Just Max Fitness Nutrition Blog

RIVALUS Supplements Review

RIVALUS Supplements Review - If you are a serious athlete in any sport - You should know RIVALUS!

I first came across RIVALUS and Powder Burn 2.0 at the 2015 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH. This was my first trip to the Mecca of sports festivals so I didn't really know what to expect.

I simply knew that I wanted to get as many photo opportunities as I could, find out what was coming new to the market and hopefully make some connections with some new brands for Just Max Fitness Nutrition.

By meeting the wonderful folks from RIVALUS I was able to accomplish two of those goals in one conversation (... I would have asked them for pictures too, but then they might have thought that was a little over the top LOL).

After doing my research, I've found that RIVALUS was acquired by the former owners of Optimum Nutrition, Mike and Tony Costello who left the company in 2008 because apparently they weren't fond of direction it was heading in.

So with RIVALUS in-tow they created Nutrivo, LLC - which also runs Rule 1 Proteins brand (for a comparison of whey proteins R1 Protein by Rule 1 vs Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard, click here).

I like RIVALUS because they are certified pro-athlete and WADA compliant. As a competitive Paralympic athlete in training, I need products that I know will pass testing at my larger National and International competitions. How much of a shame would it be to get disqualified from competing or banned from the sport (think the UFC and USADA Violations) because of the ingredients in a protein supplement?

Obviously, protein is not on a banned substance list regardless of the particular type that it's composed of, but it could be manufactured in the same facility as other products that are on the banned substance list and lead to what is known as a contaminated supplement.

All RIVALUS products are manufactured right here in the USA in 130,000 sq ft. state of the art facility in Aurora, Illinois.

With a slogan such as - "We're Pro Athlete" - you know that they have their customer's best interest in mind.

If you compete with any governing bodies that drug test and need to make sure you're products are banned substance free then you need RIVALUS on your team (and in your gym bag).

If it was already obvious up to this point, I absolutely love this company, brand, and  the people that represent the brand and I can't wait to grow with them.

The only negative thing I can say about this company is actually an assumption: being headquartered down in Illinois, they are probably Chicago Bears fans ... and being from Green Bay, I'm sure you can guess who my favorite team is - Go Pack Go! So, I suppose I can set aside my football allegiance for a good quality supplement.

Check out the current RIVALUS products that we have in stock like Powder Burn 2.0, a pre-workout with 14 active ingredients and zero band substances!. 

Keep an eye out for their full product line, including the popular protein items such as Promasil Premium Protein - think BSN SYNTHA-6 but better, MPower, Clean Gainer, and other creatine, weight loss, and hormone support products.

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Interested in Trying RIVALUS supplements? Use the discount Code "RIVALUS15" to save 15%

Max The Mascot

Joshua Myers, Founder of Just Max Fitness Nutrition

Finding Value in Expired – Clearance Supplements

Expired Supplements

© Can Stock Photo Inc. /alexskopje


|Why do Supplements Have an Expiration Date|  |How Long After Can I use Expires Supplements?|
|How to Store Your Supplements |


Some of the best values in sports nutrition and fitness supplements are found in the Clearance Sections either online or at your local store. Some clearance items are because of being over stocked, but most clearance supplements come from items that are “short dated” - items that are about to expire or may be recently be expired.

 Below is my blog on expired supplements, whether they are safe, and their effectiveness. I even outline how long you can take a supplement passed its sell by date on some of the more popular types of supplements in the industry today.


Are Expired Supplements Safe to Take?

I get this question a lot. The new year has passed, and you’ve probably gotten into some type of healthier nutrition and exercise regimen and maybe you’ve found last year’s supplements in the back of cupboard now expired and you are wondering if they are still safe to take. Who wants to waste all that money they spent on supplements last year, (or even the year before)? Is it necessary to throw all these out and start over?  Although I would like the uptick in sales, I’m also a good guy so the short answer is, No…

For the most part expired supplements are safe to take and won’t harm you. It is hard to imagine that if you have a tub of protein sitting on your cupboard and its OK consume on 2/28, but when the calendar flips to 3/1 you can no longer take it and you must throw it in the trash and buy a new, larger tub from JustMaxFitnessNutrition.com.

In the process of moving my inventory from my spare bedroom to the “store” in the Garage of Gainz, and I am finding hundreds of dollars of expired or near expired fitness and sports nutrition supplements. I have been taking expired supplements for years and nothing bad has ever happened to me. I’ve never gotten sick or even had stomach discomfort, (my cerebral palsy is from birth, it certainly has nothing to do with taking expired supplements) so I thought I’d some actual research and get some answers for those looking for them, and see if I can remain in good conscious while selling some of my near-expired and expire supplements at discounted rates. As a smaller shop some of my products don’t turn as well as others (and even I can’t take this large of volume on expired supplements, so often you can find great supplement deals on anything from protein, pre-workout powders and even some of the top weight loss supplements in the JstMaxFitnessNutrition.com Clearance Section.



Why do Fitness and Sports Nutrition or Fitness Supplements have an Expiration Date?

It turns out that the FDA doesn’t require manufactures to put expiration on their supplements, however many do so as a quality control mechanism.  The expiration date is the last date the manufacture can guarantee the potency of the ingredients that are listed on the label.

The compounds in any fitness and sports nutrition supplement start to break down the moment the they are manufactured, and the potency listed on the label is the potency guaranteed at the time of expiration.  (This also means that if you get your hands on some supplement that was just made by a manufacturer you could be getting a slightly stronger potency then what is listed on the label). 


An Expired Supplement can Cause Changes in Flavor

The one downfall in expired supplements could be changes in flavor. Just like active ingredients of supplements breakdown overtime, so too will the flavor components of a supplement (and the flavor components usually break down faster). From my experience the flavor component doesn’t drastically change, but it certainly doesn’t taste the same as when you open a fresh supplement.

If you’re taking a supplement that is long past the expiration and you can’t stand the taste, then it means it is time to throw it out and get some fresh stuff. If you don’t throw it out, it will just sit back on the counter and be another two years past the expiration date the next time you try it, just toss it out!


So How Long Can I take an Expired Supplement?


Expired Protein Powder

Expired protein is probably the most common of all supplements in the industry, the bigger container you buy the better deal you get per pound. From my personal experience when I buy protein powder, I usually get sick of the same flavor every day, I will open up to three different tubs and one ends up in the back of my supplement cupboard, and before I know it it’s expired. I recently found a tub Rivalus Native 100 that expired in November and I only have 6 scoops gone out of it. I will certainly use it until it is gone, I’ll just add a little more than a full scoop to make sure I’m getting all my protein needs.

Protein powder is a dry product so if it is stored properly there is little chance that bacteria will grow or cause it to spoil. Protein can be good for up to a year passed it sell by date. Always do a small smell taste with a spoonful or two of protein in water to ensure nothing smells bad or taste rancid before mixing a large smoothie or meal replacement. If you pass that test, then you are good to go!



Expired Protein Bars

Expired protein bars and other food type products are one of two supplement types that I would exercise caution regarding consuming them. Many of the protein bars on the market are loaded with synthetic ingredients and preservatives in order to increase shelf-life, there has been a shift in the industry to provide real food and whole food bars and snacks. These type of protein bars (RX Bar and Glukos Energy Bars) should be consumed within 3-6 months after the expiration date because of the whole food components that can spoil and rot over time.

If you have something hiding in your cupboard that you’ve found and they are well passed the expiration date (more than the 3-6 months), I would recommend tossing these. Eating spoiled food can cause more trouble than it is worth.



Expired Pre-Workout

You can treat any expired pre-workout much like an expired protein powder. Pre-workouts can also be good for a at least a year passed the expiration date. Your pre-workout is still good even if it is clumpy. Pre-workouts often get clumpy even before the expiration date because the ingredients in them attract moisture from the air when kept room temperature. Magnum Nutriceuticals Pre-Fo is a great example of this. They put a sticker on the container advising to keep it in the freezer after opening to avoid clumping.

The biggest thing to watch for with expired pre-workout is discoloration. If parts of the pre-workout are different colors from the rest of it, ie. your blue raspberry pre-workout (which is usually a blue powder) also has brown spots in it - your pre-workout is going bad and it’s time to order a new tub from JMFN.


Expired Creatine

I wrote a rather extensive blog on creatine and all its wonders already but forgot to add a section on expired creatine. So here it is...  Creatine probably lasts the longest of all expired supplements. Like all supplements it will certainly lose some of its potency but can still be good for up two years beyond the expiration date.

If you are trying to ensure that you are getting your recommended number of grams per day (most recommended serving sizes are 5 grams) its potency, simply take a scoop and a half or even two scoops to get the same effect as one scoop. You may get more than your body needs by using this strategy and excrete it out, but it beats the alternative of throwing it in the trash.

Like a pre-workout, creatine can clump up because of moisture as well, and like pre-workout this doesn’t mean its bad either, it is just attracting moisture from the air.


Expired Fat Burners

Fat Burners are the most popular supplements in the industry today and have been for years.  So, you’ll be happy to know that expired fat burners can be taken long after the expiration date like the other popular supplement listed above.  The one guideline I wouldn’t follow is that of taking extra to increase potency.  Many of the top fat burners contain stimulants and those should never be taken beyond the recommended dose. This can cause harm and even make you sick (unrelated to the fact they are expired). If you’re taking an expired fat burner it is best to stick with the recommended dose as they may take a considerable amount of time to lose their potency (remember, the expiration date is the last guaranteed date of full-potency.  And they aren’t going to lose half potency in 24 hours. As you get further from the expiration date your fat burner won’t be as effective, but it sure beats the alternative of throwing it in the garbage.



Expired Fish Oils and Probiotics

Fish oils and probiotics are the second category of fitness supplements that I would use with caution when passed the expiration date. Fish Oils are a fat and can oxidize when exposed to light which can make them rancid. Fish Oils are also a liquid (even inside the capsule) and supplements in liquid form do degrade faster than that of powdered supplements like protein or creatine.


Tips for Storing Your Supplements

There are ways you can store your fish oils and probiotics (as well as your other supplements) to extend their freshness and shelf-life. Almost all supplement labels have the direction to “store in a cool, dry place” and this is the easiest way you can improve the shelf-life on any supplement.

Additionally, you can store your liquid supplements, Fish oils, and probiotics in your refrigerator to help maintain freshness. Store any pre-workouts (including the new pump products in your freezer after opening if the “clumping” bothers you, but it isn’t essential.

We at Just Max Fitness Nutrition also have one do not do that a surprising number of people don’t know about (or don’t care) but it can increase the self-life of that precious jug of protein.

Do not store your protein on top of the refrigerator. Your refrigerator generates a lot of heat, and heat rises. This can create humidity and your protein has the potential to absorbing some of that moisture that will make it to degrade faster then normal. So, do not store your protein on top of your fridge!


Expired Doesn’t Mean Bad

In conclusion, expired does not necessarily mean “gone bad.” Whether or not you can take an expired product really depends on the product itself. As outlined above the expiration (sometimes sell by date) doesn’t indicate the true shelf-life of a product. Some supplements like; protein, creatine, and pre-workout powders can be used well passed their expiration dates (some even a year past!). But others like protein bars, other food-like supplements (RX Bar and Glukos Energy Bars) should be used within 3-6 months after the expiration date because of the whole food components that can spoil or rot over time, as mentioned in the protein bars header. (I have eaten RX Bars a full two-months past the expiration date.  They’re just a little harder.)

Of the supplements that I researched, Fish Oils and probiotics are the only supplements that should be tossed after reaching the expiration dates. This is because of the oxidation of the fats and the live bacteria components respectively.

If you’re not sure on whether a supplement past its expiration date is still good, it is always better to error on the side of safety and toss it.  Getting sick in any capacity will usually keep you out of the gym and no one wants that!

If you have a question about supplement that I didn’t cover in this blog or have comments or concerns regarding this blog, leave a comment below or join the Just Max Fitness Community in our Facebook Group and have your question answered by one of your peers!


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, so this should not be taken as medical advice.  This is my experience with expired supplements. If you don’t feel comfortable taking expired supplements, don’t take them.


Your Friend in Fitness,


- Joshua Myers, Founder of Just Max Fitness Nutrition


What are Nootropics? The "Smart Drug" Supplements Explained


© Can Stock Photo Inc. /Spectral



Understanding Nootropics


Nootropics are a class of “smart drugs” (supplements designed to increase cognitive brain function) are gaining traction in the supplement industry. Although they have been around for decades, they have only been made available to the public in the last few years.

Nootropics have gained popularity over recent years because of recent media coverage glorifying the use of nootropics. In 2011 The Movie Limitless was released by Relativity Media which depicts A-list movie star Bradley Cooper as a washed up writer who takes a type of Nootropic to become not only a fantastic writer, but also the best version of himself that he possibly can. The movie was so successful, and the idea of nootropics is so fascinating that CBS created a spin-off show in 2015, and nootropics have only become more popular since then.

If you’ve been looking for increased energy, mental clarity and more focus (an overall increase in brain power) to help you take life to the MAX, keep reading to see if Nootropics might be right for you.


How do Nootropics Work

Unfortunately, there is not one simple answer on how nootropics work. There are many different types of nootropic compounds (see list of effective Nootropics below), and they all work with the brain’s neurotransmitters in different ways. (The brain is still the most complicated organ to understand within the human body).

Obviously, the movie example of Limitless and what they did for Eddie Mora (Bradley Cooper’s Character) is unrealistic and made for entertainment, but nootropics do work. Although the science behind nootropics is very complicated and still has much to be figured out. With today’s technology it is relatively easy to measure and see an increase in brain function, multiple studies on a variety of the most effective nootropic compounds have proven their effectiveness.


List of Effective Nootropics

In the fitness and sports nutrition industry you can find some single component nootropics, but often you will find supplements that are a nootropic stack (multiple compounds combined to enhance the benefits of the overall supplement. Below is a list of effective nootropics you want to ensure that your nootropic supplement of choice has in it. (Although all in one supplement probably isn’t necessary).

Effective Nootropics Include:


5-HTP – Made in the body from L-Tryptophan and converts into Serotonin. Serotonin promotes healthy sleep patterns, (quality sleep is one of the most under-rated components of a healthy lifestyle) and is the most important neurotransmitters that regulate mood.

Adrafinil Works very similar to Modafinil (see below) because it converts to Modafinil in the liver. Like Modafinil it is used to increase mental energy (alertness), focus, attention span, and concentration. Unlike Modafinil, Adrafinil is legal in almost all places without prescription.

Choline Choline is a basic nootropic taken to help improve cognitive function and overall mood. Choline is known to some as the “feel good” nootropic because it also helps relieve headaches.

Huperzine A An herbal nootropic that is known to help with memory retention and mental performance. Huperzine A is a great nootropic for beginners to start with as it is easy to tolerate in small doses.

Modafinil A nootropic that should be used with caution because of its powerful nature. Modafinil was first created to treat sleep disorders like narcolepsy and sleep apnea. Modafinil increases mental energy (alertness), focus, attention span, and concentration. Modafinil is available online in the US without a prescription, but a prescription is required in other parts of the world. Modafinil should always be used with caution.

Noopept Often considered the strongest nootropic available (and the first Nootropic I was exposed to in Blackstone Labs Resurgence BCAA product), mainly helps boost memory and the ability to retain information. Noopept has also been shown to improve reflexes and improve mood.

Pramiracetam Another extremely powerful nootropic that is believed to improve cognitive function, boost memory, and promotes the ability to retain information. Pramiracetam differs from other nootropics by not effecting one’s mood.

Pyritinol Used by many as the “hangover pill” because it reduces inflammation in the cerebrum. Pyritinol is made of two Vitamin B6 molecules bound together by two sulfur atoms. Pyritinol has also been used as a compound to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Vinpocetine A synthetic alkaloid derived from the periwinkle plant and has been found to help improve memory by increasing blood flow to the brain. Most importantly, Vinpocetine can help reduce neural inflammation and prevent stressor and toxins from causing amnesia.


Are Nootropics Safe?

Nootropics are extremely safe and non-toxic to the human brain, but as with any type of supplement there is still some potential of side effects with nootropics use.


Nootropics Side Effects

The most common side effects associated with Nootropics at this time are headaches, intestinal and system issues. Sometimes headaches occur when using nootropics because the brain is working harder and demanding more Acetylcholine than your body can produce. Choline acts as a precursor to Acetylcholine and safety increases your body’s supply to counteract the headaches.

An excessive dose of nootropics in the body may be a threat (something that the body is not used to), so your body will want to expel this from it system, causing the intestinal issues. This can lead to diarrhea, nausea, or simply stomach discomfort. The easiest way to eliminate these side effects is to adjust to a more comfortable dose of your desired nootropic.

Insomnia and/or fatigue can also be unintended consequences of taking nootropics supplements, as your brain is working harder and on overdrive.


Natural Nootropics in Food

Not quite ready to give nootropic supplements a try? You can find nootropics in everyday foods that you eat and help give your brain a boost!

To get more Nootropics in your every day diet, increase your intake of the following foods:

Berries – There are many types of berries and all of them are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help destroy free radical, including ones that can affect the brain. Berries can improve neuron communication which also enhances memory and overall cognition.

Coffee and Dark Chocolate – Caffeine is also great for producing nootropic effects. Coffee and dark chocolate are two natural foods that have a high concentration of caffeine. Both foods also stimulate the brain improving focus and alertness.

Fish – Because they are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, fish is known as “brain food”. Omega 3 fatty acids help slow the decline of mental function, thus helping to keep your brain functioning at optimal levels.

Nuts – Nutrient packed nuts (more specifically walnuts) help boost mood and cognitive function because like berries and spinach, nuts are high in antioxidants.

Spinach – I am starting to understand why Popeye ate his spinach. Spinach has a lot of health benefits including benefits for your brain. Spinach (and other dark leafy greens) contain a high concentration of antioxidants that help expel free radicals. Spinach is also high in Vitamin E which increases brain tissue and assists in the release of dopamine.


How to Take Nootropics

If you do decide to take a nootropic supplement, whether that be a single nootropic compound, or a nootropic stack like many of those found in the fitness and sports nutrition industry it is important to know how to take nootropic supplements.

Nootropics should always be taken in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions on the labels. Some nootropic supplements require multiple doses throughout the day and others only require one dose daily.


Highest Rated Nootropics

Below are the supplements that I feel are the top-rated nootropics currently available in the supplement industry. Some are stacks while others are just individual products.

Onnit Alpha BrainOnnit Alpha Brain: Even though, I am not able to purchase and sell Onnit’s Alpha Brain on Just Max Fitness Nutrition because I don’t have a brick and mortar store, I still feel like this is the best Nootropic stack on the market. Alpha Brain’s ingredients have been clinically studied to prove their effectiveness. Alpha Brain also only requires one daily dose, so it is also extremely easy to take.   If you want to try Alpha Brain but still want to support the JMFN Story, you can purchase it through my Amazon Affiliate Link here

Chaos and Pain Cannibal GeniusChaos and Pain's Cannibal Genius - Cannibal Genius by Chaos and Pain is a comprehensive nootropic that features 20mg of the nootropic Noopept per serving, combined with the powerful stimulant Acacia Rigidula and natural compounds; Ginko Bilboa, Theanine and Naringin which can also help increase focus.  

TLM Research F1 FocusTLM Research’s F1 Focus – F1 Focus by TLM Research offers a superior nootropic blend, second to only Alpha Brain. By adding Ginkgo Biloba to popular nootropics like Choline Bitartrate and Huperzine A F1 Focus is designed to be taken 30 minutes prior to needing increased focus. Simple and effective!

Neuro IgniteHavasu Nutrition’s NeuroIgnite – NeuroIgnite is another nootropic stack that combines Huperzine A with Gingko Biloba to improve clarity, focus and memory. NeuroIgnite also provides similar directions to boost your brain function, on pill a day is all you need.

Citicoline CDPJarrow Formula’s Citicoline CDP Choline – Choline is in the above section titled “List of Effective Nootropics” and is known as the feel-good nootropic for its ability to boost one’s mood.





Overall, Are Nootropics worth it?

In closing, nootropics can help improve mood, boost memory, and increase the ability to learn. There are certainly more studies that should be done to prove the effectiveness, (they just haven’t been studied for as long as compound like creatine monohydrate to prove their effectiveness 100%) but there are certainly several scientific studies out that already prove their worth.

As the operator of JustMaxFitnessNutrition.com, and the supplement guy who vows to provide accurate (and scientific) information to the best of my knowledge, I conclude that nootropics can be useful in the proper scenarios. I have provided 5 of the better nootropics above based on my research and personal experience, but you can certainly do your own research to make sure you are getting a properly dosed product that will work for you.

Have any previous experience with nootropics? Tell the JMFN Nation about it below!



Need a question regarding nootropics answered? Ask it below and I will answer it in the comments section as well.


- Joshua Myers, Founder of Just Max Fitness Nutrition

What is Creatine and What Does it Do? The World's Most Proven Fitness Supplement Examined

What is Creatine? The World's Most Proven Fitness Supplement Examined

Questions and Answers About Creatine

Creatine is without question the most proven supplement in the fitness nutrition industry. Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid is naturally produced the body from the amino acids L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. Its efficiency has been proven in hundreds of scientific studies that have been done on the compound over the years as it relates specifically to fitness nutrition.

Creatine Benefits: What Does Creatine Do For the Body?

Creatine increases muscular energy by assisting the body in producing ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Adenosine triphosphate is the chemical compound that allows your muscles to contract and the more ATP you have available to your muscles, the more contractions (repetitions) you can perform in a given movement or exercise.


Creatine and the Brain:

Some of the more recent studies involving creatine have shown that it can also be very beneficial the brain. Researches started studying the effects of creatine and the brain since 2003 and every year the evidence on the positive effects on the brain become more and more prevalent.

Creatine has been shown to enhance the brain’s cognition and also reduce mental fatigue.

Even more research need to be done, but perhaps by taking creatine and increasing our brain’s performance could slow down terrible diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia

How Effective is Creatine?

Creatine has been so effective in increasing strength and muscle mass gains that many outside of the fitness industry tried to start a myth that it was a steroid. By definition something that is produced naturally in the body cannot be a steroid.

Types of Creatine:

There are many different types of creatine on the market today. The most commonly used (and cheapest available) is creatine monohydrate. Creatine Monohydrate is the golden standard of creatine and the one all other creatine is measured against. Other types of creatine include:

  • Creatine Anhydrous – creatine with the water molecule removed. This provides more creatine per gram and also helps reduce the boating side effect that can be accompanied by creatine.
  • Creatine Citrate – creatine combined with a citrate molecule. The citrate molecule helps the creatine dissolve better in water.
  • Creatine Ethyl Ester – converts back to usable creatine in the body (the creatine the body produces naturally using the amino acids L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine.
  • Creatine HCL (Hydrochloride) – creatine combine with a hydrochloride molecule can also make creatine more water-soluble.
  • Creatine Magnesium Chelate – creatine bound with a magnesium molecule. Magnesium aids in creatine metabolism (the breakdown of creatine) so it may make creatine more effective by breaking it down faster. This also aids in reducing the water retention caused by creatine consumption.
  • Creatine Malate – creatine combined with Malic acid. Malic acid is an organic acid (made by the body) that helps turn carbohydrates into energy.
  • Creatine Nitrate – creatine combined with a group on nitrate molecules. Nitrate molecules, like citrate and hydrochloride help make the creatine more water soluble.
  • Creatine Pyruvate – Creatine combined with pyruvic acid. Pyruvic acid my help provide higher plasma levels in the bloodstream.
  • Buffered Creatine – creatine with a higher pH level. It thought that creatine with a higher pH level will break down less in water. (See How to take Creatine).


Natural Creatine Sources:

Creatine is made naturally in the body by the pancreas, kidneys and liver. Creatine is also found in whole food protein sources like:

  • Meat
  • Fish
When you are eating red meat, chicken, turkey, pork or any other type of animal, you are actually eating the muscle of the animal (where creatine is stored).

    If Creatine is Made Naturally, Why Do We Need to Supplement It?

    Many athletes and general fitness enthusiasts look to supplement creatine because for many of them it is hard to get the recommended 5 grams per day by diet alone. Only about 2g of creatine are found in a 16 ounce steak. I don’t know about you, but I know I can’t afford to eat at least 40 ounces of steak everyday (nor could I even eat that much). Creatine is one of the cheapest and readily available supplements on the market, and one of the cheapest for how effective it is. You can get as many as 80 days worth of creatine right here on JMFN for only $11.99 or other wildly popular creatine products like this one.

      Who Should Take Creatine and When to Use Creatine?

      Creatine should be consumed by everyone, and if you eat any type of animal protein you are consuming creatine. Even if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian your body still creates creatine on its own. The real question should be who should supplement with creatine?

      That answer is also just as broad, creatine helps the body in so many ways (this is why your body can also produce it naturally). Creatine is not just for professional athletes looking to gain an edge on the playing field, if you are a recreational athlete involved in any kind of strength or “short burst” movements – creatine is for you.

      That could be football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, wresting, Olympic weightlifting strong man training, martial arts, basically with any physical activity you can benefit from creatine supplementation. Even endurance runners are now seeing the benefits of using creatine supplements.

      It was originally thought that endurance trainers and athletes wouldn’t see the benefits from creatine because it was thought that creatine only enhanced short muscle movements and contractions but adding creatine to an endurance athlete’s diet will also improve his or her glycogen stores (energy stored) in the muscle. Creatine also has a few non fitness related benefits.

      • Increase Bone Mineral Density
      • Improve Glucose Metabolism
      • Improve Brain Performance


      How to Take Creatine (Creatine Cycling):

      When creatine was first introduced to the fitness nutrition industry in 1993 by EAS, it was originally thought that creatine needed to be “loaded” with 20-25g of creatine for the first 5 days of supplementing with creatine.

      The idea of loading creatine stems from making sure that your muscles are fully saturated with creatine.

      By taking four or five separate servings of 5 grams per day for the first 5 days you overload your muscles with creatine, and the remainder of your cycle would simply be a continuous 5 grams a day for maintenance.

      Some years later (after more research) it was noted that creatine did not need to be loaded at all and that the body can only absorb so much creatine in a given time (remembering that creatine is also naturally produced in the body), if you were loading your creatine you were essentially making your liver and kidneys work harder while creating expensive urine.

      The optimal daily serving on creatine is between 3 and 5 grams and can be taken pre- or post-workout; either way will allow you to receive all of its glorious benefits. Taking creatine pre-workout will assist you with the upcoming workout or physical activity whereas a post-workout creatine would replenish your muscles depleted glycogen stores and assist in a faster muscle recovery.

      For this reason I like to split up my 5g serving of creatine into (2) 2.5g portions and take it both pre- and post-workout.

      Creatine is highly unstable once it interacts with liquid and starts to breakdown in to creatinine (a by-product of creatine that doesn’t yield any benefits) so when you are putting it in your shaker cup or mixing it into your glass it is best to consume right away.

      A more unconventional way can even be to put the creatine directly from the spoon into your mouth to prevent as much of the breakdown as possible.

      How and whenever you decide to take your creatine, simply take 3-5g daily on a consistent basis and you’ll be sure to reap all of its benefits.


      Side Effects of Creatine:

      If up to this point it seems like creatine is a “too good to be true” supplement, it might be because it really is the best discovery in modern fitness nutrition to date. As with anything, there are some side effects to creatine supplementation and anything in excess can be harmful as well.

      According to WebMD.com creatine can be safe when taken by mouth for up to (5) five years. The most known side effect of creatine is bloating. Creatine stores water in the muscles making them bigger and full over time. In extremely high doses creatine can cause harm to the heart, liver and kidneys.

      This is in part because these organs are also producing its own creatine organically in the body, by adding high amounts of creatine in single doses you are causing these organs to work harder and in the long run can cause damage.


      The Creatine Myths... That Just Don't Seem to go Away! 

      Creatine supplementation must start with a loading phase: Back when I first supplementing with creatinine in the late 90’s I was instructed that I needed to take 20-25 grams of creatine a day to help fully saturate my muscles and allow the creatine to work fully in my muscles.  After the first 5 days I then only needed to take 3-5g a day to keep up “creatine maintenance”. This is simply not true. Unless you are an elite athlete and training is your job you would be better to stick with the lower dose of creatine, as it can be just as effective. At some point (more than .025g per pound of bodyweight) we simply reach the point of diminishing returns and end up wasting the remaining creatine. 

      I don’t know if this was a sales tactic back in the day or advances in creatine research through the years have debunked this all-time creatine myth, but I have feeling it was a little bit of both.     

      Creatine causes acne: The creatine itself does not cause acne. But research has shown that the hormonal changes that your body endure while exercising, combined with taking the creatine may be what’s causing new acne outbreaks.  Basically, if you just took creatine and didn’t workout you wouldn’t see an uptick in acne. But why would you do that?

      Creatine has been shown to increase testosterone production and testosterone can cause increased acne (think teenage boys going through puberty). Every person’s body is different, in both composition and chemical makeup and every person that experiences this side effect needs to determine if the detriment of acne outweighs that of creatine supplementation. Remember, if you’re getting new acne your test levels are probably increasing and the gains that you are after are on the horizon!

      Creatine Harms Kidneys and Liver: Science has yet to show a connection between high doses of creatine and kidney or liver damage. I personally don’t think that a substance made naturally by the body (in the liver, kidney’s and pancreas) would ultimately do harm to those same organs, that seems to be extremely counterproductive human biology. (Exemption - Extremely high does of creatine can cause these organs to work harder and can cause harm over time.)

      The original source of this myth may have come from an excess amount of creatinine (a byproduct that is created when creatine is broken down) in the bloodstream and urine.  This used to be a major indicator for the potential of kidney disease. Quite simply if you are supplementing with creatine you are taking more in, so more need to be broken down (and more creatinine created), and thus a false positive for kidney disease is created.  Just stick to the 5-10g of creatine a day and it won’t have any adverse effects on your kidneys or liver.

      Women should not take creatine:  This is another terrible myth.  I’m not even sure how one like this would get started.  Its not like creatine will only produced naturally in a man’s body, or women shouldn’t eat meat or fish. If a woman is looking to get stronger or put on muscle, she has every right to the same creatine supplementation as a man.

       A lot of women shy away from creatine because of the potential for water retention and weight gain, although most of those claims are over blown as well. It is possible that you may retain a little water but if you let your body adjust that tends to diminish over time. If you are gaining a little weight it is more likely do to adding muscle.

      Most women can get by with an effective dose of about 3 grams per day. Also, if you are wanting to supplement with creatine but are still concerned with the water retention, try a creatine anhydrous – which is a form of creatine with the water molecule removed. PEScince makes a great product called TruCreatine (and its already in a 3g scoop).

      Creatine can cause a failed drug test: Because I am an American and am striving to one day reach the Paralympic, I will eventually be drug tested by USADA or WADA. So, should I be worried that my creatine supplementation may cause a positive drug test because of the increased hormone production (see the Creatine Causes Acne myth above). Absolutely not!  Creatine is produced naturally in the body and is found in everyday common foods like red meat and fish.

      Although I have heard stories of failed drug tests, they are indeed jus that…stories. If an athlete is on creatine and failed a drug test they either have poor quality creatine that maybe tainted with other substances or he or she is also taking other supplements along with creatine that they aren’t disclosing.  It is very important to know where your supplements are coming from, and that they are high quality (see all creatines are the same myth below) This is why I use brans like P4P Muscle and RivalUs who are tested by a 3rd party to ensure the highest quality! Someday I will be throwing Shot Put for a medal and I don’t want to lose out on it because of a tainted supplement!

      All creatines are the same: All creatines are not created equal. Just like with any type of product you can find different qualities of creatine. In the industry for the most part German creatine tends to be a better-quality creatine then of Chinese creatine. Chinese creatine is often less pure and has different contaminates in it. I sell the brands on my site that I do because I trust the quality of the products. You cab be assured that any creatine you buy from this site is of some of the best quality.

      Conversely just because there is a new type of creatine with a fancy name (Creatine HCL and Creatine Piruvate come to mind (see types of creatine above)) doesn’t mean that it is better than the tried and true creatine monohydrate.  Some have shown promising results but for more testing is needed to prove that these forms of creatine are in fact superior to monohydrate.

      The one exception to that rule may be a creatine anhydrous (see types of creatine above) like TruCreatine from PES. Creatine Anhydrous removes the water molecule, offering a purer creatine while helping to minimize the effects of water retention.

      My Experiences with Creatine:

      I began using creatine around 1996 or 1997. I remember the first create product I ever bought was EAS Betagen.  - Now called Myoplex Muscle Armour. I liked that particular product because it had creatine, glutamine, taurine, and HMB in it.

      Back then I thought the orange flavor was one of the best tasting products on the market. And even 20 years later, it is still a great supplement!

      I have tested every thing from creatine powder, capsules, and even the liquid serum. I no longer use creatine year round, I do remove it from my cycle when I am cutting weight for a powerlifting competition or when I feel I am getting to heavy. For someone confined to a wheelchair where cardio is already difficult, it makes it that much harder to cut the additional water wait, so I cut it out 2-3 times a year for 6-8 weeks at a time.

      Overall, I recommend that anyone involved in any type of strenuous activity (physical or mental), supplement with creatine and reap its benefits.

      Not finding a creatine that works for you in my collection of creatine products?

      Check out these Best sellers on Amazon!


      Let me know your experiences (good or bad) with creatine in the Facebook comment section below. Have you felt the benefits of cycling creatine in your workout regimen?

      Joshua Myers, Founder of Just Max Fitness Nutrition
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