Should you take Creatine while Cutting? People often associate creatine with weight gain, but you should still take creatine while cutting. Weight gain from creatine is entirely water weight, so cutting out creatine won’t help you lose any body fat. Creatine also has performance-enhancing benefits that will be useful to you on a cut.
Should You Take Creatine While Cutting?
For a very short answer, yes you should take creatine while cutting. The main reason someone may be interested in not taking creatine during a cut is the weight gain associated with creatine supplementation. Creatine users will usually put on 3+ pounds within the first couple weeks of supplementation. While this makes it great for those bulking, here’s why this weight gain isn’t an issue for people cutting.
This shouldn’t be a factor when cutting because the weight gain associated with creatine isn’t fat, but entirely water being stored in the muscles. When cutting, you’re ideally trying to lose as much fat as possible while maintaining your muscle mass. With the added water weight from creatine supplementation mainly being stored in your muscles, you will in turn appear fuller and more muscular on a cut than you would without creatine. While your total body weight will remain slightly higher when on creatine, this will not affect the amount of fat you have on your body.
So, if you’re wondering “can you cut on creatine?” If you’re trying to remain as full and muscular as possible during a cut, creatine supplementation will actually be greatly beneficial.
How Does Creatine Help During a Cutting Period?
While the extra weight from creatine shouldn’t be a major factor during a cut, you may still be wondering about the other benefits of taking creatine on a cut. These include maintaining total muscle mass and strength, as well as improving performance and recovery. Here are these factors covered in more detail.
1. Helps Maintain and Build Muscle Mass
2. Helps to Maintain Strength
Similar to the above point about muscle mass, it’s very easy to lose significant amounts of strength on a cut. With creatine helping to build strength, supplementation will keep you stronger than you would be without it. Especially if you’ve been taking creatine on a bulk, cycling off on a cut will lead to even more significant losses in strength than you’d experience otherwise.
One study in football players demonstrated that creatine supplementation led to significant gains in bench press 1 rep max, as well as significant gains in lean mass. This shows that creatine supplementation will likely prove beneficial when trying to maintain strength while eating in a caloric deficit. While you may lose some strength during a cut, creatine will make these losses somewhat less significant.
3. Supports High Intensity Performance During Training
When you’re in a calorie deficit, it’s often difficult to maintain a high level of performance in your workouts. Because your body does not have as much energy to use as it does on a bulk, it’s helpful to have a supplement which can aid you in maintaining high intensity in your workouts.One of the most potent benefits of creatine supplementation is improving high intensity exercise performance, making it ideal for this purpose.
In fact, creatine has been shown to increase maximal power output by 5-15%, and increase work performed during sets of maximal effort by a similar rate. This shows that creatine will significantly improve your ability to train at a high rate of intensity – something that’s espcially important while cutting.
4. Helps to Recover After Intense Training
Finally, a frequently forgotten benefit of creatine is its ability to help with improving recovery and reducing muscle damage after a tough workout. Especially when you aren’t consuming as many calories during a cut, recovery can be an issue.
One study found that those supplementing with creatine maintained significantly more strength when recovering from intense exercise. This, alongside lower plasma creatine kinase levels in the blood showed significant improvement in recovery in those who are supplementing with creatine. On top of all the other benefits, the added recovery makes creatine a super beneficial supplement for cutting.
Possible Drawbacks of Taking Creatine While Cutting
Creatine is widely regarded as one of the safest sports supplements available, and as mentioned above there are a ton of benefits to staying on the supplement while cutting. So, in which scenarios is creatine not beneficial while cutting?
The main reason someone would potentially want to cut out creatine while cutting is if they’re trying to get their total body weight as low as possible to make weight for a competition. In this case, the extra several pounds of water weight from creatine would be significant. If they were interested in stopping creatine to make weight, they would likely need around 4-6 weeks with no creatine to lose the water weight associated with creatine use. While this may be necessary to make weight, here’s why it might not be the best idea.
The main reason you probably don’t want to stop creatine supplement before a competition are all the benefits the supplement has for athletic performance. Especially if you’re competing in a sport like weightlifting or powerlifting, the improvements in high intensity exercise performance you get from creatine may be the difference between hitting your lifts and failing. This is especially true if you’ve been using creatine throughout your training.
Also, once you stop taking creatine, it will take another 2-4 weeks of supplementation for your muscles to be fully saturated again. All in all, you’re looking at 2 months where you’re missing out on the benefits of creatine, just to lose an extra couple of pounds.
If you’re looking to make weight, we recommend staying on creatine for all its potential benefits. Trying to lose the weight in another way, or maybe compete at a slightly higher weight class. Other than the weight cutting scenario outlined above, there aren’t many other drawbacks to taking creatine on a cut.
What Type of Creatine Should I Take While Cutting?
If you’re new to taking creatine, you may be confused by all the different types of creatine out there. Luckily the answer is very simple: you should always take creatine monohydrate, and ignore all other types. Monohydrate is creatine in its most basic form. It is the cheapest, most effective, and most well-researched form of creatine available.
From HCL, Magnesium Chelate, Kre-Alkalyne, and a wide range of others, there are tons of creatine variations available. While they often make claims about being superior to monohydrate, these are often simply marketing tactics to charge you more for what’s essentially the same product. These alternatives are often twice as expensive as creatine, and very rarely have any evidence to back up their claims.
So, if you’re looking for the best form of creatine to take while cutting – or for any other purpose – we recommend sticking with monohydrate 100% of the time.
Best Creatine - Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
If you’re wondering what brand of creatine we recommend, check out Transparent Labs’ Creatine HMB. If you’ve read our other lists, you’re probably already familiar with Transparent Labs and their line of consistently high-quality products. Let’s see how Creatine HMB stacks up with the rest.
First off, you can expect a solid 5g of creatine monohydrate in each serving, which will be the perfect standard daily dose for most people. However, what truly makes this supplement more deluxe is its additional ingredients.
The main extra ingredient is very useful for those cutting who may be struggling to get enough nutrients in. Transparent Labs contains 63% of your daily recommended Vitamin D, which actually has numerous benefits ranging from muscular strength, to bone health, and disease prevention. This supplement also contains HMB – hence the name – and although they claim this ingredient has similar effects to creatine, its benefits appear to be minimal at best.
Another reason this supplement is superior to other creatines on the market is its long list of flavor options. If you’ve been looking for a creatine supplement, you’ve probably noticed most are exclusively unflavored. Transparent Labs, on the other hand, has 11 flavors to choose from including Tropical Punch, Watermelon, and Peach Mango. There’s also an unflavored option available if you want to keep it basic.
The main downside to this product is its hefty price tag. Each serving of Transparent Labs will cost you around $1.50. While there are more basic supplements available for well under $1 per serving, the inclusion of Vitamin D, as well as all the additional flavors make this supplement more than worth it.
Should I Take Creatine While Trying to Lose Belly Fat?
Can You Get Lean On Creatine?
Should You Avoid Creatine When Cutting?
Is Creatine Good for Cutting?
Overall, if you’re wondering “can you take creatine while cutting?” We strongly recommend staying on the supplement while trying to lose weight. Creatine is one of the most beneficial supplements for nearly all athletes – including those on a cut. This is because effects of creatine like improved high-intensity exercise performance and improved recovery are especially relevant when your body has less energy on a cut. While you may be concerned about weight gain associated with creatine, it is largely water weight stored in the muscles, meaning staying on creatine during cut season will not affect your total body fat percentage.
If you’re interested in taking creatine, we recommend trying out Transparent Labs Creatine HMB for a high-quality, deluxe creatine supplement. Are you looking to go on a cut soon and debating taking creatine? Have you been taking creatine for a while, or just thinking about getting started? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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