Coach Arlan Carroll
Should You Take Creatine on Off Days?
Updated: Feb 22
If you're looking to build muscle and increase exercise performance, you'll love creatine. But should you take creatine on your rest days? Here's expert insight. Did you know that you can gain around 3 kg of muscle over 10 weeks if you have the right training and nutrition program? Getting in shape may take a lot of effort, but the results are undoubtedly worth it. However, you might be wondering if there is a way to make the process easier.
If you take creatine, you'll find that you'll not only be able to build muscle more efficiently, but you'll also be able to increase your exercise performance. But what is creatine exactly, and what should you expect when taking creatine? More than that, how do you use it and can you use it on your off days?
Keep reading and learn more about taking creatine on rest days and why it's so important for getting in shape.
What Is Creatine Exactly?
Creatine is a naturally occurring molecule within the human body. Creatine is synthesized primarily in the liver from amino acids and obtained from eating foods such as red meat and fish. Creatine may sound like a fancy name for a supplement, but it is nothing more than a mix of different amino acids. Amino acids are very important for building muscle and staying fit in general because they are the building blocks of proteins. Without protein, it's very difficult to build muscle.
Creatine has three amino acids: methionine, arginine, and glycine. Your body actually makes these amino acids all on its own. Typically, your body will make amino acids within certain regions of the body, such as the liver. No matter where the amino acids are made, they always end up in your muscles.
This is because your muscles act as a storage area for amino acids. This storage area is very important because creatine and amino acids aren't only essential for building muscle. They are also crucial for the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
Energy for Your Body
ATP is perhaps the most important compound in your body since it is what gives your body energy. Without ATP, your cells would not have any energy to function, and they would simply die off. Fortunately, your body produces a set amount of ATP, thanks to the amino acids it produces.
However, even though your body can produce its own amino acids, it doesn't necessarily produce enough of them to give you the physique that you want. To give yourself an important boost, it is essential to consume extra amino acids. That way, you will have more energy for your cells, and you can build muscle at a more efficient rate.
When it comes to creatine in particular, you may already know that it is one of the most popular workout supplements out there. Creatine is very safe compared to other supplements and there are very few, if any, side effects to worry about. After all, who doesn't want to have stronger muscles and more energy by taking some supplements?
Taking creatine before and after working out is always a good idea, but what about taking creatine on rest days? When is the best time to take creatine anyway?
Should You Take Creatine on Rest Days?
Many people think that when it comes to creatine consumption (or the consumption of any workout supplement) that they should only take the supplements directly before or after their workouts. However, there is not necessarily any reason to be so strict with when you take your workout supplements. You also don't need to take creatine every day to maintain your muscle growth.
Skipping a day or two won't magically make your muscles deflate. Working out combined with your nutrition is what is going to make your muscles big and strong in the first place. The creatine supplements simply help the process along.
The exact time you take your supplements doesn't matter all that much either. Some people are very ridged about when they should take their supplements. For example, some people might swear by taking their supplements very early in the morning, while others swear that taking the supplements after working out is the better choice.
In reality, as long as you consume creatine supplements on a consistent schedule, you are going to reap its benefits. Taking creatine on rest days is also quite beneficial.
The supplements will ensure that your muscles have plenty of fuel to live off of. If you're looking to maintain your muscle growth, it is recommended that you take about 5 grams of creatine every day. However, if you don't like the idea of taking these supplements every day, you can always skip a day.
You can always take an extra high dose one day and then skip the creatine the next day. Again, skipping your creatine for a day won't ruin all of your weeks or months of progress. On the other hand, if you skip your creatine supplements for an entire week, you might start to notice some drawbacks.
5 grams a day is recommended because it is the perfect dose for maintaining your muscle mass. However, you can actually take several more grams of creatine every day. Keep in mind that you likely don't need to take this much to achieve your fitness goals.
In fact, taking high amounts of creatine likely won't get you all that much closer to your workout goals compared to taking the recommended dose. For that reason, it's better to stick with the 5 grams per day. That way, you can still reap all the benefits of creatine's amino acids without wasting your supplements.
On rest days, in particular, you should focus on giving your body the nutrition it needs. Besides taking your creatine supplements, you should also give your body plenty of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Without the proper nutrition, you won't be able to build muscle and get stronger.
You should also focus on staying hydrated. Replenishing your body with plenty of liquids will help your body stay healthy and heal itself after an intense day of working out. So, when it's time to get back into your workout the next day, you'll be in great shape.
How to Take Creatine the Right Way
Fortunately, taking creatine isn't hard, and it shouldn't take up much time out of your day. There are actually several types of creatine supplements that I have tried and I am now currently taking Swolverine supplements and am impressed with their high quality.
You should focus less on what type of creatine you're consuming and more on how much creatine you're consuming. As mentioned before, taking 5 grams per day is a good way to maintain your muscles. However, there is a practice known as loading, which involves taking as much as 20 grams of creatine per day.
As mentioned before, taking this amount of creatine won't always make it easier or faster to gain muscle. However, if you want to give yourself a serious boost of energy, you can try this practice once in a while. If you do this for a week, you will certainly have enough creatine in your system to get through even the most strenuous workouts.
What you Need to Know
After a week, you can cut down to a smaller dose of creatine to maintain the muscle you have gained. While you are loading, it is important to take creatine throughout the day rather than all at once. That way, your body will have a steady flow of fuel from these supplements.
For example, if you want to take 20 grams every day, you should take it in intervals of 5 grams throughout the day. This will be much easier than guzzling a whole heap of creatine at once.
Creatine most often comes in the form of powder. The great thing about this powder is that you can add it to anything. You can add it to your morning cup of coffee or put it in a water bottle to take with you to the gym.
Adding it to water is usually recommended. That way, when you're working out, you can stay hydrated and get your daily dose of creatine at the same time. You can take creatine as long as you want since there are very few, if any, side effects.
Take Creatine on Your off Days and Your Workout Days
If you're wondering if you should take creatine on your off days, the simple answer is yes. Doing this will help you maintain all the progress that you have gained from your workouts. Of course, taking creatine on your workout days is also important for giving you a boost of energy and helping you build muscle faster.
To learn more about getting fit and how to train and eat for LIFE, schedule a free consult with Coach Arlan here.