Creatine is a great supplement to improve and enhance muscle performance and endurance. If you take it while exercising regularly, your muscle performance will skyrocket. But should I take creatine every day or just on workout days?
Yes, you can take creatine every day, even if you are not training days. If you take Creatine while you are on your rest days, it will still give your muscles a great profile. According to research, consuming creatine regularly and at least 5 grams per day is important.
However, both ways have their pros and cons. In my article, you will find the benefits and the drawbacks of having Cratine daily and On your rest days.
Should I Take Creatine Everyday Or Just On Workout Days
Taking creatine every day or on a workout day depends on your preference. Taking creatine every day is highly effective if your goal is increased muscle strength and size. However, to maximize your performance while exercising, take it on a workout day.
Creatine stores in the muscle are gradually depleted over time. So, taking it daily can help maintain these stores helping in muscle gain. Though you can take creatine anytime, taking it shortly before or after exercise is more effective and help you gain more muscle and strength.
However, taking creatine on workouts or rest days has advantages and disadvantages. But before that, comprehend the absorption mechanism of creatine.
The Science of Creatine Absorption and Utilization
Consuming creatine monohydrate in an aqueous solution leads to nearly 100% absorption. A peak plasma concentration of 2 grams can be achieved in approximately 1 hour, similar to lower doses in other studies.
Creatine is a well-researched supplement with proven performance-enhancing benefits for athletes. Your body creates its creatine, and the quality is based on the type of diet you are on. This process occurs in two steps –
- catalyzed by L-arginine: glycine amidinotransferase (AGAT)
- guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase (GAMT).
Creatine mainly contains three amino acids: methionine, arginine, and glycine. These amino acids end up in muscles, acting as a storage area. They’re essential for building muscle and forming adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which gives cells energy.
ATP is made in a set amount by the body. But Creatine can provide additional amino acids to help build muscle more efficiently. To achieve better results, consuming Creatine in a regular dose is essential to provide several health and performance benefits.
You have to keep some factors in mind to make Creatine work better.
Creatine can be taken in two phases
- loading and
The loading phase involves taking either 3 g per day for 30 days or 20 g per day for 4-7 days. Maintenance involves taking 2-3 g of creatine daily to maintain increased muscle levels.
Beyond this, what is important is to maintain a proper dose and regularity.
Timing Around Workouts
There’s always a debate that you can take it any time, before your workout or after your workout. Research says you can take Creatine whenever you like. The only thing that’ll matter is how you are taking it and how much you are taking it.
Some experts recommend “cycling” creatine supplementation, which involves taking it for a set period (e.g., 6-8 weeks) and then taking a break before resuming supplementation. This may help prevent tolerance or other negative effects.
Daily Creatine Supplementation: Pros and Cons
If you want to take Creatine daily, that’s fine. You can take it daily. If you are just starting creatine, go through a loading phase of 3 g per day for 30 days. If you want to take one or two days off, that isn’t a big deal. It takes around two weeks before your creatine stores start depleting.
If you are already on creatine, take 2-3 g daily to maintain the Creatine level in your body. You can take creatine if you don’t go to the gym or are not trying to get ‘big.’
You can take creatine as the first supplement of the day. That’ll provide energy coursing through your muscles throughout the day.
The timing usually won’t make any significant difference; you can take your creatine at the end of the day too. However, you must not take it just before your sleep. As it’s a PED, it can hamper your sleep time.
There are a few Pros and Cons of taking creatine on your off days.
- You will feel energetic throughout your day
- You gain better brain function, and that is research-proven
- With the proper nutrition, you will be able to build muscle and get stronger.
- There are some potential risks of stomach upset, nausea, and headaches.
- It can cause unwanted bloating and weigh gain
- A rare case of DILI showed the effects of ingesting a significant amount of Creatinine caused Acute Liver Failure in a healthy patient.
Workout-Day Only Creatine Supplementation: Pros and Cons
Let’s say you can’t get enough of the benefits of taking creatine while you work out. You’ll feel the boost of your life while doing an intense workout like cycling, weightlifting, bodybuilding, etc. While on exercise, Creatine can provide you with better blood sugar control.
Creatine can provide you with the best result before or after your workout. Male bodybuilders found increased lean mass and strength in the athletes who took creatine after their workout.
Another study found athletes gained more muscle and strength due to taking creatine soon before exercise. There’s almost a similar result whether you take creatine before or after working out. The fact change when you take creatine while you exercise.
There are several benefits of it. There are some drawbacks, but let’s find out the pros first.
- Your body uses ATP faster than it can reproduce it. Creatine increases phosphocreatine stores and produces more ATP energy to fuel your muscles during high-intensity exercise. One study states it improves up to 15% while performing high-intensity exercise.
- After the first 5–7 days, your body increases lean body weight and muscle size. When you use it for a long, it signals key biological pathways and helps to grow muscle fibers.
- People who have brain injuries have experienced 50% less dizziness compared with those who do not take Creatine.
- People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have lower glucose levels after taking 3-6g of creatine for five days. It had a similar effect as the diabetes medication.
There aren’t any severe drawbacks of Creatine found when you take it while exercising daily.
- With increasing body weight, your muscle tissue retains water. That can lead to muscle cramping. To avoid that, you have to drink enough water.
- If you have blood pressure, creatine can have minor effects by raising blood pressure. So those with high blood pressure should consult their healthcare provider before taking creatine supplements.
- A study reported kidney disease in a male weightlifter taking several other supplements and creatine. But one in a thousand incidents like this can’t be considered proper evidence.
How many days a week should I take creatine?
One common approach is to take 20–25 g of creatine daily for 5–7 days. This dose is typically divided into four or five 5-g servings throughout the day ( 1, 2, 3). Research shows that this regimen can effectively boost muscle stores of creatine by 10%–40% ( 2, 4 ).
When should I stop creatine?
You can stop supplementing anytime you want. But your muscles’ creatine levels will deplete about two weeks after you stop taking it. In 4-6 weeks, the extra creatine will wash out of your muscles altogether, and your body will return to producing its baseline level of 1-2 grams daily.
Does creatine burn fat?
Creatine metabolism plays an important role in adipose tissue bioenergetics and energy expenditure. Thus, the combination of creatine supplementation and resistance training may decrease fat mass more than resistance training alone.
Should Creatine Be Part of Your Slimming Strategy?
Creatine helps to lose weight; however, your midsection might appear puffy. But you won’t be gaining any actual fat. Creatine is all about combining a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine. It’s not a magic solution.
My friend and I decided that we would take Creatine on turns. He will take Creatine daily and exercise. I will take a rest and still be on Creatine. We continued this for 30 days straight. This was just a personal experiment.
We saw significant changes in both of us. He gained more weight and lean muscle, while my muscle profile was good but not as good as his.
Back then, I came to the conclusion that by taking creatine every day while you are working out, you’ll have a better muscle profile. And taking it in your rest days will benefit you as well, but not as well as your training days.
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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.