Creatine - why it results in weight gain

Creatine - why it results in weight gain

Creatine is a widely recognised supplement among athletes and bodybuilders for its ability to enhance muscle mass, strength, and overall performance.

However, a common side effect associated with creatine supplementation is weight gain, primarily attributed to water retention.

I have been taking creatine for about a year, after I read and researched the benefits and side effects. Given my vegetarian diet, it made sense for me to add creatine because I weight train.

However, let's understand how creatine affects weight.

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in small quantities in certain foods and synthesised by the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.

It plays a crucial role in energy production, particularly in activities involving short bursts of high-intensity effort. People typically consume creatine monohydrate as a supplement. 

When creatine enters the muscle cells, it binds with phosphate to form creatine phosphate. This compound serves as a quick energy reserve for activities such as weightlifting or sprinting.

In simple terms, it helps your body produce more ATP, or energy. 

Upon starting a creatine supplementation regimen, users often experience rapid weight gain within the first few days to weeks. This initial increase, ranging from 1 to 3 kgs, is primarily due to water retention.

The muscle cells absorb water along with creatine, leading to a fuller and more volumized appearance. This effect can be beneficial for athletes seeking to enhance their physical presence and muscle definition quickly.

While the initial weight gain is predominantly water, continued creatine use also contributes to actual muscle growth over time.

The sustained use of creatine allows for greater energy availability during high-intensity workouts, which promotes increased training volume and, consequently, muscle growth. Thus, the weight gained from water retention can act as a precursor to more substantial muscle mass gains.

Don't be too concerned about the water retention, it is temporary. If you weight train regularly, the water will convert into muscle. A balanced diet will help.

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