You're looking to grow those muscles rapidly, whether for function, purely aesthetics, or a combination of the above. Whatever the case, you've decided to take a creatine supplement to help achieve those goals.

While creatine is definitely a wonderful supplement, you need to know how to take it to maximize results and how long to expect them.

Don't go anywhere because we'll let you in on how much creatine to take for your goals, what to expect, and any other questions you may have. 

You already have some amount of creatine in your body. However, we're going to assume that your creatine stores are at a mild deficiency for this guide.

Think of creatine intake like any other nutrient. Once you take the supplement, stores aren't immediately replenished. There are a lot of variables surrounding absorption and the processes required for that.

Creatine is great for building muscle and strength, and it makes sense why consumers want to see results right away.[1]

An average of 3 to 5 grams of creatine daily will usually start making a noticeable difference around 2 to 4 weeks.

This dosage is ideal if you’ve never taken creatine before or just want to avoid having a deficiency.

Essentially, creatine levels in the body must be concentrated enough that it is able to saturate your muscles before experiencing benefits.

The rate at which this happens will vary depending on your body weight, body composition, and your individual body's responsiveness.

Man Drinking Creatine Supplement

Things That Affect How Fast Creatine Supplements Work

Let’s expand a bit on the factors that make creatine work more effectively.

The Type Of Creatine You Take

You may already know that there are different types of creatine supplementation out there.

According to scientific research, it’s been shown that creatine monohydrate in powder form is most effective.[2]

Some manufacturers claim that creatine HCL, ethyl ester, liquid, and other types are easier to absorb, but these claims remain baseless.

Learn More - Creatine HCL Vs Monohydrate (Which One Is Best For You?)

100% pure creatine monohydrate supplementation is best researched, with a lower risk of side effects than (currently) any other available form.

Take caution with the form you consume, as many products actually contain or result in creatinine - a byproduct rather than creatine.

One of the biggest examples of this is Bang Energy Drink, which does not offer creatine benefits, resulting instead in creatinine.

Learn More - How Much Creatine Is In Bang Energy Drinks? (Upd For 2023)

The Amount Of Creatine You Take

Remember just a moment ago when we mentioned that it could take up to a month to see results? By entering a "creatine loading phase," you could speed up that period of time.

A typical loading phase looks like moving from a regular 3-5g dose to a whopping 20 - 25 grams of creatine per day for 5 to 7 days. This helps to rapidly saturate the muscles.

After this initial creatine loading phase, you'll go down to a maintenance phase of 5g daily as creatine works to keep muscles topped up.

Learn More - How Much Creatine Should I Take? | Garage Gym Pro

The creatine loading phase bumps up the creatine stores in your muscles significantly, yielding results in just two weeks or less.

However, it's not uncommon to experience water retention and digestive discomfort like cramping and bloating while in this phase.[3]

To make it easier on your body, we recommend splitting your daily doses into 2 or 3 a day, so you aren't taking the full dose in one go.

The research behind creatine loading is somewhat contradictory regarding strength.

If you're trying to look more muscular for a pool party on the weekend, then it's great due to the added water retention.

The Quality And Purity

The fitness industry is filled with new supplements each day, and not every one is ideal for making or maintaining healthy individuals.

Therefore, if you want to improve exercise performance, you really need to pay attention to both the quality and purity of any sports nutrition supplement.

For creatine specifically, pay attention to the label for this information:

  • Tested for impurities either before or after packaging
  • Made in USA/free of harmful ingredients or impurities
  • Extra-fine micronized powder for easy dissolving in liquid
Overflowing Scoop Of Gainful Workout Supplement

The Way You’re Taking It

Research shows that taking creatine along with food - particularly with fruit juice or other carb-saturated sources for elevating insulin - can more effectively boost creatine muscle stores.

In fact, for increased creatine retention, studies found that consuming around 47g of carbs and 50g of protein is ideal.[4]

So, what if you’re trying to reduce your carb intake or are on a keto diet?

Just take it with a post-workout protein shake! The timing of creatine may not be quite as important as a protein shake is, but combining them is a great way to increase muscle stores.

Learn More - Can You Mix Creatine With Protein Powder? (Expert Advice)

The Type Of Your Workouts

Next, we must consider the type of workouts you’re doing. For example, if you’re putting yourself through intense exercise like sprinting, lifting weights, contact sports, etc.

These activities, when combined with taking creatine daily, can help increase muscle strength as well as muscle mass.

When we compare these activities that demand more ATP production (which creatine helps provide) to those like long-distance running, we see significant changes in the individual.

So let's look at the kind of changes you can expect. 

See More - Can You Take Creatine Without Working Out? (Pros & Cons)

How To Tell If Creatine Is Working Or Not (Common Signs)

Increase In Muscle

One of the first signs that your creatine is working for you is muscle growth. If you're looking to build muscle, creatine is one of the most effective.

If you're already lifting weights, creatine can help maximize your results. Not to mention, with the extra water to saturate your muscles, you'll look fuller and likely more muscular, anyway. 

Increase In Strength

One of the biggest goals for many with resistance training is to increase muscle strength. Of course, the rate at which this happens also depends on workout intensity and other factors.

When combined with creatine supplements - specifically during the loading phase - scientific evidence supports the fact that strength and power can increase by anywhere from 5% to 15%!

So, does that mean that taking creatine results in higher training volume? It definitely can.

Increase In Performance Output

Whether you’re participating in some kind of competition or high-intensity workouts, increasing exercise capacity is always a plus.

Creatine is a very effective supplement for achieving most fitness goals, particularly with strength training exercises.

Even a short-term loading phase can boost total creatine levels in the body anywhere from a whopping 10% to 30%, along with increasing phosphocreatine content by up to 40%.

However, studies suggest that even with lower doses/maintenance dose, creatine can help athletes increase strength, power, and even sprint performance.

Decrease Risk Of Injury

Even if your first time running a "creatine cycle," your body can benefit from a reduced risk of muscle strains, muscle tightness, and other health benefits.

In addition, thanks to its muscle-building benefits, athletes often experience a shorter recovery period with regular supplementation of creatine.

The benefits of creatine don’t stop there, either. Even with a daily intake of 3-5 grams of creatine, it can shuttle in water to the muscles, reducing the risk of heat illness.

The extra hydration also protects muscles from breaking down with low-calorie diets.

Increased Muscle and Strength During Workout

What Sort Of Results Can You Expect After Taking Creatine?

So, how long does creatine take to work? This all depends on the person, current muscle saturation, dose, body weight, and quality of supplements.

However, the time it takes for creatine to work is more or less going to look like the following:

After 1-Week Of Creatine Use

If you aren’t going through loading and are just beginning to up creatine stores, you may not notice much of a difference at the 1-week mark.

If you’ve already gone through a loading phase, you’ll likely already notice some performance benefits such as:

  • Muscle fullness
  • Slight weight gain (due to water)

After 1-Month Of Creatine Use

How long does it take for creatine to undoubtedly start working?

If you’ve already done the loading phase and are now on maintenance doses, you’ve likely reached muscle saturation by the 1-month point.

You should see an increase in strength and raw power if you’re training consistently and are currently in a maintenance period.

If you haven’t gone through creatine loading, you may just start to feel the creatine kick in this point. 

After 3-Months Of Creatine Use

After 3 months, whether you've done creatine loading or not, you'll see fuller muscles, more strength and power, and an overall increase in performance.

You'll likely be able to lift more or take on higher-intensity workouts.

Related Article - 1 Month Creatine Results (Before And After Pictures)

Common Questions About Creatine Supplementation

Are some people low responders to creatine supplementation?

Yes! In fact, about 25% of everyone who takes creatine won't notice any results at all.

Does it matter when you consume creatine?

No, the timing for which you take creatine doesn't really have much of an effect. It's important to monitor how much you're taking, but taking 10g once or 5g twice a day will pretty much have the same results.

What happens when you stop taking creatine?

From what studies have shown, it seems that all extra strength gained while taking creatine remain. However, strength endurance could drop off.

Should I take creatine every day?

You will see the best results by taking creatine consistently, but if you skip a day or two, it will not negatively affect you in the long run.

How long does it take creatine to work without loading?

Usually, it will take about a month to start to see results if you’re not loading.


Now that you know how long it will take for creatine to start saturating the muscles and increase overall performance, you have a guide to go off of.

Creatine is one of the most impressive supplements on the market today, but you will have to give it a bit of patience at first.


Miloš Lepotic

Miloš Lepotic

Miloš loves three things - science, sports, and simplicity. So, what do you get when you put the three together? A no-BS guy that's all about efficient workouts and research-backed supplements. But he also thinks LeBron's the greatest ever, so...