Do you have to take your pre-workout and creatine separately? Wouldn’t it be convenient to just mix your pre-workout with creatine? I mean, that way you will get your daily 5 grams of creatine and an insane boost in energy and focus before your workout. But is this healthy?
Both pre-workout and creatine are supplements that many of us take regularly. And if you’re a part of our Just Fit & Healthy community, you probably already know the benefits that surround these widely used supplements.
However, being the two most popular nutritional products in the fitness industry, there is always going to be myths and unscientific claims regarding these supplements.
One of them is mixing pre-workout with creatine.
Can You Mix Pre-Workout With Creatine?
Mixing creatine with your pre-workout can lead to a synergetic effect that produces more health benefits.
Ideally, you would add creatine to a product that promotes muscle growth. Because creatine is very effective at enhancing physical performance, adding a hypertrophic agent creates the ideal pre-workout blend for strength and growth.
In fact, most pre-workout supplements already contain 2 – 3 grams of creatine.
However, this makes it a little hard to measure how much creatine you’re taking per day. In general, 3 – 5 grams of creatine is enough to saturate your muscles and maximise creatine store.
If you’re like me and take creatine and pre-workout as two separate supplements, then it might be a good idea to measure how much creatine you are actually taking in one dose.
For example, your pre-workout contains 3 grams of creatine, and you mix an additional 5 grams of creatine. That means you’re taking 8 grams of creatine at once. Now for most of you, it shouldn’t matter that much however for some it could cause digestive issues, especially if you are taking a low-quality option.
But, generally speaking, mixing creatine with pre-workout is both safe and convenient.
When Should You Consume Your Pre-Workout & Creatine?
Well, as the name states, pre-workout should be taken before your workout. But exactly how long before your workout should you consume your pre-workout? Well, it depends.
If you have something light to eat before your workout, consume it 30 – 60 min before your workout. However, if you plan to have your pre-workout on an empty stomach, I would recommend taking it 15-20 min before since it will kick in a lot quicker.
Creatine, on the other hand, can literally be taken anytime. As long you drink enough water throughout the day and consistently workout, you should see positive results.
And, just for a bit of convenience, mix in your creatine! However, does this give you any additional benefits?
Are There Any Extra Benefits of Mixing Pre-Workout With Creatine?
When you mix pre-workout with creatine, it might seem like you’re going to get some magical effects however unfortunately that’s not true.
Yes, mixing pre-workout with creatine is more convenient but that’s the only benefit. Creatine is not a stimulant, and it simply has different effects when it comes to performance.
Having said that, there is no harm in mixing both together. You will get an insane pump, boost in energy, and in the long run, increase in muscle mass.
Let’s have a look what creatine actually is and its key benefits.
Benefits of Creatine
Creatine is a substance secreted by the cells to improve ATP production and muscle contraction. Taking creatine supplements on a regular basis can significantly promote muscle hypertrophy.
According to research, creatine accelerates ATP production. As a result, your cells will be more effective at using energy.
Let’s look at this in a little more detail.
1. Muscle Mass
Creatine, in the long run, will help increase muscle mass. How? Well, as we mentioned creatine increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production.
Now, what is ATP?
ATP is a form of energy in our body’s cells that is used during high-intensity training and explosive movements. However, the problem is that only about 8-10 seconds worth of ATP can be stored in our body. After that, our body needs time to produce more.
That’s where creatine comes in. It helps increase the ATP energy production meaning you will be able to perform those extra reps, progressively overload, and maybe even be able to lift that weight you thought you couldn’t lift.
Overall, creatine will help increase your performance in high intense training. In fact, according to research, creatine help increase high intense exercise performance by about 10-20%.
This, overtime, has proved to help increase muscle mass and strength levels.
For instance, one study concluded that taking creatine supplements for 14 weeks while exercising stimulates considerable muscle growth. Researchers compared these results with a group of participants who received a placebo and followed the same fitness program.
Now, although there are different types of creatine, the most researched on is creatine monohydrate. Hence, I would suggest going with monohydrate.
2. Improves Recovery
Creatine, being one of the most researched topics, also has shown to improve post-workout recovery. This is also one of the reasons why many people take creatine with their protein shakes after a workout.
Extra: Do you need creatine? Well, short answer is no because you can technically source it through a non-vegetarian diet. However, it certainly helps to have a supplement.
3. Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Research also states creatine can lower your blood sugar levels because of the “enhanced glucose transport into muscle cells” by glucose transporter type 4.
Pre-Workout Ingredients and Benefits
The main purpose of pre-workout is to get you in the zone and provide that extra energy and take your workout to a whole other level!
Do you need pre-workout? Absolutely not! However, we all have those times where we just don’t feel like working out or we’re just tired and need some energy. That’s when pre-workout comes in handy. When you mix pre-workout and creatine, you are getting the best of both words. Maximising creatine stores in the muscle, and a high boost in energy and focus.
The benefits that surround pre-workout comes from what’s in it.
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is found in muscle tissues. Combining beta-alanine with histidine produces a compound called carnosine. The latter prevents lactic acid accumulation during exercise.
While there is some debate about the effectiveness of beta-alanine in pre-workout supplement, available evidence leaves no doubt about the energy-boosting properties of this amino acid.
Most notably, researchers determined that beta-alanine works best for people who engage in strength training. This is because beta-alanine accelerates the elimination of acids from the blood, which significantly improves physical performance.
Taurine is an amino acid you can find naturally in your cells. Dietary taurine is abundant in fish, meat, and some energy drinks. This substance can significantly boost your metabolism, which is excellent for promoting weight loss.
Moreover, taurine optimizes cardiovascular, cognitive, and immune function. Researchers also noted the powerful antioxidative properties of taurine. Consequently, your risk of injuries will dramatically decrease.
Here are some general benefits of taking taurine with creatine supplements:
- Ensure hydration and restore electrolyte balance
- Regulate the metabolism of calcium and other minerals
- Protect the brain and eyes
- Improve immune function
- Mediate the digestion of fatty acids
Caffeine blocks the action of adenosine within the central nervous system.
Adenosine levels gradually increase during the day, which makes you feel drowsy and exhausted. Blocking the action of adenosine leads to the opposite effects. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors by reversibly binding to them. It also upregulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. Moreover, caffeine can even promote lipolysis.
These collective physiological effects allow caffeine to induce:
- A state of arousal
- Boosted focus
- Improved cognitive abilities
Due to caffeine’s rapid onset of action, it is ideal as a pre-workout ingredient. Taking caffeine 15 to 20 minutes before your workout will yield impressive fitness effects. According to studies, caffeine boosts physical performance by up to 12%.
This is another popular ingredient in pre-workouts. It helps increase nitric oxide levels, improves blood flow, and lowers blood pressure.
An electrolyte is an umbrella term that describes all particles with a negative or positive electric charge. In the field of nutrition, electrolytes refer to essential minerals found in the blood, urine, and sweat.
The main electrolytes in the body are:
Calcium is the primary electrolyte that ensures muscle contraction.
By connecting with the actin-myosin complex, calcium sets the sliding motion of proteins, which translates into muscle contraction and movement.
Another important electrolyte for muscle contraction is magnesium.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have three amino acids:
All these amino acids cannot be produced by the cells. Therefore we refer to them as essential amino acids. For this reason, you can only get these amino acids from your diet.
Taking BCAAs optimizes muscle fiber repair after microscopic damage. Because the body is smart, it promotes the growth of your muscles after enduring strains when working out. BCAAs offer a variety of health benefits that involve the musculoskeletal system and other organs.
Here are a few benefits of taking BCAAs as part of your pre-workout:
- Enhances muscle hypertrophy after workouts
- Lowers threshold to exhaustion
- Prevents muscle wasting
- Improves cell repair after inflicting microscopic injuries
- Decreases blood glucose levels
- Boosts lipolysis (i.e., fat burning)
Bonus: General Nutrition Tips To Optimize Your Physical Performance
Let me ask you a question. What do you guy’s think the biggest mistake is when it comes to a diet? Well, in my opinion it’s relying on supplements and ignoring other nutritional foods. A lot of us take protein powder, creatine, pre-workout, and although these all are high beneficial, but you cannot simply replace your everyday food with them. Here are some nutritional tips that will help you throughout your fitness journey. And don’t worry, I will be providing you guys with a lot more tips in my upcoming articles.
Choose protein-rich foods
Proteins are primordial to preserve lean muscle mass and optimize performance.
When you’re working out, the muscle fibres will inflict microscopic tears that need repairing. However, instead of regenerating the damaged tissue and calling it a day, your body will secrete growth hormones that augment your muscle mass to meet future demands.
For this reason, try to include a protein snack before your workout to maintain a steady concentration of amino acids in the bloodstream.
As a general rule of thumb, you should be getting 2 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight. For instance, if you weigh 65 kg, you should consume 130 grams of protein per day.
Green is key!
Vegetables are extremely healthy, as they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
These compounds will ensure that your musculoskeletal system is optimally functioning during exercise. Additionally, veggies will improve your cognitive abilities, digestion, energy expenditure, and overall performance.
Therefore, it is a good idea to include some vegetables in your pre-workout meal (2-3 hours before starting).
Avoid eating heavy meals
When you consume large amounts of food before working out, the body will divert the blood to the digestive tract to ensure the proper breakdown of food. As a result, you will feel heavy, dizzy, and uncomfortable.
If you start working out in this state, you’ll probably end up injuring yourself or vomiting what you ate.
Can you mix pre-workout with creatine? Yes! In fact, it’s just a lot more convenient. You get your 5 grams per day creatine dose and you get that insane pump in the gym. Also, be sure to look at what is in your pre-workout.
I hope that this article managed to answer your question.
As always, stay Fit & Healthy and I will see you guys’ next week!
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