You may worry that your progress will be negatively impacted if you skip a day of creatine.
Don’t worry, there are things you can do to make sure your results aren’t compromised.
- If you miss a day of creatine supplementation on a maintenance dose (~5g/day), you don’t need to do anything to compensate. Simply resume taking your normal dose the next day.
- However, if you miss a day of creatine during a loading phase (~20g/day), you may want to compensate by increasing your creatine intake the following day (more on how to do this below).
Although missing one day of supplementation isn’t a big deal, if you do it consistently, it can become a barrier to seeing results.
Do You Need to Take Creatine Every Day?
It’s best to take creatine every day to see improvements in strength, power, and muscle function because it allows you to saturate your creatine stores.
Saturated creatine stores mean that your body stores the maximum amount of creatine it can in its muscles to use as a reserve fuel source.
Research shows that the most effective dose of creatine (after a loading phase) is 5 grams a day to saturate creatine stores.
If your stores aren’t saturated, you won’t have as much energy in your reserve stores to help you push past fatigue in your workouts to get that extra rep or extra minute of high-intensity training.
Research also shows that the weekly dose of creatine matters more than how many days per week you supplement. If you didn’t take creatine every day, you would require larger amounts of it to achieve the same weekly dose.
What many people also may not understand is that the effects of creatine aren’t immediate.
Instead, they are felt over time and add up gradually to produce results. This is why you should continue to take creatine on workout days and rest days.
Additionally, the time of day you take it doesn’t particularly matter as long as you take it consistently.
So missing one day of supplementation won’t have an immediate effect. As long as you continue to supplement going forward, you will still have plenty of creatine stored in your muscles.
- Related Article: How Long for Creatine To Work? (1-Week and 1-Month Results)
What Happens If You Miss a Day of Creatine?
There are no consequences for missing one day of creatine as long as you get back to taking it the next day.
Your results will only be compromised if you’re missing multiple days in a row or if you stop taking creatine altogether.
It takes about a month without creatine for your body to go back to pre-supplementation levels of creatine, but missing a few days of creatine can decrease your creatine stores below what they are when you’re supplementing regularly.
Some people feel the need to compensate for a missed day of creatine by increasing their dose the next day, but this isn’t necessary unless you’re in the initial loading phase and miss a day.
If you’re on a standard dose of 5g per day, there is no need to increase to 10g the following day.
But if you’re missing 20g per day in a loading phase, you should compensate for that missed creatine intake (more on this later!)
- Related Article: Does Creatine Break a Fast? Simple Creatine Guide for Fasting
3 Things to Do if You Missed a Day of Creatine
Do these 3 things if you missed a day of creatine:
1. Get Back on Track the Next Day
If you missed a day of creatine, the most important thing is to get back on track the next day and make more of an effort to be consistent with your creatine routine.
There will be days when you aren’t able to take your creatine supplement.
But if you take it the following day and every day afterward, there is no reason to believe there would be a significant difference in the results you’ll achieve.
- Related Article: Creatine Every Other Day: Should You Do It?
2. Eat Creatine-Rich Foods
If you’re unable to take your creatine for one day, you can make an effort to consume foods that are higher in creatine to help get you closer to the standard dose of 5 grams per day.
If you’re worried about having missed a day, you can also prioritize creatine-rich foods the next day along with taking your creatine supplement.
This would compensate for some of the creatine you may have missed out on the day before.
Foods that are naturally high in creatine are presented in the following table.
|Foods (100g serving)||Creatine Content|
For reference, consuming 150g of beef, 150g of salmon, 150g of herring, and 136g of pork would equate to 5g of creatine.
- If you want to know exactly how much creatine to take for your body weight and goals, use our Creatine Calculator
3. Increase Your Intake if You’re in a Loading Phase
If you miss a day of creatine and you’re in the initial loading phase, which requires a higher intake of creatine to saturate your stores more quickly, you may want to compensate for the missed day of creatine.
The purpose of a loading phase is to increase your creatine intake more rapidly to decrease the amount of time it takes to fully saturate your creatine stores in your muscles. Therefore, missing a day of creatine during a loading phase will set you back.
Typically, in a loading phase, you’ll consume around 20 grams of creatine per day. This is more significant than missing a standard day of creatine (~5 grams).
If you miss a day of creatine while you’re in a loading phase, I recommend compensating the following day by increasing your intake so you’re not prolonging your loading phase.
Either of these strategies will help make up for the missed 20 grams of creatine to keep you on track for your creatine loading phase.
Do You Have To Reload Creatine if You Miss a Day?
If you only miss one day of creatine supplementation, there won’t be a significant change in your creatine stores, so there is no need to go through another loading phase.
As discussed, a loading phase involves substantial doses of creatine (~20g) to saturate your stores.
But if you’ve already been taking it consistently, your stores will already be saturated, so it would be a waste to reload.
If you took a break from creatine for a month or more, it would be worth going through another loading phase to help saturate your stores more quickly.
To reload after a month, you could take 5g of creatine 4 times a day for 5 to 7 days total. After the 5 to 7 days of loading, you would switch to a standard intake of 5g once per day.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens if You Forget To Take Creatine?
If you forget to take creatine for one day, there are no major consequences.
However, if you miss it regularly, you may be limiting your potential for gains in muscle, strength, and power.
I recommend setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to take your creatine every day.
Can You Skip Creatine on Off Days?
There is no benefit to skipping creatine on “off days” because its effects aren’t immediate.
Instead, you take creatine to keep your stores saturated so it can benefit you over time.
Therefore, supplementing with creatine every day remains the best strategy for muscle gain, strength increases, and cognitive function.
What To Read Next:
- Can You Dry Scoop Creatine?
- This Is Why Your Creatine Is Not Dissolving
- Do You Need to Cycle Creatine?
- Can You Take Creatine Forever?
- Can You Take Creatine Before Bed?
- Creatine On An Empty Stomach
Preen, D., Dawson, B., Goodman, C., Beilby, J., & Ching, S. (2003). Creatine Supplementation: A Comparison of Loading and Maintenance Protocols on Creatine Uptake by Human Skeletal Muscle, International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 13(1), 97-111. Retrieved Jul 2, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.13.1.97
Candow, Darren G; Chilibeck, Philip D; Burke, Darren G; Mueller, Kristie D; Lewis, Jessica D. Effect of Different Frequencies of Creatine Supplementation on Muscle Size and Strength in Young Adults. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 25(7):p 1831-1838, July 2011. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e7419a
Forbes, S. C., Candow, D. G., Ostojic, S. M., Roberts, M. D., & Chilibeck, P. D. (2021). Meta-Analysis Examining the Importance of Creatine Ingestion Strategies on Lean Tissue Mass and Strength in Older Adults. Nutrients, 13(6), 1912. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061912
About The Author
Amanda Parker is an author, nutrition coach, and Certified Naturopath. She works with bodybuilders, Olympic weightlifters, and powerlifters to increase performance through nutrition and lifestyle coaching.