Winter is that time of the year where it’s really easy to bulk – we all do it without even giving it a second thought anyways. I mean really, how could you resist? With all the cookies and other assorted baked goods going around, it’s neigh impossible to not find yourself in a bulk, intentional or not. Usually around this time, I start a creatine cycle because it just fits, it’s an easy way to get some extra gainz while the calorie counts are higher; so when Swolverine Nutrition asked me to check out their Hypertrophy Kre-Alkalyn, it was an easy decision to say yes.
Remember guys, I’m not a nutrition or dietitian. All of what I know is based off of bro science that I’ve picked up over the years. Despite the legitimacy of the places I’ve studied [forums], I could be wrong about some stuff. In the past, I’ve tried a pill form of kre-alkalyn, gone on multiple monohydrate cycles and For those of you unfamiliar with the difference between kre-alkalyn and creatine monohydrate, you’re better off just reading Swolverine’s excellent breakdown of it if you don’t want to hear my bro’d out version. I’m not going to talk in depth about ATP and VO2 maxes and try to sound smrter (doh!) than I actually am.
Why kre-alkalyn versus creatine monohydrate?
For me, it’s just easier. I like to think of it as lazy man’s (or woman’s) creatine. There’s no week long loading process, just take it and be done with it. You also don’t have to take as much of it and the timing isn’t as important – For monohydrate to be really effective, you’ve got to take at least 5g of it per day, before and right after you’re done working out, ideally with some kind of carbohydrate. Both of which aren’t as important with kre-alkalyn because of its buffered form. One serving of Hypertrophy is 3g which in turn is equal to about 30g of normal creatine (that’s a lot of creatine). On the label, it says to use it two times in either pre, intra or post workout, which won’t hurt you but I reckon most of that’s going to come right back out when you go pee-pee. Personally, I just mix it in my pre-workout (Blonyx Beta-Alanine and BCAA’s) one time a day and I still feel like I’m riding the gaintrain just the same as when I’m on a normal schedule of monohydrate.
Swolverine’s Hypertrophy comes in an extremely fine powder form which mixes without any hassle or taste. I’ve taken it in lukewarm water, cold water, BCAA’s, with pre-workout, in protein powder and it just mixes right in. The tub comes packed to the top, which I appreciate because it feels like you’re getting your money’s worth and the scoop was right there waiting for me, like Richard Marx said. On the downside, powders this fine are easily blown around and can sometimes be a wee bit messy.
Another reason I like kre-alkalyn is the lesser amount of bloating aka water retention. Some would say you don’t get any compared to monohydrate, but my tummy would beg to differ. To be fair, that could be the cookies though since I’m not much of a clean bulker anyways. Either way, I feel like I look less “soft” as compared to when I’m on a normal creatine cycle. Which is great if I were to decide to start a cycle during pool party season.
Finally, you don’t have to worry about cramping – which I think is the biggest one for anyone doing CrossFit. Ever find yourself doing a workout like “Kelly” on a creatine cycle? Cramp-city. Gym-bro’s don’t usually need to worry about cramping as much, but if you’re going high intensity for a ton of reps, for time…cramping mid-workout is the worst thing that can happen. You’re safe with kre-alkalyn and you get the extra ATP and VO2 max to help you push through said workout.
Prior to starting the cycle at the beginning of December, I weighed anywhere between 170-173ish depending on what I ate and if I did my morning toilet WOD. Using Hypertrophy on only training days and in conjunction with my strict diet (eating whatever I want), I’m sitting at a pretty 177-179 at the time of this writing. My waist size hasn’t changed much at all and the most noticeable change is in my upper body in my chest/shoulder/arm region. Like I said, I do see a tiny bit of bloating since my abdominals aren’t as defined, but I’ll let you decide if that’s the kre-alkalyn or beer’s fault. That’s nothing a short cut shouldn’t fix though.
The most noticeable difference besides my gut is in my strength; right now I’m peaking more than I think I ever have in my life. I managed to PR my deadlift at 550lbs, previously 540, without as much hassle as I thought it would be. King Kong is a WOD known for it’s notoriously heavy weights, meaning it’s not much of a lung burner – I PR’d that by about 7 minutes (6:12). At the end of the year, CompTrain had us doing a squat cycle with some ungodly wave percentages which had me PR’ing my 5 rep max backsquat for repeated sets. That was not easy, but I got through it without failing, on top of doing WOD’s before the sets. Most recently after switching to Misfit, I hit a 20lb PR on their clean complex and my previous PR felt like a pretty normal weight on that complex.
WOD’ing during winter is always hard for me because I find it hard to catch my breath and everything just hurts a little bit more in the cold weather. I’m not going to say that either of those have gone away, but I feel like a lot less of a wuss on Hypertrophy when I WOD. My rest times are shortened and I’m ready to pick up the bar a lot sooner than normal. It’s a more “full” feeling, like you just have more in the tank, which helps especially for longer workouts. If you needed to add, or were struggling with volume, Hypertrophy is the answer.
There aren’t many supplements you’ll find me using nowadays because I find that the results you get from them aren’t even worth the money you spend on them. That being said, I think creatine/kre-alkalyn is one of the only things worth taking because of it’s effectiveness; I don’t even think protein powders work as well. To be fair, you can get similar results to Hypertrophy with a creatine monohydrate for a bit less in cost, but there’s a lot more hassle that goes into finding, purchasing and using a clean creatine monohydrate (Trust me, I’ve done my fair share of searching). Swolverine Nutrition is run by CrossFitters who wanted to provide high quality, natural, no b/s supplements to other CrossFitters, with no interest outside of the box so to speak. All of their labels are clean and easy to read and their marketing is transparent. It’s easy to trust a brand like that, especially in the supplement world.
A tub of Hypertrophy gets you 100 3g servings; I’ve been using mine since early December and I’ve got a ton of it left. You don’t have to cycle kre-alkalyn, but I personally do anyways just to keep my body guessing. At this rate, I could probably hit two, 3 month cycles with this one tub. It’s not cheap at $55, but if you think of how long it’ll last you and the gainz you’ll be getting, the value is pretty easy to see.