The Hot Debate: Is Taking Creatine Still Natty?

Creatine is used by many lifters in the fitness industry. It’s known for increased gains in strength, power, and muscle mass. 

If you take creatine can you still claim to be a natural lifter? In other words, is taking creatine still natty?

Yes, taking creatine is still is natty based on the facts and research. But people define the term “natty” in different ways, which has caused a hot debate.

As a certified personal trainer, I’ll take you into the facts, arguments, benefits, drawbacks, and other considerations around creatine use.

Get ready to uncover the truth. Here’s what’s coming up. 

Is Creatine Natty?

is taking creatine still natty

The Debate: Is Taking Creatine Still Natty?

There’s a big debate these days on what really counts as natty status, so it makes for a juicy discussion.

Being natty is an S tier symbol of physique status. So much so, that many lifters often lie about taking drugs in order to claim natural.

Creatine is not a drug and is not an unnatural substance. Why is there such a debate about it then? There’s a debate because it comes down individual beliefs about taking supplements in general, creatine included.

Who’s In The Debate?

There’s three types of people in the “is taking creatine still natty” debate.

The Purist – believes that being natty means that no external substance can enter the body to enhance muscles or performance.

To a purist, pre workouts, protein powder, and creatine are all considered not natty because the source is not form the body or the earth.

A purist believes that any supplement that comes form outside food sources pollutes your body and is therefore not natty.

A purist would say that if you have have to take any amount of anything besides food to make gains, then it’s unnatural.

The Realist – believes that being natty means you don’t take performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), or steroids of any kind.

A realist looks at the facts about supplements and doesn’t have strict definitions of natty like the purist.

To a realist, taking creatine is still natty because creatine is found in the body and in food.

A realist would say that ingesting a natural substance that is not an anabolic steroid keeps you as natty status.

The Relativist – believes that being natty is on a spectrum. A pure natural takes no supplements. A modified natural takes pre workout.

A relativist sees the point of the purist and acknowledges that to be a totally pure natty, you would not take anything.

But a relativist also acknowledges that supplements are derived from natural compounds and that taking them would not make you lose natty status.

Instead, a relativist would call people who take pre workout, protein powder, creatine, or vitamins a modified natty.

A relativist would say that taking creatine still makes you a natty but not a pure natty. But a relativist would agree that taking PEDs or steroids makes you not natty.

The Debate Breakdown

Remember that creatine is 100% natty based on facts and studies.

Keep in mind that the “is taking creatine still natty” debate exists because of how natty is defined to that person.

As we’ve discussed, there’s
– Purists
– Realists
– Relativists

Each have their take on creatine and supplements in general.

The following is a breakdown of the “is taking creatine still natty” debate. Use the infographic for a convenient overview.


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Arguments For Yes 

If you answer yes to “is taking creatine still natty,” then you believe creatine is a natural substance. You are a realist or relativist.

You take creatine as a supplement because it gives you muscular gains and that’s ok. Taking creatine aligns with your goals as a lifter as it helps to increase your gains in a shorter period of time.

What can be more natural than if creatine is already found in the body and in foods? Yes, it’s true. Later you’ll find out exactly where.

Creatine is so natural that it is not banned by major players in sports industry. It’s allowed by:

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

Even they agree that creatine is a way to naturally enhance performance without crossing the boundary into performance enhancing drugs or steroids.

Taking creatine is no different than taking protein, aminos, or multivitamins. It’s a safe and effective way to add value to your fitness journey.

It’s so safe in fact that studies are being done with seniors, adolescents, and children to discover the potential benefits for these age groups.

In the “is taking creatine still natty” debate, a resounding yes is validated.

Arguments For No

If you answer no to the “is taking creatine still natty,” debate, then you are a purist. You believe that taking a substance outside of normal food and body levels is not natural. 

Your view in the “is taking creatine still natty” debate is that creatine counts as artificial enhancement.

Creatine is found in small amounts in food, but in supplement form you get way more than you could from food. This logic does give creatine a feeling of being not natty.

Purists would argue that taking creatine is “cheating” because it accelerates muscular development compared to a person that is not taking it.

With that perspective it does put creatine in the enhancement category like performance enhancing drugs or steroids.

The next point is that a purist would argue that taking creatine enhances the body, so the user would be more inclined to enhance their body in other ways.

Why Take Creatine
As A Supplement? 

is taking creatine still natty

There are many supplements designed to enhance athletic performance, like creatine. The body does make a small amount of creatine, and that’s why it’s natural.

The liver, pancreas, and kidneys make around 1 gram of creatine every day. Plus you can get another 1-2 grams from animal based proteins. 

The amount of creatine the body makes is of minimal effect. The 2 to 3 grams of total creatine in your system is not enough to have the proven effects that creatine supplements can provide.

Without taking creatine, your body can sustain all-out exercise for only 10-30 seconds. With creatine, that number goes up because your body has stores that it can pull form.

That’s part of the reason why purists would call creatine unnatural in the “is taking creatine still natty” debate.

To harness the full power that creatine can have on exercise and muscle gain, people use creatine as a supplement. 

You get a more concentrated dose of creatine by taking it as a supplement. Studies show that creatine in its powdered form is the most effective. It’s called creatine monohydrate.

For more in depth information on creatine doses, phases, and more, check out my creatine overview.

What Is Creatine?  

To quench the “is taking creatine still natty” fire, creatine is legit a natural substance.

Creatine is an amino acid found mostly in skeletal muscle. There is a lesser amount of creatine found in the brain too.

The main source of creatine is from animal based products. Creatine is found in foods like red meat, poultry, and some fish.

What Does Creatine
Do In The Body? 

Creatine is used for immediate energy by the body. The body uses phosphocreatine, the stored form of creatine. Specifically, creatine helps your muscles to contract or flex.

Phosphocreatine is a high energy store that the body uses to make ATP.  ATP is the body’s energy currency. The more ATP you have, the more energy you have for activity. 

During high intensity exercises or heavy lifting, your body activates the phosphocreatine store house.

Phosphocreatine activation gives you a jolt of power during high intensity exercise or heavy lifting. But it doesn’t last long enough to have a major impact during exercise – only 10-30 seconds.

Creatine supplements exist to extend the effectiveness of creatine in the body by allowing users to store more of it.

For a deeper dive into how long creatine stays in your system, click here.

Benefits of Creatine

Studies show that you will start to experience muscle gain, and increased strength and power output.

First, creatine increases hydration in the cells of your body. The muscles retain more water, so they look fuller. But sometimes there may not be water retention, according to this study.

Creatine gives you an increased ability to produce ATP. More ATP means more energy for more high intensity workouts.

So then you have an increased workload to do more in less time. This adds to the lean muscle and strength. Additional benefits include improved recovery after a workout and reduced muscle damage. 

Drawbacks of Creatine

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though when it comes to creatine. There are potential drawbacks you may experience. 

First, creatine can make you pee more frequently. Since creatine causes you cells to hold more water, the excess fluids could means more trips to the restroom.

Another drawback is that creatine may have adverse effects with any medications you currently take. Consult your doctor if you have questions.

There’s not a lot of information available on how creatine interacts with over the counter medications, vitamins, or energy drinks.  

The decision to use creatine ultimately rests on what you believe as natural. Take time to consider the arguments for purists, realists, and relativists described above.

  • If you view creatine as a natural substance, then opt to take it. But learn the proper dosage information and instruction first. 
  • If you view creatine as a “cheat” way to get muscles and see it as not natural, then don’t take it.

It’s essential to consider your goals and ask yourself why you engage in fitness activities and be strong in your convictions about it.

Consider Personal Values and Goals

When it comes to using creatine, personal values and goals play an important role in the ongoing “is taking creatine still natty” debate. 

Some individuals will want to prioritize maximizing performance and achieving a physique in a shorter period of time. They’ll find that creatine aligns with their values and goals.

Others individuals may be more strictly purist natty and decide to ride it out with hard training and nutrition. 

Another thing to consider is any sports organizations or competitions you may be in. They could have their own rules regarding use of substances, including creatine. 

  • It would be a good idea to stick to the guidelines to avoid disqualification, as they might answer “is taking creatine still natty” with a “no, it’s not.”
  • But it would also help to maintain fairness in the competition, since creatine enhances performance. 

Make Informed Decisions 

When it comes to the decision of whether or not to use creatine, it’s important that you make an informed choice.

An informed choice is when you weigh both sides and check out the science based evidence around it. 

There are a lot of opinion based influencer positions online. With the wealth of knowledge available these days, it can be difficult to determine what’s best for you. 

But in the end, consider your values and goals, and go forward from there. Fitness journeys are highly personal, and everyone has their own definitions of what exercise success is.

Understand the benefits and drawbacks of creatine supplements and make the choice that feels right to you. 

You can be even more empowered by consulting with healthcare professionals, trainers, or nutritionists. They can provide personalized guidance based on your individual circumstances.

Bottom Line 

The “is taking creatine still natty” debate is multifaceted and subjective. 

Some argue that creatine is natural because it occurs in food sources. Others question the need for supplements and consider it far from being natural. 

Ultimately, the decision to use creatine should be based on your goals, values, and an understanding of the scientific evidence.

Remember to respect one another’s decision to keep a supportive fitness community. 

AUTHOR

Shalom is a content creator, musician, and a teacher at heart. As a certified personal trainer, his goal is to encourage others to lead healthier lives and to get buff in the process!