As you search for best practices and finetune your training regimen, it does not take long before you come across popular supplements such as creatine & pre-workout.
But what exactly are their purpose, and can they be taken together?
Creatine is a natural compound found in muscles that helps with energy production during short bursts of intense activities, like lifting weights. It is a popular supplement among athletes and gym-goers to improve strength and performance.
Pre-workout supplements, on the other hand, are designed to give you a boost of energy before exercising. They often contain ingredients like caffeine, amino acids, and vitamins to increase alertness and stamina during your workout.
In simpler terms, Creatine helps with muscle energy, and pre-workout supplements provide an energy boost before you hit the gym. People often wonder if it's okay to use them together for even better results and that is what we will break down for you through this blog, so read on.
What is Creatine made of?
Now, you are already aware that Creatine is a compound that occurs naturally in the body and can also be obtained from certain foods. Chemically, creatine is made up of three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine. These amino acids combine in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys to produce creatine.
In terms of dietary sources, creatine is found in meat and fish. Choosing to supplement with creatine to enhance your athletic performance is a good idea, as it plays a key role in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy currency of cells, mainly during short bursts of high-intensity activities like weightlifting or sprinting.
When talking about creatine supplements the most common form is creatine monohydrate, which is composed of three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine.
These amino acids are synthesized in the body and can also be obtained from certain foods. Americas #1 selling creatine is SixStar's 100% Creatine, which carries pure creatine monohydrate and no fillers.
This form of creatine is highly researched, well-tolerated, and famously used as a dietary supplement to improve your sport performance, especially during high-intensity, short-duration activities.
Also, while creatine is found naturally in some foods, such as red meat and fish, the amounts consumed through diet may not be sufficient if you are seeking performance benefits, for that you need to rely on creatine supplements.
What are the Main Ingredients of Pre-Workout?
Pre-workout supplements can have a variety of ingredients, each serving a specific purpose. Here's the most common among them:
It functions like a stimulant that enhances alertness and reduces perceived effort during exercise. With appropriate dosage and necessary precautions, the effects of caffeine include increased energy, improved focus, and enhanced physical performance.
It is the Amino acid that increases muscle carnosine levels, helping your body to buffer lactic acid and delay muscle fatigue. It may improve your endurance during high-intensity workouts.
3. Branch-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
These are Essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, valine, that support muscle protein synthesis and reduce muscle breakdown. BCAAs in a pre-workout result in enhanced muscle recovery and reduced muscle soreness.
Also Read: Best Time to Take BCAAs?
4. L-Arginine or Citrulline Malate
They are the Precursors to nitric oxide, a vasodilator that improves blood flow. With this, there is an increased blood flow to muscles, improving nutrient delivery and muscle pump.
It is an amino acid with antioxidant properties which also helps regulate water balance in cells. It results in improved endurance and hydration.
This is the Amino acid that supports the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. It helps in enhancing focus, mood, and stress resistance.
7. Beetroot Extract
It is a source of nitrates, which can be converted to nitric oxide, improving blood flow. This might potentially enhance your endurance and exercise performance.
8. Vitamins and Minerals
They are essential for various physiological processes, including energy metabolism. They Support your overall health and energy production.
Can You Mix Creatine With Pre-Workout?
Yes, generally, it is safe to mix creatine with pre-workout supplements. Many people choose to combine them for a synergistic effect.
Creatine provides energy for short bursts of intense activity, while pre-workout supplements often contain ingredients like caffeine and amino acids that enhance alertness and endurance.
However, it is still important to consider a few points, such as:
- Make sure that you are not exceeding the recommended dosages for either creatine or your chosen pre-workout supplement.
- Be aware of how your body responds to the combination. Some people may be more sensitive to stimulants like caffeine or certain ingredients. Look out for allergies too.
- Both creatine and pre-workout supplements may increase the need for hydration. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
- Some pre-workouts already contain creatine, so check the labels to avoid unintentional double-dosing.
Tips For Mixing Creatine With Pre-Workout
You might not be aware of this, but timing and dosage are important when mixing creatine and pre-workout. Consuming creatine and pre-workout at strategic times can maximize their effectiveness. Having them before your workout will make sure that you benefit from increased energy, focus, and endurance during your exercise routine.
Creatine helps with short-term energy, while pre-workout supplements contribute to sustained energy. Proper timing ensures a balanced and consistent energy supply throughout your workout. Consistency in taking creatine daily, regardless of workout days, will let your muscles maintain good creatine levels, supporting its performance benefits over time. Now, let us talk about the timing and dosage of both:
Here are a Few Tips for Creatine Timing:
Some people choose to do a "loading phase" with higher doses for the first 5-7 days to saturate muscle stores quickly.
After the loading phase, there comes the “maintenance phase” where a maintenance dose of 3-5 grams per day is sufficient. Timing is less critical with creatine, however, taking it consistently, whether before or after a workout, is important.
Plan to take your pre-workout supplement roughly 30-60 minutes before exercise to allow time for absorption. Some people may be more sensitive to caffeine, so adjust the timing based on your tolerance and when you feel its effects best support your workout. Always follow the dosage on the label in both cases, it is there for a reason.
Combining Creatine and Pre-Workout
If you are combining creatine with other pre-workouts then you should take creatine daily, whether it is a workout day or a rest day and use your pre-workout supplement on the days you are exercising, adjusting the timing based on your preference and tolerance.
Both creatine and pre-workout supplements may increase the need for hydration so make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day.
For most, a daily dose of 3-5 grams is sufficient. No need to mega-dose as consistency is more important than quantity. Follow the recommended dosage on the product label. Avoid exceeding suggested limits to prevent any side effects. You have to be smart and determined while mixing the two together to get the best results.
Are There Any Risks?
Many athletes, gym goers, and fitness coaches safely combine creatine and pre-workout supplements, but it's still essential to be aware of potential risks:
1. It Can Overstimulate Your Body
Both creatine and pre-workout supplements contain stimulants like caffeine. Combining them could lead to overstimulation, resulting in increased heart rate, jitteriness, or difficulty sleeping.
Creatine draws water into the muscles, and some pre-workout supplements can have diuretic effects. When combined, this could increase the risk of dehydration. So, ensure you are drinking plenty of water.
3. Digestive Discomfort
High doses of creatine or certain pre-workout ingredients may cause digestive issues, including bloating or upset stomach.
4. Kidney Strain (in rare cases)
There have been upheaving concerns about kidney strain with creatine use. Although most studies show creatine is safe for healthy people, but if you have pre-existing kidney conditions then you should consult a doctor before use.
5. Redundancy in Ingredients
Some pre-workouts already contain creatine. Using a separate creatine supplement without checking labels can lead to unintentional double-dosing so do not forget to check your labels and packaging.
Wrapping it Up
With all things out in front, it is generally safe to mix creatine with pre workout as both can have great benefits for your fitness goals. As always it is also important to take some necessary precautions and safety measures to minimize any kind of potential risk it may have.
Always Stick to the recommended dosages for both creatine and pre-workout supplements. Drink plenty of water, especially when using creatine, to counteract any dehydration in your body. Last, but most important, pay attention to how your body reacts. If you experience discomfort, then adjust your regimen and dosage immediately.
Also, before starting any supplementation, especially if you have underlying health conditions, it is great to consult with a fitness expert who can give you personalized advice and help you reach your fitness goals.
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