Is Creatine Good For Cutting?

Cutting is an increasingly popular workout technique.

Is Creatine Good for Cutting?

Most bodybuilders or fitness enthusiasts will use cutting to become as lean as possible, they do this by cutting back on fat and carbohydrates whilst increasing their protein intake, but carbohydrates are carefully timed to fuel workouts.In short it’s essentially a weight loss diet that aims to maintain as much muscle as possible.

Cutting is usually started a few months before a major workout regimen, you’ll usually see people cutting for competitions like bodybuilding, karate, jiu jitsu, boxing and much more. 

However, if you cut too fast by restricting your diet too much, it can have the opposite effect and you’ll end up losing muscle, you’ll also have a much slower recovery time which will affect your performance.

Cutting too fast can also put quite a bit of stress on your body, it can end up affecting your metabolism, sleep, energy and concentration. 

We already know that creatine is great at helping build your muscle mass whilst boosting your energy and allowing for a quicker recovery time, so is it good for cutting? 

How Does Creatine Fit Into The Cutting Regime

Your Body Naturally Produces It

This may surprise you, but creatine is actually a naturally occurring compound made up of three amino acids – glycine, methionine and arginine.

Creatine gives your muscles the energy needed to power on through a high-intensity workout. 

Creatine is mostly found in skeletal muscle, but small amounts can be found in your kidneys, liver, brain and pancreas. 

You Need Creatine In Your Diet

Creatine is found in lots of red meats and fish and as your body needs to replenish around 1-3 grams of creatine per day, eating diets that are rich in these foods is a smart idea. 

If you’re performing high-intensity exercises, you’ll drain your creatine stores much faster than if you were sitting around doing nothing.

So you’ll need to take in more creatine from your diet to keep your muscles powered. 

Creatine Supplements

Many elite athletes have been taking creatine supplements to increase their intake for years, it improves their performance whilst simultaneously allowing them to build muscles and have a shorter recovery period. 

Numerous studies have found that creatine monohydrate is an effective type of creatine supplement to increase muscle size and power, so it’s no surprise that athletes who are cutting will choose to include creatine in their diet. 

There Are Other Factors That Make Cutting Work

There’s a lot of other factors other than creatine supplementation that play into the success of cutting. 

For example, some of your individual characteristics can affect cutting, like: 

  • Sex
  • Overall health
  • Your physical stamina and workload
  • Your mental stamina 
  • Genetics

Other factors like timing and the methods you use can also affect how successful you are in cutting, timing doesn’t just include the times you train but also how good your diet and nutrition is.

Things like when and how much to exercise or how fast or slowly you try to cut fat, and when you start adding a supplement like creatine into your diet, it can make all the difference. 

Creatine Whilst Cutting

Taking creatine monohydrate supplements increases your lean muscle mass, whilst simultaneously giving you a boost in energy for your high-intensity workouts and giving you a shorter recovery time. 

How Does Creatine Work?

Creatine can help to support and protect your muscles during cutting by increasing the amount of water in your muscle cells.

This is why the recovery time is so short, as it helps to boost and protect muscle fibers from becoming damaged, so you need to ensure you drink plenty of water, more than you usually would, whilst cutting with creatine.

Studies have shown that creatine supplements can increase endurance in performance sports without affecting fat mass.

One study has even found that 4 weeks of intense training during the cutting phase whilst taking creatine supplementation improved body fat percentage, power performance and muscle strength.

Is Creatine Good for Cutting?

What Is An Effective Dose?

Many athletes will take around 20 grams of creatine a day for up to a month, this is quite common for high performance athletes.

Whilst that is effective, that much is not always needed to see the benefits of creatine.

Furthermore, it’s recommended that you take around 5 grams of creatine four times a day for around 5-7 days. 

3-10 grams is a typical dosage for maintenance, once creatine stores are fully saturated, taking 3-5 grams a day can help with maintenance, but other studies recommend that athletes should consume as much as 5-10 grams per day to keep the creatine stores up. 

Side Effects

Like with anything, creatine has some side effects that shouldn’t pose too much harm, but they’re still worth knowing about. 

A lot of the side effects usually happen from cutting too many calories or losing too much fat too quickly. 

Some of the most common side effects include: 

An Upset Stomach

Taking creatine in large doses during the loading stage can cause diarrhea and stomach irritation.

To avoid this, try taking smaller doses (3-5 grams) over a longer time. 

Weight Gain

Cutting too much can lead to gaining weight during the recovery phase after a competition. 

Rapid weight loss whilst preparing for a competition can also affect : 

  • Heart rate
  • Muscle mass
  • Blood pressure
  • Energy levels
  • Hormone levels

During cutting, men may experience a loss in testosterone, and women may experience a lack of periods for the same reason. 

Tips For Healthier Cutting

To make sure that you don’t experience any negative effects when cutting, these are some tips to allow for healthier cutting: 

  • Ensure that you get a proper amount of sleep, it’s crucial for mental and physical stamina.
  • Hydrate more than you usually would.
  • Plan to allow for slower weight loss. It’s much safer and preserves your muscle mass and energy whilst losing fat. 
  • Make sure you get proper nutrition, 1.25-1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight will enable you to protect your muscle mass. 
  • A maintenance dose of 3 grams of creatine monohydrate could improve your strength, power and recovery time. 

Final Thoughts

Creatine is definitely a useful supplement to include in your diet whilst cutting, as you’ll be able to regain most of the energy you’ll lose from cutting calories from the creatine supplement, not only that, but you’ll have a much easier time building muscle mass whilst losing fat too.

Creatine will also protect your muscle fibers from becoming damaged during exercise and will allow them to recover much more quickly than normal, which is perfect for a competition setting.

Jenna Priestly