S.M.A.R.T. Creatine Reviews
By: VMI Sports®
IntroductionLet's get this out of the way now. Creatine is the most researched and proven workout supplement on the market. Creatine monohydrate is the gold standard when it comes to creatine supplementation. Simple. Cheap. Effective. With that said, however, supplement companies are always looking for an opportunity to improve products and take an edge over the competition. In this case, blended creatines are designed with the intention of improving absorption, reducing side effects, and increasing effectiveness. VMI has put together a valiant effort with S.M.A.R.T. Creatine.
Ingredient ProfileCreatine Citrate - 1.2g
Creatine bonded to a citrate molecule. Creatine citrate has been shown to be more water soluble, however scientific studies have not proven that the increased solubility leads to more effective absorption. Rather, it seems the inclusion of creatine citrate is more effective at improving mixability of the powder while still delivering a dosage of creatine.
Magnesium Creatine Chelate (Magnapower) - 1.2g
Creatine bonded to magnesium. Magnapower is believed to be as effective as creatine monohydrate without the bloating and water retention commonly associated with monohydrate. The inclusion of magnesium is also believed to assist in metabolizing the creatine, which may increase effectiveness, however scientific results have not shown any significant increases at this time.
Creatine Pyruvate - 1.2g
Creatine bonded to pyruvic acid molecules. Studies have shown that creatine pyruvate may elevate creatine levels within plasma. This has not been proven to have a significant effect on absorption. Scientific studies thus far have not shown any significant advantages over creatine monohydrate.
Overall, this product is dosed at 3.6g of creatine, somewhat below the recommended maintenance dosage of 5g. Some studies suggest that 3g is a sufficient maintenance dose, however I prefer to follow the tried and true 5g recommendation.
Unfortunately, flavorless does not mean tasteless. I had hoped to receive one of the flavored versions, as most reviewers seemed happy with them, however I was sent the unflavored version. No big deal, beggars cant be choosers, and VMI is always as accommodating as they can be. This stuff was harsh though. Very strong chemical flavor when mixed only with water. Mixing it with my preworkout or BCAAs helped, but the taste was still present. While the unflavored version may not have the dyes that others have complained about with the flavored versions, if you are picky about taste, you may want to avoid this one.
Mixability was about on par with what I've come to expect from creatine. If there was any improvement due to the creatine citrate, it wasn't significant enough for me to notice.
1 scoop daily. No loading phase. I typically mixed it with my preworkout and drank it upon arriving at the gym.
EffectivenessSo, does it work?
Throughout my run of this product, I found it to be about as effective as plain old creatine monohydrate. After about a week of taking this product consistently, I began to notice some strength gains, as well as that familiar fullness in my muscles. I also found myself able to push more weight for more reps, with more energy throughout my workouts as well. Though I was unable to accurately determine if I had gained any lean muscle, I can confidently say that I had increased strength wise.
After finishing the product, I eliminated creatine from my stack in order to compare the results of my cycle on the product with my cycle off of the product. The first two weeks did not show any significant decline in strength or overall endurance, however I did feel the fullness in my muscles had faded by that time. Unfortunately, I suffered a non gym related injury to my right shoulder around that time and was unable to workout for a few weeks. Therefore I was unable to how long my body had retained the effects of the supplement.
ValueThis is where this product takes the biggest hit. I was generally able to find the product between $20 to $30 from online retailers. While you can sometimes catch it on sale for cheaper, that seems to be the going rate. While I believe that is fair for a blended creatine with high quality ingredients, the fact that it does not seem to be any more effective than plain creatine monohydrate gives me pause. If the amount of creatine per serving was higher, or if the product was significantly more effective, I would have no issues paying that price. But as it is, I feel it is more prudent to just purchase creatine monohydrate.
Side EffectsNo adverse side effects were experienced throughout the use of this product.
ConclusionIn conclusion, VMI Sport's S.M.A.R.T. Creatine does exactly what a creatine supplement is supposed to. Nothing more, nothing less. It would be SMARTER and more prudent to just purchase the cheaper creatine monohydrate and achieve the same results. So why do I recommend this product then? For the simple fact that there is nothing wrong with the product if it is judged on its own as opposed to comparing it to monohydrate. Also, because some people do suffer from water retention and bloating when taking just monohydrate, and this product may be able to provide the same results without the side effects. While I am satisfied with the product, I will not likely purchase it myself unless I can find it on sale.