One of the most difficult things about cutting is keeping your energy up and maintaining muscle mass.
Even if you keep track of your macros constantly, you’ll still have a hard time reaching your goals. That’s why so many bodybuilders and athletes use supplements while they cut to retain their lean mass and to stay motivated at the gym.
Creatine is one of the most popular and effective supplements on the market, however, most weightlifters and athletes associate Creatine with bulking, not with cutting. Creatine can be a great supplement to your diet to help you retain muscle mass and to keep you going when you’re hitting the weights.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a popular supplement that helps maintain your energy levels during high-intensity training or heavy lifting. It is produced naturally in your muscle cells, but taking a supplement can increase creatine levels to maximize your performance. As your creatine levels rise, your body stores some of it in your muscle cells as phosphocreatine, which helps your body produce higher levels of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the primary energy source for our cells.
What Can Creatine Do For You?
Creatine has become one of the most popular supplements among weightlifters, athletes, and bodybuilders. It helps maximize your athletic performance in a couple different ways. A steady daily intake of creatine can lead to increased short-term performance, as well as improved long-term gains.
- Higher Energy Levels
As stated before, Creatine can increase the amount of ATP produced in your cells, making more energy available for your muscles to exert force and repair damage. Where normally you might be fatigued after an hour of heavy lifting, creatine can help you to push through another hour before your energy levels start to drop. This can help you push yourself longer and harder in your workouts.
- Increased Muscle Mass
Because creatine acts as an amino acid and increases the available energy stored in muscle cells, it also leads to faster muscle growth. It also has a range of complementary functions that assist your body in naturally producing more new muscle.
- Improved Recovery
Before your body creates new muscle, you have to break down the existing muscle. When you exert force to push heavier weights, your muscle fibers are ripping and tearing. However, it’s this very process of destruction that helps your body to repair these strands of muscle fiber and optimize them, making them stronger and granting greater endurance.
Creatine helps this process by helping your body produce higher levels of anabolic hormones (the hormones that trigger a “growth and repair” signal in your cells). It also improves cell signaling, the process by which your newly damaged cells signal to “satellite cells”, which then approach the damaged area and begin replicating into muscle cells which attach to the existing fibers.
Will Creatine Get Me Ripped?
You will make yourself get ripped, and creatine can help you do it faster and more efficiently.
Creatine is a supplement, and as such, it needs to be taken regularly alongside a proper diet and exercise regimen in order to be effective. What creatine does is it helps improve all the processes by which your muscles regenerate and build new muscle. However, this muscle growth won’t happen unless you’re actively breaking down the existing fibers through strength building exercises and weight training. Creatine can’t do the work out for you, but it will help you get through it and you will see much faster gains.
If you’re looking for a supplement to help you workout harder and recover faster, but you don’t want to build a lot of new muscle mass, creatine is still a viable option. As long as you’re training routine consists of endurance, resistance, and high-rep-low-weight exercises, and doesn’t involve a lot of heavy weight, creatine will increase your energy levels and help with muscle repair without causing you to suddenly bulk up into a huge powerlifter overnight.
How Does Creatine Affect Weight Loss?
- Greater Energy Output
The increased energy and higher muscle performance supplied by creatine help you to push yourself harder in the gym, leading to higher levels of energy burned. If you want to maximize your weight loss benefits, use the added energy from creatine to add more cardio to your routine. Plus, creatine contains no calories, so the energy boost you get from it can be completely guilt-free! The more calories you burn in the gym, the more weight you’ll lose.
- New Muscle Growth
Creatine increases muscle growth, and your body burns calories repairing those muscle fibers and replicating new ones. Plus, as your muscle mass increases and your fat level decreases you’ll naturally burn more and more calories as your workouts become more intense. Of course, this will happen without using supplements as well, but the process moves much quicker with the help of creatine.
- Retain Existing Muscle
Many people looking to lose weight are primarily trying to change their appearance. But if they pay no attention to their muscles, they’ll have a longer and harder time slimming down to the figure they want. During an intense cut in which you’re eating at a constant calorie deficit, you’ll be shedding pounds all over your body. When there are no calories being supplied from food, the body turns to burning stores of fat. However, it also burns muscle, and if you’re working out as well your body might not have enough nutrients and energy to properly repair damaged muscle fibers.
Creatine helps you retain your muscle through a cut so that as you burn fat, your muscles stay strong and become more toned and defined as you slim down. This also leads to burning more fat than muscle, speeding up the process entirely.
- It’s Not a Weight Loss Drug
If you take creatine and you’re not working out, I’m sorry but you will not see any weight loss benefits. This is not a weight loss drug, it’s a supplement to help build and retain muscle mass while increasing energy levels. If you’re not already hitting the gym regularly, you’re better off focusing on sticking to your workout routine than focusing on creatine.
- Water Weight
One of the complementary functions of creatine is to increase the amount of water stored in your muscles. Although this is important in facilitating quick and efficient muscle growth and repair, it can sometimes lead to an initial increase in weight when you first start taking creatine. However, as long as you keep pushing yourself in the gym, this water weight will burn off quickly, and as soon as you finish your cut and stop taking creatine it will go away on its own.
- Muscle Growth
As you continue building muscle, you will start to slim down visually as your muscles become more defined and the fat burns off. However, if you mainly judge your own weight with a scale you’ll be very confused. Muscle weighs more than fat, it’s a denser tissue.
This means that if you’re building a lot of new muscle quickly, which often occurs in people who are new to working out, your literal weight will go up. Don’t worry though, muscle weight distributes much more aesthetically. Although the number on your scale might frighten you, your reflection will give you nothing but pride.
Will Creatine Break My Fast?
One final note about creatine use during a cut. If you’re fasting, whether it be for intermittent fasting, a ketosis diet, or for a spiritual reason, creatine will not affect your fast. Creatine contains no calories of its own, so it is completely fine to take creatine on a fasting day.
Creatine is incredibly useful for losing weight while maintaining existing muscle mass. Some bodybuilders even swear that creatine is a necessary part of a good cutting phase. As long as you stay dedicated to your workout regimen, it will help you reach your fitness and health goals quicker and more efficiently. Remember that creatine is a supplement, not a miracle drug. It will take at least a week to two weeks for you to start seeing or feeling the full benefits of taking it