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Pre-Workout vs Creatine – Which is Better?

Are you contemplating taking pre-workout supplements? Are you wondering if you should take pre-workout, creatine or some other great supplement? What is the difference between pre-workout and creatine anyway?  

Let’s be real here, there are supplements for everything now. Some fitness professionals are advocates of these supplements, while some other professionals think that they are unnecessary and sometimes even dangerous.

It’s important to know what you are taking and how it can benefit you as well as any side effects that may come with taking it as well. Should these supplements be part of a routine for weight loss for women over 40? Are they on the best supplements for women over 40 list?

Pre-Workout vs Creatine – Which is Better?

What is Pre-workout?

Okay, so we know that many people say that we need to take preworkout before a workout session, but why? What is pre-workout anyway? 

Technically, these supplements are a dietary supplement that is formulated to be taken before a workout. The reason that they should be taken before a workout is due to the fact that these supplements contain ingredients that are believed to improve your blood and oxygen flow, your focus, endurance and more. 

What is Creatine?

If you have been into fitness for any amount of time, you have likely heard about creatine. Do you know what creatine is though? Do you need to be taking it? When should you be taking it? How much should you be taking?

Creatine is an enzyme that can be found mostly in your skeletal muscle, but also a small portion of it is found in organs such as your brain, kidneys and liver. This substance is your body’s natural way of producing energy while engaging in high intensity exercise or heavy lifting. Creatine supplements are very popular in the fitness industry as they have been found to help athletes build muscle, improve strength and improve their overall exercise performance. 

Creatine supplements are quite similar to amino acid supplements and, in fact, the amino acids arginine and glycine can help your body to produce more creatine. You can also increase your red meat intake to help you to build up your body’s creatine stores. 

How is Creatine Taken?

Creatine can be taken either in powder form or in pill form. Powder form is often considered to be good for multiple reasons. In pill form you are restricted to the sole amount that is condensed into the pill, although as long as you are using reputable brands, they should both be the correct amounts for you. 

Pros of Taking Creatine in Pill Form

Taking your creatine supplement in pill form definitely comes with some advantages, here are a few of those:

  • Pills are easy to transport and travel with. Tossing a few pills in your bag takes up much more space than a tub of powder.
  • Pills are less messy than powder, which can be extra convenient for some. No spilled powder messes or waste.
  • No need to measure your dosage. Pill forms come in exact dosage and you don’t have to worry about getting it wrong. 

Cons of Taking Creatine in Pill Form

There are some good things about taking creatine in pill form, but there are some negatives too. Let’s talk about those, shall we?

  • Creatine in pill form is often more expensive than it is in powder form. 
  • Pills are absorbed more slowly than pure powder will be.  
container of 1st phorm creatine powder

Pros of Taking Creatine in Powder Form

As with pills, there will be pros and cons to taking creatine in powder form.  Many people prefer to take creatine in powder form and there are reasons why. 

  • Powdered creatine absorbs more quickly than pills do. This is especially beneficial if you like taking creatine before, during and after your workout. Powder can more easily be absorbed during your fitness routine.
  • Powdered creatine is more affordable than creatine in pill form. 
  • Powdered creatine is easy to mix into water or other drinks.

Cons of Taking Creatine in Powder Form

Although some of the cons of powdered creatine have been listed above, we can touch on them again here.

  • Powder is messier than pills.
  • Powder is more difficult to transport than pills as it often comes in bulky tubs and bottles. 

Pre-workout vs Creatine: Benefits of Each

There are benefits to taking each of these supplements as part of your overall fitness routine. 

Benefits of Creatine

Creatine is one of the most popular fitness supplements on the market. Its ability to improve athletic performance is widely known by many in the fitness industry. Recent studies have shown that the benefits of creatine reach beyond fitness. 

Here are just some of the benefits of creatine supplementation that you will find, from fitness and beyond:

Improved Athletic Performance

Taking a creatine supplement helps to replenish the lost stores of creatine or adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that happens when you have an intense workout. This boost will give you some extra energy and strength that will enable you to get the best workout possible. 

Improved Aging

Aging can be rough on our bones and muscles. Studies have shown that taking a creatine supplement might actually help keep them healthy as we age. 

One of these studies showed that after 10 weeks of supplementation with up to 22 grams of creatine in addition to added resistance training can help older adults to make improvements in muscle mass and strength.

Improved Brain Health

Creatine supplementation has been shown to improve your levels of creatine in the brain by up to 10%. This increase in creatinine levels help to enhance brain function and improve energy, which both promote your brain health. 

Is There a Common Side Effect to Taking Creatine?

While taking creatine is safe and effective, there are instances of side effects that you should be aware of. 

Weight Gain 

While creatine has plenty of fitness benefits, when you take too much of it, you can find yourself experiencing weight gain. This comes from muscle growth (yay!), as well as from bloating from water retention.

Stomach Upset

Some people have complained of stomach discomfort after taking creatine. That being said, studies have shown that this happens most often when taking a larger than recommended dose at once. 

To avoid these side effects, it’s important to keep your consumption down to the recommended dosage (under mg per day). 

Benefits of Pre Workout

Pre workout supplements are often found with common ingredients such as L-Citrulline, Beta Alanine, Betaine Anhydrous, Branched Chain Amino Acids (also known as BCAA), Theanine, Caffeine, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Taurine and more. All of these ingredients (plus more), work together to give you the utmost benefit from your supplementation. These common ingredients have been found to work better together than they do when taking them individually. 

The ingredients in pre workout supplements are designed to produce nitric oxide and improve your blood flow for the best workout possible. The benefits of pre workout include improved energy, strength and performance. Recent studies have shown short term improvement in lean body mass as well as lower body strength when taking a preworkout supplement along with focusing on your fitness routine. 

How to Use Pre Workout and Creatine to Maximize Lean Muscle 

The best way to include pre workout and creatine to maximize lean muscle and see the most success is to follow these tips:

  • Take your preferred pre-workout roughly 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.
  • Creatine is most beneficial when taken pre, intra and post workout. Therefore it’s good to plan out how you use creatine along with your fitness schedule. Here’s an example:
    • Take your creatine with your pre-workout, mix up an intra workout drink to sip on while you work out and mix up a creatine supplemented drink after your workout.
    • If you are wondering how to take creatine, studies have shown that the benefits are maximized when it is taken with a carbohydrate, so you can mix it with fruit juice for great results.
    • Be sure to keep your creatine intake to 25 mg or less per day though. Don’t be tempted into taking higher doses thinking it will mean better results.  

Recommended Creatine Supplement

Here are some of our favorite recommended creatine supplements:

Creatine Monohydrate

This creatine supplement from 1st Phorm is available in both 50 and 100 servings. This creatine supplement is great for enhancing your power and strength, supports your ATP regeneration as well as increasing your muscle cell volume. What this means is better health and fitness results for you.

With this creatine supplement, you’ll find yourself with reduced lactic acid build up in your muscles, increased endurance and strength. You’ll see less bloating and discomfort, less stomach upset than you might find with other creatine supplements and a more effective overall nutrition. 

Recommended Pre-workouts

Megawatt

Megawatt is a great pre workout formula product for those that often hit a slump in the afternoons or struggle to gain energy in the morning. If you need a little added boost to get you going and get your workout off to a great start, this is a great option. 

1st phorm megawatt preworkout container

Project 1 Pre-workout

This pre workout is great for those who need a boost to their energy levels and also want to add focus and improved performance to their workout. Project 1 will help you reach new limits in your fitness journey. 

Endura-formance by 1st Phorm

This pre-workout focuses on muscle performance without stimulants. Endura-formance is perfect for any athletes looking to add results to their fitness journey and see greater gains without consuming high levels of caffeine or other stimulants. 

container of 1st phorm endura-formance

AlphaSurge

AlphaSurge is another non-stimulant pre-workout product that is great for seeing better results when it comes to muscle building and fitness performance. This is the kind of pre-workout that works well to get those great and intense workouts without consuming too much caffeine. 

container of 1st phorm alphasurge pre-workout

For other fitness and dietary supplements, 1st Phorm has some great ones that will help you improve your workout performance. In addition to pre workout products and creatine, you’ll find Essential Amino Acids, Intra Workout formulas, protein powders, post workout stacks, vitamins and more. 

FAQ

If you are still wanting to know the answers to your questions about creatine and pre workouts, keep reading. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that we hear:

When should creatine be taken?

Studies have shown that you can see maximum benefits from creatine when you take it before your workout, during your workout and after your workout as well. The best results from taking creatine supplements is to keep your creatine stores high at their optimal level throughout the workout and fitness process. 

Can I mix creatine with other supplements?

Creatine can very easily be mixed with other supplements, as a matter of fact, mixing it with other supplements can increase its effectiveness. If you take it in powder form, it’s easy to mix with any liquids and even other powdered supplements. Just double check your flavors because they don’t all taste great mixed together.  

Can I take creatine with my pre workout drink?

Yes! One of the best ways to mix your creatine into your workout routine is to add a scoop into your pre workout drink. The combination of the two supplements helps you to be sure that your focus is clear, your energy is up, your blood is flowing just right and you are in the best state of mind for the most successful workout. 

Is creatine a steroid?

There are people who have confused this one in the past, but the answer is no. Creatine is not a steroid. It has no structural relation or similarity to steroids at all. Creatine is naturally found in muscle and can be found in certain foods such as red meat, which is not at all similar to steroids. 

Is creatine good for you?

Yes, creatine is good for you. It is well known to be the world’s most effective supplement for adding muscle mass and improving athletic performance. It is, however, important to keep your consumption of it to the appropriate levels, keeping it less than 25 mg per day. 

Is it better to take creatine or pre-workout?

While creatine and pre-workout do offer some of the same benefits, it’s not necessarily a creatine vs. pre-workout comparison. The best results will come when you take both of these supplements the right way. 

Can I add creatine to coffee?

Yes, you can add creatine to coffee! Believe it or not, many people like to add creatine to their cup of morning joe. You can even add it to hot cocoa, tea or whatever your favorite hot drink is. This is a misconception out there that heat affects the effectiveness of creatine, but in reality, creatine is very stable and isn’t affected by heat at all.  

Can I add creatine to a smoothie?

Yes! This is another, extra delicious way to take your creatine. Mix your creatine powder along with your favorite whey protein in with your favorite smoothie ingredients and enjoy a delicious post workout treat. This is a delicious way to focus on your muscle recovery after a good workout.  

Can I add creatine to baked goods?

Do you like to bake? Do you like to enjoy a pre or post workout snack? You might just want to include creatine into your next baking project! As we mentioned earlier, creatine isn’t affected by heat and you can easily add it to baking recipes without it being affected or even affecting the taste of your treats. 

Can creatine be used as a pre-workout?

While creatine can be used before your workout, it doesn’t offer all of the same benefits of pre-workout. To receive the best results, you should take creatine in addition to your preworkout supplement to get the best results from their different purposes. 

Conclusion

There is really no short answer to the creatine vs. pre workout discussion. Hopefully, after reading this post, you will have grasped that creatine vs pre workout is more of a how can these supplements benefit one another rather than a versus comparison. While each of these supplements have benefits of their own, they actually work quite well together. 

While a preworkout can get you pumped and ready for your workout, adding a creatine supplement to your routine can help you to find better results from the workout that you are now more energized for. 

In addition to the creatine and pre workout supplements we have talked about here, it is important to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis. Living a healthy lifestyle plays an important role in your physical performance and overall health. 

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