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Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight?

Creatine is one of the most popular nutritional supplements on the market, thanks to its benefits for athletic performance, muscle mass, endurance, and strength. 

With so many people using creatine to achieve their fitness goals and improve their body composition, it’s understandable that some have concerns about potential side effects like weight gain. 

So, does creatine make you gain weight? Let’s dive in.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is an amino acid that your body uses to produce a molecule called ATP, which your cells use for energy. 

About 95% of your body’s creatine is stored in your muscles, while the remaining 5% is found in the brain, kidneys and liver. Without enough creatine, your body cannot carry out basic tasks, and your muscle mass may start to deteriorate.

Creatine supplementation can have many benefits, particularly for people looking to increase their muscle mass, build strength, or improve athletic performance. It is one of the most popular fitness supplements on the market and is widely considered effective for people of all fitness levels, contributing to its popularity. 

How Does Creatine Work?

Creatine is a natural substance found in red meat and seafood; your body can also produce creatine in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas in small amounts. Your body uses creatine to produce energy in the form of ATP, which is required to carry out all of your movements and body functions each day.

When creatine is ingested orally, it binds to a phosphate molecule to form a derivative of creatine called phosphocreatine. 

Stores of phosphocreatine are used to produce ATP, which the body uses for energy. Your body burns through ATP about every eight to ten seconds when you work out. 

People with low levels of creatine cannot produce as much ATP, so they run out of energy more quickly and may struggle with endurance or strength during workouts. 

Creatine helps provide your body with the additional stores it needs to produce extra ATP, keeping you feeling stronger for longer and providing an extra boost of energy.

Why Do People Take Creatine?

There are several different reasons why people choose to take creatine. Creatine is most commonly taken by those looking to increase their muscle mass, boost their athletic performance, increase their endurance, or improve their strength. 

Studies show that creatine supplementation can aid exercise performance and ability, muscle strength, and increases in fat-free body mass. 

Creatine may also aid with muscle recovery after a workout and can benefit those following vegan or vegetarian diets who have lower levels of creatine stored in their bodies as a result. 

Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight?

One of the most common concerns about creatine is potential weight gain associated with the supplement. 

After all, if you’re taking creatine to improve your muscle mass and body composition, you don’t want to gain fat. Creatine can cause weight gain, but the added pounds aren’t due to fat. 

There are several reasons why some people gain weight when using creatine supplements.

Increased Water Weight

One of the most common reasons for weight gain associated with creatine supplementation is increased water weight. 

You may gain anywhere from two to five pounds during your first week of creatine supplementation due to water retention. Creatine helps increase muscle mass by drawing extra water into the muscle cells, causing you to retain fluid. While your muscles haven’t actually started growing yet, the increased water is important for future muscle growth, and can be the cause of initial weight gain.

Increased Muscle Mass

Creatine is commonly used by people who want to increase their muscle mass. 

The supplement is very effective at helping increase strength and endurance, which can allow you to work out for longer and may help you build more muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat, so adding a small amount of muscle while losing fat can cause the scale to tick upward. 

The good news is that your body composition can become leaner if you add muscle and lose fat. Water retention can also become less noticeable when your muscles grow in size.

Our Creatine Performance Boost is a great option if you are looking to support your muscle growth, muscle strength, energy levels, performance, and recovery. It contains 5 grams of Creatine per serving, making it easy to meet the recommended daily maintenance dose of 3-5 grams.

If you’re looking for Creatine alongside other supplemental ingredients, our Gainful Personalized Pre-Workout blend includes Creatine to maximize your muscle endurance and strength, allowing you to more easily reach your fitness goals and shape your ideal body. With potential ingredients like L-Theanine for focus, Beta Alanine for workout intensity support, and BCAAs for improved recovery, Personalized Pre-Workout helps ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to succeed in the gym.

Personalized Pre-Workout is tailored to your goals when it comes to recovery time and endurance, and Caffeine-free and Creatine-free options are also available.

How Can You Minimize Water Retention From Creatine?

The good thing about water retention from creatine is that it may be temporary. There are a few different ways to reduce water weight gain and minimize puffiness.

Eat Less Sodium 

Sodium is an electrolyte that helps your body retain water to keep you hydrated. However, eating too much sodium while taking creatine can increase water retention. To eat less sodium, you can try to minimize your consumption of processed foods and fast foods and look for low sodium options. Your best bet may be to focus on fresh and unprepared ingredients and foods.

Drink More Water

It may sound counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to reduce water retention is to drink more water. 

Drinking more water helps flush excess sodium out of your system and causes you to urinate more, which can help you let go of excess water.

Continue To Exercise

One of the best ways to reduce water retention is to continue to exercise. Sweating and moving your body reduces water retention while also helping you towards your fitness and weight management goals. Be patient and stay on track.

Are There Any Side Effects Associated With Creatine?

Creatine is generally considered safe for use by most people. 

Most people won’t experience side effects, but some may see symptoms like nausea, muscle cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, or heat intolerance. If your side effects do not improve or start to get worse, stop taking creatine and talk to a healthcare provider.

Creatine may not be safe for use in people with certain heart, liver, or kidney problems. If you have problems with your heart, liver, or kidneys, talk to your doctor before taking creatine supplements.

The Bottom Line

Creatine is a popular supplement commonly used to increase muscle mass, boost athletic performance, increase endurance, and increase strength. Creatine can help you maximize your performance in the gym and minimize the time you spend recovering from your workouts.

Some people may experience weight gain when taking creatine. Weight gain is most commonly a result of water retention, but increased muscle mass can also contribute. 

Creatine can help you gain lean muscle mass by making it easier for you to build muscle. If you are looking to improve your endurance and strength, Gainful Personalized Pre-Workout may be able to help. Still unsure if Creatine is right for you? Gainful subscribers have complimentary access to a Registered Dietitian who can guide whether it is the right supplement to help you reach your goals.


Sources:

Long-term creatine intake is beneficial to muscle performance during resistance training | Journal of Applied Physiology

International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise | Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition

Creatine and Creatine Supplements | Cleveland Clinic

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