You may have heard about creatine as a fitness supplement that can help you increase your athletic performance, but did you know that creatine can also be used for weight loss? If you’ve been struggling with your weight loss goals and don’t know where to turn or what to try, creatine supplements can offer a number of benefits that can make a pretty big difference in your appearance and how you feel.

Creatine can help boost your energy levels, so you feel ready to take on your workout. I’m sure you’ve had plenty of scenarios where you had to talk yourself into getting moving and then completing your workout. When that fatigue and low motivation hits, creatine can get you pumped up for what’s to come. Creatine can also provide other health benefits for women, such as increase muscle mass, shorten your recovery, prevent a drop in dopamine, fight back against neurological disease and lower your blood sugar levels.

Are you interested in learning more about creatine for weight loss? It can be a great way to jumpstart your weight loss journey, that's for sure. But, in this article, I’d like to share with you some of the information that I provide as a nutritionist and CPT to my wellness for womanhood community about creatine and the potential of it helping you lose weight.

What Is Creatine?

creatine for weight loss

Creatine is an amino acid that is predominantly located in your muscles, but it can also be found inside of the brain. Creatine can be sourced from food, like red meat, milk and seafood, and the body can produce small amounts in the kidneys, pancreas and liver, but the levels are pretty sparse. If you really want to reap the benefits of creatine, you’re going to need to opt for a high-quality supplement that is taken orally to increase your intake. The great thing about creatine is that it can impact the body very quickly, so you’ll experience an increase in consistent energy in about one week. Of course, the benefits will continue to increase the longer that you’re using creatine.

Types of Creatine You Need to Know About

There are a few different types of creatine that can be found in supplements, so let’s take a look at what they are and how they are used.

Micronized Creatine

This is a monohydrate form of creatine that features micronized (or divided) molecules. This ends up creating a much larger surface area so that the creatine can be more readily absorbed by the body. A lot of people find that this type of creatine is much gentler on the stomach.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is a very popular form of creatine that should be used on a regular basis for the most optimal benefits. It can be used as a pre-workout for increased energy, but it can also be used as a post-workout to speed up recovery and make the most of your activity. This form of creatine can result in weight gain if you’re not following a regular exercise routine. However, it can help with building up muscle and increase the amount of water that your body retains (so you look more muscular).

Creatine Ethyl Ester

Creatine ethyl ester is a beneficial supplement that can be used a bit more intermittently. From a molecular perspective, this creation formulation has an added ester molecule, so it is absorbed faster into the body once you consume it.

How Exactly Does Creatine Work?

When creatine is consumed, it will bond together with phosphate molecules that are already in the body to form more creatine. The produced effect is a rapid energy boost that can help get you through high performance physical activity. Though creatine isn’t designed to help the body burn fat, it helps fuel you so you can work out and burn fat that way. What creatine does do is help with the building of muscle mass. The muscle tissue that is in our body can burn more calories than our fatty tissue.

If you are taking creatine regularly, you should be working out a minimum of three days per week, for 60 minutes at a time. Make sure that you’re targeting all of your major muscle groups, and you should start to see results in a few weeks.

Safety and Dosage Recommendation

The general recommendation for most creatine supplements is anywhere between 20 and 25 grams each day, for five to seven days per week. Creatine consumption is a little different than most supplements, so you actually have to consume it in five-gram increments spread throughout the course of the day. This is called creatine loading, and it saturates your muscles in a short amount of time. You can then take three to five grams per day after you’re done loading. When you follow this schedule exactly, it can minimize potential health risks and provide you with ample results.

What Are the Side Effects of Creatine?

There are some side effects that you should watch out for when you’re taking creatine. Some people experience things like an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, dehydration, dizziness and muscle cramps. You can avoid many of these issues by closely following the consumption directions that are listed on the product you choose. Also, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day when you’re taking creatine.

If you aren’t careful with your creatine intake or you take a lower quality supplement, this could result in heart, kidney or liver damage. It can also have noticeable effects on your mental health if you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Can Creatine Make You Gain Weight?

I mentioned that creatine doesn’t burn fat, rather it helps energize you so you can take the necessary steps towards losing weight through diet and exercise. I always advise that my clients don’t pay so much attention to the number that they see on their scale. It’s more about how you feel and how you look in the mirror.

Water Weight Gain: Is It True?

Some people complain that their creatine supplement has made them feel bloated or swollen. While creatine can increase the number that you see on the scale, this isn’t an increase in fat. You’re simply retaining more water, and you could be developing more muscle. It’s not uncommon to gain approximately two to five pounds in water weight the first week of taking creatine. You can often combat this issue by consuming more water. I know it sounds counterproductive, but this can stimulate the need for urination, so you expel some of that excess water.

You could also consider reducing the amount of salt that you eat on a daily basis. Salt can result in your body retaining more water. Swap your processed and high-sodium foods with healthy fruits and vegetables. The recommended maximum daily intake of sodium for a healthy individual is 2,300 milligrams per day, so keep an eye on food labels to see if you’re coming close to that. Try reducing your carbohydrate intake to no more than 325 grams per day. Carbs also force your body to hang onto fluid.

Increase of Muscle Mass: It's a good thing

You can utilize creatine to build up your muscle mass but be prepared for the number of your scale to go up. Muscle weighs more than fat, so transforming your fat into muscle and toning your body might not help you get the number you’re looking for. However, this is more about improving how you look and feel, so look closely at how your body is changing rather than just monitoring your weight every day.

Weight Gain, Non-Muscle Mass Related

Weight gain doesn’t immediately mean that you’ve experienced an increase in fat on the body. It could mean that you’ve worked hard to develop muscle, you may be retaining water or hormonal changes may even be to blame. Creatine doesn’t contain many calories in most cases, so this supplement isn’t something that forces you to gain weight. Follow a healthy diet along with your supplementation, exercise at least three days per week, and you should be very happy with your results.

Does Creatine Make You Look Leaner?

Creatine can affect the body in different ways, so how you look when using creatine may be vastly different from how someone else looks. Some people will look leaner and more muscular with its use. Others won’t experience the same results. If you already have substantial muscle definition, creatine should (in theory make you look leaner).

Health Benefits of Creatine

We’ve talked a great deal about building muscle using creatine, but there are other health benefits that can be found in this powerful supplement.

Increase Strength and Power

When you want to make the most of your workouts, you need plenty of energy. You can utilize creatine supplementation along with different strength training exercises to increase your overall strength and power.

Brain Health

It would be interesting to see more studies conducted on how creatine can impact brain health, but there is a bit of research that has indicated creatine can help protect your brain against things like Alzheimer’s disease and seizure disorders.

More Energy

Regular use of creatine can make you feel more alert during the daytime. It takes about seven full days of use in order to notice a substantial improvement in your energy levels, and more energy may come about the longer you use creatine. More energy can improve your ability to work out as well as enhance your focus and keep you motivated.

Lean Muscle Mass and Muscle Growth

Muscle strength is something that can allow you to build lean muscle over time, but it also has an impact on different muscular disorders like muscular dystrophy. Of course, you should consult with your doctor if you’re interested in utilizing creatine and have been diagnosed with a muscular disorder of this sort.

The Bottom Line: Can Creatine Help with Weight Loss?

weight loss and creatine

Creatine is a fitness supplement that has been used for a very long time for the purpose of enhancing a person’s workout and fitness regimen. The unique thing about creatine is that it doesn’t burn fat or boost your metabolism which is what a lot of other supplements do. Rather, you can use this supplement to fuel your body, so you work out harder with more results. The added benefit of drawing water into your muscles at a cellular level makes you look larger with a more toned physique. Ultimately, this is a type of product that I would recommend as a complement to diet and exercise if weight loss is what you’re looking for.

Weight Loss Tips from the Nutritionist

If you’re interested in boosting your weight loss regimen so you see more efficient results, here are some of my weight loss tips.

Tip 1

Don’t Skip Meals

It’s never a good idea to skip meals in order to cut calories and lose weight. What you want to do is start your day with a breakfast that includes protein for energy and whole grains for sustenance as the day goes on. Other nutrients will come from different fruits and vegetables that you can eat or blend into a smoothie. I like to follow a macro-friendly diet so that I know exactly what I need to eat every day.

Tip 2

Drink Plenty of Water throughout the Day

Water is incredibly important for hydration, but it’s also something that can help with weight loss. Water keeps your GI system moving, it boosts your metabolism, and it can make it easier to exercise. If you’re having trouble remembering to meet your water quota for the day, there are apps that you can download to your smart phone that will alert you periodically to drink. You can also track your intake.

Tip 3

Portion Control Your Foods

Measure out the amount of food that you should be eating based on serving size recommendations, and make sure that you stick to that amount. Don’t go back for more food, and don’t allow yourself to eat from a large pot or pan that prohibits you from being able to see what you’ve really consumed. If you’re still hungry, load up on additional fruits or vegetables.

Tip 4

Read Food Labels

Always check the labels of foods you want to eat to see what their caloric quantity is, but also how much fat and saturated fat is inside one serving. A high fat content can slow down your progress.

About the Author
Tami Smith, CPT, Nutritionist

Tami Smith is a certified Nutritionist and an ACE certified fitness trainer, specializing in pre and post-natal fitness. She studied business and earned her bachelor's degree in Business Economics. Tami is a mom of two and women's health advocate. Her passion is to help people live a fit, healthy life through proper nutrition and exercise!

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