Should You Take Creatine?

Should You Take Creatine?

I used to think creatine was only for bodybuilding men trying to bulk up in the gym.


But once I learned more about it, I realized how beneficial it could be for my own goals and those of my clients (yes, even the ladies!).


Here’s everything you need to know to decide if supplementing with creatine could be right for you.

What It Is

Creatine is a substance found naturally in the body in the form of “phosphocreatine” and is mainly stored in your muscle cells. 


A small amount is stored in your brain, which is why studies suggest creatine may even improve memory and brain function as you age (1).


And in fact, creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements on the market, is considered very safe, and is known for being one of the top — if not THE top — supp’s for improving performance in the gym.

The Science-y Explanation

If you want to know how exactly creatine works, here’s the science behind it in a nutshell…


One of the body’s energy systems used for intense, explosive movements is called the ATP-PC system. 


ATP is the body’s “energy currency” — your body is constantly using and replenishing it. PC = phosphocreatine.


In short, by supplying your body with more creatine, it allows your body to produce more ATP, or more energy for those explosive movements, which helps delay fatigue and lactic acid build-up.

How It Can Help

Supplementing with creatine is mainly beneficial if you want to….


#1  Improve performance in high-intensity sports.


ATP is a key energy source for heavy lifting and high-intensity sports like CrossFit, sprinting, and Olympic weightlifting.


There are hundreds of studies that show a positive effect on power, strength and speed. Some studies show only small or insignificant improvements, while none show a negative affect. (2, 3)


#2 Build muscle.


Supplementing with creatine has been shown to help increase anabolic hormones and muscle protein synthesis. And because it improves performance, you’re typically able to push harder in the gym which also leads to more gainz. (4, 5, 6)

What About Endurance Athletes?

There’s not nearly as much research on creatine and endurance sports, but one study showed that it improved the speed of runners doing 300 m and 1000 m intervals (7). Another study showed that it improved the final sprint efforts of cyclists in a 74-mile time trial (8).


From my own conclusions, it seems that creatine could be helpful if improving speed is your goal, but it may not be worth it for long-distance athletes looking to maintain a steady, slow to moderate pace.


Here’s an interesting article that breaks down more studies on the topic.

How To Take It

Most experts recommend taking it pre or post-workout or with a carb-rich meal for better absorption. However, creatine works on saturation, so taking it consistently is more important than exact timing.


Look for creatine monohydrate, and 3-5 grams per day is all you need as a maintenance dose. At this amount, it will take about a month to maximize stores in your body. 


You can also do a “loading phase” and take 20 grams per day divided into five servings throughout the day for one week. Then simply switch to the maintenance dose.


Remember to drink plenty of water, as creatine pulls water into your muscles. This can cause about a pound of weight gain at the maintenance dose (probably more during the loading phase), but remember it’s not a gain in body fat.

A Note For Vegetarians

Creatine can also be found in small quantities in your diet, primarily from red meat, egg yolks, and fish. The normal intake of dietary creatine in people who eat meat is about 1 gram per day.


For this reason, vegetarians and vegans will benefit even more from supplementation versus someone who already eats a lot of red meat.

Conclusions — Is It Right For You?

As always, you’re going to make the most progress by getting the foundation of your diet in place first.


That means eating fresh, whole foods most of the time and eating the right quantities for your body and goals. (If you need help with this, you can reach out here for a free clarity call.)


Once you’re nailing your nutrition, supplementing with creatine is probably worth trying if you’ve got goals around building muscle or improving strength and performance in high-intensity sports.


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