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Benefits Of Creatine: Strength, Endurance And More

In this blog, we will explore the many benefits of creatine and why it’s such a popular supplement among athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. Creatine is a popular supplement that has been used for many years by athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts. 

Whether you’re looking to improve your athletic performance, gain muscle mass, or simply boost your overall health and well-being, creatine may be just the supplement you need.

Creatine formula in red writing on a creatine covered white background

Table of Contents

What Is Creatine? Benefits And Use Cases

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound that is produced in our bodies from amino acids. It is mainly stored in our muscles and plays an important role in the production of energy during high-intensity physical activities such as weightlifting, sprinting, and jumping.

Creatine is also found in small amounts in certain foods, such as red meat and fish. However, the amount of creatine that can be obtained through diet alone is often not sufficient for those who engage in intense physical activity. Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts choose to supplement their diet with creatine in order to maximise their performance and achieve their fitness goals.

When taken as a supplement, creatine has been shown to have several potential benefits, including:

  • Increased Muscle Strength
  • Improved Muscle Endurance
  • Enhanced Muscle Mass
  • Improved Recovery
  • Improved Mental Function

It’s important to note that while creatine has been shown to be safe and effective for most people, individual results may vary. Let’s take a look at these benefits in more detail. 

Increased Muscle Strength

Creatine improves muscle strength by increasing the availability of energy in the muscle cells, specifically in the form of phosphocreatine. During high-intensity, short-duration exercises, the body relies on phosphocreatine to produce energy quickly.

Athletic man deadlifitng a large amount of weight

Supplementation with creatine increases the phosphocreatine stores in the muscle cells, allowing for improved energy production and increased muscle strength. Additionally, creatine has been shown to increase the water content in the muscle cells, leading to improved cell hydration and volumization. This can lead to improved muscle function and increased strength.

Overall, creatine supplementation can help improve muscle strength, especially during high-intensity, short-duration exercises. Therefore allowing for longer and more intense workouts.

Improved Muscle Endurance

Creatine supplementation can improve muscle endurance by reducing the accumulation of metabolic by-products, such as lactic acid. This build up of lactic acid can lead to fatigue during intense exercise. By reducing the accumulation of these by-products, creatine can help delay muscle fatigue. Thus allowing for longer and more intense workouts.

Furthermore, some studies suggest that creatine supplementation can improve the function of mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cells, which can lead to improved energy production and increased muscle endurance.

Overall, creatine supplementation can help improve muscle endurance by reducing fatigue and improving energy production.

Enhanced Muscle Mass

Creatine supplementation can help increase muscle mass by promoting protein synthesis and improving cell hydration and volumization. When taken as a supplement, creatine increases the availability of energy in the muscle cells, leading to improved muscle function.

This can lead to increased muscle activation and stimulation, resulting in improved protein synthesis and increased muscle mass.

Additionally, creatine has been shown to increase the water content in the muscle cells, leading to improved cell hydration and volumization. This can result in a temporary increase in muscle size, giving the appearance of increased muscle mass.

Furthermore, creatine supplementation can improve muscle strength, allowing for longer and more intense workouts, which can result in further muscle growth over time. Overall, creatine supplementation can help improve muscle mass by promoting protein synthesis and improving cell hydration and volumization.

Improved Recovery

Creatine supplementation can help improve muscle recovery by reducing muscle damage and promoting cellular repair processes. During intense exercise, muscle fibres can become damaged, leading to inflammation and decreased function.

Creatine has been shown to reduce the accumulation of metabolic by-products, such as lactic acid, that can lead to muscle damage and decreased function.

Additionally, creatine has been shown to stimulate the production of cell-signalling molecules that play a key role in the repair and regeneration of damaged muscle fibres. This can help reduce muscle damage and improve muscle recovery after intense exercise.

Other Potential Benefits Of Creatine

One study indicates creatine can reduce the amount of sleep required to feel well-rested. Therefore it could be considered a potential treatment for sleep-related disorders. 1

Studies also suggest that creatine has the ability to create new skin turnover and repair, thus replenishing the cells. This leads to a reduction in wrinkles, fine lines and more glowing skin.

Related Article – How Much Sleep Do You Need To Function Optimally 

The Science Behind Creatine

Creatine is already naturally found in the body as phosphocreatine with the majority (about 95%) located within the muscles. 2

Additional supplementation increases the number of phosphocreatine stores, which leads to increased production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). 3 ATP is basically how much the body can take before it needs a rest. So the higher the levels of ATP you have, the more you can prolong effective performance.

Alongside this improved endurance, these processes in the body lead to an increase in muscle mass and strength. The increase in stamina and duration of the muscles allows more vigorous workouts to be undertaken. Muscles thus become more durable and allow the number of sets and repetitions during exercise to be increased through the effects of creatine. 

Related Article – 7 Best Supplements For Muscle Recovery

How Long Does Creatine Take To Work?

There is more than one method when it comes to supplementing correctly into your diet. Each approach will directly impact how long it takes for you to recognise any changes. Creatine stores in your muscles must rise to the degree of muscle saturation before you can experience the effects of creatine supplementation.

The two most common methods of creatine supplementation are creatine loading and the maintenance protocol. In the sections below we will cover each protocol in more detail and make suggestions on how best to apply them into your own routine: 

Option 1: Creatine Loading

The creatine loading protocol is a method of quickly increasing the amount of creatine in your muscles. It involves taking high doses of creatine for a short period of time, usually 5-7 days, followed by a maintenance phase where a smaller dose of creatine is taken to maintain elevated levels.

To put the creatine loading protocol into practice, you can follow these steps:

  1. Start with a loading phase: Take 20-25 grams of creatine per day for 5-7 days. This can be divided into 4-5 doses throughout the day.

  2. Mix creatine with water or juice: Creatine can be mixed with water or juice and consumed immediately after mixing. It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure proper hydration.

  3. Follow a maintenance phase: After the loading phase, reduce the daily dose of creatine to 3-5 grams per day. This can be taken once daily, preferably after a workout.

  4. Cycle on and off: After the maintenance phase, take a break from creatine for 4-6 weeks before starting another cycle. This allows your body to reset and ensures that your muscles do not become dependent on the supplement.

Potential Side Effects Of The Loading Method

Using the loading method seems like a no-brainer to get all the benefits of creatine as it is faster acting and stored within the body much more quickly. Whilst this is true, creatine loading may cause a few uncomfortable side effects including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Temporary weight gain
  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramps

Whilst these side effects are rare and not life-threateningly serious, they can be very uncomfortable. Take your time to consider whether these potential side effects are worth the impatience instead of slowly building up your accumulation within the body. 

Related Article – 7 Reasons You Are Not Gaining Muscle

Option 2: Maintenance Protocol

The maintenance protocol is the phase of creatine supplementation where a smaller, daily dose of creatine is taken to maintain elevated levels in the muscles. Here’s how to put the maintenance protocol into practice:

  1. Determine the proper dosage: The maintenance dosage for creatine is typically around 3-5 grams per day. This amount can vary depending on body weight, level of physical activity, and individual goals. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or a certified sports nutritionist to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific needs.

  2. Take creatine at the same time each day: To ensure consistent levels of creatine in your muscles, take your daily dose at the same time each day. This can be before or after a workout, or at any other convenient time.

  3. Mix creatine with water or juice: Creatine can be mixed with water or juice and consumed immediately after mixing. It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure proper hydration.

  4. Cycle on and off: To prevent your body from becoming dependent on creatine and to maximize its effectiveness, it’s important to cycle on and off the supplement. This means taking a break from creatine supplementation for 4-6 weeks before starting another cycle.

Other FAQ's

Does Creatine Cause Balding?

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that creatine supplementation causes balding in men or women. This is a common myth that has been circulating for years, but there is no credible scientific evidence to support it.

Hair loss, also known as male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia, is a complex condition that is influenced by a variety of genetic and environmental factors. While there is some evidence that increased levels of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) may contribute to hair loss in some individuals, there is no evidence to suggest that creatine supplementation affects these hormone levels.

In fact, some studies have suggested that creatine supplementation may actually have a protective effect on hair health. One study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that creatine supplementation improved hair strength and prevented hair damage in a group of female subjects.

Is Creatine Safe To Use?

Creatine is generally considered safe when used as directed and when high-quality supplements are used. Research has shown that short-term use of creatine supplements at recommended doses is unlikely to cause any serious adverse effects. However, like any supplement, there may be potential risks and side effects associated with its use. Some of the most commonly reported side effects include digestive issues such as bloating, cramping, and diarrhea, as well as dehydration if not enough water is consumed.

When Is The Best Time To Take Creatine?

For optimal benefits of creatine consume straight before exercise, as a substitute for pre-workout. Creatine consumed before a workout can be quickly digested by the body and then utilised during exercise. Having said that, there is not a major difference between Creatine consumption before exercise and just spontaneously consuming. So long as you are consuming your intended amount each day, the outcome will still render the same results over the long term. 

Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight?

Creatine supplementation causes fluid retention, 4 which will lead to an initial gain in weight. The fluid retention will lead to the muscles appearing puffier and larger within just a few days. This process is caused by water being drawn into the muscles from other areas of the body. Lack of water consumption when using creatine will ultimately lead to dehydration. Therefore, when using this supplement it is important to consume more water than you usually would – Aim for around 3L a day. 

Summary & Recommendations

In summary, creatine is a popular dietary supplement that has been shown to offer a range of benefits for athletic performance and overall health. Research has demonstrated that creatine can increase muscle strength, power, and endurance, as well as enhance recovery and reduce muscle damage following intense exercise.

Additionally, creatine supplementation may improve cognitive function, bone health, and insulin sensitivity, among other potential benefits. While creatine is generally considered safe when used as directed, it’s important to choose a high-quality supplement from a reputable brand and to follow the recommended dosing instructions carefully.

Drinking plenty of water is also important to prevent dehydration, which can be a potential side effect of creatine supplementation. Whether you’re a competitive athlete or simply looking to improve your fitness and well-being, creatine may be a valuable addition to your supplement regimen.


  1. Dworak M, Kim T, Mccarley RW, Basheer R. Creatine supplementation reduces sleep need and homeostatic sleep pressure in rats. J Sleep Res. 2017 Jun;26(3):377-385. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12523. Epub 2017 Apr 11. PMID: 28397310; PMCID: PMC5435551.
  2. Burke DG, Candow DG, Chilibeck PD, MacNeil LG, Roy BD, Tarnopolsky MA, Ziegenfuss T. Effect of creatine supplementation and resistance-exercise training on muscle insulin-like growth factor in young adults. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2008;18:389–398. 
  3. Kurosawa Y, Hamaoka T, Katsumura T, Kuwamori M, Kimura N, Sako T, Chance B. Creatine supplementation enhances anaerobic ATP synthesis during a single 10 sec maximal handgrip exercise. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):105-12. PMID: 12701817.
  4. Powers ME, Arnold BL, Weltman AL, Perrin DH, Mistry D, Kahler DM, Kraemer W, Volek J. Creatine Supplementation Increases Total Body Water Without Altering Fluid Distribution. J Athl Train. 2003 Mar;38(1):44-50. PMID: 12937471; PMCID: PMC155510.
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