Creatine is a popular product which many athletes and many gym-goers take. A large number of studies confirm that creatine is one of the most effective products for increasing strength, speed, and muscle mass. One of the most common side effects of creatine is weight gain. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing and it is not the weight gain you may be thinking of. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the facts and answer your questions about creatine-induced weight gain.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a natural compound found in red meat, poultry and seafood. The average man who weighs 70 kilograms usually stores about 120 grams of creatine in his body. Creatine pills can increase your creatine stores to about 160 grams. When your creatine stores are maxed out, your performance will increase and you will see increased strength, power, muscle mass and better recovery.
How does creatine work?
Creatine supplementation increases the amount of phosphocreatine (PCr) in the muscle cell, which acts as an energy source during high-intensity exercise such as lifting weights. Essentially, increasing your phosphocreatine stores will allow you to perform more reps and recover better between sets. Over time, this will lead to increased muscle mass.
In order for your body to produce phosphocreatine in your skeletal muscles, creatine must enter the muscle cell through the bloodstream. When creatine enters the muscle cell, it can draw water into the cell. This leads to water retention and weight gain.
Does creatine contribute to weight gain?
The results of short-term studies show that creatine increases body weight. This is most likely due to water retention in muscle cells. In this case, this is basically a good sign because it shows that your body’s creatine stores are increasing, and this will lead to improved performance.
In the long run, there will probably be an increase in weight due to an increase in lean muscle mass. Maximum creatine reserves will improve performance (increase the number of sets and reps) and recovery. As a result, the quality of your workouts will improve, and eventually you will increase lean muscle mass, and that’s what it takes!
Does Creatine Help Gain Muscle Mass?
In the short term, the weight gained while taking creatine will not be related to lean muscle mass but to water retention in muscle cells. Adaptation to training occurs after your body has maxed out your creatine stores. Essentially, maximizing your creatine stores will allow you to perform more reps and recover faster, which will lead to lean muscle mass growth in the long run.
Those who take creatine and supplement it with weight training tend to build more muscle mass than those who don’t add training. Studies show that as much as 1.8 kg of muscle you can gain over 12 weeks of training.
Some specialists have also suggested that one of the ways creatine increases muscle mass may actually be muscle cell swelling caused by water retention. The theory is that muscle cell swelling acts as a trigger that triggers a series of metabolic reactions leading to increased muscle protein synthesis.