How often should a beginner 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 ).
Even beginners will have no problem starting using creatine. In fact, if you are looking to start using a supplement, creatine is probably the safest and most available supplement. Creatine has many muscle-building benefits and is one of the best-studied supplements on the market.
- Weight gain.
- Muscle cramps.
- Muscle strains and pulls.
- Stomach upset.
- High blood pressure.
- Liver dysfunction.
Studies have observed that taking whey protein and creatine together with exercise offers no additional muscle or strength gains than taking each individually. Taking either alone likely provides the same benefits.
So, you can definitely take creatine if you don't go to the gym or if you're not trying to get 'big'. For people who don't work out, the benefits are mainly that creatine will give you that energy boost for any day-to-day movement, and will also improve brain function.
Creatine makes your muscles look bigger, while actually making them bigger as well. First, creatine causes your muscle cells to store more water which causes your muscles to appear fuller and larger. You may notice the size increase a few days or weeks after starting creatine supplementation.
Creatine doesn't actually build muscle or create it. It simply helps you to perform more work during training. As such, when you stop taking creatine, the muscle you built while supplementing with creatine will remain in place.
If you are looking for a safe yet highly powerful 'anabolic' sports nutrition supplement, whey protein is far superior to creatine. Characterized by high bioavailability, whey protein helps your body quickly and easily more protein than any other form of protein.
Creatine supplementation is safe and effective. Scientific evidence supports the use of creatine monohydrate supplements to increase sports performance and increase lean body mass. It can also promote overall muscle health, aid in ATP production, and even support healthy brain function.
Any rapid weight gain you experience from creatine is virtually guaranteed to be water weight gain. Numerous studies show that short-term creatine supplementation may lead to increased water weight, but does not increase body fat levels[*][*][*].
Do I have to take creatine every day once I start?
One common question among athletes: Should I take creatine on off days? The short answer is yes, but you can also skip some days. "Research suggests that creatine stores can be maintained at high levels even if creatine is not taken every single day," says Paul Falcone, senior scientist for LADDER.
Generally, between 15-20 grams of creatine is supplemented for the first 5-7 days. This should be spread out throughout the day into several 5g doses and timings can vary although before and after workout are usually recommended.
Is creatine safe to take every day? Research has shown that it is safe to consume creatine supplements daily, even over several years. There is no evidence to support any significantly detrimental side effects in people who consume high doses of creatine (30 grams/day) for up to 5 years ( 2 ).
When taken by mouth: Creatine is likely safe for most people. Doses up to 25 grams daily for up to 14 days have been safely used. Lower doses up to 4-5 grams daily for up to 18 months have also been safely used.