A common misconception about creatine or similar supplements is that they can make you gain weight. But the thing is, they merely help you to gain weight instead of helping in gain muscle mass.
To clarify any confusion about whether creatine has calories and makes us gain some extra pounds, here is something you don’t know: creatine has zero calories! All the calories you earn are from your regular meals.
But if you work out so much and maintain your diet, where do the extra pounds come from them?
Read on to learn more about creatine functions, reasons to gain weight while on creatine, and the right way to take creatine to avoid this from happening.
Does Creatine have Calories?
Interestingly, creatine has absolutely zero calories. It might feel heavy as you drink it, but it has no calories.
Even with zero calories, it won’t affect the calories you burn after digestion. So, whether you exercise or not, taking creatine won’t gain any calories. But you need to monitor the calories from your daily meals to balance out the scoops of creatine.
Common creatine brands don’t have any calories. But a few monohydrates like BSC Creatine have 12 calories. So, you should check out the calories in the creatine before purchasing it.
Protein in Creatine
Creatine is a type of amino acid naturally made in the body. So, as a supplement, it contains pure creatine only and no protein. Protein is a different chain of amino acids.
But creatine helps to process protein and absorb it well. It also allows energy buildup and uses efficiently in the body. So, creatine works to enhance the functions of the protein. However, the outcome may differ if you mix protein with creatine.
What about Caffeine?
There is no caffeine in creatine, either. Since some people take Pre-workout, which has caffeine, it is a common misconception that caffeine is also in creatine.
But we can easily take creatine and caffeine together. They don’t interfere with their functions, so you can easily take Pre-workout and creatine together. But ensure the correct dosage.
They are safe and effective for building muscles.
How Does Creatine Work?
Firstly, creatine is made into a supplement with sarcosine and cyanamide under high pressure and heat. Then they are purified and milled carefully to make a fine powder. This powder is free from anything artificial but contains pure creatine for energy.
Creatine is broken down into phosphocreatine in the muscle cells. This compound helps to store energy. So, it works like a fuel to allow you to undergo intense training, including weight lifting and heavy sports.
Besides, creatine is needed for protein synthesis in the body. After you work out, the cells will receive the signal to repair damaged tissues. When your muscle cells recover, you gain strength faster and build lean muscles. The water that remains in the muscles will give them a bigger appearance.
So, creatine not only provides energy but also gives volume to your muscles needed by bodybuilders.
Required Dosage of Creatine
For every consumer, including professional athletes and trainers, the recommended dosage for creatine is from 3-5g daily, before or after a workout. This is done after the initial week of the loading phase.
During the loading phase, the dose is 20-30g daily. You will get a massive reserve of creatine from this stage to adjust later and speed up the muscle-building process. This way, you don’t run out of creatine, even at lower doses. It will fully saturate your muscles with creatine for heavy training within four weeks.
But don’t take 20g at once; instead, break it down to 4 or 5g at different times of the day.
You should also keep track of water intake with creatine. It is essential to keep your body hydrated to prevent bloating. Otherwise, creatine won’t be dissolved or appropriately absorbed for its effects.
For every 1g of creatine, you need to drink 100 ml of water. If you take 3 to 5g of creatine daily, drink 300-500ml or 4 to 5 liters of water.
Does Creatine Make You Fat?
Keep in mind that creatine doesn’t make you fat at all. It is taken to make you gain muscles only, not some pounds. This happens because creatine has no calories, so you can’t gain fat.
However, the concern arises when you notice you weigh more than earlier. But where does this extra pound come from?
There are three reasons why this can happen.
Since you are gaining more muscles, this would make the scales move to the left. You are exercising more intensely, which would allow the muscle cells to become active and grow. So, there will be a change in your height and body mass.
Another thing about creatine is that it causes water retention. When you take creatine, you drink a lot of water. This will cause water to remain in cells. So, the extra pounds come from water retention.
Your muscles feel heavy and puffy, even from little or no workouts. It is said that water mass can be around 2 to 4.5 pounds.
To get accustomed to it, you must take a high dose of creatine during the loading phase. If you don’t drink enough water, the creatine won’t dissolve properly and cause the stomach to draw water from the walls. Hence, you will suffer from bloating.
While bloating doesn’t last for long, the time when it stays will make you feel puffy. The stomach might look more prominent as well. This can also cause a little weight gain temporarily.
Non-muscle Weight Increase
If you still gain weight from heavy exercises or training, it might come from the calories in your diet. This means that calorie intake should be maintained when you are taking creatine.
Otherwise, you will burn fewer calories than you are eating. The extra calories then accumulate as your body weight.
So, when taking creatine, you should exercise regularly and maintain a balanced diet.
Is Creatine Suitable for Weight Loss?
Creatine doesn’t have any direct connection with a weight loss program. In fact, no supplement is used to lose weight. Their function is to provide sufficient energy so that you can perform heavy workouts and training.
However, when you are active and have a lot of energy, it will help you to do heavy exercises to gain muscles. This will help to burn some fat. Besides, with enough energy, you can have a faster metabolism. Then you will reduce and burn more fat and carbs and finally lose some pounds.
Besides, creatine only increases lean muscle mass and allows more rapid recovery of muscle cells so that you gain pure muscles with zero fat.
Try creatine monohydrate if you want to increase your metabolism and lose some weight. But this will come with intense workouts as well.
Tricks to Lose Weight
Try some of these tricks if you are worried about the extra pounds, even the temporary water weight.
- Drink more water, so the kidneys produce more urine and remove water from the body.
- Decrease salt from your foods, keeping it to around 2300 mg daily. If you have too much sodium in the body, then you will retain more liquid.
- Limit carbs and fat in your diet. Even if you need carbs for energy, only take 225 to 325g daily. Otherwise, excess carbs will retain more water.
- Train and exercise more whenever possible, especially after taking creatine.
But most importantly, remain patient while on a creatine supplement. Water weight is a common thing from creatine, and it goes away when you reduce the dose after a couple of days.
Is it alright to take creatine while on a diet?
Creatine is independent of your other bodily functions. So, regardless of what you eat daily or maintain a weight loss diet, creatine won’t interfere with it. Instead, creatine will offer you the energy to exercise more and burn fat.
Does creatine help to burn more calories?
Energy and muscle mass increases can help burn calories from creatine. This means the metabolic rate has increased to remove excess fat and carbs.
Can creatine increase fat in the face?
Water retention can sometimes happen in other body parts, including the face. This will make you look a little puffy. But this isn’t fat in the face. Besides, after the excess water is removed, the face will regain its original form.
When is the best time to take creatine?
Creatine has no specific time as the perfect one. You can take it before a workout to have a lot of energy for training. After an exercise, creatine will stimulate muscle cells to absorb creatine and regain strength to repair. You can also take it before sleeping for better absorption.
Even if some brands do show some calories, most creatine is free from calories. If you take pure creatine, you won’t gain any extra calories apart from the foods you eat. This is useful to remove one worry when you are trying to lose weight and gain muscles.
However, you might gain temporary weight from water retention and increased muscle mass while taking creatine. You need to drink a lot of water to absorb creatine. But luckily, this becomes less common after a few days.
So, to ensure that creatine doesn’t cause any increase in body mass, take the correct dose, eat a healthy diet, and continue your training regularly. And don’t forget to follow our blogs.
I started my professional career as a sports medicine consultant in Rola, Missouri. My primary role was to suggest suitable supplements for my patients according to their pre-existing conditions and lifestyle goals. I believe a healthy lifestyle is the most important if you want to make your life really meaningfull.