Creatine - Should You Or Should You Not Take On Rest Days?

Madhura Mohan

Posted on September 30 2019

Creatine is an effective nutritional aid that has been most popularly recognized as a performance booster. It has been around in the supplement industry for a long time and is the most relied upon for its benefits of strength gaining. This good old supplement being so popular is often surrounded with doubts regarding its usage.

Today in this article, we’ll be discussing one of the most-asked questions on Creatine – Should you take it on rest days too? or is it beneficial only on the days you workout?

Well, read on to know the answer…

 

The Beauty Of Creatine

Unlike alternative food sources which supply energy to the body through the number of calories, the beauty of Creatine lies in the fact that it doesn’t supply energy from calories but it does this by donating phosphate group for ATP regeneration.

Creatine helps us in 3 main ways:

- Increases the potential energy required for strength training

- Helps increase muscle mass

- Aids in faster-recovery after the workout

 

Having More ATP = More Power Accessible To The Muscles

As you have already read in our blog Is Creatine Supplementation Safe For Women? Creatine is a non-essential amino acid whose supplementation proves useful for those looking to gain strength and muscle mass. In the human body, Creatine is mainly created in the liver and is stored almost completely (95%) in the muscles. Every time our muscles contract, our body will quickly use up the energy that comes from Creatine which is naturally made in our body.

Although our body makes about 1-2g of Creatine a day from the amino acids, our body’s storage capacity of Creatine is beyond what it makes and hence the supplemental Creatine helps to stack it up.

Since Creatine is claimed as the chief ATP generator, having more ATP implies àmore power accessible to the muscles. Having more power to activate the muscle fibres give you àan edge to your fitness training or weight lifting à helps you aim for more reps à ultimately leads to more gains.

Depending on the availability of Creatine phosphate in your muscles, you may get an added 20 seconds or so of energy during short bursts of high-intensity training.

The supplemental Creatine ensures its replenishment to maximal levels and keeps its stores like insurance to assist effective recovery post-workout.

 

Should You Take Creatine On Off Days?

I was briefing you about the potential energy-generating benefits of Creatine all this while to make you understand the importance of energy in strength training performance. Now, let me ask you a direct question…don’t you eat food on rest days? I am sure, you won’t say no as everyone does eat food on rest days. Then, why not take Creatine?

If it is true that we eat food on rest days, so is it valid to take supplements on those days.

Afterall, Creatine is not any stimulant or a drug but is a supplement. As the very name suggests, the supplements help to fill the nutritional gaps of a varied diet and get the extra boost our body needs. Likewise, Creatine is just a quick energy generator and a reservoir your body taps into when it needs a boost.

Creatine supplementation is beneficial every day, whether or not you do a formal gym workout.

The main intention in supplementing with Creatine on rest days is to keep the Creatine phosphate content of your muscles raised for recovery from the intense workout you did on the previous day and to keep the energy reserve you need for your next workout.

 

Get A Further Explanation On This

Your high-intensity workout is characterized by a need for rapid access to ATP. Compared to rest days, the need for ATP demand increases up to 1000 times during intense exercise. If ATP isn’t available within a reasonably fast time frame, the performance simply cannot be sustained, and intensity drops as a consequence.

The body stores only a very small quantity of ATP within its muscle cells at one time (1-2 seconds) enough to fuel only a few seconds of your exercise. Hence ATP has to be continually synthesized.

Creatine supplement serves as a top-up for energy output and hence it can be included on non-training days too.

A very important fact to be noted is that your workout can dramatically increase muscle anabolism but at the same time can stimulate an increase in muscle protein breakdown unless provided with a good amount nutrient to set it for anabolism. As per the research, the catabolic effect of intense training on muscles can last for up to 48 hours. Therefore, the supplement you feed your body daily can interact with this response and prevent you from losing muscle mass.

Therefore, it will be right to say that supplementation on rest days are a perfect opportunity to accelerate recovery and enhance muscle growth. By providing your muscles with a steady stream of supplement, you promote a constant anabolic state.

Creatine supplementation on rest days is especially beneficial for those who train certain muscles for more than 3 times per week and take a day off in between. Since repeated training of the same muscles set muscle soreness, taking Creatine supplementation every day (including the rest day) delays the onset of muscle soreness and promotes enhanced muscle recovery.

 

When Should You Take Creatine On Rest Days?

While it is recommended to take 2.5g-5g of Creatine preferably before workout on regular days, a little lower dosage (say about 2g-3g) any time of the time would be fine on rest days.

 

Your rest days mean to take a break from your physical activity and allow your muscles time to recover…They don’t mean a break from nutrition and supplementation…

 

 Also read: Is Creatine Supplementation Safe For Women

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