Weight Management 6 MIN READ 56 VIEWS May 13, 2022

Creatine for Weight Gain: Does It Work?

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Creatine for weight gain
What is Creatine
How is Creatine Helpful
Creatine for Weight Gain
How to get Started with Creatine Supplements
Will Taking Creatine Make Me Fat
Creatine Dosage
How to Take Creatine Monohydrate Supplements
How Soon Do Creatine Supplements Show Results
Side Effects of Creatine Supplementation
Conclusion

Maintaining an ideal weight is important. If you are looking to add a few kilos and get your body in that perfect shape, creatine supplements can do the trick. Creatine for weight gain is widely touted. It does not just help you add a few kilos but also adds strength and endurance to support workouts, helping you get that perfect body shape. Read through to know how to use creatine for weight gain and the best creatine for weight gain.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is an amino acid made from three amino acids, namely, methionine, arginine, and glycine. Medically, amino acids are vital for numerous body functions. Creatine is the key source of energy for muscle contraction. It is naturally produced in our bodies and about 95% of it is stored in the skeletal muscles. We can also consume creatine in our daily diets, with meat and fish being the best sources. Creatine supplements are also widely available to meet daily requirements. As creatine is a pure protein that renders very few calories and almost no fat, this makes it a popular supplement to boost athletic performance. However, thanks to its water retention property, creatine and weight gain go hand in hand.

How is Creatine Helpful?

Creatine supplements help boost the phosphocreatine (PCr) storage within the muscle cells. Phosphocreatine is responsible for the production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which provides the energy required for high-intensity workouts. When the levels of ATP drop, the person tends to feel fatigued. Thus, as creatine helps in the faster regeneration of ATP, it improves strength, muscle mass, and weight gain.

Creatine for Weight Gain

How will creatine make me fat? To answer this question, we need to know how creatine works. Consumption of creatine is often associated with weight gain. It is important to mention here that this weight gain is temporary and is caused due to increase in water retention in the muscle cells and not because of accumulation of fat. 

Studies have shown that taking creatine causes an increase in weight of about 1.5 kg. If creatine supplements are consumed over a longer period, the weight gain can spur up to 3 kgs.

How to Get Started with Creatine Supplements?

Creatine is available in various forms. However, creatine monohydrate is rated as the best creatine for weight gain, as it is the most extensively researched form with established benefits and user safety. The proven benefits of creatine monohydrate include increased lifting power, quicker and enhanced recovery from workouts, increased exercise tolerance in hot conditions, and prevention of injuries. Before you start taking creatine supplements, it’s important to understand creatine loading and creatine bloating.

Creatine Loading 

Also referred to as the pre-loading phase, in this phase, fitness enthusiasts consume on average 20-25 gm of creatine supplements for about a week at a stretch. This helps them perk up the creatine levels to the highest. Once the muscles are saturated with relatively large amounts of creatine over a short period, the intake is gradually reduced to 2-10 gm daily.

Creatine Bloating 

First-time users may experience creatine bloating once they start creatine supplements. This is because the muscles tend to retain more water than usual in the starting days. However, this is usually short-term and gets settled within a few weeks of staying on creatine supplements.

Will Taking Creatine Make Me Fat?

Creatine makes you fat but in the right way! While creatine will help you increase the body mass, this will happen typically during the loading phase. As this weight gain is due to water retention in the muscle cells, it is a clear indication that the creatine reserves in the muscles are increasing. As this will lead to performance benefits, it will enable you to get that perfect body shape.  

However, after long-term use of creatine supplements, the increase in body weight will be due to increased lean muscle mass. As high creatine reserves in the body increase the strength, exercise capacity (both in sets and reps), and aid in faster muscle recovery, it leads to improved training quality. This will ultimately lead to an increased lean muscle mass. Thus, helping you gain the required weight and get the right body shape.

Creatine Dosage

Creatine supplements are widely available. One can choose between different brands, ingredients, and pack sizes from both in stores and online. However, creatine monohydrate remains the best creatine for weight gain from the different types of creatine supplements. 5 g of creatine monohydrate, when taken four times a day for 5–7 days, is found to be most effective in increasing the creatine levels in the muscle cells. However, this amount varies depending upon weight and is calculated using the formula 0.3g/kg of body weight.

Alternatively, taking 3 g of creatine daily for 28 days may also help saturate the muscles with creatine. Once the loading phase is over, coming down to a lower dose helps maintain the creatine levels in the muscle cells. The maintenance dose typically ranges between 2–10 g per day, depending upon body weight.

Ideally, creatine for weight gain must be taken with adequate quantities of carbohydrates and/or proteins. This will help in maintaining the creatine levels in the muscles. Also, taking it as a pre-workout drink will help yield better results.

Cycling on and off creatine supplements for a few weeks at a time can also prove to be helpful.

 

How to Take Creatine Monohydrate Supplements?

Creatine monohydrate supplements, the best creatine for weight gain, are available in different forms, namely capsules, powder, chewable tablets, energy drinks, and energy bars. The best way to take creatine monohydrate is to take it in unflavoured powder form. The creatine monohydrate powder can be mixed with water, milk, or whey protein shake. The creatine supplement can be taken both before or after workout sessions.

How Soon Do Creatine Supplements Show Results?

Creatine for weight gain will start showing results within 1-2 weeks of supplementation. This is because the muscle cells will begin to hold more water. As the creatine consumption will make you feel more energetic, you will be able to do about 20 minutes of extra workout per session. This will translate into muscle building and bulking, which will give your body the desired shape.

Side Effects of Creatine Supplementation

Creatine supplementation is safe both for short-term and long-term use. Research suggests that up to 30 gm of creatine per day for over five years is considered safe and is well tolerated. 

However, people may experience gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. But these issues can be addressed by staying hydrated and spacing out the creatine intake throughout the day. 

People with renal disease may experience aggravated symptoms upon taking creatine supplements. Also, people with male pattern baldness may experience accelerated baldness as creatine supplements increase the levels of the hormone DHT. Increased levels of DHT in the body are suspected to accelerate baldness.

Furthermore, the side effects and benefits of creatine will vary for responders and non-responders. Creatine responders have a higher percentage of type 2 muscle fibres with a low initial creatine content. On the other hand, non-responders have a lower percentage of type 2 muscle fibres with a high initial muscle creatine content. Thus, the beneficial impact of creatine for weight gain will be more visible in creatine responders than non-responders.

Overall, when taken at recommended dosages by people with no underlying medical condition or health problem, creatine supplements are safe. In case you are diagnosed with an underlying health condition, it is best to consult a medical practitioner before getting on to creatine supplements.

Conclusion

Although creatine for weight gain appears to be an illusion as the major chunk of the bulge is due to water retention in the muscle cells and not due to fat mass. But creatine provides you with the energy to carry out workouts for longer durations without feeling fatigued. Also, it aids in muscle recovery, which increases training capacity. 

Thus, in the long run, muscle building due to prolonged workout and training regimens build up lean muscle mass and help you gain those extra kilos with that perfect body shape. So, get in touch with your fitness expert or medical practitioner to help you pick the best creatine for weight gain. Remember to stick to a daily dosage to avoid side effects. 

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