Creatine is one of the most researched, purchased and effective supplements that you can currently buy when it comes to improving your performance and body composition.
While it’s by no stretch a wonder supplement that will change your physique overnight it is one that will benefit your training and physique in the long run.
The vast majority of people generally see creatine as a good supplement with minimal to no negatives however for some, creatine doesn’t have quite the same appeal.
Endomorphs and heavily overweight individuals are very cautious about supplementing with creatine because one of the indirect outcomes is that most people will tend to gain weight when supplementing creatine.
Should endomorphs take creatine? Endomorphs should supplement with creatine as a way to train harder and improve their physique in the long run.
As an endomorph you will already have problems keeping weight off (endomorphs tend to gain body fat very easily) and therefore taking something that will actually cause a weight gain is understandably not very appealing.
The truth however is that weight gain should not be confused with fat gain. When it comes to improving your physique the key isn’t to lose weight but instead it should be to lose body fat and lower your overall body fat percentage.
Weight is not an issue and a lot of endomorphs would do well to change your mindset around this idea, while it’s true that endomorphs can fat quite easily it’s also true that they have a large frame and bone structure (which will mean you way more than the average person) and can also build muscle quite easily which will of course also increase your weight.
Therefore the purpose of this article is to show that supplementing with creatine will be of more benefit to endomorphs than what you might have been led to believe by reading some forums on the internet or hearing from word of mouth that creatine isn’t for anyone that is overweight.
** It’s also worth pointing out that not all endomorphs are overweight, I’m just going to use that as an example to make it easy to relate to.
Should Endomorphs Take Creatine
Before getting into the details of this article I’ll cover very briefly what creatine actually is for those that are unsure or new to training and supplementation. If you want a full rundown on everything creatine then you can check out these two reputable sources (1)(2)
For the brief explanation, creatine is used to replenish ATP stores. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy source for muscular contractions and also gets depleted through repetitive muscular contractions.
Creatine is therefore a backup energy source, if you have an optimal level of creatine stores then for a weight that you can usually only lift for 6 reps you might then be able to get 7-8 reps (an additional rep or two).
Creatine is more of a sports supplement for this reason as these marginal reps are the difference between first place and second place at the highest level but you can see why it’s also beneficial for bodybuilding and building a physique in general.
The body naturally produces around 1.7g of creatine per kilogram of muscle per day which is stored in the skeletal muscles and if you follow an omnivorous diet (red meat, pork, fish) then you can get an additional 1g-2g per day of creatine (source).
The optimal amount that a human can hold however is roughly 2.3g creating per kilogram of body weight which is why supplementing with creatine is to function at an optimal capacity for sport or weight lifting.
That maybe wasn’t as brief an overview as I was looking to give but you get the point, we don’t currently create and store an optimal level of creatine to facilitate resistance training and therefore supplement creatine to get a few more reps, get a little bit stronger and build a little bit more muscle.
It’s the marginal actions that make all the difference however and if you’ve never seen the theory of marginal gains or the success of the GB cycling team using this theory then you should have a read of this.
Now the direct purpose of creatine is to replenish ATP stores and improve strength, power and endurance there is a side effect most relevant to endomorphs and this leads me on to why endomorphs think they shouldn’t take creatine.
Why Shouldn’t Endomorphs Take Creatine
Endomorphs for the most part are generally overweight, quite body conscious (but looking to improve body composition which is likely how you’re reading this) and very sensitive to changes in scale weight.
That last characteristic is key here because one of the side effects for a lot of people when supplementing creatine is a weight gain due to water retention.
Creatine and Weight Gain
The number 1 thing that deters endomorphs from supplementing with creatine is the potential weight gain that comes with it. This is because creatine is a muscle osmolyte and what this means is that creatine draws water into the muscles cells and increases cell volume.
This basically means that you retain more water and as a result will weigh more. I’ve created an article that runs through the weight gain caused by creatine but the summary is still that the weight gain is through water retention in the muscles.
This should not be seen as a negative thing, your muscles are made up of around 73% water and increasing cell volume in the muscles will actually make your muscles appear larger.
** Big disclaimer – the effects of creatine and muscle appearance will vary largely from person to person and will only be prominent in those with very low levels of body fat. The more body fat and subcutaneous water (water retention under the skin) you have the then the lower the effect of this would be. By lower I also mean pretty much a zero noticeable change to your appearance.
Water retention through salt/hydration levels are not great for physical appearance however water retention in the muscles do not cause a negative physical appearance.
It’s also the case that the weight gain is nothing substantial, at the most you will be looking at an initial weight gain of 1lb-3lb over the first week or two but this then needs to be weighed up against the benefit of being able to perform better in the gym.
As you get more advanced in your training the additional reps are the ones that will stimulate muscle hypertrophy. The best way to improve your physique as an endomorph is to reduce body fat whilst increasing muscle mass.
There is no guarantee you will actually gain any weight from taking creatine either.
Does Creatine Cause Bloating
Another reason that endomorphs feel they shouldn’t take creatine is because of reported bloating, especially when following a loading phase.
With creatine supplementation the recommended dose is typically 3g-5g daily however many will undergo an initial loading phase of supplementing 20g daily for 5-7 days in order to fully load the bodies stores and then you revert to the 3g-5g daily.
There is no study to show that a loading phase is actually necessary and this stems from the initial research where a 20g loading phase was used by a test group. It was used to test the effects of creatine but not the effects of a loading phase.
As mentioned creatine will increase water retention and if going through a loading phase then supercompensation will mean that you will hold more water during this initial phase which may of course cause bloating.
As there is no research to show that a loading phase is necessary though then you can easily reduce the risk of bloating by avoiding this altogether.
You can also increase water intake (to increase urination and flush out some water retention) and also reduce salt intake to further reduce the chance of water retention and bloating when you first start to supplement creatine so again bloating is not guaranteed and can be reduced significantly.
Bloating therefore isn’t a great reason to avoid taking creatine as an endomorph.
Why Should Endomorphs Take Creatine
I’ve been quite biased in my approach to creatine supplementation and it’s important to note that you don’t have to take creatine. I’m not trying to sell it to anyone or say that it is essential to improve your physique because it isn’t.
The purpose of this article is to dispel some myths that you might have come across in relation to creatine and more importantly show that just because you consider yourself to be an endomorph it doesn’t mean that you can enjoy the benefits that come with creatine supplementation.
Therefore there is enough information out there that sings the praises of creatine but below are just some of the factors to consider as to why you should take creatine as an ectomorph:
- It’s one of the cheapest supplements on the market
- It’s one of the most studied and researched supplements
- It will help increase strength, power, endurance and muscle growth
In my opinion, those three benefits alone are a good enough reason to supplement creatine, even for an endomorph.
If you were on the fence about whether or not to supplement creatine as an endomorph then hopefully you’ll now have a better understanding that the negatives are often misinterpreted and that weight gain (if any) is not the same as gaining body fat.
Even as a beginner the ability to lift more weight for more reps can only be beneficial to your physique in the long term and therefore creatine is one of the very few supplements that I would consider essential regardless of your body type.
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