FAQ recommends taking creatine pre-workout:

This is true however once creatine stores are full, they are full. Take it in the morning, take it at night, it isn't going to make a massive difference. If you can take preworkout then by all means, go ahead but the important thing is to simply take it in the first place. If timing the creatine is the difference between you taking it and not taking it, then choose whatever timing allows you to take it consistently.
Though i'm 'bigger' overall and definitely stronger overall, my biceps are lagging where they were even 7 months ago (before HST). Back then, I used to take 10g/day CM. 5g before and 5g after workout. Sure, that wasnt the only different variable, but CM is cheap (and I don't think I'll be doing any internal damage on 10g/day) so maybe I'll experiment with 5g before and 5g after for a few weeks and see what happens... just to make sure my CM stores are topped off at all times.
I actually lift without creatine nowadays. I definitely noticed a performance and size increase from creatine (performance wise it didn't make me 'stronger' per se but I could certainly lift more reps at a given weight), but the size increase wasn't particularly aesthetic (almost like being injected with air or something, really bloaty/puffy as opposed to a workout pump or muscle gain) and made me feel more bulky.

You'll definitely need to drink more water on it, and I never really felt awesome about caffeine and creatine working side by side and I luvva the caffeine a lot.

I sometimes wonder about the work suggesting that increasing creatine will correspond to an increase in satellite cell production, am I missing out? etc blah blah ... but I seem to grow well enough as it is and I figure that random nutrition company can live without my $ for now.
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I carry a 32 ounce Nalgene bottle all day at work and during my workout. I fill it about 2-3 times during the day and go through at least one whole bottle during a workout. Typically I have about 16 ounces of water with dinner and maybe another 8 ounces across the time between dinner and bed time. Basically a gallon a day; maybe that's too much, but recall reading something that said to drink that much water when taking creatine.

Last April I had a weird heart issue for a couple days. Turned out to be nothing too serious, but at the time I was drinking +/- a pot of STRONG coffee/day. Cardiologist basically told me I was too stressed, wasnt sleeping enough, and drank way too much caffiene. Coffee was basically the only thing I could totally "control," so I cut it down to 1-2 cups of 1/2 decaf coffee/day. Anyway, I no longer have the caffiene/creatine issue. I suppose the diuretic effect of the caffiene (if you drink enough) could somewhat negate the "store more water in cells" effect of creatine, which might impact how you "look" when taking creatine. Course, coffee is mostly water anyway, so I'm not even sure there is much of a net duretic effect if you drink your caffiene...

Anyway, I'm going to continue to experiment on myself with creatine. Maybe I'll try to be more scientific in the future... Do an HST cycle off creatine, compare to "on" creatine trying to keep all else constant (very difficult for me to do).
Creatine is def. worth sticking on, it gives great results and is cheap enough that it isn't a barrier to entry. I just didn't care for the aesthetic that it came with for me personally.