If you’re wondering if it’ll take months or even years to see any noticeable results if you hop on creatine supplementation - you’re not alone.

Many folks struggle with this question.

And rightfully so, as there’s so much nonsense online regarding this and every other supplement.

Thankfully, I know a thing or two about creatine monohydrate and how it works, and four weeks is all you need to see the change once you start taking creatine.

How much of a change?

That’s exactly what we’re about to explain!

Male Body Transformation After 1 Month

Male Body Transformation After 1 Month Creatine

Source: https://muscletransform.com/mens-body-transformation-results-after-taking-creatine/

Male Body Transformation On Creatine (165lb to 155lb)

Source: https://muscletransform.com/mens-body-transformation-results-after-taking-creatine/

Creatine Results Over Time – What To Expect!

Now that you’ve seen the results of creatine supplements on various physiques, it’s time for us to explore the year-long journey.

1 Week Creatine Results

You can expect two kinds of results during the first week of creatine supplementation, and they greatly depend on one factor and one factor only - how much creatine monohydrate you take.

In other words, it’ll depend on whether you undergo a loading phase or not.

If you decide to take the “creatine loading phase” route, which is supplementing with 20 grams of creatine each day, you’re very likely to reach peak muscle saturation within one week.

In other words, your muscles will be fully saturated, meaning you will experience all the creatine benefits shortly after you're done with the loading phase.

Changes to your overall body weight and lean muscle mass may be evident as soon as day seven.

However, they most likely won't be. And that's not a cause for concern.

Unless you’re a non-responder or someone with already fully saturated muscles (which you can basically consider top-tier genetics), your creatine levels will definitely be elevated after the loading phase, even if you don’t see any physical changes.[1]

On the other hand, what you’ll likely experience if you undergo a loading protocol is some side effects like upset stomach or just general stomach discomfort. Water retention is also a likely outcome if you take upwards of 20 grams of creatine daily.

Overall, you could realistically expect about 2-4 pounds during the first week (most likely 80% water), some strength gains, and some improvements to your mental clarity, focus, retention, etc.

That’s about it for the loading phase.

If you decide to take the “safe” approach and limit your creatine intake to just 3-5 grams a day (which is usually known as the maintenance phase), you are highly unlikely to experience any noticeable results this quickly.

There could be some outliers here, like vegans and vegetarians, for example, who might benefit from a "maintenance" dose of creatine supplement as their creatine stores are generally lower than the average person eating meat.

If that’s the case, you could see some performance boost, but that’s about it.

If you do manage to gain a pound or two - great. Most of it is probably water weight, but still, it’s also a result of a creatine supplement, good training, and nutrition.

2 Weeks Creatine Results

If this is your second week following the creatine loading phase, you are now down to 3-5 grams of creatine per day, which is more than enough to maintain muscle saturation.

If that’s the case, the most noticeable result will probably be the lack of side effects caused by high doses of creatine.

However, you’ll also likely experience an increase in muscle strength, endurance, energy levels, muscle volume and fullness, etc.

You'll probably find yourself maintaining a higher level of workout intensity, getting in a few extra reps, and increasing your overall training volume.

You may notice some not-so-subtle changes to your overall physique and body mass - especially if you're just getting started in the gym.

Accelerated muscle gain or “newbie gains” are very, very common in beginner lifters, and adding more creatine to your muscles will definitely further accelerate the process.

As for the "maintenance phase group," - your creatine stores are still not at peak.

However, as long as you continue to take creatine on a daily basis - you’ll get there.

Now, that’s not to say that some changes may not occur.

It is likely that your creatine levels rise to a point where you see a noticeable difference in muscle fullness or strength if you're responding to creatine particularly well.

1 Month Creatine Results

At about the 28-day mark, it doesn't matter if you did the creatine loading phase or not - your muscles are fully saturated at this point.[2]

Once you reach saturation - you get to experience all the benefits of peak creatine levels.

Those include, as mentioned above, an increase in strength, endurance, energy, mental clarity, focus, etc.

According to some studies, experienced lifters that have never touched creatine could experience an 8% increase in strength and about a 14% increase in the number of reps performed.[3]

Newbies, on the other hand?

They could expect up to a 30% increase in both areas!

In other words, you’re in line for some incredible results across the board.

At this point, you will likely have gained upwards of 5 pounds if you ate and trained properly.

Naturally, this is not all lean muscle. So, if you stumble upon a video titled something like "30-day creatine results - 10 pounds of muscle gained," - keep scrolling. It's BS.

You'll gain some muscle, some fat, and some water in your muscles.

Now, just because “creatine draws water into the muscles” doesn’t necessarily make it bad.

In fact, the more water in your muscles - the more they’ll appear leaner, bigger, firmer, and more defined.

3 Month Creatine Results

Three months after you start taking creatine, you’ll likely hit a plateau if you’re new to the gym.

Most of your “newbie gainz” will have taken place by now, your body will have adjusted to the additional creatine in the system, and from this point on - you’ll have to rely on proper nutrition and resistance training to keep progressing.

Trained lifters will have hit their plateau probably a few weeks earlier.

HOWEVER!

Even if that sounds gloomy and discouraging - it’s not.

At this point, your body has significantly changed, and you should just trust the process.

You’ve likely gained about 10, maaaybe 15 pounds (once again, not 15 pounds of muscle, but overall body mass). You’re feeling better, stronger, faster…

You’re recovering better, you’ve adjusted to your new nutrition and training regimen, and while you are bound to experience a growth stump - your body is prepared for further growth.

Just at a much slower pace.

6 Month Creatine Results

Six months in, your body should feel pretty much the same as it did three months ago.

There are not likely to be any major changes in your overall physique due to creatine itself.

However, if you’ve structured your training regime properly and you’re applying progressive overload as you train while maintaining a proper diet - you shouldn’t have any issues gaining (if that’s your goal) about 0.5-2 pounds of muscle each month.

That said, if your overall goal is weight loss - that’s also possible.

Maintaining a caloric deficit while feeding your body with sufficient protein is a surefire way to lose a few pounds, induce fat loss, and maintain muscle.

12 Month Creatine Results

If you’ve been consistent in your training and diet, and you’ve actually done your job properly - 12 months in - you will look like a different version of yourself.

Your muscles will appear fuller, leaner, and firmer, and you’ll look astonishing compared to what you looked like in the beginning.

Your one rep max has probably skyrocketed, your endurance and performance have likely gone through the roof, and going to the gym probably feels like a reward rather than a chore.

Now, we could discuss mass gain, bench press gain, one-rep max on your squat, etc. Still, the truth is - no one can guess how far you can come.

In all honestly, that will depend on so many factors that creatine will be just the icing on the cake at this point.

Now, here’s a disclaimer - different people experience different results.

As evident from this study, not everyone can benefit from creatine.[4]

How Long Does It Take for Creatine to Show Results?

How fast creatine works is a question many ask, and honestly, unless you’re an outlier, the answer’s pretty straightforward.

It takes about 28 days for creatine to show results if you take 5 grams of creatine per day. In other words, it takes about four weeks to reach peak muscle saturation, which sits at about 160 mmol/kg of dry muscle mass in most individuals.

If the dose of creatine you take is closer to 20 grams per day, the same can be achieved in about one week.

Signs After 30 Days Of Creatine Supplementation

Now that we’ve established how fast creatine works, let’s see what happens when you take creatine for a month.

Person Opening A Pack Of Gnarly Creatine Supplement Powder

Increased Muscle Mass

One of the first things you’ll notice if you take creatine for a month (possibly after three weeks) is an increase in your muscle mass.

This happens through a few different mechanisms.

  • Replenishing ATP levels
  • Enhancing protein synthesis
  • Intramuscular water

So, the role of creatine is to supply energy to your muscles by replenishing ATP (essentially your body’s energy currency) reserves.

Since our body burns ATP under high-intensity activities, a supplement to replenish those fuel reserves greatly improves your chances to push harder and longer, stimulating muscle growth.

Also, some studies have shown a direct correlation between muscle protein synthesis and creatine.[5]

In theory, this could lead to faster repair of muscle fibers after exercise-induced damage, which could lead to an increase in both muscle size and strength.

Finally, creatine has been shown to increase the amount of water retained in muscle cells, which can lead to an increase in muscle and overall body weight.

While this increase in intramuscular water is not directly related to muscle mass, it can contribute to the overall appearance of muscles.

Increased Strength & Performance

The same principles we mentioned above apply here!

Your energy goes up, protein synthesis gets a boost, and the end result is performance and strength increase.

We already discussed numbers and percentages early on, so you pretty much have a good idea of what you can expect.

However, there’s another thing that happens after you take creatine for a month.

According to research, if there’s more creatine in your muscles, there will be less lactic acid build-up.[6]

When there’s less lactic acid build-up, there’s less fatigue and soreness, meaning you can deal with high-intensity workouts with greater ease.

Reduced Risk of Serious Injury

Taking creatine for a month will also translate into a reduced risk of serious injury.

Whether it’s improved strength allowing you to safely work out with heavier weights or offsetting fatigue, helping you power through another rep without surrendering proper form, taking creatine can put you in a good position to avoid injury.

Moreover, creatine may also lead to faster recovery after injury by promoting muscle regeneration and reducing inflammation.

Studies have shown that creatine supplementation (coupled with proper therapy) can accelerate muscle recovery after injury and reduce the risk of re-injury, allowing individuals to return to physical activity more quickly.[7]

Improvement In Cognitive Brain Functions

Finally, creatine supplementation may have positive effects on cognitive brain functions, particularly in tasks that require short-term memory, attention, and mental processing speed.[8]

We say “may have” because, despite the fact that creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements on the planet, we still lack concrete evidence to support theories regarding these benefits.

The results are promising, but we still need more.

That said, one way that creatine may affect cognitive function is by providing additional energy to the brain.

Creatine can enhance ATP production in the brain, which can improve overall brain function and help support cognitive tasks since it was proven that the brain goes through a lot of ATP when dealing with difficult tasks.

Additionally, creatine may also have a neuroprotective effect on the brain.

Some research suggests that creatine supplementation may help to reduce oxidative stress, and inflammation, which can improve overall brain health and potentially reduce the risk of cognitive decline or neurological disorders.[9]

Creatine vs No Creatine Results – Is There Any Difference?

As we mentioned earlier, some studies have suggested that the long-term effects of creatine supplementation may be comparable to no creatine supplementation.

However, there’s a lot to unpack with those studies, from the method of testing to the subjects that were tested, the time period, how efficiently were the subjects working out, etc.

That said, a general consensus is that creatine matters and makes a difference.

You are more likely to see faster results with creatine than without it.

Considering the proven effects, you start experiencing the benefits rather quickly, and it's easy to maintain saturation levels; it's only natural to assume that the progress you make with creatine will be different from the one you achieve without it.

Scoops Of Workout Supplements

How To Take Creatine For The Fastest Results?

Fast results from creatine are possible. All it takes is a loading phase during which you consume 20 grams of creatine monohydrate for a week until your reach peak saturation.

That said, going through a loading protocol or a loading phase is basically unnecessary.

By the third month, it will not matter whether you “loaded up” or not.

The end results will be virtually identical.

Also, bodybuilding or just getting in shape takes time.

Faster results don’t necessarily mean better results.

Common Questions About Creatine Results

How much weight will I gain in a month with creatine?

There’s no right answer to how much weight you will gain in a month with creatine. It depends on too many factors. That said, if you were to follow a proper training plan and eat in an optimal caloric surplus, you’d stand to gain about 5 to 8 pounds of body mass.

When should you stop taking creatine?

If you experience any stomach discomfort or other side effects, it's best you stop taking creatine and talk to your doctor. It could just be that you were taking this otherwise safe supplement on an empty stomach, in which case, splitting your daily dose into several smaller doses could help. Some would also suggest using micronized creatine as it appears easier on the stomach.

How much creatine our body produces?

Our body (liver and kidneys) produces about a gram of natural creatine from amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine daily.

Conclusion

Will there be a massive before and after difference after a month of supplementing with creatine?

No, not a massive one.

Will there be a noticeable difference in strength, appearance, and overall performance?

Yes, definitely.

You are very, very likely to experience a slew of benefits after a month of supplementing with creatine. How much of a boost you’ll get - that depends.

Still, you’re much better off supplementing with it than trying to crush your workouts without it.

References: 

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15320650/
  2. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/jappl.1996.81.1.232
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14636102/
  4. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0260106020975247
  5. https://rupress.org/jcb/article/62/1/145/18394/SPECIFICITY-OF-CREATINE-IN-THE-CONTROL-OF-MUSCLE
  6. https://www.e-pan.org/journal/view.php?doi=10.20463/pan.2020.0006
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5950745/
  8. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2003.2492
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S016801020200007X?via%3Dihub
Miloš Lepotic

Miloš Lepotic

Meet Miloš, a certified sports nutritionist and self-taught supplement expert whose pharmacological background and nearly a decade of gym experience make him the perfect guide for optimizing your health and athletic performance through supplement reviews and practical advice rooted in factual, science-backed information.