While you’re doing a cut, it can be difficult to balance muscle growth and fat loss at the same time. Creatine makes this even more confusing, so I wanted to find out, should you stop taking creatine while you’re cutting?
Put simply, you should continue taking creatine while on a cut. Creatine will help you retain muscle while losing fat, and continue building muscle. Along with this, it will not negatively impact your ability to lose fat or have a successful cut.
While most people should keep taking creatine while they’re on a cut, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Below, I’ll go over some caveats and things you should know about before you start cutting.
If you’re looking for a good brand of creatine to take on and off a cut, check out my article about my favorite creatine and why it’s the only one I use. It’s not magical, but it’s the best brand of creatine that I’ve found yet. I put a discount code in that article, so be sure to check it out!
Don’t Stop Taking Creatine While You’re Cutting
When most people start cutting, they’re trying to burn off fat. While creatine does make you retain water weight, this weight isn’t visible to the average person. Creatine also doesn’t make you gain fat or burn it for that matter, so taking it shouldn’t harm your cut in any way.
(Check out my article on why creatine won’t make you lose or gain fat).
You can burn fat while taking creatine just as easily as when you weren’t taking creatine. If you decide to stop taking creatine, you’ll just have to start over again after your cut and potentially go through another loading phase.
If you’re interested in what else happens, read my article on all the things that happen when you stop taking creatine.
One of the biggest struggles lifters face while going through a cut is trying to keep or build muscle while losing fat at the same time. This is a pretty difficult thing to do, and many people end up losing muscle while cutting. Thankfully, creatine can help you actually keep your muscle instead of losing it all.
The only reason I’d recommend stopping creatine intake while you’re cutting is if you’re trying to make weight for a meet. I’ll go over this more down below.
Basically, the point I’m trying to make is that creatine isn’t going to impact your cut. In fact, stopping creatine will most likely just make your life more difficult in the long run. Personally, I think the only time you should stop taking creatine during a cut is if you’re trying to make weight for a meet.
Consider Going off Creatine If You’re Cutting for a Meet
The basics of cutting are that you first go through a bulking phase, where you build muscle and fat at the same time. Next, you do a cutting phase, where you burn off fat while keeping as much muscle as possible.
The goal for this is that you come out from your cut looking leaner and more muscular. Most lifters that do cuts are just trying to build muscle, and for some people, just looking better. For these types of people, I wouldn’t recommend going off creatine.
The other type of person is someone that’s trying to cut weight, so they can fit into a certain weight class for a meet, whether it’s bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting, or even sports like wrestling.
Because the water weight you gain from creatine weighs a lot but isn’t visible, I’d recommend not taking creatine if you’re one of the people trying to cut for a meet, but keep taking creating if you’re not a competitive lifter or if you’re in a competitive sport without weight classes.
The only caveat to this is that if you’re well within the weight class you want to be in, you shouldn’t stop taking creatine. Going off creatine can help you cut a couple of pounds of water weight, so if you’re really close to the weight class you want to be in, that’s when you should stop taking creatine.
If you want to learn more about when you should stop taking creatine, check out my article on whether or not you should stop taking creatine before a competition!
Creatine Helps You Retain Muscle While You Lose Fat
As I mentioned before, one of the biggest issues with cutting is that it’s hard to keep your muscle while you cut fat. While creatine won’t build muscle on its own, it helps protect your muscles from degradation while you’re cutting.
This is because of a number of reasons, but I’ve heard that it’s partly because of the water weight that creatine makes your muscles retain. That would be because your muscles are more hydrated, which makes them less likely to atrophy, especially during a cut.
On top of that, creatine gives your muscle cells more energy, so they may be more resistant to atrophy than they would be if you stopped taking creatine.
Muscle atrophy is basically when you lose muscle. It happens when you don’t work out enough or lift enough weight, if you aren’t eating enough calories, or potentially when you’re doing a cut.
Thankfully, creatine can make your muscles more resistant to atrophy while you’re cutting, and that’s why I recommend you keep taking it.
Some creatine brands might claim that their type makes you gain more muscle than others, or that theirs make you gain less fat. If you want to learn about all the different types of creatine and what they actually do, check out my article on every type of creatine available on the market!
Creatine Helps You Continue Building Muscle While Cutting
On top of stopping muscle atrophy, creatine may actually help you continue building muscle while you’re cutting if you use it right.
Normally, while you’re cutting, you consume a lot fewer calories than you do when you’re trying to build muscle. Unfortunately, this usually leads to muscle loss, even when you’re still lifting and working out.
Because creatine makes it easier for your muscles to use energy, you can often not lose muscle or even build muscle while you’re cutting. This is still very difficult to do, but if you balance your calorie intake the right way, and do just the right amount of lifting, you can usually build a bit of muscle even while you’re cutting.
Unfortunately, this balance of calorie intake and lifting weights is different for everyone. Everybody has different goals, metabolisms, bodyweights, and a million other factors that will impact your ability to build muscle.
Because of this, I can’t give you a direct recommendation on how much you should eat and workout while cutting.
This being said, if you do your research and calculate your calories, you should be able to build muscle on a cut, with some practice. It’s not gonna be easy, but creatine should make it a little less difficult.
Creatine Won’t Impact Your Cut
Basically, the point of this whole article is that creatine shouldn’t have any effect on your cut. It won’t affect your ability to lose weight, and it won’t make you gain weight, except for a bit of non-visible water weight.
My final recommendation for cutting and creatine is that everyone should continue taking it unless you’re trying to shed pounds to make it into a certain weight class.
If you stop taking creatine, you’ll only lose out on future gains and cause future problems. In addition to that, creatine will also help you retain and even build muscle during your cut, which is something I’m sure everyone cutting wants to achieve.
To completely sum everything up, creatine won’t impact or hinder your ability to cut weight and fat. It won’t make it harder for you to cut weight, and look better.
Although it makes you retain water weight, it’s non-visible, and nobody will be able to tell that you have a few extra pounds of water. Creatine will also help you keep your muscles during your cut.
Because of all these things, it’s my opinion that nobody has a good reason to stop taking creatine during a cut unless you’re trying to make a certain weight class.
What Happens When I Stop Taking Creatine? When you stop taking creatine, your creatine levels go back to normal. You may lose some muscle, and you may find that you get tired more easily in the gym. If you want to read more, check out the article I wrote on what happens when you stop taking creatine.
How Long Can I Stay on Creatine? You can basically take creatine forever, but specifically, studies show creatine is safe to take for up to 5 years. Studies for longer than this haven’t been completed, but you can learn more in my article on how long you should take creatine for.
Can I Lose Fat While Taking Creatine? Yes, you can lose fat while taking creatine. Creatine may cause you to retain water weight but will have no impact on your ability to lose/burn fat, whether it’s during a cut or just if you’re trying to lose weight.