Does Creatine Make You Look Fat? 3 Reasons to Consider

Warm-up, stretching, workout, and diet – I am all set for my weight training.

However, I lacked that extra boost giving me a quick muscle mass. So, my friend suggested creatine – an energy-providing supplement for enhanced body and performance. However, one question bugging me constantly is – “does creatine make you look fat?”

Well, creatine may cause some weight gain, however slight; you can’t call it fatty fat. Instead, oral creatine intake causes water retention – drawing water towards your muscles, making them look fuller and swollen. So, what you think as fat is actually bloat up water weight or enhanced muscle mass.

However, there is more to creatine. Therefore, buckle up and hop into the ride to know more about this vital supplement.

Creatine can cause a little weight gain – especially when you are in the loading phase. However, it doesn’t mean your fat level has increased.

Does Creatine Make You Look Fat or Bloat up With Water?

Creatine has always been the hot button regarding sports and gym-goers’ health nutrition. While many regards it as a quick energy booster during explosive movements, others feel skeptical about using it, asking – does it make you look fat?

No, it doesn’t. So why do you see a bulky you in front of your mirror on creatine?

Well, it’s due to water retention. When you intake creatine, it draws water to your muscle. Hence, your muscles get flooded with water, looking fuller and plumper.

As a result, you encounter water retention, leading to water weight. So, when you stand in front of your mirror, you see a puffy, bulky, and fatty you. But it’s not fatty fat. Instead, you have been bloated with water weight gain.

does-creatine-make-you-look-fat

So if you ask, “does creatine make you bloated” – the answer would be yes – with flooding water in your muscle.

However, the good news is that excess muscle water benefits you. When you have well-hydrated muscles, you recover fast. Most importantly, you will not be exhausted pretty soon.

Regardless, you are taking this sports supplement for an extra kick to your performance; it’s naturally found in your body. In fact, many foods you eat contain creatine.

So, creatine is not alien to your body that you intake and become fat. In fact, it helps you have enhanced energy and strength.

When you take creatine, it stores in your muscle. It stimulates adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production – molecules that help store and transfer energy to cells. On the other hand, when you have less creatine in your muscle, ATP production also decreases. As a result, you have a declined energy level.

So, does creatine make you stronger? Surely, it does.

Creatine supplementation boosts ATP production, restoring your energy and strength. As a result, your performance level improved.

Can Creatine Make You Gain Weight?

Creatine can cause a little weight gain – especially when you are in the loading phase. However, it doesn’t mean your fat level has increased. Instead, it is just the water weight gain that creatine draws and stores in your muscles.

However, other reasons might contribute to your immediate puffy look after taking creatine. Let’s check what makes you look fat while taking creatine.

Water Weight

Water retention is the most common cause of your puffy appearance. When you take creatine, it draws water into your muscle cells and stores them there. As a result, your muscle looks larger and bulkier than before.

water-weight

Now, you may be on cloud nine, seeing the large muscle after starting your training and taking creatine. Heartbreaking to announce that it’s just extra water stored in your muscle. You haven’t started gaining muscle mass yet.

The bloating can happen in any part of your body – face, arms, legs, belly, etc. However, this water weight gain is temporary that contributes to extra 5–7 pounds of your weight.

However, creatine supplements will surely provide that extra fuel improving your strength and performance. So, you can have explosive movements, lift heavy, pushing your muscles under more stress which will result in muscle gain eventually.

How Long Does it Take to Lose Water Weight From Creatine?

Every individual is unique. Now, the way not everyone encounters water weight while taking creatine, the same way your water weight losing period varies.

Many undergo the bloating period only during the loading phase, which usually returns to its normal shape during the maintenance period.

On the other hand, several experience water bloating for weeks, even months, after the loading phase.

However, a few have this bloat-up water gain as long as they take supplementation. In this case, cycle your creatine intake – 2-3 weeks of pause every few months.

Muscle Mass

Your developing muscle mass can be another reason you look fat while taking creatine. Yes, water retention is still there, causing your weight gain. However, creatine’s enhanced strength and energy greatly impact your athletic performance and training. As a result, your muscle becomes large and strong with an upward scale.

creatine-muscle-mass

So, when you see a weighty you, it might not be all water; you are gaining muscle mass.

Non-Muscle Weight Gain

Creatine doesn’t increase your fat level, but non-muscle weight gain should be on your list if you look fat.

It’s mainly your calorie intake vs. calorie spending that increases fat levels. Creatine contains no or a minuscule level of calories, hardly competent to cause fat gain.

In short, if you take more calories and waste less, you will invite fatty tissues into your life. So, keep your calorie intake compatible with your spending with more movement.

Does Creatine Make You Gain Fat?

After taking oral creatine, you will notice quick weight gain with increased energy. So, did you gain fat while taking oral creatine?

No, creatine doesn’t make you fat. It may cause some weight gain – that is due to water retention. Your fat level has no role to play here.

When you become fat, your fatty tissue, aka adipose tissues, has increased. Now, creatine has nothing to do with adipose or fatty tissues. So no gaining fat with creatine.

You may ask, does creatine make you gain belly fat?

No, it doesn’t. Unspent calories usually contribute to fatty tissue leading to belly fat. Creatine contains such tiny calories that it can’t make fat. Besides, it doesn’t interfere with fat-burning functionality. Your water weight or muscle mass causes the bulkiness you notice while taking creatine.

does-creatine-burn-belly-fat

So, does creatine burn belly fat?

Well, it can with regular exercise and training. After all, creatine increases your metabolism to create more energy, which burns your fat. However, you must maintain a healthy diet and hydration to make the fat burning consistent.

What about the face – does creatine make your face fat?

Creatine can make your face look puffy for 2 reasons – Anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction, and water weight bloating. Anaphylaxis usually hits within minutes you take the supplement, swelling your mouth, face, etc. Contrarily, bloating takes a few days, causing puffiness in other body parts too.

Anaphylaxis is life-threatening, often showing other allergic reaction symptoms – skin rash, difficulty breathing, fainting, palpitations, cough, etc. It needs immediate medical attention.

On the other hand, boating is not life-threatening. However, you may notice puffiness in various body parts – neck, arm, leg, stomach, etc.

The Benefits of Creatine

Creatine is considered one of the effective health nutrition for athletes and sportspeople. And so far, one thing is confirmed – taking this amino acid supplement doesn’t make you gain fat. But, if you are still skeptical, here are the numerous benefits of creatine.

  • Improved muscular endurance
  • Increases strength and energy
  • Quicken recovery
  • Boosts fat-free muscle mass
  • Enhances anaerobic performance – weightlifting, high jumping, etc.
  • Delays fatigue during explosive movements
  • Improve your cognitive benefits – memory, sharp thinking, etc.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Creatine?

Suppose you took creatine and noticed yourself looking fat – what would you do? Will you stop taking the supplements?

You don’t need to, as creatine is a safe supplement you can consider for the long term. However, if you stop, your body will take time to readjust to the no-supplement environment. It may take a few weeks to more than a month.

However, during this period, you may face some side effects, including-

  • Low production of natural creatine.
  • Withdrawal.
  • Decreasing water weight.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Increased fatigue.
  • Decreasing strength and energy.
  • Changes in performance.

However, your muscle gain and performance product will not reverse despite the symptoms.  Stopping creatine does not reverse your gains.

The muscle you built and the performance outcomes you achieved are still present after you stop creatine.

Creatine Types, Dosage & Cycling

Creatine is a popular supplement among heavy lifters, strength trainers, and athletes. Seeing this massive popularity, the market also provides 6 types of creatine to meet your demands.

Creatine TypesPositive AspectsNegative Aspects
Creatine MonohydrateHighly effective and absorbent.Better water solubility.Increase water content in muscle cells.Safe and affordableUpset stomach.Cramping.
Creatine Ethyl EsterNo bloating side effects.Fast absorption.Increased power output in short burstsNot recommended for all.Decreases creatine content in your muscle and blood.
Creatine HydrochlorideRequires a lower dose.No loading cycle.Faster absorption.Quicker muscle recovery.Stomach pain.Diarrhea.
Buffered CreatineStable.Greater bioavailability.Improved athletic performanceBloatingCramping.Nausea.Dehydration.
Liquid CreatineIncreases muscle size and strength.Break down.Less effective than Monohydrate.
Creatine Magnesium ChelateProvides bioavailable magnesium.Improves performance.Increases generating and recycling energy.Cramping.Less effective than Monohydrate.

Research suggests that Creatine Monohydrate is the safest and most effective, improving your energy, strength, muscle mass, and performance.

creatine-dosage

In addition, Monohydrate is inexpensive and readily available.

How Much Creatine Should I Take Per Day?

The recommended creatine dose is 3-5 grams daily during the maintenance.

However, in the loading phase, the recommended dose is 10-20 grams daily for a week or two. This phase helps you get the fastest result. Then you have to shift to the maintenance level.

Nevertheless, you can build your body mass without the loading phase. Yes, it will take a little time, around 4 weeks, if you take the maintenance dose consistently.

After loading and maintenance dose, there comes the pause.

When you take a supplement regularly, at a certain period, your body stops responding to it; meaning the supplement decreases its effect on you. So, you need a cycle – a pause to keep the effectiveness of creatine.

You should pause supplementation for at least 2-4 weeks.

So, a single creatine cycle consists of-

Creatine Supplementation PhaseDosageDuration
Loading Phase10-20 grams daily.1-2 weeks.
Maintenance Phase3-5 grams daily.5-6 weeks.
Pause PhaseNo supplement.2-4 weeks.

Do I Need to Take Creatine With Carbs?

The effectiveness of combining carbs with creatine depends on your body.

Several studies suggested that taking creatine with carbs can increase creatine’s efficacy. 

However, some studies also suggested that taking creatine with carbs doesn’t provide any extra help.

So, the safest action would be taking creatine with a meal containing sufficient carbs and protein. Extra calories can often lead to unwanted weight gain, so be cautious about the carb shares.

Is It Okay to Take Creatine With Caffeine?

Caffeine and creatine are both performance boosters. You can take them together for several added benefits-

  • Enhanced energy, power, and strength.
  • Improved muscle mass.
  • Improved ergogenic advantages.

However, you may face some side effects, too, such as dehydration, difficulty sleeping, digestive discomfort, etc.

Can You Take Creatine With Juice?

You can take creatine with juice, even smoothies and protein shake. In fact, the study suggested that taking creatine with juice or any healthy liquid improves endurance, helps absorbs, and makes it well-balanced and tastier.

Mix creatine with pure juice – orange juice, grape juice, or beet juice. Trust me; you won’t regret it.

Is Creatine Safe?

Creatine has been the most studied supplement for decades. It’s been proven that it doesn’t cause any harmful side effects or threats like affected kidneys, muscle tear, etc.

Therefore, it’s the safest and most effective health nutrition, providing better strength and performance. In addition, it provides protection against several exercise-related problems.

In fact, a study suggested that creatine decreases camping, muscle tightness, strains, dehydration, etc.

FAQs

Does creatine add body weight?

Yes, creatine can add body weight, especially when you are in the loading phase. The loaded dose improves your performance and muscle mass. During this phase, you can gain around 3-4 pounds of added weight.

Does creatine affect belly fat?

Creatine doesn’t make belly fat as it doesn’t have any connection to fatty tissue and the calories it contains are tiny to increase belly fat. However, by increasing your metabolism, creatine helps burn fat for energy fuel.

Does creatine make your face puffy?

Anaphylaxis and water weight bloating can make your face puffy after taking creatine. Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction that is life-threatening and strikes immediately.

Bloating hits after a few days and is not life-threatening. However, the puffiness may also occur in your neck, arm, legs, etc., besides the face.

Should I take creatine when trying to lose fat?

Does creatine make you lose weight?

No. Creatine doesn’t usually help in weight loss. However, creatine may provide the extra kick in your training by enhancing recovery and muscle protection.

Do you look bloated on creatine?

Yes, you may look bloated after taking creatine. The reason is water retention. Your muscles store excess water while on creatine, which makes your muscles look larger, your face puffier, and your arm and stomach bulkier.

However, not everyone faces the same bloating experience. And, the water weight bloating usually declines soon.

Take Away

Does creatine make you look fat?

Creatine is a performance booster that may make you look bloated. However, it’s not arising from increased fatty tissue. Instead, it’s the result of water retention. As creatine draws water towards your muscles, they store the water in the cells. So, your muscles look larger, and you look puffier.

However, water weight is healthy, and the excess weight soon disappear.

Sabriha Hasan

Sabriha Hasan

I'm Sabriha Hasan, a 3rd year medical student from Armed Forces Medical College. I chose to study medicine to do something for the greater good and to use my skills and knowledge to provide relief to those who are suffering. Writing is second nature to me. I always try to provide readers with necessary information that would not only quench their thirst for knowledge but also help them in long run.

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