Do you recognize the feeling that something terrible will happen because you forgot to take your daily dose of supplements? That feeling is very familiar to me.

I can immediately tell you to relax - it's not the end of the world. Your progress will not be slowed down or come to a grinding halt because you missed ingesting 5 grams of an organic compound called creatine.

Since I know that such a simple answer is not enough for you, let's break down this matter and debunk all the myths about missing a full day of creatine.

If you miss a day of creatine, nothing will happen.

Creatine takes time to build up in your muscle cells which store it. How much creatine your body stores depends on your muscle mass.

The skeletal muscles are creatine stores, and they can hold about 2 grams of creatine per kilogram of muscle mass.

Creatine levels will remain equally high because just as it takes time for creatine to build up, it also takes time to leave the system. The time required is much longer than one day.

People in online forums or someone at the gym may tell you that you will experience water weight loss since you missed one day.

And that you have to double the dose the next day. The person who tells you that should definitely read a few studies on creatine.[1]

Related Article - What Happens When You Stop Taking Creatine? (5 Side Effects)

What Should You Do If You Missed A Day Of Creatine?

You do not need to do anything special if you missed a day of creatine, except if you are currently in the loading phase (I will cover that issue in the next section.)

The standard dose with most manufacturers is 5g, so the next day take 5g again as usual and continue with that routine. You don't need to take two scoops to make up for a missed day.

Based on my experience, even if you take 10 grams the next day, you will not notice any progress.

It's a small difference in amount, and the body will store about the same amount while the rest will filter through your kidneys and be expelled in urine.

If you are still worried about making a one-day break, I recommend foods that are naturally high in creatine rather than taking double doses of creatine powder. You can find creatine in the following high-quality sources:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Cod
  • Tuna
  • Lamb
  • Chicken

All these foods contain at least 0.5g of creatine per 100g. This way, you will naturally increase the intake of creatine, protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients.

Learn More - What Foods Have Creatine? (Where To Find The Best Sources)

Person Prepping Food

Do You Have To Reload Creatine If You Forget To Take It?

You don’t have to reload creatine after missed day if you are taking only 5g. If you forget to take creatine supplements during the loading phase, it's a bit trickier. Still, there is no reason to worry, and you'll be back on track in no time.

During the loading phase, most exercisers take about 20 grams of creatine. My advice is that under no circumstances you should try to make up for it in a day.

Forty grams of creatine will wreak havoc on your stomach. Bloating will be terrible, and I wouldn't be surprised if you spend the whole day on the toilet with diarrhea.

Instead of taking a double dose, spread the compensation over the next few days. So, for example, take about 25 grams each for the next four days. That way, you will achieve the same goal without ruining your training days.

If 25 grams is also causing problems, stop taking the creatine supplement in that amount and reduce it to a dosage that doesn't bother you.

The Loading Phase Explained

If you are a beginner or a younger person, you may not be familiar with the loading phase, so let me explain briefly.

Back in the day, you couldn't find a single gym-goer who didn't cycle creatine monohydrate. Then new types of creatine started appearing on the market, and we learned that creatine cycling is unnecessary.

Today, most people take the same dose of creatine constantly. That’s why it is possible that younger exercisers or those who have just started working out for the first time have not even heard of the loading phase.

A loading phase is the first part of creatine cycling. You take approximately 20+ grams of creatine for a week during that phase.

Then for several weeks, you maintain it (maintenance phase) by taking a daily maintenance dose of 5 grams of creatine. At the end comes the "time-off phase," when you "cleanse" the body of creatine.

As the safety of long-term creatine consumption has been proven for healthy subjects without kidney disease, there is no reason to take breaks.[2]

Learn More - How Long Does Creatine Take To Kick In And Work?

Does Creatine Work If You Don’t Take It Every Day?

Yes, a creatine supplement works even if you don't take it every day. However, it is not equally beneficial.

Here's how it works. Taking creatine only on the days you train will definitely positively affect your strength training. Creatine increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy production.[3]

It will help you exercise longer and more vigorously, no doubt about it.

However, taking creatine irregularly deprives you of other benefits that this amino acid provides. The benefits creatine stores filled to the maximum include better recovery and, thus, muscle growth.

Improved cognitive abilities are another advantage. If you skip it during your off days, you will slow your recovery.

Therefore, I recommended taking it every day regardless of activities.

Woman Scooping Bowmar Nutrition Creatine13 Powder

What Happens If You Stop Creatine For More Than A Day?

You've missed more than one day, and now you're wondering if everything you've read applies to your situation. Here are the answers depending on the length of the creatine intake break.

See More - Should You Cycle Creatine? (How-To Guide For Maximum Gains)

For Two Days

Most likely, you will not notice any changes after two days, either.

If you are an experienced exerciser or athlete who knows your body very well, you may see the first small changes. Even if that happens, it's not time to hit the panic button.

Start taking 5g again, and you will reverse that minor decline right away.

For Three Days

After a few days, enough creatine will leave your system to notice a slight drop in energy and some weight loss.

How much weight you lose in such a short period and how many days you can skip creatine depends on many factors, such as water intake, food, workout, and for how long you took creatine beforehand.

For A Week

Why did you skip creatine for a week? Maybe you just forgot to bring it on a business trip, have gotten caught up in the holidays, or were experiencing some health problems.

Undeniably, you will experience a significant loss in water weight after you stop taking creatine for a week, since creatine stores will start to get emptier.

Lower muscle creatine content will be reflected in less firm muscles, loss of muscle size, and lack of strength. You may also experience other creatine withdrawal symptoms, such as brain fog, muscle cramps, and fatigue.

To make one important thing clear - creatine withdrawal is very mild, nowhere near withdrawal from anabolic steroids.

The questions I asked you at the beginning of the paragraph are important because the answer to them will determine how you should start taking creatine again.

You can try the loading phase to jumpstart your workout if you forget to take it for a week. If you were sick, resume taking one scoop a day to prevent any side effects.

Woman Doing Handstand Against Gym Wall

Common Questions About Creatine Intake

Should I take creatine on days I don't work out?

Yes, it would be best to take your creatine supplement consistently, even on days you don’t work out. Unlike pre-workouts, which should only be taken during workout days, you should take your creatine supplementation daily to maximize benefit and gain muscle. It will help you both in bodybuilding progress and in performing everyday activities because you will have more energy.

Can you take creatine after a workout?

Typically, supplementing with creatine is most effective when you take it right after a workout. You can also take it before a workout, but it is essential to take it during that period. On rest days, timing is only relevant if you're trying to become Mr. Olympia.[4]

How long does creatine stay in your system?

It takes between one and two months for creatine to leave your system. Exactly how long it will take before the amount of creatine in your system returns to the usual one to two grams depends on individual factors.

Conclusion

Creatine (especially creatine monohydrate) is one of the market's most well-researched, effective, and safest supplements for muscle gains. It is helpful for men and women alike.

As a certified personal trainer, I recommend a creatine supplement to most of my clients, even athletes, to improve body composition, strength, and mental clarity and to build muscle mass faster.

The normal dosage is 5 grams per day. In the majority of cases, cycling is not necessary. If you miss a day or two of creatine supplements, there will be no consequences.

References: 

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1186/1550-2783-9-33
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00726-011-0878-2
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/creatine-for-muscle-and-strength
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545206/
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.