When you have decided to undergo intense training sessions to build muscles and stay fit, supplements are the choice for bodybuilders as a quick solution. They are precursors to increased energy, which will, in turn, help to increase muscle mass.
But every good will have some side effects, and your simple creatine is no different. The plus point is these issues are temporary and eventually diminish.
Now, does creatine make you gain weight? This is the primary concern of most fitness enthusiasts when taking creatine.
Creatine increases body weight, not because of fat but muscle mass due to water retention. Muscles can look bigger during the initial stages when water retention and bloating are common. When the cells have more water, they will look swollen and cause a noticeable increase in weight.
Learn more about creatine and water weight and whether this is worth your concerns.
Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight? 3 Reasons
Weight gain from creatine means that you have made bigger muscles, especially in your arms, but didn’t store any fat. But why does the weight increase in the first place? It can be for a few reasons.
Water retention is very common for people who take creatine. Creatine will cause you to store more water in the muscle cells. This happens because creatine is normally taken with a lot of water as a drink or even with capsules and other forms to dissolve it well.
The muscle cells can hold excess water in different body areas, like legs, arms, and stomachs. So, even in the initial stages of the supplement, you will already start to look big.
People are estimated to gain about 2.5 to 4 pounds from taking creatine.
But don’t worry; water weight also means increasing your muscles. Ergo, the creatine dosage is working.
You will gain more strength and endurance from intensive training and workouts. Besides, you will also find your muscles to increase and become stronger as desired.
Another great thing is as the muscles increase in mass after several days of supplementation, water retention becomes less common, and you don’t look too swollen. Now, the weight increase is from the muscle mass.
If you are still worried that it’s not the muscles, it might have something to do with your diet.
Creatine only helps to build more muscles by providing sufficient energy for longer training. The muscle cells can divide rapidly and increase. But if you don’t maintain a diet lower in fats and carbs, you will gain weight from calories leading to fat deposits.
Keep in mind that creatine itself doesn’t have any significant amount of calories.
The more you take creatine, the more you need to remain active and exercise. You must check and control your calorie intake and exercise for longer hours to absorb everything.
Bloating from Creatine
Another common problem while taking creatine is bloating. This can also make your stomach swollen, which you might mistake as fat.
Bloating is expected during the first stages of taking creatine, usually the loading phase. If you take a lot of creatine without drinking enough water, the stomach walls will try to retain water from the surroundings and cause discomfort.
Besides, creatine has elements that carry much water, known as a hydration shell. It absorbs and increases the amount of water in the muscle cells, making them puffy. So, you need to drink a lot of water to dissolve creatine and to excrete more often to remove excess water through urination.
While bloating and other intestinal issues from creatine are temporary, if they don’t go away when you lower the dosage, it may be connected to pre-condition of the heart and kidneys. So, check the required dosage as suggested by your health expert before taking it.
Does Creatine Cause an Increase in Belly Fat?
If you suffer from bloating and water retention. But this goes away after you urinate. So, there is no way creatine increases belly fat. It does not affect body mass.
However, if you have existing belly fat, then creatine can’t decrease it. You need to exercise and reduce fat intake to remove the fat mass.
Can Creatine Make Your Face Look Puffy?
Since you gain water weight from creatine, it can cause certain body parts to look puffy. This is especially common for the arms and abdomen, where you can look bigger. But in some cases, your face can also become puffy. This also happens when you are bloated.
Whether it is the stomach or face, the puffiness can easily disappear if you stay hydrated and remove bloating.
Solutions to Weight Gain Issues
You can easily reduce the effects of water retention and weight gain problems with some simple practices while on creatine to eliminate the puffy look.
Lower Sodium Intake
Sodium is responsible for retaining more fluid, as it helps to keep you hydrated. But when you are overeating it while you are on creatine, it can cause water weight.
So, to control how much salt enters the body, avoid processed foods or reduce eating junk foods. Instead, only go for home-cooked meals where you can maintain salt proportions.
Drinking is always essential with creatine. When you are drinking, more water will help to remove excess sodium. Besides, you will urinate more to remove toxins and water retention.
Again, when you exercise more, you can easily flush out excess moisture, salt, and toxins from the body. More exercise and activities mean more sweating. This will remove both extra water and salt. Creatine requires you to work out more often whenever you take it to remain fit, reduce side effects, and avoid weight gain from water retention or foods.
Excess carbohydrates, sugar, and fat usually make us gain weight. So, when planning to gain muscles and remain physically fit, you need to control carb intake in your regular diet. This involves reducing the calories from carbs, fat, and sugar. The recommended carb intake is around 225 to 325 g regularly. Don’t just stop eating carbs, or you won’t have any energy to exercise.
How much weight increases within a month when you take creatine?
Weight gain is different for different consumers. Some may gain a lot, while others are quite negligible. In the initial phase, this can be from 1.5 pounds to 4 or 6 pounds over time. This depends on your food intake and how much you stay hydrated to remove water weight and bloating.
Does creatine cause an increase in lean muscle mass?
The primary function of creatine is to increase the development of muscle cells and fiber. This happens when you can speed up protein synthesis. More ATP is produced for the muscle cells, which will grow rapidly, increasing muscle growth. The muscles that you create are pure, with no trace of fat.
Can you take creatine during a weight loss program?
Creatine doesn’t cause body weight, so it won’t interfere with your diet. It only works with muscle cells. So, even if you gain some pounds, it won’t be for any fat. Besides, weight gain from creatine might last only a week or two. So, regularly maintain your diet and exercise to build muscles and lose weight.
The Bottom Line
Creatine can cause you to gain some pounds but doesn’t make you fat. Instead, increasing overall weight means the supplementation and your hard work are effective. You have built more muscles than before. The weight is from the thick muscles, especially in your arms.
However, it can also increase slightly if you are bloated. Bloating is a common side effect that goes away after some days. So, check whether you gain muscle mass while bloating or if the weight is only from bloating. Then you must consult a health expert to find the perfect dosage.
Remember to exercise and drink frequently and in large volumes to avoid water weight and other discomforts from creatine.
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I am a health and wellness enthusiast working in a Pittsburgh-based wellness clinic. My primary role as a consultant is to tailor a balanced lifestyle for my patients, where positive steps and potent supplements play a synergistic role.