Does Creatine Prevent Weight Loss? | Q&A Weekly Roundup

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This weeks’ questions have some great info for everyone — whether you’re looking to start a new workout plan to get into shape for summer or are a workout regular who wants to switch up your training patterns — to improve your health and physique.

Here’s the short list of questions based on topic:

  • Do Creatine & Whey Protein Prevent Weight Loss?
  • Should I Workout My Body Based on Muscle Groups?
  • Interval Training With Target Heart Rate Ranges
  • How Can I Lose Weight Easily?
  • What Is Too Much Muscle Soreness?
  • Question #1 | Does Creatine & Whey Protein Prevent Weight Loss?

    Question: First of all I’d like to say thanks for making such an honest and up-front website.

    I notice how much of what the Get Lean Guide suggests is gym work. At home I have a bench, bar and barbell with around 50 kg of weights, I was just wondering whether it would be practicable to do much of the exercises at home (intend on losing fat and not muscle). Also, I know that you seem fairly against the use of supplements, would it do any harm if I were to use whey protein or creatine ethynl or would it hamper the weight loss process?
    Thank you. – Cameron

    Answer: Hey Cameron,

    You absolutely can do much of the exercises at home.

    Regarding supplements, if you have trouble eating enough protein, or find whipping up a shake very convenient, then go for it. Keep in mind protein shakes are 100% NOT necessary to get results. Think about whey protein as the powder form of a chicken breast. Because whey protein is just protein/calories, it will not hamper the weight loss process when consumed moderately. Regarding creatine, you will likely retain some water, but to my knowledge there is no evidence that it will hamper the weight loss process. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in the body that helps you recover from short burst activities, so it does not affect your ability to lose weight other than forcing you to retain a little more water. If anything, the case could be made creatine can help increase the intensity of your workouts, which could help improve results. Like whey protein, creatine is 100% NOT necessary to get the results you want. We also plan on writing a creatine 101 post because it is such a popular supplement just like we did for whey protein.

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #2 | Should I Workout My Body Based on Muscle Groups?

    Question: Hey Marc, congrats on taking on google as well =)

    Quick question for you if I may. The guy who introduced me to gym gave me the idea of working out my muscles separated by groups (i.e. legs for monday, back and pulling – like biceps – for wednesday, and chest and pushing on friday). He said If I do exercises using muscles I worked on 2 days ago, then this muscle doesn’t get the proper rest, and it’ll ruin the progress. Is it true, and if yes, in which case? – Pavel Khmelinsky

    Answer: Hi Pavel, that’s an excellent question and one that I believe deserves a separate post for sure!

    I would recommend not thinking of strength training in terms of muscle groups, but movement patterns. For example, you may think of bench press as a chest exercise, but I would argue you should think about it as a horizontal pushing motion. Here are the basic movement patterns you can consider:

    1) Squat
    2) Lunge
    3) Push (vertical and horizontal)
    4) Pull (vertical and horizontal)
    5) Twist
    6) Bend

    Regarding the second part of your question, whether or not working the same muscle groups without adequate rest is a bad idea, consider the following. If you do let’s say do only a few sets of a chest/horizontal pushing exercise, you should be able to recover in a day, or two. If you however do 9, or 12 sets of 3-4 chest exercises, then you may need to rest 5 days. So the amount of rest each muscle group needs is dependent on the intensity and volume of your workouts. Of course, exercise program design can get very technical, but ultimately if you listen to your body and complete full body workouts 2-3x per week, or do let’s say an upper body/lower body split, you should be going in the right direction.

    Check out this article which shows movement patterns in action – The Biggest Personal Training Secret Is…

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #3 | Interval Training With Target Heart Rate Ranges

    Question: Hi Marc,

    Quick question for you: thinking in heart rate percentages, for interval training what range is intense and what range is rest?

    Many thanks! – Lorenzo

    Answer: Hey Lorenzo,

    It’s a quick question, but not too easy to answer! I’ll try my best to keep it short and sweet.

    The first place to start is by approximating your max heart rate using the 220-age formula. Keep in mind it’s only an approximation and an actual max heart rate test is usually not simple.

    Assuming you are 40 years old, your target heart rate ranges would look like this:

    100% – 180 beats per minute (bpm)
    90% – 162 bpm
    80% – 144 bpm
    70% 126 bpm
    60% -108 bpm

    Now as you do intense interval training, it’s very possible to get your heart rate up to 90%-95%, and even close to 100% if you workout very hard. The idea is to stay 5-10% below your max heart rate and not much higher, or then you will likely burn yourself out before you can even get a good workout. During your rest intervals, your heart rate will slowly come down.

    I usually don’t do cardio training based on my target heart rate, but many athletes do. I just want to increase speed, decrease the rest, and add more intervals over time. As long as I’m making progress and making the intervals harder, that’s what I care about. On the flip side, you can use your target heart rate as your rest barometer, so that whenever your heart rate gets below a certain level, let’s say 126bpm, you are ready for another work interval. Figuring out what ranges are ideal for rest vs. work will require identifying your target heart rate ranges and cross referencing those numbers with how you feel. At the end of the day, how tired you perceive you are is the best barometer of all. One more thing, keep in mind as you get in better shape, it will become harder to increase your heart rate and your heart rate will drop faster.

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #4 | How Can I Lose Weight Easily?

    Question: How can I lose weight easily? -Nneka

    Answer: Hi Nneka – Hope you’re having a great day. Your question is a very common one and is actually searched for thousands of times in Google every month. Here’s my answer – If there was a way to lose weight easily, then everyone would look like a fitness model. But that’s not the case of course! Losing weight is not “easy” because it requires a change in your lifestyle habits, which are subconscious. While losing weight is not easy, it is manageable. For a few articles on how to get you started on losing weight, check out Divide & Conquer: Small Changes Add Up + How to Track Your Nutrition + How Many Calories Should You Eat To Lose Weight

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #5 | What Is Too Much Muscle Soreness?

    Question: Hey Marc!! First off, I love how u actually seem to be taking the time to make individual replies Anyway, my question is – I was always under the impression that pain is kinda a good thing after a workout – I’m not experiencing any of the “extreme” pain symptoms that u described in your article, but I do have soreness in my legs – each time i lift them etc – but it’s not so intense that I since each time I climb the stairs or something. Is this kind of pain a good sign or a bad one? I assume that SOME soreness is common when ur starting out….

    Also, I’m turning 27 this month – and is there any kind of workout regimen I can follow so I dont look 30 when I turn 30 Whats the best anti-aging work-out you would prescribe? I dont want to look like a body-builder; but I don’t mind a body like Hillary Swank’s in “Million Dollar Baby” While I liked your “get lean guide,” I felt that it was somewhat focused on men. I’d like to see a guide focused on women. – Riz

    Answer: @Riz – Thanks very much for your comment! It’s not easy to answer every comment across the over 200 articles on the site, but I try my best :) Hopefully I’ll get some more help soon.

    Your question is a great one and worthy of a separate post as an answer, but I will try to my best keep it short and sweet. Yes, some pain/soreness is good after a workout, but it’s important to differentiate between the “good” pain of muscle soreness and a hard workout and the “bad” pain of joint pain, or excessive muscle soreness. If you’re on a program to get lean and you are sore for more than a few days, you may need to cut back on the volume, or intensity of your workouts, and/or spend more time on recovery (i.e. drinking enough fluids, working on tissue quality with a foam roller and massage ball, stretching, active rest etc.). If you are sore all the time, in some ways it defeats the purpose of working out because we want to workout to enhance how we look and feel right? But if we can barely move our arms after a tough workout for a few days, that’s not very useful. One more thing, you will generally be more sore when starting a program of course, so the soreness should lessen.

    I think a workout program where you are strength training for 30 minutes 2x per week, doing 1-2 sessions of HIIT for 10-20 minutes, and some stretching/relaxation exercises a couple times per week would be ideal. You can do these back to back, or on separate days. This philosophy is very similar to my BuiltLean Program, which can be used by women. Alternatively, you can use a framework like this on which is very similar to the framework I use in my program, but is more of a circuit – 20 Minute Full Body Circuit Training Workout.

    I’ve been getting A LOT of questions/comments about how BuiltLean is male oriented and there are only photos of male success stories. This is the elephant in the room so-to-speak and one that I am contemplating more deeply. I’m considering adding a female only section to BuiltLean as well as make the BuiltLean Program more female friendly by adding some more female testimonials on the sales page. Thank you for your recommendation as I think given the sheer volume of emails I’m getting from women, I need to reconsider the position of the site/brand.

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

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    5 Comments on “Does Creatine Prevent Weight Loss? | Q&A Weekly Roundup

    1. Emilia
      June 16, 2012 #

      So glad to read that last paragraph!

    2. Chris Russell
      June 17, 2012 #

      Hi. Congratulations on the success of this website. I always look forward to your weekly email for tips, especially the weekly Q&A round up as it brings up a few interesting facts that sometimes you forget about.

      Anyway here is my question. Having read and found the question Should I Workout My Body Based on Muscle Groups? very interesting I was wondering if you could ellaborate more on the movements suggested please? I currently work out from home at the moment as funds are not great to go to a gym and only have access to dumbells, a bar,weight benchand about 40kg of weights. I have currently been splitting workouts by working on each muscle group i.e. Monday – Abs and Biceps, Wednesday – Abs and Chest and on a Friday – Abs and Triceps. As you can see I am trying to achhieve a good six pack and a lean upper body. Thing is is that i do not think I am doing it properly and not seeing the proper results. I also tend to find that my left arm becomes very tired and weak way before my right arm during workouts. This is where I would like to know of some workouts based on your movement routine or if I am doing anything wrong with what I am currently doing?

      Sorry for the length of this question but I am very eager to achieve my goals and help from yourselfwill help me in doing so.



      1. June 18, 2012 #

        @Chris Russell – I would seriously consider reevaluating your workout routine and hitting more muscle groups each workout, because right now it looks like a bodybuilding routine, which can work, but is not efficient. Here’s an article to check out – 20 Minute Full Body Circuit Training Workout. While you don’t have to follow the exact workout, conceptually it’s important. I will be adding a more lengthy article about movement patterns soon, so stay tuned.

    3. Vanessa
      June 22, 2012 #

      Hey Marc,

      Just wondering what your take is on Smith machines for squats vs barbell squats?

      I’ve tried both, and I like the safety aspect of the machine because my arms aren’t up to lifting what I can squat, but at the same time I feel like I don’t get as much of a burn when using the machine, at least not in the same “way” as with the barbell squats (but my shoulders struggle with 25 kg and it can flare up an old impingement injury)

      1. June 28, 2012 #

        @Vanessa – I think that’s a great question and certainly could be answered in a more length blog post. But I’ll try my best to give you the short scoop.

        When it comes to barbell squats, also called back squats, most people do not have the hip/ankle mobility to do squats correctly. In other words, using proper form is really tough unless you have a trainer/coach watching you and teaching you. In addition, barbell back squats put substantial compression on your lower back. For this reason, strength coaches like Mike Boyle do not use back squats with their athletes. With that said, there are some benefits to doing back squats. I could go on and on, but in short, if back squats are causing you pain at all, I would stop doing them immediately.

        Regarding the smith machine squats, the downside is that it’s not a free weight movement, so it’s not “functional”. In addition, if you add a lot of weight, it may put more pressure on your knees. I’m not a purist, so I think smith machine squats are ok as long as you are doing other free weight bilateral squatting movements. Front squats holding dumbbells, a barbell, or even just one dumbbell in front of you are easier to do with good form than both back squats and smith machine squats for many reasons. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but you should definitely not feel pain as you are doing an exercise! Hope this is helpful and again, it’s a tough topic to cover fully in a comment as it could be 3-4 articles.

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