Competition is a broad word. There are many different types of lifting competitions and none of them are quite the same. But, should you stop taking creatine before a competition?
Put simply, no, it’s not recommended to stop taking creatine before a competition. Stopping creatine intake only has adverse effects on your body, strength, and physique, and won’t bring you any benefits.
This being said, there are a few situations where you should stop taking creatine in preparation for a competition. Below, I’ll go over these situations and whether or not it’s a good idea for you to take creatine.
Stop Taking Creatine Before These Competitions
As I mentioned above, there are a few situations where you should stop taking creatine before a competition. There aren’t many, but those situations do exist.
If you’re looking for a good brand of creatine to prepare for your next comp, read my article on my favorite and why it’s the only one that I use. Be sure to check it out!
Competitions When You’re Over-Weight:
In some types of competitions, you have to make it into a certain weight class. As you probably know, creatine makes you retain a few pounds of water weight. This extra weight can push you out of your weight class if you aren’t careful, which can mess up your entire competition.
Stopping creatine supplementation can help you lose a few pounds of water weight, which will help you fit into your class. So, if you’re just a couple of pounds above your weight class in the days before your competition, stop taking creatine.
Bodybuilding Competitions When You Have Too Much Water Weight:
In bodybuilding competitions, as you probably know if you’re a bodybuilder, you have to look a certain way. When you take creatine, the water weight you gain can hurt your physique.
Although most of the water weight gained from creatine isn’t visible, for some people it is. Everyone reacts to creatine differently, and some people may gain more water weight than others. So, if you gain visible water weight before your bodybuilding competition, stop taking creatine.
Of course, these aren’t all of the situations. These are the types of competitions where you probably should stop taking creatine, but you should stop whenever you feel like it would benefit you. It could be a pre-competition ritual, or just make you feel better, but either way, do so when it feels right.
When Should You Stop Taking Creatine?
Besides the competitions that I mentioned above, there are a few other circumstances when you shouldn’t be taking creatine. Don’t get me wrong, creatine is great, but there are definitely times when you shouldn’t be taking it. Some of these times are when:
You Experience Too Many Side Effects:
Most people that take creatine won’t experience any side effects. Those that do have side effects usually experience them very mildly. This being said, certain people will have harmful side effects, such as dizziness, feeling lightheaded, and digestive/stomach issues.
If you only have one of these side effects, you may decide it’s manageable and worth it to keep taking creatine. Some people will have all of these side effects, and for them, it may not be worth it to keep taking. If you experience too many side effects, creatine probably isn’t worth taking.
Your Doctor Recommends Against Taking Creatine:
While creatine is usually safe to take, some people’s bodies may react badly to it. I always recommend that you talk to your doctor before you start taking a supplement, especially for ones that affect your heart, like pre-workout, but creatine is included.
Creatine is safe, but it can have adverse effects on your brain, heart, and other parts of your body if you have any underlying conditions. Talk to your doctor before you take creatine and if they recommend that you don’t take it, follow their advice. The benefits of taking creatine aren’t worth risking your health.
Again, creatine is great, and it’s one of my favorite supplements, but there are times when you shouldn’t take it. Along with the competitions and situations I’ve already mentioned, if taking creatine doesn’t make you feel right, stop taking it. Losing out on its benefits isn’t the end of the world, and you can make progress without it.
Here’s When You Shouldn’t Stop Taking Creatine
If you don’t fall into any of the categories that I’ve talked about above, I don’t recommend that you stop taking creatine. If you stop, you’ll just have to start again all over after your competition, and lose out on gains that you could have made before/after the competition.
Staying on creatine before a comp can help you stay strong leading up to it, and not lose any progress that you might otherwise miss out on.
Again, if you do stop taking creatine, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll probably still do fine during your competition, and you’ll be able to start taking it again right after. But, you still have the potential to lose some gains if you stop taking it for too long.
For this reason, again, I don’t recommend that anybody stop taking creatine before a competition unless you fall into the few categories that I listed above.
Some creatine manufacturers claim that their version is better for preparing for competitions, but there’s no proof backing up these claims. If you want to learn about which type of creatine is best for training, check out my article on the 12 different types of creatine!
Creatine Supplementation Is up to You and Your Coach
If you’re a more serious lifter, you might have a coach to help you with your training. After everything I’ve already said in this article, you should really talk to your coach if you have one.
They might not always know what’s best for you, but you’re paying them to give you advice, and if they’re any good, they’ll know what they’re talking about.
If you found this article, you’re probably wondering whether or not you should stop taking creatine before your next competition. If you do have a coach, ask them what you should do. They’re your coach for a reason, and you should usually listen to their advice.
What Else Happens When You Stop Taking Creatine?
If you’re thinking about stopping your creatine supplementation, especially if you have a competition coming up, you should probably know what actually happens when you stop taking it. Here are some of the things that happen:
Faster Fatigue While Lifting:
This one is pretty straightforward. Because creatine gives your muscles more energy, when you stop taking it, your muscles have less energy. This means that you’ll have trouble doing the same amounts of reps and sets in the gym. You’ll eventually regain your strength even without creatine, but it may take a while.
Loss of Muscle Mass:
Because you’re unable to lift as much once you stop taking creatine, you’ll begin to lose some muscle mass. Going off creatine doesn’t directly make you lose muscle mass, but if you’re lifting less, you will lose some muscle.
To combat this, try to lift just as much as you were before, even if it’s a little harder. If you can manage that, you shouldn’t lose any muscle mass.
Loss of Water Weight:
When you stop taking creatine, you’ll also lose some water weight. This weight usually isn’t visible, but as I mentioned earlier, it sometimes is. Whether yours is visible or not, you’ll most likely lose a few pounds a couple of days after you stop taking it. This is normal, and it’s just extra water leaving your body.
These are only a few of the things that happen once you stop taking creatine. If you want to learn about all of the other things that happen, read my article on what happens when you stop taking creatine. Check it out next! It will help you understand what to expect when you do eventually stop taking it.
What Happens If I Stop Taking Creatine? A few weeks after you stop taking creatine, your body’s creatine reserves are gone. You’ll stop seeing as many strength gains, and you’ll lose the water weight you gained. On top of this, you may actually see some strength decreases.
Should I Take Creatine While Cutting? Yes, you should keep taking creatine while you’re cutting. Creatine does make you gain water weight, but it isn’t visible. Taking creatine won’t negatively impact your cut, and you should continue taking it.
Will Creatine Make Me Look Less Cut? No, creatine won’t make you less cut. While creatine does make you gain water weight, it’s not visible. Creatine will, however, help you build muscle, which makes you look more cut.