Does Creatine Burn Fat? Facts vs Myth
There are very few supplements among gym enthusiasts as used and praised as creatine. This is mainly because it’s one of the only scientifically backed supplements to support lean body mass growth. However, many also believe that creatine has other potential benefits like helping you lose weight. But does creatine burn fat or is this an urban legend?
We will have a look at what science says and find out what’s truth and what’s not.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in the human body that plays a crucial role in energy production. It helps generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary source of energy for cells. During high-intensity activities like weightlifting and sprinting, the body utilizes creatine stored in the muscles to replenish ATP, providing quick energy for muscular contractions.
As a supplement, creatine is commonly available in the form of creatine monohydrate, which lasts longer than creatine ethyl ester and other forms of creatine. It is extensively studied and widely used in the sports and fitness industry.
How Does Creatine Help You?
Research has shown that creatine supplementation can enhance performance in activities that require short bursts of intense effort. When combined with appropriate training, this can result in increased muscle size, strength, power, and endurance.
Impact on Muscle Growth and Recovery
The increased ATP provided by creatine not only enhances workout intensity but also promotes muscle growth and recovery. With more energy, you can lift heavier weights and perform more reps, leading to muscle hypertrophy. Additionally, creatine brings more water to your muscles, protecting them from damage and aiding in recovery, but also causing some weight gain.
A common recommendation is to take around 0.3 grams per kilogram of body weight for 5-7 days, followed by a maintenance dose of 3-5 grams per day. This “loading phase” is believed to saturate your muscles with creatine, allowing you to experience its benefits sooner.
Does Creatine Burn Fat?
While there’s no direct link between creatine and increased fat burn in your body, there are several indirect mechanisms by which creatine could help you burn fat.
- Increase exercise performance could lead to more calories burn during and post-workout. Some studies suggest that an intense training could increase your post-exercise oxygen consumption leading to more calories burn after training.
- Hypertrophy and increased muscle mass will increase your basal metabolic rate.
- Improved recovery could lead to more and better training sessions helping you burn even more fat.
Some of these indirect effects where observed in a 2018 study where 30 participants consumed 20g of creatine for 6 days and 2g for the rest of the study. Significant improvements in strength and muscle tissue damage was observed, which would indirectly promote more fat burning.
However, all studies on this topic are inconclusive, and certainly there’s no direct fat-burning effect from taking creatine. For that, fat burners are a much better supplement.
Creatine During Cutting, Does It Help Burn More Fat?
Many gym/goers tend to bulk and cut. During the bulk, an excess of calories will help you gain weight and muscle mass, while during the “cutting” phase your aim is to lose weight without losing any muscle.
During this cycle, taking creatine, as well as other supplements like fat burners, pre-workouts or protein powders can help you maintain muscle while keeping you energized in a caloric deficit.
A study in 2007 showed that creatine supplementation together with exercise training caused an increased gain of muscle mass when compared to the placebo group. Thus, creatine could help you maintain your muscle mass during your cutting phase.
Moreover, creatine can increase intracellular hydration and oxygenation, meaning that your muscle cells will have a better nourishment. In times where nutrients and energy are short due to the caloric deficit, it’s important to provide as much energy as possible to your muscles. This will make your workouts more effective, helping you both burn more fat and keep more muscle.
Interestingly, some studies have suggested that creatine could even help you with appetite control. This could be a game changer during your cutting phase to avoid unwanted snacks and improve your mood during it. However, it’s worth noting that the findings in these studies were inconclusive. You are far better of buying an appetite suppressant supplement like Hourglass Fit.
Creatine Fat Burn FAQ
There’s no current scientific evindence that suggests creatine could help you burn belly fat. However, because of the fact that creatine can increase your workout performance, intensity and muscle gain, there are some side benefits that could lead to increased fat burn.
Yes, creatine will provide you with increased energy that will help you when you are in a caloric deficit and low in energy. It also helps you maintain your muscle mass.
Creatine can cause some initial weight gain because it causes water retention in your muscles. It can also help you gain lean muscle mass which could lead to longer term weight gain if you eat enough. However, you can also use creatine to lose weight if you are in a caloric deficit.
As mentioned earlier, creatine does not burn fat. The increased fat burning that you might experience will be due to you being more energized and having better workouts because of creatine.
Conclusion – Does Creatine Burn Fat
Hopefully, I have demonstrated that even if creatine does not cause direct fat loss it can help you significantly to burn fat.
Creatine causes indirect weight loss via the following mechanisms:
- Better more workouts that burn more calories
- Faster recovery that allows you to train harder
- Creatine helps lean muscle gain – boosting your basal metabolic rate
- Might help with appetite suppression
Therefore, whether you are looking to lose fat or simply put on muscle, you should take creatine.