Can You Build Muscle Without Creatine? (how, explained)

January 8, 2024 |

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By clicking on this article, you’re definitely on the way to massive gains; I can feel it. Jokes aside, creatine has become a staple in most supplement cupboards, from Tik Tokkers to Pro Bodybuilders – stuff must work. Is it essential though?

Creatine is a supplement that can increase your workout capacity and the ability to gain lean muscle tissue. You may not need creatine to gain muscle; however, it would help your progress.

A study published in 2018 found that creatine could increase short-term memory and intelligence.

Various other studies have shown the countless benefits of creatine. But do you need it to build muscle, or can you do it as an ultra-natural?

Do You Need Creatine to Build Muscle?

Building muscle is the process by which you expose the muscle to a novel stimulus, feed it enough food, and get enough rest, to which the body responds by accruing more contractile tissue. Without going into too much detail, it is pretty simple.

The process of building muscle does not require creatine supplementation.

Your body needs ample calories and amino acids to build muscle, found in protein. The body will break down the protein into amino acids and send them to where they are needed within the body.

You do not require any specific supplement to build muscle; everyone can do so unless you perhaps suffer from a specific illness.

Will Creatine Make Muscles Bigger?

Creatine increases ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the body’s high-energy phosphate system, within the first 30 seconds of any high-intensity exercise.

Creatine does make muscles bigger, yes, by increasing intramuscular water storage.

The other way creatine does this is by making your muscles stronger, meaning they can move a heavier load. A heavier load with more food means a tremendous increase in muscle size.

Creatine alone won’t do much for muscle size or strength without training. It might help with brain function, but you have to train to feel and see the physical results.

Is it Worth it to Take Creatine?

Michel Eugène Chevreul first isolated creatine in 1832 but first hit the American market in 1993. It has since taken over the world as the most commonly used supplement behind protein powder.

Creatine is one of the few supplements that have survived the “5 Year Rule” when it comes to supplements, meaning it is still around after five years, signifying that it does indeed work. Creatine is worth it.

Creatine will increase muscle mass and slightly increase muscle endurance, as long as the activity is less than 30 seconds. It will only be a “bad investment” if you only do endurance training.

Does Creatine Make You Gain Belly Fat?

Belly fat is most commonly either visceral or subcutaneous fat.

Neither are great for health, but visceral fat is especially bad. Visceral fat is the fat around organs and is responsible for giving some people a “gut.”

There is no mechanism in which creatine can make you gain belly fat or any fat.

There is a common misconception that creatine causes bloating, which is not true. Creatine stores water within the muscles, not subcutaneously. Some people have claimed to have indigestion from Creatine Monohydrate, in which case Creatine HCl or Ethyl Ester would work.

Why You Should Not Take Creatine

The fitness world is overflowing with influencers trying to sell you the next best thing; some of it works, some don’t. Some of it hasn’t even been tested.

Creatine is the most researched supplement on the planet.

The only individuals who should not be taking creatine are people who have pre-existing issues with their kidneys or liver.

Which is better, BCAA or Creatine?

BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids) have been on the market for some time, and almost everybody is using them. There is very little research to show that BCCAs alone do anything for performance.

Your money will be better spent on Creatine, hands down.

Creatine has mountains of research and clinical studies to show its effectiveness, which you can not say for BCAAs. Your body needs access to nine essential amino acids to build muscle, and BCAAs only provide three.

Therefore, it is physically impossible for BCAAs to be anabolic unless you consume protein.

Is Creatine Basically a Steroid?

Something needs to be a synthetic version or variation of the testosterone hormone to classify as an anabolic steroid. Steroids are illegal to sell or use.

Creatine is not a steroid and is not banned by any governing party of any sport.

Creatine does technically count as a peptide; however, similar to collagen. Creatine does not possess any of the side effects associated with anabolic steroids. It is not a hormone and will not act the same way a steroid does in the body.

Can Beginners Take Creatine?

As a beginner, you are sometimes thrown into the deep end, even more so with fitness. With everyone looking to make a quick buck off you, it’s only natural to ask whether creatine would work for a beginner.

Yes, beginners can take Creatine. Anyone can take creatine unless they have pre-existing renal issues.

Creatine is exceptionally beneficial to most sports and even suitable for brain function. As a beginner, you can either follow the saturation route, take more than the usual dose for a week to saturate the muscles ASAP, or start taking 5g of Creatine Monohydrate daily.

Is Creatine Good for Cutting?

Summer might be around the corner, and you want to spend some time at the beach or post some fire pictures on Instagram to remind your ex they’re missing out.

Creatine is one of the best supplements you can take while trying to lose fat.

Since performance will likely dip when you are in a deep deficit, introducing performance boosters such as creatine would be a great idea.

Creatine cannot make you fat, and any water weight you might gain will be intramuscularly and not subcutaneously. This means your muscles will be bigger and have greater leverage in the gym for performance.

Do You Take Creatine Before or After a Workout?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions, probably ever. Everyone has a different opinion, and everyone believes they are right.

The best time to take creatine would be post-workout when your creatine levels are most depleted. The extra benefits are minuscule, so any time during the day would be perfect. Only one study has found that taking creatine post-workout is better than pre, so take this advice with a grain of salt.

Does Creatine Cause Water Gain?

Few questions are asked as often as this, as most guys will be afraid of gaining fat or losing their shredded abs. There is a mechanism in which creatine stores water in the body, yes.

However, creatine does not store water under the skin. Creatine stores water within the muscle cells, which can aid in performance. This means that any water weight gained will only be utilized in training and should not be worried about.

Can Teenagers Take Creatine?

Yes, teenagers can take creatine. Parents rejoice; your kid isn’t on steroids.

Creatine is not a hormone or a steroid and is not a banned substance. A study published in 2018 found that creatine is safe for teenagers to consume and highly beneficial in muscle-building effects and strength.

If you are a teenager looking to take training to the next level, 5 grams of Creatine Monohydrate will be more than enough to get the full benefits of creatine.

Who Should Take Creatine, and Who Should Not?

Creatine is a natural supplement tested more than any other sports supplement on the planet. This means we have tonnes of evidence to support the usage in all age groups and populations.




Teenagers Safety of Creatine Supplementation in Active Adolescents and Youth: A Brief Review Creatine Supplementation can help with Muscle Gain

No adverse effects

Both Male and Female US Army Soldiers The effect and safety of short-term creatine supplementation on the performance of push-ups No adverse changes in blood pressure, body composition, weight, or serum Cr phosphokinase levels were observed
Osteopenic, postmenopausal females Effects of long-term low-dose dietary creatine supplementation in older women No adverse effects were reported after a year of usage

Only one population would not benefit from creatine supplementation, and that population is individuals suffering from renal damage. The kidneys play a vital role in metabolizing creatine supplementation, and thus placing extra strain on an already damaged organ is asking for trouble.

Which Creatine is Best?

If you are not aware, there are various kinds available on the market; Monohydrate, Ethyl Ester, and HCl, to name a few. As most marketing strategists would do, they market the next to be better than the former. But which one is the best?

Creatine Monohydrate is the cheapest and also the best version of the supplement. This version has the most research behind its name and the highest absorption rate compared to the others.

Final Thoughts on building muscle without taking creatine

The answer to this question is yes, you can build muscle without creatine.

However, if you want to achieve the best results possible, using creatine can help. In addition to helping with strength and size gains, creatine has been shown to have other benefits such as improving brain function and reducing inflammation.

If you’re looking for an edge in your fitness journey, consider adding a creatine supplement to your routine.

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