Creatine will begin to have positive effects on your strength and athletic performance 1–4 weeks after you begin taking creatine supplements. If you begin with a loading phase where you take 20–25 grams of creatine per day for 1 week, you will see quick results. Then, you can reduce to 3–6 grams of creatine daily. If you skip the loading phase and simply begin taking 3–6 grams per day, creatine will begin to improve your performance in 3 weeks.
Does Creatine Work Right Away?
Creatine is not like Popeye’s spinach. If you take creatine supplements, you will not see instant results. This is because your muscles need to be saturated with creatine in order for you to have increased strength in the gym. Depending on how you begin your creatine supplementation, it will take between 1 and 4 weeks before you see and feel the effects of creatine supplementation.
- Taking creatine does not cause instant changes in strength and appearance.
- The positive effects of creatine supplementation take 1–4 weeks to kick in.
- As your muscles become saturated with creatine, your body will begin storing additional water in your muscles.
During the initial phase of creatine supplementation, your body will begin to store additional water in your muscles. This process may take several weeks. Your muscles will look a bit larger at this time. At the same time, your strength will begin to rise. After the initial period of muscle saturation, creatine has been shown to increase your strength by up to 8%, according to this study.
How To Make Creatine Work Faster
To make sure creatine kicks in faster and begins boosting your strength, start creatine supplementation with a loading phase. Several studies have shown that starting creatine supplementation with 20–25 grams of creatine for 5–7 days provides faster results. By beginning with large doses of creatine, you saturate your muscles with creatine more quickly. If you use a creatine loading phase, you will begin experiencing the positives of creatine in 1 week.
- Beginning with a creatine loading phase increases your strength in 1 week
- A loading phase requires you to take 20–25 grams of creatine per day for 5–7 days.
- After the loading phase, reduce creatine intake to 3–6 grams daily.
- If you do not begin with a creatine loading phase, it will take 3–4 weeks to see results.
After the initial loading phase, reduce your creatine intake to the maintenance dose of 3–6 grams per day. Anything more than 6 grams per day is unnecessary since your muscles will already be saturated with creatine following the loading phase. If you begin by taking 3–6 grams of creatine per day, it will take longer for your muscles to be saturated. If you do this, it will take 3–4 weeks before you see the benefits of creatine.
How Do You Know if Creatine is Working?
The best way to know if creatine is working is if your athletic performance increases in the gym. If you’re able to increase the weight of your lifts in the gym, you’re experiencing the effects of creatine supplementation. Similarly, creatine has been shown to improve sprinting performance. If you’re a runner and are experiencing better times with less fatigue, creatine is working.
- Increased performance in exercise and athletic activity is the number one sign that creatine is working for you.
- Creatine boosts your strength by 8%, so sudden weight training progress means creatine is working.
- Sprint times and better performance at cardiovascular exercise also indicate creatine is helping you.
- Fuller-looking muscles and weight gain of 5–7 pounds (2–3 kilos) of water weight are signs that creatine is taking effect.
Another sign that creatine is working is if you experience water weight gain and a larger muscle appearance. In addition to boosting muscular strength, creatine causes your body to store an extra 5–7 pounds (2–3 kilos) of water in your muscles. This results in fuller-looking muscles. So, if your muscles look larger and your weigh-ins show an increase in weight, creatine is having an effect.
How Much Creatine Should You Take?
If you are just beginning creatine, it’s okay to begin with a loading phase of 20–25 grams of creatine per day. This schedule should only be followed for 5–7 days. Once your loading phase is complete, switch to a maintenance dose of 3–6 grams. Once your muscles are saturated with creatine, you no longer need high doses to maintain peak performance. If you continue taking high doses after the initial 5–7 days, the surplus creatine will simply be flushed out of your body.
- If you are not currently taking creatine, you can begin with 20–25 grams per day for 5–7 days.
- Once you have completed a loading phase, your body only needs 3–6 grams of creatine daily.
- If you have stomach distress during the loading phase, you can begin with the 3–6 gram dose.
Some users experience gastrointestinal distress when taking high doses of creatine during a loading phase. If you experience this, feel free to begin with the smaller dose of 3–6 grams of creatine. It may take a little longer to saturate your muscles and see the effects of creatine supplementation this way, but you’ll still achieve the same strength peak.
How Fast Will Creatine Make You Bigger?
Creatine will make your muscles look fuller within 1–4 weeks of beginning supplementation, but this is only due to extra stored water in the muscles. To really gain benefits from creatine, you must combine at least 60–90 days of creatine use with a strength training program. Creatine helps you perform at a higher level, but it will only contribute to muscle building if you use that extra strength to perform harder workouts.
- Creatine will make your muscles appear larger within weeks due to stored water, but this will fade when you stop taking creatine.
- Truly building muscle mass requires you to follow a workout routine for 60–90 days while taking creatine.
- Creatine only helps you build muscle if you combine supplementation with a challenging exercise plan.
It’s important to use creatine in conjunction with a structured routine. We recommend a PHUL or PPL weightlifting program. Creatine does not build muscle unless you are actively working out. So, the gains you get from creatine depend on your own dedication and hard work. Creatine helps you perform at a higher level, allowing you to put more stress on your muscles and thus trigger more muscular development.
How Long Does it Take for Creatine to Kick In?
When you begin taking creatine, results can vary. Here are the keys to understanding creatine and how quickly it builds muscular strength:
- Creatine begins to increase performance 1–4 weeks after you start supplementation.
- If you begin by taking 20–25 grams of creatine for 5–7 days, you will see results in 1 week.
- If you start with the maintenance dose of 3–6 grams of creatine, you will see results in 3–4 weeks.
- If you use a creatine loading phase, reduce intake to a maintenance dose after 5–7 days.
- Creatine will make muscles look fuller within 1–4 weeks because it causes additional water to be stored in the muscles.
- To build muscular strength, combine creatine supplementation with a workout program for at least 60–90 days.
The effects of creatine supplementation are fast-acting when you use a creatine loading phase. Within 1 week you will see increases in performance. This will allow you to work out harder, lift more weight, and therefore build more muscle faster.