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Creatine Before And After: Discover What Happens When You Take It For 30 Days

by Jeremy Ethier - April 23, 2022

Creatine before and after 30 days: what does it do to your body? How long does it take to work? This article covers all the answers to your burning questions about the supplement.

What can you expect from taking creatine? Well, creatine has been consistently proven to make you look bigger, build muscle faster, improve your performance, and even make you smarter. In fact, over 50% of professional power athletes such as powerlifters, boxers, and track and field athletes are reportedly using the supplement for these reasons. Not to mention its rising popularity amongst high school lifters and athletes as well—who're increasingly aware of the benefits to be gained within the creatine before and after timeframe.

But what exactly does creatine do to your body and where does it go? What should you expect to feel in terms of creatine benefits? And how soon? Is creatine safe — and are there any side effects you should know about? How do you know if it’s working or not? In this article, we’ll cover all that by doing a deep dive into what to expect in terms of creatine before and after for the first 30 days.

Of course, by now, you should know that supplementation isn't the only thing to take care of for best results. That's why I've designed every BWS program to be an all-in-one, science-based process (covering training, nutrition, and supplementation) that’ll get you to your dream physique FAST. And best of all? It's all rooted in science. For more information:

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Creatine Before And After: Understanding Its Benefits

Before you even think about creatine before and after effects, it’s important to understand 2 things. First, what it does to the body. And second, why it doesn’t necessarily “work” for everyone. That means your "creatine before and after 30 days" may look different from another's "creatine before and after 30 days".

Creatine is a substance we naturally produce and use up as an indirect energy source. It helps power our muscles through high-intensity activities such as sprints or a tough set of bench press. For this reason, we store most of our creatine in our muscles (95%). But, about 5% of it is also stored in the brain. And this is why it’s been heavily linked to both improvements and impairments in brain function — but more on this in a bit.

Although we have a baseline of creatine levels in our muscles, supplementing with it can increase our baseline levels by about 30%. As a result, our muscles have more creatine to power our muscles with. This, in turn, leads to more strength and muscle mass over time.

But not everyone will experience the same increase in creatine levels. Approximately 20-30% of individuals naturally walk around with just about fully saturated muscle creatine levels. As a result, they experience little to no benefit from creatine supplementation. Other individuals, especially vegetarians, since creatine is found in small amounts in meat, have naturally lower creatine levels. And will experience a greater benefit from supplementation.

So, odds are, you will experience some benefits from taking it. But even if you don’t, that’s not a bad thing. It just means the gods have blessed you with top-tier genetics.

Now, as for what to expect in terms of:

  • What to feel
  • Side effects AND
  • How to tell if it's actually working

... Let's dive into our 30-day "creatine before and after" timeline.

What To Expect In The Saturation Phase

So, when you first start taking creatine, it takes time for your muscles to become fully saturated with that additional creatine. Note that you will experience a few side effects throughout this period. That said, you won’t experience the performance benefits until full saturation which we’ll talk about later.

As for how long this saturation process takes, it depends on how much creatine you take every day. As I’ve discussed in a past creatine article, there are 2 ways you can start taking creatine:

  • Loading protocol: You take quite a bit of creatine every day to increase your stores as fast as possible. You'd then decrease the dose to maintain the elevated levels. Using this method, it'll take about 7 days to fully saturate your muscles. And that is when you can start experiencing some of its benefits.
How long creatine saturation takes when using the loading phase
  • Non-loading protocol: You take a baseline dose of creatine every day. And you slowly increase your creatine levels over time — often taking about 2 to 3 weeks to reach full saturation.
How long creatine saturation takes when using the non-loading phase

Both methods get you to the same end destination. But will differ in some of the side effects you may experience.

Creatine Before And After: Side Effects

#1: Initial Weight Gain

For example, one of the side effects most people experience during this saturation phase is water retention and a small spike in your body weight. This is because when creatine is taken into a muscle cell, it also draws water into that cell. Although this may sound like a bad thing, it can actually make your muscles look and feel a lot fuller.

As for how much initial weight gain to expect? Research suggests anywhere from 1-3 lbs. But if you choose the loading protocol, you’ll see this initial weight spike during the first 7 days of using creatine. Whereas if you use the non-loading protocol, your weight will instead gradually increase over a period of 2-3 weeks until your muscles are fully saturated.

Weight gain before and after creatine depending on the loading protocol you use

#2: Stomach Discomfort

Another often reported side effect of creatine before and after—more specifically, throughout the saturation phase—is stomach discomfort. If you experience this or want to avoid experiencing it in the first place, there are a few things you can do.

First off, research has shown that stomach discomfort is more likely when larger amounts of creatine are taken at once (e.g., with a loading phase). So if you’re using the loading protocol, splitting up your creatine dose into multiple smaller doses throughout the day may help. If it doesn’t, you may just want to stick with the non-loading protocol.

In addition to this, avoid taking creatine on an empty stomach or with caffeine. Both scenarios seem to increase the likelihood of an upset stomach. Lastly, sometimes discomfort is due to creatine being poorly dissolved by the body. To mitigate this, when you take your creatine, you can try mixing it with hot water to get it fully dissolved. See if that helps.

By the way, guys, before we dive into the last side effect, I’m curious — for those of you who have taken creatine, what side effects have you experienced? This next one personally really took me by surprise, but leave a comment as I’m curious if there’s anything I’ve missed. 

#3: Higher Creatinine Levels In Blood And Urine

Alright, so the last side effect associated with the creatine before and after period you and your doctor should know about has to do with your creatinine levels. Creatinine is a breakdown product of creatine. Since you’re taking more creatine, your creatinine levels in urine will also slightly increase.

And since high creatinine levels can indicate impaired kidney function, this can be alarming to see on a blood test if you’re not aware of it. However, creatine has been consistently proven to be a safe supplement for healthy individuals. Your health professional should also be aware of its effect on creatinine. But, as with any blood test results, please consult with your health professional and follow their guidance.

Creatine gets broken down into creatinine which can show up on blood tests

What To Expect In The Post-Saturation Phase

Alright, so we have come to the "after" part of "creatine before and after". That means our muscles are now locked and loaded with creatine! What happens now? Are you going to turn into the hulk overnight? Let’s see what science says.

#1: Increased Strength

First off, your strength should start increasing across most of your movements. A meta-analysis reviewing 22 creatine studies found that on average, trained lifters can expect roughly an:

  • 8% boost in strength AND
  • 14% boost in the number of reps performed

Less experienced lifters, however, seem to reap larger benefits in terms of "creatine before and after" strength gains. Take, for instance, this study showing an average increase of 30% in untrained individuals. This could mean going from benching 100 lbs to 130 lbs as a result. That said, even just a slight increase in your strength or reps is a very solid return as far as supplements go. And can lead to significantly greater muscle mass over time.

#2: Faster Recovery

Beyond improving performance in the after part of the "creatine before and after" process, a study that surveyed 52 NCAA athletes found that 81% of them reported faster recovery from their training as one of the benefits they noticed after taking creatine. So after you reach saturation, pay attention to how fast you recover between your workouts. You may notice an improvement in that aspect.

That said, when it comes to recovery, taking care of your supplementation is only the tip of the iceberg. There's also exercise selection, training volume, and programming to think about. So, if you're looking for a program that'll help you recover well — so you can continue training hard, week after week — look no further:

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#3: Improved Cognitive Functions

Lastly, a relatively new yet exciting area of creatine research has to do with its benefits on brain function. Believe it or not, your brain is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. It is in constant need of energy. And it seems to rely heavily on creatine for that energy. In fact, when children are born with creatine deficiency in the brain, severe effects on cognitive function and development are often observed.

But in healthy individuals, creatine supplementation can actually further increase brain creatine levels by up to 10%. And this seems to have positive effects on how well it functions. A recent systematic review found creatine supplementation to consistently improve performance on short-term memory and tests of intelligence. It's also worth noting that these benefits become even more apparent under stressed states such as sleep deprivation.

And, as we could have predicted based on what we talked about earlier, the subjects of these studies that experienced the greatest cognitive benefit were vegans and vegetarians. So just be aware of this potential benefit. See if you notice any difference after you reach peak saturation.

Creatine Before And After: Takeaway

So that should give you a very good idea as to what to expect in terms of creatine before and after supplementation—including its benefits, timeline of results, and potential side effects. If you’d like to learn about the finer details of:

  • How, exactly, to take it to maximize its benefits
  • What type of you should be using AND
  • How much of it

Once again, you can refer to my past article on creatine here.

That said guys, creatine or any supplement for that matter, is just the icing on the cake. If you want to truly transform your body and see incredible results then you need to prioritize your training and your nutrition.

If you need help in these areas and are looking for a simple yet highly effective science-based program you can trust, that shows you exactly how to train and how to eat to transform your body as efficiently as possible, then simply take our analysis quiz to find the best program for you and your body below:

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By the way, here’s the article summed up into a YouTube video:

What Happens If You Take Creatine Everyday For 30 Days?

Creatine Before And After: Discover What Happens When You Take It For 30 Days