Creatine Vs Pre-Workout: Which One is Better?
In the quest for increasing your workout results, choosing the right supplement is very important. Among the array of so many options available, two stand out as the not-so-secret weapons that are famous choices among athletes and fitness enthusiasts: creatine and pre-workout.
When it comes to creatine and pre-workout debate, it’s necessary to understand the difference between them to know which option is more fit for your fitness journey. This article will explore the topic thoroughly and provide you with detailed information to aid you determine which supplement is better for your specific goal and preferences.
Say goodbye to confusion and uncertainty, as we are going to uncover the key difference between creatine and pre workout that will enable you to choose the perfect supplement according to your specific needs.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid naturally synthesized in the body and primarily stored in the muscles, with smaller amounts found in the kidneys and liver. It consists of three amino acids arginine, methionine, and glycine. Creatine helps create adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which supplies energy to your body. Studies have stated that creatine can enhance athletic performance, resulting in a greater gain in muscle strength, speed, and growth.
Hundreds of amino acids exist in this world, but our body only needs 20 out of them. Among those 20, 9 are essential, which means we must take it from food, and 11 are nonessential, which means our body produces it naturally.
Creatine falls into the nonessential amino acids category as our bodies produce it on their own. Supplements with creatine can help to increase creatine stores in our body, leading to improved performance.
Benefits of creatine
- It improves exercise performance.
- It enhances muscle strength and muscle mass.
- It speeds up recovery after intense exercise.
- It boosts endurance.
- It helps remove fatigue.
What is Pre-workout?
Pre-workout supplements are a combination of various ingredients that are created to improve performance, energy, strength, and endurance. Pre-workout supplements vary in their ingredient composition. While the specific ingredients can differ among different pre-workout supplements, there are several common components shared by many of them. Some of these commonly found and popular ingredients include:
- Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
- Betaine Anhydrous
Benefits of Pre-workout
- It increases nitric oxide levels in your body.
- It improves athletic performance.
- It increases blood flow.
- It increases mental focus.
- It improves endurance.
- It increases muscle growth, strength, and lean muscle mass.
- It enhances pumps.
- It removes fatigue.
Pre-Workout vs Creatine: Key Differences
Both creatine and pre-workout supplements provide a range of benefits, along with specific drawbacks that should be taken into account. One of the differences between these two supplements is how they operate in our bodies. Creatine functions by fueling your muscle stores, providing them with increased energy, and enabling them to pump longer and at heavier weights.
On the other hand, pre-workout works by fueling your body with caffeine, combined with other ingredients that promote muscle growth and improve physical endurance. Also, Pre-workout supplements typically contain multiple ergogenic ingredients, while creatine supplements comprise creatine, sometimes with the addition of a bioavailability agent.
Pre-workout ingredients tend to deplete quickly, particularly the stimulant compound such as caffeine. They are designed to give you benefits for the short term, which is why pre-workout supplements are intended to be taken before a gym session. Creatine operates differently; it increases natural creatine stores in the body, improving your overall workout performance. Unlike pre-workout supplements, there are no hard and fast rules regarding when to take creatine, and it can be taken throughout the day.
Pre-workout supplements provide an instant energy boost and can significantly increase motivation. So if you need stimulation or just start your fitness journey, a pre-workout can make your workout more enjoyable and give you that extra push.
On the other hand, creatine offers a gradual strength gain and is suitable for those who are motivated by increasing their lifting capacity or/and who just don’t like any stimulation.
Creatine vs Pre-workout: Can You Take Both Supplements Together?
Creatine and pre-workout are not exclusive to each other, and it's totally safe to take both together. In fact, it could probably work even better when they are taken together. If your pre-workout supplements do not contain creatine, then it's advisable to get a creatine dose alongside your pre-workout supplement for optimal results.
In reality, not only can most people take both supplements simultaneously, but it can also be beneficial for them to do so. It's because the effects of these supplements are noncompeting while also working synergistically together. For instance, where a pre-workout supplement may assist in pushing oneself to complete those last two reps out of 10 when combined with a creatine supplement, those 10 reps could potentially improve to 14 or 15.
What about Pre-Workout that Contains Creatine?
In addition although some pre-workout supplements have creatine, in recent times, a vast number of pre-workouts have decided to exclude creatine from their formulations. They have taken this decision because the effective dosage of creatine is too high, making it difficult to include it within the cost of producing pre-workout supplements.
Also, creatine-containing supplements offer limited serving sizes mainly, making it challenging to accommodate the recommended intake of creatine. The recommended intake of creatine is 5 to 15 grams daily which depends on individual body weight, body response, and tolerance.
However, fitting such a substantial amount of creatin into a single scoop of a pre-workout supplement is quite a challenging task. The limited space within the scoop makes it impractical to include the recommended dosage of creatine along with other ingredients.
To make sure you receive full benefits during your workout, it is recommended to purchase a separate jug of creatine and add it to your pre-workout routine. This will allow you to achieve optimal dosages of creatine and enhance the efficacy of both supplements.
Our Pick for a Pre Workout that Contains Creatine:
Our Pick for The Best Stand Alone Creatine:
Pre-workout vs Creatine: What is the recommended dosage to take to increase your performance?
Creatine and pre-workout work differently from each other in almost all aspects which, include dosing protocol as well. Let’s delve into the recommended dosage of both these supplements for optimal results.
To fully saturate your creatine stores, you have to take what is known as a loading protocol. This is a period when you consume 20 to 25g of creatine per day for 5-7 days. Also, you can take 3 to 5g of creatine daily, but it will take longer to reach full saturation. Alternatively, you may also take 10 to 15g of creatine daily, depending on how you tolerate creatine. After the loading phase, you can switch to a maintenance dose of 3-5g per day.
On the other hand, dosing for pre-workout is straightforward. Unlike creatine, there is no need for a loading phase. You can take a pre-workout anytime and experience their effect shortly after use.
However, it is advised to consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or pre-existing health conditions. They can offer personalized advice on the appropriate dosage or suitability of supplements for your needs.
Pre-workout vs Creatine: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can pre-workout supplements contain creatine?
A: Some pre-workout supplements may have creatine as one of their ingredients. However, due to cost factors and dosage limitations, many pre-workout supplements removed creatine from their supplements. To ensure your specific requirements are met, it is recommended that you carefully review the product label or consider selecting a dedicated creatine supplement.
Q: Is creatine the same as pre-workout?
A: Creatine is not the same as pre-workout; however, it is worth noting that certain pre-workout supplements may contain creatine as one of their ingredients. Pre-workout supplements basically contain a blend of ingredients (sometimes including creatine) to enhance energy and performance during workouts. However, standalone creatine supplements are also available for those specifically seeking its benefits. A great Pre Workout that contains creatine is Wild Thing by Assault Labs and as well Hosstility by Hosstile Supplements.
A: When it comes to choosing a better product between creatine and pre-workout, it is challenging to decide which one is better since they are two distinct products serving different purposes. Creatine is a highly researched and clinically supported ingredient with proven benefits to improve strength and build lean muscle mass. Pre-workout supplements contain various ingredients that enhance performance, strength, energy, and endurance.
However, pre-workout may be your better option if you are looking for immediate energy gain and motivation as a beginner. And if you don’t like any stimulants or other pre-workout ingredients, creatine may be the preferable choice. Ultimately, if you are looking for maximum performance benefits, we would recommend both.
Q: Can we take creatine and pre-workout together?
A: Yes, absolutely. Creatine and pre-workout supplements can be taken together safely, and combining them may enhance their effectiveness. If your pre-workout does not already have creatine, taking a separate creatine dose alongside your pre-workout supplement is recommended for optimal benefits.
When comparing pre-workout and creatine, it's essential to recognize that they both are two different supplements with unique benefits. Creatine is a well-researched ingredient that boosts strength and muscle mass. Pre-workout supplements provide energy and performance benefits.
For quick energy gains and motivation, particularly for beginners, pre-workout is a suitable choice. It comprises a blend of ingredients that can provide you with an immediate boost during your workouts. Alternatively, if you don't like stimulants or other pre-workout components and prioritize gradual strength gains, creatine may be preferable.
However, it's worth noting here that consuming both creatine and pre-workout together is safe and can potentially yield even better results. By taking both, you can experience the benefits of improved energy, increased reps, and overall workout performance.
Written and Sponsored by Leonard Shemtob
Leonard Shemtob is President of Strong Supplements. Leonard has been in the supplement space for over 20 years, specializing in fitness supplements and nutrition. Leonard has written over 100 articles about supplements and has studied nutrition, supplementation and bodybuilding. Leonard enjoys weight training, playing basketball and yoga, and also enjoys hiking. In his free time he studies and works on improving himself. His personal blog is www.leonardshemtob.com