Should You Take Creatine on Off Days? (2024)

By Stepfanie Romine

Creatine is a well-tested, effective, and super-popular sports nutrition supplement that can help support muscle growth, performance, and strength.

But despite its widespread use, there's still a lot of confusion about when and how to take creatine. One common question among athletes: Should I take creatine on off days? The short answer is yes, but you can also skip some days.

"Research suggests that creatine stores can be maintained at high levels even if creatine is not taken every single day," says Paul Falcone, senior scientist for LADDER. "However, it is important to be consuming creatine regularly." Aim for 5 grams of creatine per day for maintenance, though it's OK if you skip a day here and there.

Read on to get a refresher on the benefits of creatine — and to learn why timing isn't as important as consistency.

Get 5 grams of creatine among other performance-enhancing ingredients in LADDER Pre-Workout.


When Should You Take Creatine?

"Creatine timing during the day isn't as important," Falcone says. The supplement works best when it's a regular habit, but there's no advantage to taking it at a precise time each day.

"Taking creatine regularly — multiple times per week — is essential to increase creatine stores within the muscle," he adds.

That said, if you're creatine loading to build up your cellular reserves quickly, timing does matter more. In this phase, you take up to 20 grams of creatine daily divided into four servings taken with water a few hours apart. After a week, you scale back to a recommended "maintenance" amount of about 5 grams per day, which happens to be the amount in every serving of LADDER Pre-Workout.

Of course, you can just skip the loading phase and stick to the 5 grams per day serving from the start, though it will take a bit longer (about a month) for creatine to build up to sufficient levels in your muscles to make a noticeable difference in your workouts.

Either way, once you're in maintenance mode, you can occasionally skip creatine on an off day if you want. But, if you get your creatine from LADDER Pre-Workout, it's fine to make it a daily habit.

"For optimal benefits, daily consumption [of Pre-Workout] is recommended," says Falcone.

LADDER Pre-Workout does more than enhance strength.* It's formulated to help increase energy, delay fatigue, and help you stay dialed in by helping sharpen your focus and attention.*

Those benefits come in handy on off days, too — plus, it just tastes good.


Why Should You Take Creatine?

"Creatine enhances strength and gains in muscle mass in conjunction with resistance exercise," Falcone says.*

Otherwise known as methyl guanidinoacetic acid, creatine is a combination of three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine.

Creatine gets stored in your muscles and serves as the body's primary fuel during quick bursts of activity. During repeated bouts of intense activity, such as lifting or sprinting, creatine continues to be your go-to fuel source.

It plays a key role in your body's adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy cycle, which gives your muscles the energy they need to function. As you deplete ATP during exercise, your body taps your creatine stores, breaking it down into creatine and phosphate to top off your ATP and replenish your energy.

But, take note: Not all creatine is the same. The most tested and effective form is creatine monohydrate, which is what is used in LADDER Pre-Workout.*


Is It Best to Take Creatine Before or After a Workout?

Should You Take Creatine on Off Days? (5)

Should You Take Creatine on Off Days? (6)

Don't sweat the timing of your creatine. The science supports creatine plus resistance training for greater gains, but there's no magic hour.

"With creatine, regular supplementation is what matters most — not timing during the day," Falcone says. If you're getting your creatine from your daily serving from LADDER Pre-Workout, that will eliminate any guessing games about when to take it.

LADDER Pre-Workout formula gives you a boost of energy that you'll feel kick in within 30 to 45 minutes after taking it.*

You get a lot more than creatine in every scoop:

  • Caffeine, L-citrulline, beta-alanine, and creatine help boost endurance and performance.*
  • Beta-alanine and caffeine both work to help your workouts feel easier.*
  • L-theanine, phosphatidylserine, and caffeine help sharpen focus and attention.*
  • And, yes, the creatine helps you build lean muscle.*


What Else to Do on Rest Days

Should You Take Creatine on Off Days? (7)

Should You Take Creatine on Off Days? (8)

Use your off days to dial in your nutrition, get plenty of sleep, and squeeze in some active recovery.

"It is important to take rest and recovery seriously," Falcone says. "At the same time, light activity, stretching, and foam rolling can play a role on rest days."

In addition to continuing your LADDER Pre-Workout routine, keep up these healthy habits even on off days:

  • Eat enough protein.Healthy adults who exercise need about 0.54 to .91 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day to support lean muscle growth.
  • Get ahead on your hydration game. Since you mix each serving of Pre-Workout with 8 to 10 ounces of water, that gives you a solid and delicious start.
  • Sleep. Adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night. That's when your body is going to do the bulk of its recovery and repair. On off days, take the time you would've spent hitting the weights and use it to get some extra rest instead — it can help you go harder the next day.
  • Destress. Stress is a natural part of life, but too much of it may impair your recovery from tough workouts. Incorporate stress management techniques into your daily routine so stress doesn't get in the way of your gains.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Should You Take Creatine on Off Days? (2024)


Should You Take Creatine on Off Days? ›

If the latter, you may be wondering, “Should I take creatine on rest days?” The short answer to this common question is yes, it's beneficial to take this dietary supplement even on rest days.

Should I take creatine even on my off days? ›

Yes, creatine should be taken even on rest days. Consistent intake ensures your body has sufficient creatine reserves for your workout days and skipping its consumption on off days could limit its availability for your next workout.

Is it bad to skip a day of creatine? ›

One common question among athletes: Should I take creatine on off days? The short answer is yes, but you can also skip some days. "Research suggests that creatine stores can be maintained at high levels even if creatine is not taken every single day," says Paul Falcone, senior scientist for LADDER.

How many days a week should I take creatine? ›

Daily dose and duration play important roles in how quickly and how much Cr stores are increased. Five to seven days of supplementation with a daily dose of 20 g·day1 is sufficient to saturate muscle creatine stores [5], which is approximately 140 to 160 mmol·kg1 of dry muscle.

How many days can I go without creatine? ›

The Creatine Cycle

This means in total you have been supplementing with creatine for a total of 8 weeks. Then it is important to stop taking creatine. You should pause your creatine supplementation for anywhere between 7 to 14 days (preferably 2 weeks), before beginning again to take creatine.

Should you take breaks from creatine? ›

The maintenance phase follows the loading phase and lasts for 4-6 weeks with lower creatine intake. After the maintenance phase, it is recommended to take a 2-4 week break from creatine supplementation. Cycling off creatine allows for better absorption, utilization, and overall effectiveness of the supplement.

What is the best cycle for creatine? ›

A creatine cycle should last anywhere from five to eight weeks, and should include a 1-week loading phase, a 4-6 week maintenance phase, and a 2-4 week rest phase. More creatine is not always better, which is why cycling with different amounts is important.

What are the downsides of creatine? ›

Side effects of creatine include:
  • Weight gain.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Muscle strains and pulls.
  • Stomach upset.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dizziness.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Liver dysfunction.

Do I really need to take creatine every day? ›

Yes. Creatine needs to be taken daily. That is because in order to be effective, your muscles need to be saturated with it. It is not something you take only on the days you work out. Saturation requires regular dosing.

Should you take creatine everyday or just gym days? ›

As with any new supplement or addition to your routine, consistency is key if you want to see results. Be sure to take creatine daily, ideally in powder form, if you want to reap all the benefits including stronger muscles, an increase in muscle size, and improved brain health.

Will I lose my gains if I stop taking creatine? ›

While creatine can help to increase muscle mass and strength, the gains may not be permanent. his will depend heavily on your training regimen and nutrition after stopping creatine supplementation. When you stop taking creatine, your muscle mass and strength may gradually decrease.

Will stopping creatine make me look leaner? ›

When you quit taking creatine, your muscles are less likely to retain as much water as they would when you were taking creatine. So, you can expect some weight loss and muscle mass as you stop your regular creatine dosage.

Is creatine pointless if you don't take it everyday? ›

Can I Skip a Day of Creatine? We are all human and can accidentally forget to take our creatine occasionally. Don't worry; the good news is that you won't suddenly lose all your gains. Creatine builds up in your muscles over time, so missing a day won't make a significant difference in the long run.

Do you take creatine even if you don't work out that day? ›

If you take creatine without working out, your muscles will still absorb and store creatine, with excess amounts being excreted through urine. However, the full benefits of creatine supplementation, such as increased muscle strength and growth, will not be fully realized without exercise.

Is it okay to take creatine every day? ›

Doses up to 25 grams daily for up to 14 days have been safely used. Lower doses up to 4-5 grams daily for up to 18 months have also been safely used. Creatine is possibly safe when taken long-term. Doses up to 10 grams daily for up to 5 years have been safely used.

Should I take supplements on rest days? ›

"This build, repair and recover process can take a couple of days depending how intense the training was and how consistent you've been training," Arterburn said. "Supplementing with Amino Acids even on rest days helps the body have the nutrients it needs at all times."

Should I take creatine on a deload? ›

If anything, deloading can be helpful if you're worried about creatine side effects or if creatine doesn't agree with your stomach. At the very least, it may just be nice to take a break from the sports nutrition supplement.


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