If you’ve heard that creatine causes weight gain, you might also be wondering how many calories there are in creatine. The question makes sense because, I can assure you, creatine does cause weight gain, but not in the way that you might think.
You see, creatine will cause water retention which means that the weight gain is simple just water weight! (Don’t worry, I will explain this in a lot more detail throughout this article.)
Despite gaining water weight, creatine has various health benefits, which is why you see a lot of gym lovers take it.
So, how does it make you gain weight? How much creatine should you take in a day? How much water to drink when taking creatine?
We have answered all these questions right here! But before we move onto those questions, let’s start with the one that you’ve come here for! How many calories are there in creatine?
How Many Calories Are There in Creatine?
Whether you’re in the bulking phase or cutting phase, it’s important to monitor how many calories you take with everything you consume, even creatine.
Now, you might think that creatine contains a lot of calories because it causes some serious weight gain. But, to your surprise, creatine has little to ZERO calories.
The number of calories in creatine might depend on the brand. In general creatine has nothing or very few calories. For example, optimum nutrition creatine powder (best selling on amazon) has 0 calories. Creatine monohydrate by MYPROTEIN also contains 0 calories.
However, there are a few calories in some creatine monohydrate brands such as BSC Creatine which has 12 calories per serve (3 grams). Which one do I use? Currently, I am using the MYPROTEIN creatine monohydrate.
In general, most quality creatine monohydrate options have little to no calories at all. So, if you exercise regularly and eat healthy, you’re not likely to gain fat from creatine.
So, if creatine has none or just a few calories, what makes you gain weight? Let’s start by looking at how creatine supplements are made.
How is Creatine Supplement Made?
Although creatine can be sourced through animal products, you will need to consume a lot to gain its maximum benefits. Trust me, your gym life will be a lot easier if you simply use the creatine supplement.
But how exactly is it made? Well creatine is made in our body however can also be manufactured with sarcosine and cyanamide. These two ingredients are combined and exposed to heat and applied pressure. They are then purified and eventually milled into a fine powder.
So, if creatine has little to no calories, what is it that is causing the increase in weight shortly after supplementing creatine in your diet.
Relationship between Creatine and Weight Gain
It is likely for you to notice an increase on the weight scale after taking creatine. You might also look a little bigger and fuller, but I can assure you, it is not fat! Because, for you to gain fat, you need to increase your calorie consumption however, creatine has no calories.
So, how do you gain weight from creatine?
The answer is water retention! You see, creatine draws water to your muscle cells. Your muscles will keep this water and as a result will make your muscles look bigger and puffier.
So, no! Creatine does not make you fat. It might make you look bloated but that extra weight you gained is simply just water weight. So, the real question is, what is the point of creatine? Why do so many people take the supplement?
Benefits of Creatine
There are actually so many benefits surrounding this controversial topic of creatine. The main benefits are the increase in ATP production and building muscle overtime. However, creatine has also shown benefits in improving recovery. Let’s look at all of this in some detail below.
Increase ATP production
Now let’s start with a definition. What is ATP? “Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a source of energy for use and storage at the cellular level” (National Library of Medicine).
The demand for ATP is increased during high intensity exercises like deadlifts, squats, or bench press. However, our body can only store 8-10 seconds worth of ATP. Once you have performed high intense or explosive movements for 8 – 10 seconds, our body runs out of ATP and needs time to produce more.
Ultimately, in order for you to perform exercises with maximum intensity, you need more ATP than your body can produce.
That’s where creatine comes in and it increases the phosphocreatine levels used for ATP production. This essentially helps increase your performance in high intensity training.
This brings me to my next point.
Builds Muscle Overtime
As we just mentioned, creatine helps with ATP production which increases our energy and helps us enhance or high intensity exercise training.
In fact, studies have shown that creatine can increase your high intensity training performance by 10-20%.
Ultimately, more creatine in your muscle will give you the energy to perform longer and harder during your workout sessions. This means you will be able to lift more weight, impress your gym crush, and perform that last rep you think you couldn’t do.
And since you are lifting more weight, progressively overloading, and performing more reps, over time you will notice an increased muscle mass.
Now there are a lot more benefits of creatine, but another main one is improving recovery. There is a lot of research done to show that creating actually improves recovery and can prevent serious muscle damage.
How Much of Creatine Should You Take Per Day?
The recommended amount of creatine supplement you should be having per day is between 3-5 grams. (In terms of calories, 3-5 grams of creatine has little to zero calories).
Now let’s talk about the loading phase. This means taking an increased amount of creatine of about 20 grams initially for up to 5-7 days to rapidly saturate your muscles. After this loading phase, your muscles will have an increased level of creatine store. After this period, you must follow up with a maintenance period of 3-5 grams per day to keep maximal saturation of the creatine stores.
The purpose for a loading phase of creatine is to quickly maximize your creatine stores in your muscles and saturate your muscles with creatine.
In fact, it will take nearly 4 weeks to saturate your muscles for those who take 3-5 grams of creatine per day.
Whereas, if you consider a loading phase, it will take you about a week to saturate your muscles.
Remember, you will see the key performance benefits of creatine after you have maximized your creatine storage.
Now, if you are planning to go with a loading phase, don’t consume 20 grams of creatine in one go. In fact, taking a lot of creatine at once can lead to stomach discomfort. Instead, split it out throughout the day. Take 4 doses of 5 grams of creatine throughout your day.
Am I saying you must do a loading phase? No! It just speeds up the process. If you don’t want to do a loading phase, simply have 3-5 grams of creatine. The effects are the same, but it might just take a month rather than a week to maximize creatine stores and saturate your muscles.
What did I do? I, personally, took 5 grams of creatine per day. It just depends on how patient you are!
How Much Water Should You Drink After Taking Creatine?
Let’s take a quick quiz! What does the creatine supplement do? Got the answer?
That’s right! Creating essentially draws water to the muscle cells making them look bigger.
So, you need to drink water and stay hydrated for creatine to pull the water to your muscles. If you stay dehydrated, there is simply no water for creatine to pull into your muscles.
Furthermore, you must drink more water than your daily consumption. Why? Because, since creatine draws the water into your muscle cells, it leaves your body with less water for other organs and will impact their normal functions.
So how much water should you take when including creatine in your diet? When taking a dose of creatine (that is 3 – 5 grams), you should aim to have 300-500 ml of water. Overall, in a day, you should have 4-5 liters of water.
If you’re in a loading phase or are consuming more than 5 grams of creatine, take an additional 100 ml for every 1 gram of creatine.
Yes, creatine causes weight gain, hence raises the question: how many calories in creatine? But the answer is surprising to a few people. Creatine has little to no calories at all. Majority of the weight gain is caused because of water retention after consuming creatine.
I hope this has answered your question and helped you get a better understanding of what creatine actually does and how it benefits you. For now, stay Fit & Healthy! Stay tuned for our upcoming articles!