Creatine is a popular nutritional supplement that is used by gym-goers of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels.
It is usually taken as a pre-workout supplement, in order to allow your body to push more when taking part in vigorous exercise.
However, there are certain myths attached to creatine, with many believing that it can contribute to weight gain.
This article will be discussing creatine, what it does to your body, and whether it can lead to weight gain, or not.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in the body that provides you with energy during exercise.
In the body, it combines with phosphagen in order to create phosphocreatine which is what helps muscle contraction.
When your body is performing powerful exercises such as squats, the creatine in your body will make ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the main source of energy in the body.
This energy will then optimize your performance. Your body will usually produce 1 gram of creatine a day, and you can also obtain some from rare steak, which has 3 grams of creatine per pound.
However, when people take a creatine supplement, they usually provide them with 3 to 5 grams. This, in turn, gives muscles more energy when embarking on exercise, leading to higher performance.
Can Creatine Lead To Weight Gain?
Whether creatine can make you gain weight is a very talked-about subject, and the simple answer is it sometimes can.
However, the type of weight you could gain, may not be due to fat. The likelihood is, that any extra weight you may notice after taking creatine, is most likely water weight.
This is known as fluid retention, or water retention, and occurs because the creatine supplement can bring water into your muscle cells.
As a result, your muscles will hold onto this water, and will evidently lead to puffiness and bloating around the stomach, legs, or arms.
However, you may notice that your muscles appear bigger, even if you haven’t been training for too long.
Can Creatine Make You Fat?
If you do notice weight gain after taking creatine, the good news is that is not, and will never be fat gain.
As mentioned above, any weight gain noticed is due to water retention from the supplements.
In order to gain fat, you must consume more calories than you burn.
A scoop of creatine, which amounts to around 5 grams, contains little to no calories, so if you are active and eat a healthy diet, taking a creatine supplement will not lead to fat gain.
What To Do If You Gain Weight From Taking Creatine
While water retention is usually temporary, it may have you feeling uncomfortable about your weight.
In order to lose your water weight, there are a few things you can do. You can make sure to drink more water, as this will stimulate urination and, in turn, leads to the removal of excess water in the body.
You should also be mindful of your sodium intake, as too much sodium can lead to the retention of fluid in the body.
Try and ensure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and limit the amount of processed foods you are consuming.
Carbohydrates also hold onto water, so it is crucial you don’t overload your body with more carbs than it needs. You should aim for an intake of 225 to 325 grams of carbs a day.
Lastly, you need to just be patient. The excess water will eventually remove itself from your body, you just need to remain active.
So, keep working out and following your gym schedule, and your body will begin to hold less water.
Does Creatine Help You Build Muscle?
Creatine does help you build muscle. As mentioned earlier, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) if the energy that exists in your body’s cells, and your body can only store a certain amount of that.
This is why you can only sprint for a short period of time, because your body’s ATP has run out.
When you use creatine supplements, is helps your body create more phosphocreatine (as mentioned earlier) and this is then used to produce more ATP.
Therefore, this gives your muscles more energy during exercise before fatigue sets in, enabling you to life more weights, run faster, and perform better overall.
In addition to this, creatine supplements may aid in muscle breakdown and can therefore lead to the retaining of muscle during workouts.
Therefore, this could result in more muscle building over time.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Taking Creatine?
While there have been concerns over the safety of creatine consumption, as there have been claims that there are links to liver, kidney, and heart problems, research has shown the taking oral creatine supplements every day is perfectly safe for up to 5 years.
There is no research to suggest that there are any detrimental side effects of taking it every day for this period of time.
Therefore, it is safe to suggest that creatine has shown no negative reactions in those who consume it.
However, if you do have any medical issues or queries, speaking to a medical professional can reassure you.
To conclude, creatine is a compound that naturally occurs in the body.
It provides more energy to the muscle cells, which is why many choose to take it as a pre-workout supplement, in order to fuel their workouts.
While many believe that taking it can lead to fat gain, any weight gained while taking it is the result of water retention.
This is because this compound brings water to the muscles, and these muscles will hold onto this water, leading to puffiness around certain areas of the body.
However, this can make your muscles look larger. It is important to remember that this weight is not fat, and will reduce with time.
Drinking more water, reducing sodium intake, and continuing to engage in regular exercise will help your body release this water.