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Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight?

In my many years as a fitness enthusiast and personal trainer, I’ve tried and tested countless supplements, all in pursuit of that perfect supplement stack. 

One question that comes up time and time again from my clients is: does creatine make you gain weight?

It’s a common concern, and I completely understand why. After all, we’re all working hard to achieve our fitness goals, and the last thing we want is to see the number on the scale creeping up unexpectedly.

My experience, is Yes, initially Creatine does make you gain some weight.

However, it’s not an ongoing gain and most of this is water weight. I’ll explore the ins and out more throughout this article.

Below I’ll share my personal experiences and insights to help answer this age-old question.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a substance that’s found naturally in our muscles, where it’s used to produce energy during high-intensity, short-duration activities like lifting weights or sprinting.

It’s also available in supplement form, which is what most people are referring to when they talk about creatine. 

Over the years, I’ve incorporated creatine supplements into my own training regimen, and I’ve seen firsthand the benefits it can offer.

Recently I’ve been using Warrior Creatine which I rate highly. I did a thorough review of Warrior Creatine if you’re interested in checking them out.

Alternatively, Bulk have a decent creatine available too.

There are plenty of good creatine products out there and I also compared the top 5 Creatine products if you’ve got some time to contrast the options.

When you supplement with creatine, you’re essentially increasing your muscles’ store of creatine phosphate, which is used to regenerate ATP, the primary source of energy for short, intense bursts of activity. 

This can lead to improvements in strength, power, and overall performance.

In fact, creatine is one of the most researched and supported supplements on the market, with numerous studies backing up its efficacy.

But, it’s not just for the bodybuilders and sprinters out there. I’ve recommended creatine to a wide range of clients, from those looking to build muscle to those simply wanting to boost their energy levels during a workout. 

The versatility of creatine makes it a staple in many athletes’ and fitness enthusiasts’ supplement stacks.

Benefits Of Taking Creatine

From my personal experience and years of observation in the fitness world, I can vouch for the numerous benefits of taking creatine. I’ve taken it pretty much daily for the last 13 years and the results are fantastic.

Some of the benefits include:

Increased Strength and Power 

Creatine helps to regenerate ATP, the primary source of energy for high-intensity, short-duration activities like weight lifting. 

This results in an increase in strength and power. In my experience, the added strength allowed me to lift heavier weights and push myself harder during workouts, ultimately leading to greater gains in muscle mass over time.

Enhanced Recovery Between Sets 

One of the benefits I noticed when taking creatine was an improvement in my recovery time between sets. 

This meant I could maintain a higher level of performance throughout my workout, allowing me to train harder and longer without feeling as fatigued. This was particularly beneficial during high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions.

Improved Cognitive Function 

Creatine isn’t just for your muscles; it can also give your brain a boost.

Studies have shown that creatine can improve cognitive performance, particularly in tasks that require short bursts of effort, such as mental arithmetic. 

As someone who enjoys a good brain workout as much as a physical one, this was a welcome bonus for me.

Other Health Benefits 

In addition to the above, creatine has been linked to a range of other health benefits. These include improved bone density, enhanced cardiovascular health, and more. 

The list of potential benefits goes on and on, making creatine a versatile supplement that can support various aspects of your health and fitness journey.

In summary, creatine is a fantastic supplement that can offer a plethora of benefits for both your body and mind.

From my personal experience and years in the fitness world, I can confidently say that it’s well worth considering as part of your fitness regimen.

Does Creatine Cause Weight Gain?

Two tubs of Warrior Creatine next to each other.

When you start taking creatine, you may notice an increase in your weight.

This is a common concern among many of my clients and something I’ve experienced myself. But fear not, this weight gain is primarily due to water retention.

Creatine pulls water into your muscles, which can lead to an increase in water weight. In the first few weeks of supplementing with creatine, it’s not uncommon to see the number on the scale go up by a few kg. 

I remember when I first started taking creatine, I gained about half a kilo in the first couple of weeks. But, this is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about.

It’s important to note that this water weight is temporary and will likely subside once your body adjusts to the new levels of creatine. 

Additionally, the added water in your muscles can actually make them appear fuller and more voluminous, which is a nice bonus for those looking to improve their physique.

So, in summary, yes, creatine can cause weight gain, but it’s mostly water weight. 

Don’t be discouraged if you see the number on the scale go up initially; it’s a normal part of the process and not an indication that you’re gaining fat.

How To Reduce Creatine Water Weight Gain

One of the common side effects of taking creatine is an increase in water weight due to the way creatine pulls water into the muscles. 

While this is completely normal and to be expected, I understand that some people may want to minimise this effect as much as possible. 

In my experience, there are a few strategies you can employ to help limit water weight gain while taking creatine.

Stay Well-Hydrated 

One of the crucial aspects of minimising water weight gain when taking creatine is ensuring you’re adequately hydrated. 

When you drink plenty of water, your body is less likely to hold onto excess water. I always aim to consume at least eight glasses of water daily and encourage my clients to do the same. 

Proper hydration is not just essential for managing water weight; it’s also crucial for overall health and optimal performance during workouts.

Start With A Lower Dose 

Another strategy that can be effective in reducing water weight gain is to start with a lower dose of creatine and gradually increase it over time. 

This approach allows your body to adjust to the supplement and may help to minimise the amount of water weight you gain.

For example, I recommend starting with a dose of 2-3 grams per day for the first week, then gradually increasing it to the standard 5 grams per day over the following weeks.

Regular Exercise 

Engaging in regular exercise is also a beneficial way to manage water weight gain while taking creatine. 

Exercise improves blood flow and helps to flush excess water out of your body.

I always incorporate a mix of cardiovascular and resistance training in my workout routine to help mitigate water weight gain while reaping the benefits of creatine supplementation.

By implementing these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to managing water weight gain while still experiencing the many benefits creatine has to offer.

Remember, it’s vital to listen to your body and find what works best for you, as everyone’s body responds differently.

Taking Creatine FAQ

Creatine in a tub with scoop

How Much Creatine Should I Take? 

The recommended dose for creatine is generally 5 grams per day. This can be taken all at once or divided into smaller doses throughout the day.

However, some people may choose to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it over time to minimise the risk of water weight gain.

Can I Take Creatine On Rest Days? 

Yes, you can take creatine on rest days. Consistency is key when it comes to creatine supplementation, so it’s generally best to continue taking it every day, even when you’re not working out.

This helps to maintain your muscles’ creatine levels and supports ongoing benefits.

Does Creatine Need To Be Taken With Food? 

Creatine can be taken with or without food, but some people find that taking it with a meal or snack can help to reduce any potential digestive discomfort.

Additionally, taking creatine with a source of carbohydrates can help to increase its uptake into the muscles.

Summary

To wrap up our exploration into the question of whether creatine makes you gain weight, it’s clear from my own experiences and years in the fitness world that the answer is Yes, but primarily in the form of water weight. 

When I first started supplementing with creatine, I noticed an increase on the scale, which can be attributed to the way creatine pulls water into the muscles. However, it’s crucial to understand that this is a normal and temporary response.

In my opinion, the increase in water weight is not necessarily a negative side effect. I found that the added water made my muscles appear fuller and more voluminous, which was a nice bonus. 

Moreover, the benefits of creatine are vast, including increased strength and power, enhanced recovery, and improved cognitive function. I’ve experienced these advantages first-hand and can vouch for their legitimacy.

To minimise water weight gain, there are several strategies you can employ. 

Personally, I found that staying well-hydrated, starting with a lower dose of creatine and gradually increasing it, maintaining a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise were all effective methods. 

By incorporating these tips into my regimen, I was able to manage any potential water weight gain and maximise the benefits of creatine supplementation.

If you’re looking for a decent creatine then Warrior Creatine gets my approval.

In conclusion, don’t be alarmed if you notice an increase on the scale when you start taking creatine. 

It’s a normal part of the process, and with the right strategies in place, you can effectively manage any water weight gain.

From my experience, the advantages of creatine far outweigh any potential drawbacks, making it a valuable addition to your fitness journey.

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