If you’re wondering if it’s safe to mix your creatine in your pre-workout before you hit the gym, you’ve come to the right place.
You can mix creatine with pre-workout without adverse side effects or interference effects between ingredients.
But do you need to mix creatine with your pre-workout, and are there any additional benefits when doing so?
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a molecule that is stored within the muscle. It binds to another molecule named phosphate to create phosphocreatine or PCr for short. PCr plays a vital role in replenishing the muscles’ energy to contract.
Adenosine triphosphate, ATP for short, is the primary molecule used by the muscles as energy to contract. It is triphosphate because it has three phosphates. When ATP is used, it becomes adenosine diphosphate (ADP) as in two phosphates. To generate ADP back to ATP, it needs another phosphate molecule.
The fastest way to do this is with the surrounding phosphate molecules bound to creatine. The more PCr, the more phosphates are available to replenish energy quickly. This is what leads to being able to perform more reps at a given load and improve maximal strength .
Essentially, more creatine equals more phosphates, resulting in greater available energy for the working muscles.
Can You Mix Creatine With Pre-Workout?
You can mix creatine with pre-workout. Creatine does not react with any common ingredients within pre-workout supplements. There was some speculation that loading creatine with chronic caffeine use could blunt the effects of creatine .
However, this has been dismissed by many authors based on older research. Until further evidence is published, we can conclude that taking creatine and pre-workout together is fine.
We asked personal trainer and nutritionist at Fitness Brain, James Dixon, what his opinion was on whether creatine should be mixed with a pre-workout and he had this to say:
“Creatine is one of the safest supplements you can take and is one of the most well studied. I’ve been supplementing with it for over a decade and usually mix it with my post-workout protein shake. So long as you take it each day, it makes no difference when or how you consume it. You can mix it with a pre-workout if that’s convenient. But it won’t make any noticeable difference to your performance. So the choice is yours.”
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Creatine Pre-Workout?
Unfortunately, there are no additional benefits when taking a pre-workout with creatine. Creatine does not lead to any acute performance benefits. It is not a stimulant and needs to be taken chronically .
Some evidence suggests that taking creatine after exercise may be better for muscle growth but not strength . However, the effect may not be practical enough to follow. Therefore, taking a separate pre-workout supplement daily is a better choice than choosing a pre-workout supplement with creatine.
Creatine Pre-Workout Side Effects
There are little to no side effects with taking creatine. When creatine is in a pre-workout, any side effects are usually not from the creatine but from other ingredients like Beta-Alanine, which causes itching and tingling of the skin.
When Should You Take Creatine And How Much?
Take creatine any time of the day, every day. There is no benefit to taking it before or after your workout, so it is the best time whenever you remember. The typical dose is 5 g per day and is the easiest to measure as it is one teaspoon. However, you can get results with doses as low as 2-3 g per day, especially if you eat red meat . It takes approximately 28 days to saturate the muscle thoroughly.
There are no issues with mixing creatine with pre-workout. Just know that it won’t provide you with any additional benefit over taking creatine at any other time of the day. You can find my best pre-workouts without creatine here.
1. Rawson, E. S., & Volek, J. S. (2003). Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 17(4), 822-831.
2. Trexler, E. T., & Smith-Ryan, A. E. (2015). Creatine and caffeine: considerations for concurrent supplementation. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 25(6), 607-623.
3. Forbes, S. C., & Candow, D. G. (2018). Timing of creatine supplementation and resistance training: A brief review. Journal of Exercise and Nutrition, 1(5).
4. Hultman, E., Soderlund, K., Timmons, J. A., Cederblad, G., & Greenhaff, P. L. (1996). Muscle creatine loading in men. Journal of applied physiology, 81(1), 232-237.