Creatine has both benefits and drawbacks when you are cutting. Creatine helps you perform intense workouts while on a cutting diet, which increases your ability to build muscle during a cutting phase. However, creatine causes you to gain several pounds of water weight and causes your muscles to look less defined. If you want to avoid losing muscle mass while cutting, take a creatine supplement. If your goal is to look as defined and toned as possible, it’s best to stop taking creatine while in a cutting phase.
Pros of Taking Creatine While Cutting
There are several reasons to take creatine while on a cutting plan. If you’re currently on the fence, consider the following benefits creatine will provide when you reduce your caloric intake during a cutting phase.
Boost Performance While on a Cutting Diet
In order to lose fat during a cutting phase, you have to change your diet to put yourself in a calorie deficit. On its own, this will reduce your energy in the gym and limit your ability to perform at your peak. Because creatine is proven to boost performance, taking a creatine supplement helps you maintain your strength and energy while cutting.
- A cutting diet will typically reduce your energy and endurance in the gym, due to the fact that you are in a calorie deficit.
- Without creatine supplementation, your max lifts and overall athletic performance will be decreased while cutting.
- Creatine helps boost strength and performance, offsetting the negatives of a cutting diet.
Without a creatine supplement, you will see your performance decrease when you shift from a bulking phase to a cutting phase. Your max weight during weight training will decrease. Similarly, your performance in running and other cardiovascular exercises will decrease. By supplementing your diet with creatine, you can maintain a higher level of performance on a reduced-calorie diet.
Increased Muscle-Building Potential
Because creatine helps boost your energy levels and strength in the gym, supplementing your diet with 3–6 grams of creatine daily will allow you to work out harder. This puts more stress on your muscle fibers. This increased stress then triggers your body to build more lean muscle mass. So, creatine can help you build more muscle while cutting.
- A cutting diet results in decreased energy, resulting in less intense workouts that do not build much muscle.
- The increased energy creatine provides helps you work out harder while cutting.
- When you supplement with creatine, you may be able to build muscle mass while cutting.
It can be difficult to gain muscle while you are cutting. The calorie deficit that is required to lose body fat reduces energy stores, resulting in sluggish workouts that don’t stress your muscle cells as fully. This results in slow muscle gain, no muscle gain, or loss of muscle mass. Taking a creatine monohydrate supplement helps offset the downsides of cutting.
Cut Fat Without Losing Muscle
Creatine does not trigger your body to gain fat. So, as long as you are following a cutting diet that puts you in a calorie deficit, creatine will not impede your progress. Plus, the extra energy provided by creatine can help you burn more calories in the gym, resulting in a successful cut.
- Creatine supplementation will not interfere with your cutting diet.
- Supplementing with creatine does not directly cause fat gain or fat loss.
- If your goal is maintaining as much muscle mass as possible while cutting, take creatine.
If you are looking to drop body fat while maintaining—or even increasing—muscle mass, taking creatine while cutting is a great choice. So, for anyone whose main goal is muscle mass, we recommend starting or continuing creatine use throughout your cutting phase.
Cons of Taking Creatine While Cutting
Creatine does have some negative effects on a cutting plan. It’s important to know the negative side effects before you make your final decision. Here are some reasons why you may choose to avoid creatine while cutting.
Creatine will cause you to put on 5–7 pounds (2–3 kilos) of water weight. While creatine won’t make you put on fat, it will cause your body to store additional water in the muscles. So, taking creatine while cutting can make it hard to determine if you’re making weight loss progress.
- Taking creatine causes your body to store several additional pounds of water in your muscles, according to this study.
- Additional water weight caused by creatine use can make it appear like your cutting diet isn’t working.
- If you want the most accurate weigh-in during your cutting phase, do not take creatine.
The weight gain caused by creatine can occur very fast. You may be surprised to find out how quickly creatine begins working. If you start using creatine at the beginning of your cutting phase, you may see your weight go up. If it becomes difficult to tell if you’re losing fat or not while cutting, stop taking creatine so you can get a clear understanding of your physique.
Decreased Muscle Definition
Because creatine causes your body to store additional water in your muscles, it can make your muscles look less toned. The excess water stored in your muscles due to creatine can prevent you from having six-pack abs. This is another way creatine can make it difficult to tell if your cutting plan is working.
- The excess water stored in your muscles while you take creatine results in less muscle definition.
- If your cutting goal is to get a ripped look, do not take creatine while cutting.
- Quitting creatine will cause you to drop the excess water weight and look more toned.
If your goal while cutting is to look as defined as possible, we recommend pausing creatine use. Within a week, your body will flush excess water from your muscles, resulting in a more toned look. However, there are some other things that will happen when you stop taking creatine.
Creatine Does Not Boost Fat Burning Directly
Although creatine doesn’t cause you to gain fat, it does not help you lose weight either. Creatine will not impact your metabolism or push fat burning into overdrive. So, creatine will not directly help you cut fat.
- Creatine does not cause a fat-burning or metabolic boost.
- The extra energy provided by creatine only helps you burn fat if you perform challenging workouts.
- A structured cutting plan is necessary whether you take creatine while cutting or not.
Although creatine can give you more energy in the gym, this is only helpful if you use that energy to perform intense workouts. So, creatine is not a magic fuel that will aid in cutting. A well-planned diet and exercise program is essential to cutting. This holds true whether you’re taking creatine or not.
Will Creatine Help During a Cutting Phase?
Creatine can help or hurt during a cutting phase. Whether creatine is good for your cutting plan or not, depends on your goals. Here’s our quick guide to using creatine while cutting.
- Creatine can help prevent muscle loss while cutting.
- Taking creatine can help boost energy, offsetting the lack of energy caused by a cutting diet.
- You will see increased performance in the gym while taking creatine.
Take Creatine While Cutting If: Your goals are to gain or maintain muscle mass and boost gym performance. If you want to be as big and strong as possible, it’s a great idea to take a creatine supplement while cutting.
- Supplementing with creatine causes your body to retain an extra 5–7 pounds (2–3 kilos) of water in your muscles.
- The extra water retention caused by creatine use makes muscles look less defined.
Do Not Take Creatine While Cutting If: Your cutting goal is to hit a target weight or achieve a “ripped” look. Lower levels of stored creatine in your muscles will result in lower body weight and a more toned appearance.