Should I Take Creatine While Cutting?

Muscular male showing off muscles

Should I take creatine while cutting or Should you stop taking creatine when cutting, or is it best to incorporate this popular supplement into your routine to promote fat loss? Creatine is one of the most popular fitness supplements in the world, thanks to its outstanding benefits. And even in a cutting phase, the benefits of creatine are readily available! 

Quick Takeaway:

  • Creatine’s benefits can change the game in a cutting phase, helping to establish more prominent results. 
  • Some drawbacks associated with creatine supplementation include water weight gain and digestive upset. The potential and severity of these side effects vary per person. 
  • Before starting creatine supplements, it is highly recommended to consult a medical professional to deter potential health risks and to establish a customized dosage to fit your needs better. 

Should I Take Creatine When Cutting?

So, should you take creatine when cutting?

Made from three amino acids, creatine is a natural substance synthesized in the human body that can also be consumed through animal proteins. The most common and researched form of creatine used in supplements is creatine monohydrate, used by fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and everyday gym goers to lose body fat, retain muscle mass, and produce more significant muscle growth. 

Though it is more popular to use this supplement for bulking or performance, it is possible to take creatine when cutting, too. Incorporating a creatine supplement into your cutting phase routine can produce more significant results. 

Creatine When Cutting: The Benefits

Creatine supplement for muscle growth
Hydrates Muscles survey

Source: Everflex Fitness 2024

Our survey assessed whether those who took creatine supplements noted progress in performance and muscle gains. Though 40% of respondents don’t use creatine, of the ones that do, 36% have noted improvement.

Taking creatine while cutting can help produce numerous benefits. From losing fat to increasing lean muscle mass, find out more of the benefits of using creatine supplementation when cutting! 

Hydrates Muscles

Creatine draws water into the muscles, helping to increase total body water without altering fluid distribution. 

Muscle hydration is vital, especially during cutting. The water aids in cushioning the joints to support normal function, including speed and flexibility. The fluid helps to deter cramping, promote recovery, and support the muscles and joints – all important qualities for everyday life and during a cutting phase.  

Preserves Lean Muscle Mass

A cutting phase has many motives, from losing body fat to achieving a leaner physique. Either way, maintaining muscle mass is vital during this period to preserve skeletal muscle fibers and lean tissue mass to deter rapid muscle loss. 

Creatine’s ability to increase muscle mass is also beneficial for preserving lean muscle mass while in a cutting phase. During body recomposition efforts, this attribute of creatine supplementation helps promote progress and deter muscle mass loss. 

Promotes Fat Loss

Creatine intake has the added benefit of reducing body fat percentage when paired with resistance training and a calorie deficit. 

During a cutting phase, this natural method of helping to decrease fat mass can speed up progress. Combined with creatine’s support in maintaining lean muscle mass, this natural substance’s capacity to promote a reduction in body fat percentage completely transforms the cutting phase into an experience where goals and progress are much easier to achieve.  

Supports Muscle Growth

While in a cutting phase, promoting muscle hypertrophy to deter muscle loss and for a bonus in body composition gains is possible with a combination of creatine supplementation and weight training. 

Creatine supports muscle building by stimulating muscle protein synthesis, which promotes muscle mass increases. This is done through creatine’s natural functions in reducing serum myostatin, which is correlated to a negative regulation of muscle mass. Though gaining muscle during a cutting phase is not crucial, the qualities of creatine to support the muscles and stimulate muscle growth can help produce greater overall gains and progress in the end. 

Enhances Exercise Performance

Creatine’s primary function in the body is the stimulation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a source of energy. After producing ATP, creatine stores it in muscle cells to be used for daily functions. 

The capacity to produce more energy directly impacts muscle strength for sport performance and high-intensity exercise. This function of creatine promotes benefits in exercise performance. When in a calorie deficit, energy levels tend to be low, so this can produce more energy to maintain a cutting phase to reach a determined goal. 

Aids Recovery

During a cutting phase, it is also important to prioritize recovery and support muscle tissue health. 

Many fitness enthusiasts choose to consume creatine to speed up recovery. Studies have found that creatine isn’t the best supplement for recovery. Still, it supports the healing process, reducing oxidative stress and protecting the body against muscle damage. This is possible thanks to creatine’s ability to increase glycogen synthesis, which replenishes the muscles and activates muscle tissue repair. 

Taking Creatine When Cutting – The Drawbacks

Like with any supplementation, there can be drawbacks to taking creatine supplements. Water weight gain is one of the most noteworthy drawbacks of creatine supplementation while cutting. To learn more about the disadvantages of taking creatine in a cutting phase, continue reading below! 

Water Weight Gain

Creatine pulls water into the muscles, causing what is known as fluid retention. This natural aspect of creatine can result in unwanted weight gain due to increased water retention in the muscles.

When beginning creatine supplementation, water retention often occurs, causing a fuller look. This typically goes away within one week or so, but some may notice this side effect lingering longer. 

Digestive Issues

Digestive issues are among the most common problems with medication or supplementation. Creatine is not exempt from this. 

Some users may not have issues, while others may. Digestive upset can range from nausea and stomach aches to diarrhea when taking creatine in larger dosages. Always consult with a medical professional before starting creatine supplementation to deter potential harmful side effects and find the correct dosage for your respective goals and lifestyle. 

Tips for Using Oral Creatine Supplementation While Cutting

White powder scoop close-up

While taking oral creatine supplementation in a cutting phase, there are ways to produce greater benefits. Here are some helpful tips to consider when taking creatine in a cutting phase! 

When to Take It

While in a cutting phase, it is essential to take creatine daily to replenish depleted creatine stores caused by resistance exercise and a calorie deficit. 

There is insufficient evidence to support the timing of creatine supplementation and correlated benefits over others. A general advice is to take creatine pre-workout to boost energy levels for performance. Post-workout creatine supplementation may be best for recovery. 

What to Pair It With

Although many sites and fitness gurus will state that taking a creatine supplement with carbohydrates is vital for boosting benefits, some studies reveal otherwise. One study demonstrated that pairing creatine and carbohydrates caused a decrease in energy provision as an adverse effect. 

Due to the inconsistent research results on this matter, more research is needed to conclusively determine what to pair creatine supplementation with. 

How Much to Take

How much creatine you should take can vary depending on body weight, activity level, and muscle mass. 

The general dose of creatine suggested is anywhere from 5-20g daily. When taking more than 5g, splitting up the dosages throughout the day is essential to replenish creatine stores more appropriately and to help to avoid digestive side effects. The dosage range of 5-20g per day has been verified by research to instigate ergogenic effects and boost ATP resynthesis. 

Final Thoughts on Taking Creatine While Cutting

So, should creatine be used when cutting, or is it better not to use creatine? 

Using creatine supplements during a cutting phase can produce various positive effects. Creatine can be helpful for those looking to lose fat, maintain lean mass, and aid recovery processes. This natural substance acts as a near-magical supplement for individuals looking to produce more significant progress to hit their cutting phase goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I take creatine if trying to lose weight?

Taking a creatine supplement on a weight loss journey can be a productive maneuver to consider incorporating into your routine. When losing weight, the goal is to maintain lean muscle mass and reduce body fat percentage. Creatine supplementation promotes all these desirable benefits, helping to improve progress and gains during your weight loss journey. 

Can you stay lean on creatine? 

Though creatine can produce progress in lean muscle mass and reduced fat percentage, in the end, staying lean heavily depends on activity level and a caloric deficit. Taking a creatine supplement can be beneficial for maintaining lean muscle mass and reducing body fat percentage. Still, activity level and a caloric deficit are all significant contributors to success in staying lean while on or off creatine. 

Is creatine good for bulking or cutting?

Creatine is an appropriate supplement for both bulking and cutting. With cutting, there will likely be a noticeably fuller look due to water retention with creatine. Still, for most individuals, this goes away within a week or so after beginning supplementation. The natural qualities of creatine support muscle growth and maintenance of lean muscle mass, perfect for bulking and cutting. 

Will I look more cut if I stop taking creatine? 

Creatine causes more fluid retention in the muscles, which can result in a more fuller look. Ceasing creatine supplementation can result in a more “cut” look, though this won’t create a drastic difference in muscle fullness.

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

I am an ISSA-certified CPT and Nutrition Coach with a BA in Creative Writing and a Minor in Nutrition.

Learn More About Kaelyn

More posts from Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach


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