Should I Take Creatine On Rest Days? Here’s What You Need to Know

By Kendra Reed

Updated On

We live in an era where everyone is switching to a healthy diet, mindful eating, and conscious living in general. An interesting observation in this transition is the addition of supplements to our diet. In a time when supplements have become so ingrained in our diet, creatine needs no introduction. It is the athletes’ favorite supplement that helps produce energy during workouts. Creatine’s function doesn’t end there. Let’s look in detail at what it is as a supplement, how it works, the benefits, and whether you should take creatine on rest days in this piece.

What is creatine?

Creatine is a chemical compound found naturally in our muscle cells and brain. It can be made from the amino acids glycine and arginine. Almost 95% of the creatine in the body is stored as phosphocreatine in our muscles and the rest 5 % is stored in the brain and testes from where it is used to produce energy.

This stored energy source is used to make ATP molecules which are the energy currency of the body. Therefore, more ATP production means more energy for the body. It also helps in building muscle mass and enhances exercise performance. Therefore athletes, who do high-intensity training and heavy lifting often consume creatine supplements to improve their muscle strength and physical performance.

Our body gets creatine in three ways; produced in the body by the pancreas, liver, and kidney, through the food we eat, especially red meat and seafood, and through supplements. Our body can produce up to 1 mg of creatine per day. Most of our creatine requirement is met through our diet.

However, it might not often be adequate and you might want to add supplements to your diet to receive the true benefits of this compound. It is also used to treat muscle cramps. Fatigue, depression, multiple sclerosis, etc. Creatine supplements are shown to have better results in individuals with lower creatine levels than in those who already have high levels of creatine in their bodies.

What are the benefits of taking creatine?

Improved muscle mass, strength, and performance

Creatine helps the body build energy during workouts. The ATP molecules in our body gets depleted quickly during high intensity workout which is why you can’t do it for long. Taking creatine supplements can help the body produce more ATP molecules and hence slower the rate of depletion. Therefore, you last longer during high-intensity weight training with the help of creatine supplements.

Injury prevention and speedy recovery

Creatine reduces the rate of dehydration, muscle breakdown, ligament tear, and injuries to bone, tendons, and nerves. It also aids in rapid recovery during workouts and competitions.


Taking creatine supplements consistently for 12 weeks may help reduce sarcopenia or age-related muscle loss in adults. It gives the best results when coupled with light exercises which is good for building muscle mass and strength.

GAMT or AGAT deficiency

Taking creatine supplements regularly increases the level of creatin in the brains of children with GMAT or AGAT deficiency.

Improves heart health

Creatine plays a key role in heart contraction. Besides, the amino acids in this compound keep our hearts healthy and going. Our body produces lesser amounts of creatine as we age. Therefore, it is important we supplement our diet with required amount of creatin to support our health in general and heart health in particular.

As per a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, creatine supplementation enhanced the pumping of hearts and thereby reduced the risk of heart failure. It has also been observed that taking supplements has reduced instances of heart attacks and strokes in individuals with heart disease.

Improves brain functions

Research links creatin to improved cognitive function, mood, and memory. It is also shown to improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also fights signs of depression to some extent. Besides, it aids in speedy recovery in instances of brain injury. Some clinical studies on animals show that it can also treat epilepsy and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Anti-aging benefits

Some studies show that applying creatin-containing cream on the face daily for five weeks reduces skin sag and wrinkles in men. It has also been tested useful for recovering from sun tan.

Improves blood sugar levels

According to NLM, creatin supplementation when combined with exercises improves glucose metabolism in individuals with insulin resistance.

When is the best time to take creatine?

There isn’t enough evidence to prove what time is best for taking creatine. Supplementing your workouts with creatine helps you get better results. You could either take it immediately before or after a workout. You could also take it at any time of the day. Some people also prefer to split it and take it before and after a workout as well.

While we may not have enough evidence to say if it is better to take creatine immediately before or after exercise, some studies prove that taking creatine just before or after a workout is better than taking it long after the workout.

Should I Take Creatine On Rest Days?

Creatine is made from animal-based protein. Our body produces 1-2 mg of creatine every day. Therefore, your creatine requirements are met without supplements, unless you do heavy weight lifting, intense cardio or you are a vegetarian. If you are an athlete and want to build more muscles, taking creatine on a daily basis can help you build muscle mass and strength.

To bulk up, it is advised that you take 20mg of creatine every day for a few days, followed by a 3-5 g daily dose after that. However, consult your doctor and nutritionist before including any kind of supplements in your diet.

What else to do on rest days?

There is absolutely no harm in taking creatine even on rest days. It helps to keep the creatine level elevated in the muscles and aids in muscle recovery. But the time of consumption is not as important as on days when you work out. Taking creatine on rest days helps you hit the gym back even stronger. It also prevents muscle breakdown and promotes overall well-being.

Will creatine make you gain weight?

Taking creatine can cause weight gain which is due to water retention and not fat. The supplement draws water into muscle cells which hold on to it. This fluid retention in the muscles can increase your overall weight. It can make you puffy around your waist, arms, and legs. Some people put on 2-4 pounds in the first week of taking creatine orally. Don’t worry this water weight will not last for long and can be shed through urine if you drink plenty of water.


To sum up, creatine, a natural component found in your body, has a lot of health benefits. The amount of creatine produced in the body might not suffice for individuals who do intense weight training and high-intensity workout. In this case, supplementing creatine to your diet helps with muscle building, enhanced strength, and reduced muscle injuries. Besides, building muscles creatine has a lot of other merits including promoting heart health, anti-aging skin benefits, improved glucose metabolism, better cognitive functions, and so on.

Besides, it is recommended that you take your daily dose of creatine immediately before or after the workout and not much longer after it. Taking creatine on rest days also helps to retain the creatine levels in the muscles, muscle recovery, and overall health. Although you might put on a few pounds initially from the supplement, which is due to fluid retention, it can be reduced over time and is not a big deal. Overall, it is safe to say that including creatine supplements in your diet during high-intensity training is a welcome step in the right direction of your fitness journey and if you haven’t done it yet, this is a signal from the universe to do so.


Q: How much water should I drink with creatine?

A: It is advised to take 5g of creatine with 8 ounces or one cup of water. While taking creatine it is ideal to drink 2-3L of water daily.

Q: What are the side effects of creatine?

A: Generally considered safe when consumed in the correct dosage, some of the side effects of taking creatine are dehydration, stomach upset, weight gain, and muscle cramps.

Q: What happens when I stop taking creatine?

A: When you stop supplying creatine externally to the body, it starts producing creatine naturally. You may first experience a dip in energy levels, strength, and endurance, but it won’t be a huge change. With the right diet and strength training you can work towards your health goal.

Q: Does creatine affect my sleep cycle?

A: With creatine intake, you might feel fully rested with fewer hours of sleep. This is because creatine enhances the energy levels in the brain as well.

Q: Who should avoid creatine?

A: Creatine supplements are not recommended for diabetic patients and people with liver and kidney diseases. Children under 18 years and pregnant/nursing women should also refrain from taking creatine.

Q: Is creatine a steroid?

A: It is a popular misconception that creatine is a steroid. It is a natural compound produced in our body and also supplied through food and has no links whatsoever with steroids.

Kendra Reed

Dr. Kendra Reed is a dedicated general medicine physician with 7 years of clinical experience. After graduating from medical school, she completed her residency in internal medicine, developing a well-rounded skillset in diagnosing and treating a diverse range of conditions. Patients appreciate Dr. Reed's warm bedside manner and commitment to providing comprehensive, personalized care. In addition to her clinical work, she is actively involved in community outreach programs, educating the public on important health topics. Dr. Reed is known for her ability to establish trusting relationships with her patients and help them achieve their wellness goals.

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