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Pre-Workout vs Creatine: Which One Should You Take?

Most people are confused about the difference between pre-workout and creatine.

And it’s understandable because both supplements have similar goals: to help you power through your workouts and achieve better results.

But which one should you take to achieve your goals, and what unique benefits do both supplements provide?

In this article, we’ll answer all of your questions and help you decide which supplement is right for you!

Are Pre-Workout and Creatine the Same?

The main difference between pre-workout and creatine is the purpose of their use.

Pre-workout supplements are designed to be taken 30 mins to 1 hour before training, while creatine can be consumed any time of the day.

However, they also overlap in some ways: there’s creatine in pre-workout supplements, and pre-workouts usually contain caffeine and other ingredients that can help you power through your workouts.

But overall, their functions differ: pre-workouts are designed to give you energy and improve performance, while creatine helps increase muscle mass and strength.

So which one should you take? Both! That’s right, you can take both creatine and pre-workout on the same day if you want to.

But should you? It depends if you prefer to only take pre-workout because most of them already contain enough creatine.

But before you decide, let’s take a closer look at what both supplements can do for you!

Related: Is Taking Pre-Workout Bad For You?

What Is Creatine for?

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound in the body that helps to improve exercise performance.

Your liver and kidney produce creatine, which is then transported and stored in your muscles and brain.

Creatine helps the body produce energy (ATP), primarily during short bursts of intense activity such as weight lifting and sprinting.

Many people take creatine supplements to improve their athletic performance, as well as increase muscle mass and strength.

Creatine is also found in red meat, fish, and other animal products; however, creatine supplements are available to help you meet your training goals.

What Is Pre-Workout for?

Pre-workout supplements are designed to give you an energy boost before your workout.

They usually contain caffeine, creatine, and other vitamins and minerals that can improve exercise performance.

Even though pre-workout supplements contain creatine, they include other ingredients like beta-alanine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) too.

Both pre-workouts and creatine monohydrate supplements are great for increasing energy levels before a workout, but pre-workouts tend to have more caffeine which makes them more effective to use before your workout.

If you’re looking for a pre-workout supplement with creatine, look for one that contains these 6 important pre-workout ingredients as well.

This PHD charge pre-workout is one of the best on the market and will help power your workout and reduce muscle soreness. (it’s from amazon and isn’t too pricey)

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How much creatine should you take and when?

Studies suggest taking low amounts of creatine, about 3-5 grams daily is effective in increasing muscle mass, strength, power and recovery.

This is ideal if you’re taking a creatine monohydrate supplement on its own.

Just one tsp of Myprotein creatine monohydrate contains 5 grams of your daily creatine requirement, and you only need to take it once a day. Any time of the day!

If you’re taking a pre-workout that already contains creatine, then the amount in the pre-workout and combined with your diet is probably enough for the day. This is of course if you eat animal proteins, especially red meat!

Supplementing creatine as been shown to “amplify the effects of resistance training for enhancing strength and hypertrophy“, according to NCBI.

How much Pre-Workout should you take and when?

When deciding to take a pre-workout, be aware that taking the right dosage is key to getting the best results and avoiding these common pre-workout side effects.

Many pre-workout supplements contain stimulants like caffeine, so it’s a good idea to start with a small dose and work your way up as you need more energy or want better performance during exercise.

But remember, pre-workouts are designed for short bursts of intense activity such as weight lifting or sprinting, not long-term endurance activities like running and swimming.

Most pre-workouts recommend taking one scoop 30 minutes to an hour before working out. If you take it after your workout, it will negate its benefits.

If you’re doing a low intensity steady state(LISS) cardio and weightlifting workout, take your pre-workout before the weightlifting part of your session.

But if you’re doing a high intensity interval training(HIIT) and weightlifting workout, take the pre-workout before your HIIT session.

How Does Creatine Work?

“Creatine is not a steroid”, says Dr. Naomi Albertson, M.D., a sports medicine and family medicine physician who studies creatine.

It’s produced by the body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas from three amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine.

This creatine is then transported to skeletal muscle where it can be converted into phosphocreatine (Pcr), which has a key role in providing energy for cellular processes and muscle contraction.

Creatine can also be obtained from dietary sources such as meat, fish, and eggs, or it can be supplemented in the form of creatine monohydrate.

When you supplement with creatine monohydrate, which is also a pre-workout ingredient, your body stores more within the skeletal muscle cells to create an energy reserve.

This helps to delay the onset of fatigue and improve performance during high-intensity exercises, such as weightlifting or sprinting.

Additionally, creatine has been found to increase muscle mass and strength in both young and elderly individuals, as well as improve brain function and protect against neurological diseases, according to NCBI.

Related Article: 6 Pre-Workout Ingredients To Look Out For and What They Do For You

How Does Pre-Workout Work?

The pre-workout industry is worth an estimated $15 billion in 2022 according to GVR.

It’s a big business with brands like Optimum Nutrition and MyProtein competing for the attention of gym-goers and athletes wanting to get the most out of their training sessions.

Pre-workout preps the body for exercise by increasing energy levels and muscle performance.

It does this by providing a dose of ingredients such as caffeine, that boost mental focus, improve circulation to working muscles, and speed up metabolism.

Pre-workout is often taken 30 minutes before training at which point these benefits are just kicking in, leaving you ready to lift heavier weights for longer, or run further and faster.

Which Creatine Should You Buy?

Should you buy pre-workout with creatine? Or should you just buy pure creatine powder instead?

The best and most popular form of creatine to buy is creatine monohydrate. It’s sold by MyProtein, and you can get it from Amazon for less than 20 bucks!

Creatine is a natural substance that helps the body make energy. It is completely safe and it’s a better supplement to take than pre-workout if you’re just looking to choose one out of the two.

Creatine provides so many health benefits with very little to no side effects!

Try Creatine Monohydrate


So what’s the verdict? Should you take pre-workout or creatine?

Well, it depends on what your goals are. If you’re looking to improve exercise performance and increase muscle mass, then supplementing with creatine is a good idea.

But if you’re just starting out at the gym and want an all-in-one pre-workout supplement to give you a boost of energy for your workout, PHD pre-workout is what you need.

Either way, both pre-workout, and creatine can be beneficial when used properly. And creatine provides many health benefits including brain health that goes beyond training.

So which one will you take to achieve your goals? Tell me in the comments!

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