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Creatine Isn’t Just For Bulking

Creatine Isn’t Just For Bulking
Emily Wilcock
Writer and expert2 years ago
View Emily Wilcock's profile

Creatine is one of our most talked about supplements. It's no secret that it's a popular supplement among gym bros because of the benefits it has for growing muscle. But one consequence of this is it may have a slight image problem, with people — women in particular — thinking it’s something you take only if you want to be super-jacked. This is not the case at all.

Myprotein senior product developer, Katie Brown, is back again for another episode of Nutritionist Explains. This time, she breaks down not only the general benefits of creatine, but specifically what creatine supplementation does for women. It isn’t solely for beating PBs, it can improve performance, help muscle growth and even boost overall health.

What is creatine?

Creatine is made up from three separate amino acids: arginine, histidine, and methionine. The body can produce creatine in the liver and pancreas from these three amino acids, or you can consume it in supplement form.

While meat and fish are natural dietary sources of creatine, an average diet that includes these foods provides negligible amounts.

How does creatine work?

It's about to get a bit technical, so bear with us. In your body, creatine is combined with phosphate to form creatine phosphate. All right, maybe that bit wasn’t too complex.

ATP is the energy source driving almost every bodily function. It creates energy by hydrolysing phosphate. When it does this, ATP is converted to ADP, which is pretty much a useless byproduct.

But this ADP doesn’t have to go to waste. When creatine gets involved, it donates its phosphate grip back to ADP, which then converts it into the form we can use — you may remember this from earlier on — ATP.

Benefits of creatine

Creatine helps you to make the most of every last bit of energy in your muscles. You can then work harder, lift heavier and feel less tired. But the benefits don’t stop there. After your workouts, creatine helps you to recover faster by helping to restore optimal levels of your body’s creatine stores, helping to regulate your body's temperature and prevent injury.

We're aware of the concerns women may have before taking creatine. Will it make me feel bloated? Will it make me look bulky? Will it make me put on weight? But there’s no need to worry. Here’s what the studies have to say.

One study on female athletes found that creatine supplementation significantly increases lower-body strength without significant weight gain or bulking. Nice.

Another study found that creatine supplementation can increase upper-body strength while reducing body fat percentage. Nice, again.

Creatine for weight loss

If weight loss is your goal, creatine can support it in two ways.

Better workouts can lead to more fat loss in the short term, and the addition of lean muscle can lead to more calories burned overall.

Does creatine cause bloating?

Some women may experience some bloating after taking creatine for the first time, but don’t let that put you off. Creatine supplementation does have water-retention effects, which can lead to bloating. But usually this lessens a short time after consumption. But if it is causing you trouble, you can always split your doses over two servings a day.

While bloating is a downside, the intracellular water retention caused by creatine is actually a good thing as far as your muscles are concerned. They appear fuller and it supports an oxygen-rich environment where your muscles can grow better.

Like most supplements, regular consumption is key. And evidence suggests that a low dose can be all you need, with proven results for physical performance from only 3g a day.

Take Home Message

Creatine is nothing to be scared of, despite what you may have heard. It's one of the most researched supplements and has consistently proven benefits for performance with few side effects.

If you’re on the fence, there’s no harm trying it for a short while. Try taking a small dose every day to load up on your creatine stores — if you feel the benefits in your workout, great. But if not, no harm done.



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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Emily Wilcock
Writer and expert
View Emily Wilcock's profile
After completing an internship with Myprotein, Emily returned to university to finish her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Marketing. With experience in lifestyle writing, Emily aims to entertain and educate through her work. Her focuses include recipes, real and inspiring stories, and working with writers to help provide easy-to-digest evidence-based research. Her work on recipes has been previously featured in The Supplement magazine, with a particular focus on high-protein, nutritious meals, plus advice on how to properly fuel your body. Outside of work, Emily’s top priority is food. She’s a self-professed star baker and a connoisseur of all things baked. In her spare time, she’s either cooking up a storm, our looking out for the opportunity to try out Manchester’s newest restaurants. But as a huge fan of carbs, if it’s not pasta or pasta-adjacent, she’s not interested. If she’s not in the kitchen, she’s tucked up with a book for an early night, or you’ll find her in the gym working up a sweat. Afterall, all those carbs require quite the appetite.