Creatine is heavily marketed to women as a glute builder, but does it actually help build a bigger booty? In this article we discuss this question from a scientific perspective and also explain how creatine supplementation can help you reach your goals in the gym.
By Hannah Cabré, PhD, RDN, CISSN
- Creatine supplementation is an effective way to increase your muscle size, including your glute size. However, supplementation cannot target one specific muscle group.
- Strength training with heavy weights paired with creatine supplementation and adequate protein intake is the most effective way to support muscle growth.
- Creatine monohydrate in a pre-workout may be the easiest method for creatine supplementation.
CREATINE AS A BOOTY BUILDER
If you are on social media using TikTok or Instagram, you may have seen fitness influencers and gurus promoting specific supplements to help gain muscle or a build a bigger butt.
In fact, a recent trend promotes taking creatine to help build a bigger booty. Does the secret to a bigger booty lie in the fine powder form of creatine? Is that what you have been missing in your quest for the booty gains?
Well, yes and no.
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most scientifically supported sport supplements with research demonstrating a wide array of benefits with supplementation from improved cognition to enhanced athletic performance.
Also read: The Benefits of Creatine for Women
A key finding in research is creatine monohydrate supplementation significantly increases muscle size when paired with exercise. So, yes creatine supplementation could lead to an increase in glute size, but you need to lift heavy weights also.
Often times scientifically supported supplements are used as marketing gimmicks for clicks and likes. While it is not possible for creatine to target one specific muscle group, creatine is very beneficial for the exercising muscles.
Creatine supplementation prior to a lifting session has been shown to increase strength and help the muscle recover quicker during exercise. Don’t just take my word for it, let’s jump into the science.
WHY IS CREATINE SUPPLEMENTATION BENEFICAL FOR INCREASING MUSCLE MASS?
Muscle growth is a result of increasing muscle size, which is primarily accomplished through strength training and adequate protein intake. Lifting heavy weights creates strain on the muscle causing our body to recruit more muscle fibers and use nutrients, particularly protein, to repair and build muscle tissue (1).
If the key to growing your muscle is lifting heavy weights, supplements that support your ability to optimally perform the lifts are essential. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found in the body that is essential for energy production and muscle growth. Creatine supplementation can significantly improve muscular strength and power, particularly in women (2).
Creatine supplementation supports increases in lean mass a few ways:
- During exercise, creatine increases the energy capacity of the muscle by helping resynthesize ATP (energy) quickly.
- Creatine can help the muscle retain water creating a positive environment for muscle growth.
- Creatine can aid in maintain balanced pH levels allowing the muscle to work more efficiently for longer.
So, creatine is very beneficial for muscles that are being exercised. In fact, creatine supplementation has been shown to have a positive effect on increasing muscle mass in as little as two weeks (1).
In studies in young adults, whether they were trained or untrained prior to supplementation and in longer-term supplementation studies (>10-12 week) and shorter-term supplementation studies (5 days), creatine supplementation was beneficial for increases in muscle mass, sport performance, and muscle strength.
This means taking creatine can elevate your exercise performance whether your train every day or less frequently. If your goal is to increase muscle size, strength, and power while strength training, creatine supplementation is a strategy you need to be using.
Creatine supplementation can enhance recovery from intense training (3). Optimal recovery is critical when trying to increase muscle size. One study in untrained individuals found that creatine supplementation improved strength and decreased markers of muscle damage after the exercise session (4).
Another study found that when paired with carbohydrate intake, muscle storage of creatine was improved (5). Taken together, these findings suggest that creatine supplementation can help the muscles tolerate heavy increases in training volume, an important aspect of strength training for larger muscle.
Bottom line: if you are participating in strength training, you should be taking creatine. Will this translate into building a bigger butt? It might, if you are completing glute specific exercises and consuming adequate protein.
HOW DO I TO TAKE CREATINE FOR MAXIMAL GAINS?
Creatine supplementation comes in many forms, but the most effective and cheapest option is creatine monohydrate. In research, there are two ways creatine monohydrate supplementation can be started:
- Using a loading phase- 5 days of consuming 20 grams of creatine per day that is separated out into 4 doses of 5 grams over the day. After the loading phase, consume 5 grams per day.
- Just start taking 5 grams of creatine per day.
Both are equally effective for increasing muscle creatine stores, however, only taking 5 grams per day takes more time (~3 to 4 weeks) to see the same increase in storage (2).
While there are pros and cons to each method, just starting to take creatine is the biggest factor. Whichever method is going to help you add creatine monohydrate into your daily routine is the right choice. If you do not have an upcoming competition, beginning to take creatine in 5 gram doses without the loading phase is still an evidenced base practice that has shown good compliance.
Specifically, taking a pre-workout with creatine monohydrate is a great option as you will gain the benefits from the creatine monohydrate plus benefits from the other supplement ingredients to fuel your workout and improve your exercise performance. If you are looking to build a bigger butt, fueling your workouts properly is vital.
SHIFTED maximum pre-workout includes 5 gram of creatine monohydrate (the most effective form of creatine). As discussed, taking creatine, especially in a pre-workout, will most help increase muscle size and strength. Creatine supplementation is effective and is important for improving muscle storage, maximizing strength performance, and aiding in muscle recovery.
HOW CAN I MAXIMIZE THE EFFECTS OF CREATINE SUPPLEMENTATION?
Creatine is a supplement you should take every day. Continuously taking the supplement will be important for increasing creatine stores in your muscles. As mentioned, consuming adequate protein and carbohydrates are important considerations to maximize the efficacy of creatine.
For protein, consuming 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of body weight per day will help support your muscle gains (6). If you find that consuming that much protein is difficult through food sources only, SHIFTED has great options for whey protein that will help you reach your protein goal. Consuming whey protein post-workout may be ideal but meeting your daily protein goal is the most important factor when looking to gain muscle mass.
For carbohydrates, aim for 1.6 to 2 grams per pound of body weight per day (6). This 2:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is ideal for body composition changes and for supporting muscle growth. Creatine is most effective when your diet is also adequate in other nutrients. Bottom line is if you are looking for a bigger bottom, start taking creatine and take your nutrient intake and strength training seriously.
About the Author:
Hannah Cabré is a registered dietitian and received her doctorate from UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Her research interests focus on the effects of exercise and nutrient timing on body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, and metabolic health, specifically in women.
She is passionate about optimizing women’s health across the lifespan through feasible nutrition and exercise interventions. Her current work assesses the influence of hormonal contraception on strength and recovery outcomes across the menstrual cycle.
(1) Wu SH, Chen KL, Hsu C, Chen HC, Chen JY, Yu SY, et al. Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021. Nutrients. 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35334912/
(2) Smith-Ryan AE, Cabre HE, Eckerson JM, Candow DG. Creatine Supplementation in Women’s Health: A Lifespan Perspective. Nutrients. 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33800439/
(3) Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, Ziegenfuss TN, Wildman R, Collins R, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28615996/
(4) Cooke MB, Rybalka E, Williams AD, Cribb PJ, Hayes A. Creatine supplementation enhances muscle force recovery after eccentrically-induced muscle damage in healthy individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19490606/
(5) Nelson AG, Arnall DA, Kokkonen J, Day R, Evans J. Muscle glycogen supercompensation is enhanced by prior creatine supplementation. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11445755/
(6) Kerksick CM, Arent S, Schoenfeld BJ, Stout JR, Campbell B, Wilborn CD, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28919842/