The gym is not your thing, but you have often heard how beneficial creatine supplements are and wonder if you should start taking them.
Or you have experienced an injury, so you have to take a break from sports activities for some time, and now you are thinking can you take creatine without working out?
You are in the right place!
In this article, I will tell you all the benefits of taking creatine supplementation, even if you don't exercise.
- Do You Have To Workout To Take Creatine?
- What Happens If You Take Creatine Without Working Out?
- What Is Creatine And What Does It Do To Your Body?
- What Are Some Common Side Effects of Creatine Intake?
- Taking Creatine Without Working Out Questions
- Is It Bad To Take Creatine If You Don't Work Out? Final Verdict
Do You Have To Workout To Take Creatine?
No, you don't have to work out to take creatine.
Let me ask you a question or two. Do you eat, albeit you don't go to the gym? Do you sometimes go to your job or grocery store on foot?
The answers are obvious and should help you better understand why taking supplements regardless of sports activities is desirable.
Of course, my advice as a certified personal trainer is to do intense exercise regularly for your overall well-being and to improve performance.
However, you are physically active even though you think you are not. Thus, a healthy diet and supplementation are necessary to be healthy, energetic, and happy.
When I say supplements, I primarily mean vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. One of the nonessential amino acids is creatine.
You certainly don't need all the supplements gym-goers take. For example, you should skip a preworkout supplement to avoid a needless increase in caffeine intake, and you don't need nitric oxide supplements.
What Happens If You Take Creatine Without Working Out?
Many positive things will happen when you start consuming creatine, whether you work out or not. There is a chance you are one of the creatine non-responders, but even in that case, this supplement can be useful to you.
Muscle mass will probably not change in creatine non-responders, but you will experience all the other benefits.
Since you are reading this article, building muscle mass and lifting weights are apparently the least of your concerns.
Following are the main benefits and drawbacks (questionable if cons even exist!) of taking a creatine supplement.
Your Body Fills Its Creatine Reserves
The body, more precisely the skeletal muscles and the brain, have the capacity to store creatine. That capacity is quite large, about 1 gram per pound of lean muscle mass.
On the other hand, the liver, pancreas, and kidneys produce a small amount of creatine. They create just 1 to 2 g of creatine daily.
Creatine is also taken in through food, but again the amount is relatively small. Herring, beef, and salmon have the highest amount of creatine per 100 grams, which is about 1 gram.
Therefore, for our creatine reserves to be full, supplementation is necessary. By regularly taking around 5 grams of creatine, the reserves will be full to the top.
When your muscle tissue is saturated, no activity or skipped days of taking the supplement can leave your reserves totally empty.
Provide Energy for Everyday Activities
Most people need an energy boost no matter what they do. It doesn't have to be the high-intensity exercise with which creatine is usually associated. That's why creatine in day-to-day life makes sense for everyone.
Now it's time for some science to explain which role creatine plays in energy availability.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the primary energy source for use and storage at the cellular level. There is ATP in your body for less than 10 seconds of activities that require intense energy. Thus, ATP must be constantly regenerated.
How does your body produce new ATP? With the help of creatine phosphate (CP). ATP is transformed into ADP, a lower energy form. Then creatine stored in your reserves reacts and, together with ADP, turns back into ATP.
The more creatine you have in your reserves, the longer and faster you will be able to produce ATP and therefore be full of energy all day.
You Might Feel More Thirsty
If you are using creatine for the first time, you may be surprised or even scared by the increased thirst you will experience. Don't worry; that's completely normal. This substance draws water to itself, causing "creatine dry mouth."
However, this side effect should only last a few days. Once the muscles become saturated, water retention will decrease, and thirst will return to normal levels.
I certainly do not consider this a drawback because increased hydration is desirable. Also, concerns that creatine compromises hydration status and alters thermoregulation are groundless.
It has been scientifically proven that creatine use is not associated with cramping, intensified blood lactate accumulation, heat intolerance, and an increased risk of dehydration.
It can improve the body's ability to hydrate a muscle cell at the cellular level.
Better Control Of Blood Sugar Levels
We live in a time of type 2 diabetes pandemic. An unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity have made this type of diabetes one of the leading causes of death.
More studies and clinical trials are needed, but the results of the tests conducted so far on the role of creatine in better control of blood sugar levels are auspicious.
One of the main problems with insulin resistance is the low sensitivity of cells and the pancreas to carbohydrates you eat, so we want to achieve stable blood sugar levels.
Creatine increases the sensitivity, thus helping cells absorb glucose and use it for energy production instead of moving through your bloodstream, negatively affecting many functions and energy levels.
Increases In Water Weight
An increase in water weight is an inevitable part of consuming creatine, whether you like it or not.
You will experience weight gain, but that will not be significant, so it is not a reason to stop using creatine supplements.
These tips help limit bloating and water weight gain in general:
Added Benefits Of Rest Days
People who take creatine, especially gym-goers, pay too much attention to timing and how much creatine is the proper dosage to build muscle and lean mass.
Is it a pre-workout or post-workout supplement? Will I hit the anabolic window?
Forget about all that. Creatine is an everyday supplement that is essential even during off days. It will improve muscle recovery and give you more energy to get through the day - and we all know how tiring a day after a strenuous workout is when every muscle suffers from DOMS.
Muscle growth will also be faster if you take it every day, and you won't lose muscle mass.
Better Brain Function
Your muscles aren't the only ones that need creatine. The brain also stores and uses creatine constantly, even at rest, because ATP is necessary for neurological and cognitive function.
Each ATP molecule is recycled more than 1000 times per day. Amazing, isn't it? You will notice that you think better and that brain fog is rare once you start supplementing creatine monohydrate or some other type.
Benefits Other Chronic Health Issues
Another benefit comes directly from what I talked about in the previous paragraph. Since creatine supplements improve brain function, they may improve many conditions.
Some of them are Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and recovery from stroke and neurological diseases and injuries.
Most studies are inconclusive at the moment; nevertheless, the evidence is strong enough that supplementation can be recommended to patients with these conditions.
Certainly, it will not harm them, and the potential benefits are huge.
What Is Creatine And What Does It Do To Your Body?
I'll give you a brief creatine 101 guide to avoid burdening you with unnecessary information and to still learn a thing or two before taking it.
Creatine is a nonessential amino acid derived from three amino acids glycine, methionine, and arginine. The term nonessential amino acid means it is a molecule naturally produced and does not imply its essentiality.
It has been the subject of clinical trials for decades and has been proven safe for healthy individuals. Increased creatinine levels are a false indicator of renal dysfunction.
Creatine monohydrate is the most popular and the best creatine type. It has been used in most studies. Popular types of creatine supplementation on the market, in addition to the pure creatine monohydrate, are:
This natural substance is one of the three best-selling and most effective supplements for muscle growth, and these are the effects of taking creatine:
Helps Develop and Maintain Muscle Strength
Whether you work out or not, muscles filled with creatine will make you stronger since more muscle mass equals more strength.
Of course, the results will be much more apparent if you combine supplementation with regular visits to the gym. Creatine supplementation has been proven to improve upper and lower extremity maximal strength.
Increases Your Response Time
Another benefit is that it will take less time to get back into shape after not doing strength training for a few weeks or months if your reserves are full.
The response time of your muscles will be incomparably faster, so you will be able to undo the decline and adverse effect of not training in no time.
Builds Better Overall Stamina
Stamina and endurance are two interchangeable terms, but they are not the same. When I mention stamina to my clients, they usually associate it with running a marathon or similar activity, which demands fatigue resistance.
There is a difference, though. Stamina is equally required to run a marathon, play tennis, or run after your children. Taking a creatine supplement boosts stamina by increasing phosphocreatine stores.
Lack of creatine in the body is reflected, among other things, in problems with mental focus and poor concentration.
Those problems are prevalent among vegans and vegetarians since the primary sources of creatine (animal proteins, especially red meat) do not fit into their diets.
Meat-eaters need additional creatine too. When you take the supplement, the already mentioned brain functions will improve directly, leading to focus improvements.
What Are Some Common Side Effects of Creatine Intake?
Few substances have been part of studies that have lasted for years.
Several studies on creatine lasted over four years, and not a single last side effect was found, including the most infamous kidney damage and hair loss.
Some of the common side effects of taking too much creatine include:
If you use diuretics, drugs for gout treatment, and those that affect the kidneys or blood sugar, consult your doctor before using creatine.
Nursing and pregnant women should avoid anything not explicitly recommended by their healthcare providers.
Taking Creatine Without Working Out Questions
Creatine will likely make you gain weight when not training because it draws water into your muscle cells. Don't worry, you won't get fat even though your body mass will grow. It's just a water weight.
You can take a creatine supplement as usual when not working out - 3 to 5 grams daily. If creatine cycling was your approach in the past, then the way of consumption will definitely differ. Loading and time off phases are not what you need at the moment.
Theoretically, you can take creatine pills without water. But why would you do that? Drinking plenty of water is essential when taking creatine; without it, you risk digestive problems. Creatine powder is practically impossible to consume without water, while liquid creatine is pre-mixed.
Not only that, you can take it on a rest day - you should. The reasons are about the same as for creatine consumption when not exercising at all - maximum creatine reserves, muscle growth, improved mental functions, and more energy.
Is It Bad To Take Creatine If You Don't Work Out? Final Verdict
All rise for the judge! The verdict is set to be read out!
All jokes aside, I'm not the judge (not even Judge Chamberlain Haller from My Cousin Vinny), and the jury didn't need much time to reach the final verdict. This case is obvious.
It is not bad to take creatine if you don't work out; on the contrary. Whatever the reason for your current or ongoing lack of physical activity, this research-backed supplement is not just for building muscle mass. The effects of taking creatine will help you perform daily activities better.