Can you take creatine without working out? Shortly, Yes. But will you benefit from extra supplementation? Then aside from potential brain health benefits it won’t do much for you. You need to know that most benefits of creatine supplementation are related to athletic performance and recovery.
Can you take creatine without working out?
Before answering this question, let’s outline the key features of creatine, to understand why it’s so popular among gym-goers, and what you should know before drinking creatine without working out.
If your goal is to build up muscles, you can combine proper weightlifting training, eating enough protein, and adding a creatine supplement to your nutrition plan. The primary goal of creatine is to enhance your performance at the gym and help with recovery. So, if you want to get benefits of creatine supplementation, consume 3-5 grams daily, arrange a regular workout plan with progressive overload, recover properly and be patient to see positive changes.
However, you should be cautious about choosing the proper creatine form in the murky supplement world. But, there’s nothing to worry about: creatine monohydrate is one of the most studied and observed sports supplements. Meaning, creatine is a nearly calorie free non-proteinogenic amino acid that occurs in our muscle cells, and is produced mainly in the liver and kidneys. Food sources rich in creatine are mostly red meat and fish.
After you consume creatine supplement, it gets converted inside the muscle cells to creatine phosphate - which is basically a form of stored energy. Your body during high intensity workout can use that stored PCr (thanks to the phosphagen system) to rapidly restore ATP - primary energy “currency”. This is the reason why creatine might be considered as fuel.
Now, let’s return to the initial question “Can you take creatine without working out?”. Shortly, Yes, it’s impossible - why not :). Creatine can assist with boosting your strength and muscle growth, consequently you’ll gain weight through muscle mass increase. However nothing from above will happen without proper training stimulus, adequate recovery and nutrition. But there are also possible benefits of creatine supplementation not related to the weight room, including brain health improvements and that’s why you can consider taking creatine without working out.
To sum up, if you take creatine without working out, there’s no sense to expect enhanced muscle growth - which must be stimulated properly according to body general adaptation syndrome and also SAID principle that tell us human body adapts to specifically imposed demands.
Should I take creatine on non-training days?
Let’s answer one of the most common questions - 'should you take creatine on days you don't workout'? YES! Creatine does not have an acute but cumulative effect - which basically means you need to take creatine consistently to keep your muscle cells saturated and get all of the benefits of supplementation. 3-5g of Creatine Monohydrate a day is your way to go (for bigger folks 0.03g/kg/day) despite is it a training day or not.
What are some non-sports related benefits?
Is it possible to gain muscle without training, but using creatine?
Possible drawbacks of taking creatine without working out
1. Increasing body weight
Creatine supplementation may result in increased body weight - in the beginning mostly due the water retention. Especially, if a person takes higher doses, like in the common loading phase - acute weight gain may be bigger. This weight gain occurred because of the water retention not the increase of body fat. While it’s a good thing for folks who train, for those who don’t - not really that beneficial.
2. Digestive issues
You may face some gastrointestinal disorders if consuming high doses of creatine. Try to split the dose throughout the day and consume it with meals.
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB: creatine we recommend
Creatine HMB muscle & strength building formula contains no artificial sweeteners, coloring, preservatives, and is a GMO- and gluten-free supplement.
The combination of Creatine monohydrate and HMB (hydroxymethylbutyrate) promises strength and endurance boost, while decreasing fat deposits, and preserving lean muscles (mostly due to Creatine, not HMB)
The added BioPerine®, the FDA-certified safe piperine supplement, increases bioavailability and absorption, however we need to understand that creatine monohydrate absorption is very high anyway.
The Creatine HMB StrengthSeries supplement includes the following ingredients that will benefit your energy output, workout performance, and gaining quality muscles:
- Creatine Monohydrate - 5,000 mg
Basically perfect dose and form for Creatine supplement. It has already proven its positive impact on strength boost, recovery, injury prevention, muscular endurance and growth along with intensive resistance workouts, and more.
- β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) - 1,500 mg
In combination with regular workouts, some say this substance also improves your training performance and assists in getting a lean body. HMB has shown some effects on improving strength and lean body mass when taken alongside resistance training. (However, plenty of other studies do not support its use as an exercise supplement, making its effectiveness debatable at best. We are sure that you will benefit way more from proper protein intake during a day than from HMB itself.)
- BioPerine® - 5 mg
Being clinically tested and certified by the FDA, this safe piperine supplement significantly enhances the bioavailability of various supplement nutrients and their better absorption, it also has shown some promise in stabilizing blood sugar levels, decreases inflammation, and boosts brain function.
- Vitamin D - 12.5 mcg (which is 500iu)
It helps to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, support muscle growth, bone health, improve mental activity and more.
As a dietary supplement a manufacturer advises to consume it 30 minutes after finishing a workout. However, timing in this case actually does not matter. It's recommended to take one scoop a day.
What happens if you take creatine but don't work out?
Can I take creatine without exercising?
Is creatine good for non-bodybuilders?
To sum up, creatine is a superb supplement offering a great bang for the buck if you're persistent in training. If the question 'can you take creatine without working out' matters to you, you need to understand how creatine works and we hope we already helped you with that.
Want to know more about creatine administration while training, or even if you don't work out? Write to us directly and our certified nutritionists will shed light into your queries.
- Alireza Naderi, "Timing, optimal dose and intake duration of dietary supplements with evidence-based use in sports nutrition", NCBI, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545206/ (Accessed Dec 2016)
- Darren G. Candow, "Heads Up for Creatine Supplementation and its Potential Applications for Brain Health and Function", SpringerLink, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-023-01870-9 (Published: 27 June 2023).
- Aaron J. Cunanan, "The General Adaptation Syndrome: A Foundation for the Concept of Periodization", SpringerLink, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-017-0855-3 (Published: 06 January 2018)
- Richard B. Kreider, "International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand", BMC, https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z (Published: 13 June 2017).
- Felipe M. Delpino M.Sc., "Influence of age, sex, and type of exercise on the efficacy of creatine supplementation on lean body mass", ScienceDirect, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0899900722002040 (Accessed December 2022)
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