How long does it take creatine to work? It depends. There are 6 factors that will determine if the Creatine you’re taking shows results in a few days, weeks, or not at all.
- What type of creatine you use.
- How much your taking every day.
- Whether you’re taking alone or with food.
- When you take it.
- The type of workouts you’re doing.
- The quality and purity of you creatine supplement.
I address each of these in this article. After reading you’ll know how to optimize each how to get the best results as quickly as possible. Based on my experience this can be in as little as 3-5 days.
What Affects How Long It Takes Creatine To Work
1. The Type Of Creatine You Use
This is the most important factor. Use the wrong type of this supplement and you’re not going to see the best results. Your actually likely to not see any results, which is obviously no good.
These products which companies claim are better than creatine monohydrate often don’t even contain any creatine but instead have something called creatinine in the canister instead.
This compound is made when creatine is broken down by our body. It doesn’t help your performance in any way.
If you take one of these supplements you’re literally peeing your money away when you use anything but creatine monohydrate.
2. How Much Creatine You’re Taking
There are two ways to take creatine. The first is to follow what’s called a ‘loading phase’. This method requires you to take 20 grams (2-4 servings) every day for 5-7 days. Then, you take a single serving (5 grams) to keep your muscles filled up.
This tried and true method is the preferred way to use it since it fills your muscles as quickly as possible. Once they’re full, you’ll begin to notice its benefits. This is usually within 3 days.
The second way to take creatine is to take a single serving every day. Since you’re taking much less, it takes a longer to begin working. Instead of a 3-5 day wait, you’re looking at 2-4 weeks to get noticeable results.
A study on soccer players finds that it takes 14 days to see changes in muscular strength and power. My experience finds the same and that it takes even longer to gain muscle mass when you’re only taking 3-5 grams (a single serving) a day.
Both ways of taking creatine are safe and ultimately provide the same results. If near immediate results are what your after, the loading phase method is the best.
3. Whether You Take Creatine With Food
Studies find that taking creatine with carbohydrates that cause a rapid increase in your insulin levels (orange juice, fruit punch, etc.) enables more to get into your muscles. Unless your following a low carb diet, this can be pretty effective.
If you do eat low carb or Keto, don’t worry taking it with a protein shake works pretty well too.
4. When You Take Your Creatine
This isn’t as important as the last three factor but it can still make a difference. Research shows that taking it after a workout enables more creatine to get into your muscles. It’s not a huge difference but if you’re looking for the best results, it’s worth the effort.
5. What Type Of Workouts You’re Doing
If you lift weights, sprint, jump, and throw heavy things around when you train, you’ll see results faster. This is because creatine monohydrate provides a source of immediate energy that these activities require. This extra energy enables you to do more work and therefore get stronger and build muscle faster.
The harder you workout in the weight room, the better. One study finds that the reason people don’t respond to Creatine is that they’re not working out very hard. So, make sure you do at least 2-3 pretty intense workouts a week in the weight room or on the track and you’ll be okay.
Long, slow, distance running and other endurance sports don’t rely on this instant energy system as much as strength training and if that’s all you do, you won’t see much benefit. That doesn’t mean creatine can’t benefit you, but you’ll need to sprint or lift weights to see results.
6. The Quality And Purity of The Creatine You Take
There are a few things to make sure if when you buy creatine monohydrate. I’ve listed them below. Make sure whichever product you choose meets these requirements and you’ll be getting the safest, and most effective product.
- Needs to be tested for impurities before/after it’s packaged. The company should make test results available.
- Check to make sure it’s made in the USA. Supplements from China often have lots of impurities and potentially harmful ingredients like lead due to poorer quality control.
Choose a powder that is micronized. It’ll say so on the label. This means it’s been milled into an extra fine powder that will dissolve easier and won’t end up stuck to your glass.
The product I use, and recommend is Creatine Edge. It meets all of the criteria listed above and also gives you about 3 months worth of Creatine at a really good price.You can buy it from our online store here.
Now you know how long it takes creatine to work and what to do to get results as quickly as possible. Let us know your experiences using the information in this post. If you have any others send them to us as were always looking for new ways to get the best results possible.
Branch JD. Effect of creatine supplementation on body composition and performance: a meta-analysis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003 Jun;13(2):198-226.
Hoffman JR, Stout JR, Falvo MJ, Kang J, Ratamess NA. Effect of low-dose, short-duration creatine supplementation on anaerobic exercise performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2005 May;19(2):260-4.
Jäger R, Harris RC, Purpura M, Francaux M.Comparison of new forms of creatine in raising plasma creatine levels. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Nov 12;4:17.
Jagim AR, Oliver JM, Sanchez A, Galvan E, Fluckey J, Riechman S, Greenwood M, Kelly K, Meininger C, Rasmussen C, Kreider RB. A buffered form of creatine does not promote greater changes in muscle creatine content, body composition, or training adaptations than creatine monohydrate. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Sep 13;9(1):43. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-43.
Preen D, Dawson B, Goodman C, Beilby J, Ching S. Creatine supplementation: a comparison of loading and maintenance protocols on creatine uptake by human skeletal muscle. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003 Mar;13(1):97-111.
Kambis KW, Pizzedaz SK. Short-term creatine supplementation improves maximum quadriceps contraction in women. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003 Mar;13(1):87-96.
Kaviani M, et al. Creatine monohydrate supplementation during eight weeks of progressive resistance training increases strength in as little as two weeks without reducing markers of muscle damage. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2018.
Spillane M, Schoch R, Cooke M, Harvey T, Greenwood M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS. The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 19;6:6. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-6.
Syrotuik DG, Bell GJ. Acute creatine monohydrate supplementation: a descriptive physiological profile of responders vs. nonresponders. J Strength Cond Res. 2004 Aug;18(3):610-7.
Velema MS, de Ronde W. Elevated plasma creatinine due to creatine ethyl ester use. Neth J Med. 2011 Feb;69(2):79-81.
Yáñez-Silva A, et al. Effect of low dose, short-term creatine supplementation on muscle power output in elite youth soccer players. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017.