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So, how long does it take for creatine to work? Well, that really depends on you! 

It can be difficult to navigate fitness supplements. There are so many different brands, methods of using them, dosages, and more. 

Luckily, creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements. There’s plenty of reliable information out there to let you know just how fast creatine will work for you based on various factors.  

I have been a nutritionist for many years, and I have seen multiple people greatly benefit from creatine in a timely manner when they had a plan set in place.

Today, I’m excited to share with you how you can implement that plan for yourself!

Keep reading to learn about the benefits and risks of creatine and how you can get it working quickly for you!

how long does it take for creatine to work?

Related: Does Creatine Expire

how long does it take for creatine to work

While it depends on many factors, including your method of taking creatine, the average person starts to see results within one to four weeks.

The Safest Methods of Taking Creatine

Related: Can You Dry Scoop Creatine?

Creatine Loading Phase

Creatine isn’t like other supplements that you take the same amount of every day.

It’s thought to offer the best results when introduced to the body in a heavier dosage during the first week. Afterward, you can use smaller doses.

A Single Serving Per Day

How much creatine per day?

A study done on creatine supplementation found that consuming 0.1 gram per kilogram of bodyweight proved to be effective for seeing beneficial results.

Understanding Creatine Loading

Is creatine loading safe?

Nothing is guaranteed to be safe. However, creatine is generally referred to as a safe supplement where very few people have any issues.

The body will undoubtedly be surprised by the creatine loading process, but it should result in many more benefits than harm. 

Creatine is also one of the most well-researched fitness supplements out there, so many people feel reassured when they start their loading phase.

However, if you do have renal issues, it is advised that you speak with a doctor before taking creatine since the kidneys are heavily involved in the whole process.

What is the creatine recommended dosage?

With loading, the recommended creatine dose is 20 grams for the first five to seven days. Split the 20 grams up into four 5-gram servings throughout the day.

After you finish with the loading phase, stick to five grams per day or follow along with the study’s recommendation.

The Possible Side Effects of Creatine Loading

The chance of you experiencing side effects from creatine loading is exceptionally slim, but everyone’s body reacts to things differently.

As you start to creatine load, keep an eye out for the following possible side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Bloating
  • Heat-related illness
  • Cramping
  • Dehydration 

How long does it take for creatine to work with and without loading?

With creatine loading, results can come about as early as a week. 

However, if you decide to play it safe and not do a loading phase, you may have to wait for up to four weeks to start seeing the benefits. 

What is the creatine loading schedule?

The creatine loading schedule involves taking a higher dosage of creatine for the first five to seven days to really pump your body full of the supplement. 

After completing this step, you will scale down to the dosage that you can sustain indefinitely.

Factors That Affect How Long Creatine Takes to Work

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how long until creatine works

Creatine Type

Creatine types you can take include creatine monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester, creatine hydrochloride (HCL), buffered creatine, liquid creatine, and creatine magnesium chelate.

Sounds like a lot, right? 

Knowing which one is best for you can be confusing, so let’s summarize each in simple terms.

Creatine monohydrate:

  • Most commonly used
  • Very affordable
  • Most well-researched
  • Created by binding creatine to a water molecule
  • This study says it is the most effective form

Creatine ethyl ester:

  • Created by binding creatine to ester salts
  • Considered more bioavailable than other creatine forms
  • This study found it not to be as effective as creatine monohydrate

Creatine hydrochloride (HCL):

  • Created by forming a bond between the creatine and parts of hydrochloride molecules
  • The typical serving size is one gram instead of five grams
  • Thought to be more efficiently absorbed in the body
  • It makes creatine more acidic than other forms by lowering the pH

Buffered creatine

  • Made by buffering creatine with things like sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate
  • It has a higher pH, making it more alkaline than the basic creatine monohydrate
  • Considered to be more effective because when the creatine is broken down, less useless byproducts are produced than otherwise 
  • This study says that this form is not more effective or safe than creatine monohydrate

Liquid creatine

  • It comes prepared as a drink rather than a powder
  • There is limited research on this form 
  • Marketed as more convenient than powders
  • This study shows that, in general, liquid creatine is not more effective than powdered creatine

Creatine magnesium chelate:

  • Made by binding creatine with magnesium
  • Some people say this form is more easily absorbed
  • Very few studies have been conducted on this

The Consumed Amount of Creatine

Doing a creatine loading phase where you take 20 grams a day for the first week before dropping down to five grams daily will lead to you seeing results more quickly.

However, if you are unsure of whether or not you may experience side effects, there is nothing wrong with skipping the loading phase. Just start taking five grams a day from the beginning. 

It only means you’ll likely have to wait a few weeks before seeing results.

Creatine Purity and Quality

Any time you take a supplement, you want to ensure that it is of the highest quality. 

With creatine, try your best to choose a form and brand that has had multiple studies conducted on it as proof of both how safe and effective it is.

Pay special attention to any possible impure or harmful ingredients listed on the container as well. If you can find a product made in the United States, that is ideal.

The Method of Taking Creatine

While it doesn’t matter a crazy amount exactly how you take your creatine, there are ideal situations. 

The two optimal cases would be either:

(1) Before your workout with a carb source like fruit juice or your pre-workout meal and; 

(2) after your workout with your protein shake.

Creatine Results Timeline 

1 month creatine results

1-Week Creatine Results

If you start taking creatine with a loading phase, you may experience results within one week. 

These are likely to come across in how you train in the gym. You also may find your weight going up a bit as your body starts to hold onto more water.

1-Month Creatine Results

If you have been taking creatine consistently for one month, it is likely that you are starting to see real changes in your strength and power in your workouts. 

A study even reported an 8% increase in the participating group.

If you saw a sudden jump on the scale after the first week, then odds are it leveled out by now. You’ll get a more reliable number once your body adjusts to taking the new supplement.

3-Month Creatine Results

You certainly see results after one month of creatine usage, so imagine the effects after three months! 

Many people report being able to go beyond even the 8% increase in their strength and power, especially when it comes to maxing with certain exercises.

Some Tips for Fast Creatine Results 

how fast does creatine work

1. Use the Right Kind  

After looking over the summaries of the various types of creatine, creatine monohydrate is the most effective form. 

Unless another one makes more sense for you individually, start with taking the monohydrate to likely see the quickest results.

2. Take It at Optimal Times

Try to be regular with when you take your creatine to get into a habit. 

Many people see the quickest results when they take it before their workout with carbs, such as fruit juice, or after their workout with a protein shake.

3. Do Your Research

You may know what type of creatine to take, but which brand should you choose? There are many out there, so it can be confusing which you should pick to try first.

Find which brands have conducted research and share their findings publicly. Also, take a good look at the ingredient list to ensure everything is high-quality. 

Of course, reviews will always be your friend, too.

4. Utilize a Loading Phase

It has been proven that you will see results the fastest if you go through a loading creatine phase the first five to seven days of taking creatine. 

Utilize this method – it’s one of your biggest assets with creatine!

5. Stay Consistent 

Make taking creatine daily a non-negotiable so you don’t end up taking it too infrequently and not being able to reap the rewards. 

You will definitely see quicker results come at a steady rate when taking it consistently. 

6. Be Aware of Its Individual Effects On You

While you of course want fast results, it’s also important to keep safety in mind. Very few people experience side effects with it, but be cautious anyway. 

Listen to your body and determine if you ever need to switch brands or abandon the supplement altogether.

7. Do the Right Type of Training   

While creatine can benefit you with both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, users tend to see the most progress with weight lifting.

Record all your maxes before taking creatine. From there, keep track over the next couple of months.

You’ll be able to see how the substance really does work quickly and effectively when optimally consumed.

The Benefits of Taking Creatine

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Benefits of Taking Creatine

When taken regularly, creatine can offer the following benefits:

  • Better strength
  • Increase in muscle mass
  • Improved recovery
  • Possible injury prevention
  • Supports bone health

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know creatine is working?

While you do need to be patient with the process, you will know the creatine is working when you start gaining some water weight and seeing improvements in your strength in the gym.

How much creatine should I take?

Start with a creatine loading dose of 20 grams per day for the first five to seven days. Take five grams daily after that.   

Does creatine work immediately?

You will not see any creatine progress immediately, but results can start to come within the first week.

How long after taking creatine will I see results? 

A common question asked is “how long does it take for creatine to work?” 

The answer is dependent on what type of creatine you take, if you go through a creatine loading phase, how you take it, and more.

Based on these factors, you’ll typically start to see results in one to four weeks due to creatine saturation starting to take hold.

How long does it take for creatine to kick in before a workout?

While creatine doesn’t necessarily “kick in” like pre-workout does, there is certainly a benefit to taking it religiously before your workouts.

Try taking the creatine 30 to 60 minutes before you start your workout so it can readily supply your muscles as your natural creatine levels diminish over your workout.      

What happens when I stop taking creatine? 

If you stop taking creatine altogether, you are likely to notice your strength and energy levels go down. You may even lose a bit of muscle mass. 

Also, your body’s creatine levels will drop some, and you could lose a bit of “weight” as your body is no longer holding on to as much water.

While this may all sound bad, keep in mind that many people go through a creatine cycle process where they take creatine for six to eight weeks. Then, they take a break for two to four weeks. 

This method also delivers great results and allows someone to control their body’s creatine saturation levels.

Conclusion

We hope that you enjoyed reading our guide to maximizing your use of creatine. 

If you have a plan in place, you will start experiencing more physical gains and PRs in the gym than you ever have before!

As mentioned earlier, creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements. You can feel safe and confident when trying it for the first time.

Please comment whether or not you are considering trying a creatine loading phase, and don’t forget to share this with anyone else you know who wants to try the supplement!