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People say I have lost weight, but the scale says something else. The main culprit is likely Creatine.

My main fitness goal now is a ski vacation (Alpine), I would not like to carry the extra weight if it does not have benefits.

Should I stop taking it? Long term, what are good protocols if I want to take it regularly, but adapt for this ski vacation?

More information: Not very fit or optimized for the activity, old, quite strong, some extra weight. Cardio fitness feels like the main limit for the activity.

(If I go off-piste, falling and getting up requires some strength - probably in my present shape I won't do that)

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    Do you think you have so much extra weight that it will make a difference on a ski trip? Also, do you think the strength increase is so significant that it could be the difference between being able to stand back up or not?
    – Alec
    Jan 8, 2022 at 16:10

2 Answers 2

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Creatine supplementation typically causes weight gain of around 1-2kg. 1 It also takes about 30 days to completely clear from one's system.2

So if you think carrying an extra 1-2kg of water weight will be detrimental to your skiing ability, you could stop taking creatine 2-4 weeks before your trip (depending on whether you'd be happy only getting rid of most of the water weight, or want to get rid of all of it), and then resume creatine supplementation after the trip. It's going to be a trade off in which ceasing creatine supplementation earlier will result in being lighter for your ski trip, but possibly also experiencing reduced performance in the gym in the weeks leading up to the trip.

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  • Its not jusr water is it? What I think is that it is "less good" so perhaps not worth the extra weight? I guess some see Creatine as a way to push themselves harder in the gym (Then it would make sence to go off it before a spesific goal)
    – Olav
    Jan 9, 2022 at 13:13
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    @Olav The only detrimental effect of creatine is that it causes you to carry more water, and that water makes you heavier. The benefit of creatine is that it gives your muscles more fuel for intense exertion. Jan 9, 2022 at 14:41
  • So my idea is that it is less valuable pr kg, but also not just "pumped up" is wrong?
    – Olav
    Jan 9, 2022 at 14:59
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    I'd say so, yes. The benefits of staying on the creatine would (in my opinion) outweigh the drawbacks of carrying 1-2kg of extra water.
    – Alec
    Jan 9, 2022 at 17:42
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    I think creatine use does outweigh the drawback of being heavier due to water weight. There's data indicating that despite the weight gain, creatine improved jumping ability and pull-up performance, so it seems the strength gain is enough to compensate for the weight gain. doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.6.4.525 doi.org/10.1093/milmed/166.11.996 Jan 10, 2022 at 4:18
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Creatine isn't going to help a lot, but it wouldn't hurt either.

The improvement in muscle endurance due to creatine is minor, and it confers no improvement in prolonged cardiovascular exercise. Creatine increases strength and power output, but I doubt you'll be doing any high weight-low rep movements while skiing. The increase in water weight should not make a big difference, think of it as getting compensated for by the minor increase in endurance.

Creatine also has a myriad of non-strength benefits, like reduction in fatigue and depression symptoms, so I would suggest you continue taking it irrespective of your ski vacation.

Reference: https://examine.com/supplements/creatine/

P.S.: Regarding your opening statement, you sound to be giving too much importance to the the number on the scale (calling creatine "the culprit"). Improving body composition and reducing body fat is a healthier goal, irrespective of what the scale says. Weight gain due to creating is unlikely to be unhealthy.

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