Can this stalwart muscle-builder also be helping you burn fat?

June 9, 2009


By now creatine is more or less a bodybuilding staple, nearly as commonly stocked in a bodybuilder’s pantry as whey protein. It’s also well known for the size and strength increases it imparts. What’s less familiar to most, however, is that creatine can also contribute to fat loss: Get lean with creatine! Kind of catchy, no?

Don’t take our word for the supplement’s fat burning ability though. One study found that one month of creatine supplementation not only increased strength and muscle mass, but also the resting metabolic rate in men. In other words, guys who sat around and just watched television and drank creatine mixes every day had an increased metabolic rate of about 50 calories per day. Among guys who took creatine and also lifted weights, the increase in resting metabolism was about 100 calories per day. That may seem small, but it’s important to remember that in this study, the guys who lifted but did not take creatine had no change in their resting metabolic rate.

Another study performed by the U.S. Department of Defense found that soldiers who took creatine for just one week had an increase in bench-press strength, gained 4-7 pounds of muscle, and lost 1-2 pounds of bodyfat. Exercisers who took a placebo experienced none of these positive changes and actually gained some bodyfat. So, no, you’re not nuts if you could swear you were losing fat while on creatine. In fact, it’s a great supplement to take when you are getting lean because it helps you maintain strength gains and muscle mass while you strip off fat on a lower-carb or lower-calorie diet

For those who want to see if you can both gain and lose with creatine, try taking 5 grams twice per day on training days – once about 30 minutes before hitting the gym and again immediately after – or 5 grams in the morning on an empty stomach on non-training days.