It’s no secret, that most people who go to the gym are really after one thing – gains. Gains are synonymous with results, and if you’re not working towards some type of goal then why would you even bother working out at all? That’s right, you wouldn’t. Now, just because you hit the gym a few days a week, does not mean you’re going to get the results you want. Optimizing your nutrition and finding the right supplements to enhance your performance are also fundamental in helping you achieve your goals. But supplements are confusing, especially when you’re a newbie. Yet when it comes to creatine vs pre workout, it's not really an either or situation. Creatine and pre workout supplements can both be extremely beneficial and effective to your performance, but knowing what they do and the differences, will help you decide which one you need to optimize your training.
What Is Creatine And What Does It Do?
Creatine is a combination of three different amino acids – methionine, arginine, and glycine. Creatine is naturally synthesized in your body by the liver and kidneys, yet the majority is stored in your muscle tissue. Creatine forms adenosine triphosphate (ATP), your body’s natural energy supply.
Supplementing with creatine can help your body create more ATP, which is your primary fuel source during explosive movements, heavy lifting sessions and or high intensity training. Studies have shown that creatine can improve athletic performance, leading to greater gains in strength, speed, and muscle growth.
There are several different types of creatine, which are sold and marketed other than traditional creatine monohydrate such as, creatine HCL, creatine ethyl ester, creatine nitrate, and Kre-Alkalyn. Studies have shown however that there is no real performance differences amongst other versions of creatine when it comes to fueling muscle growth and performance, besides Kre-Alkalyn.
RELATED ARTICLE Pros And Cons Of Creatine Monohydrate
Kre-Alkalyn is a ph correct form of creatine monohydrate and was created to address the negative side effects seen in creatine monohydrate namely the toxic conversion to creatinine, which can cause bloating, cramping, and water retention. One of the problems with creatine monohydrate is that it requires what’s called a loading phase. Studies show that in order for creatine to actually work, it requires loading at least 10-15g per day, for up to 10 days. As you can imagine, you’re going to be using a ton of creatine, before it even starts working. This is due to the poor absorption rate. Kre-alkalyn is ph corrected and does not require a loading phase, since it has such better bioavailability.
RELATED ARTICLE Kre-Alkalyn Vs Creatine Monohydrate: Which One Is Better?
Studies have shown that Kre-Alklayn is the only alternative to creatine monohydrate that demonstrates superior performance measures, in bioavailability, endurance, and strength outcomes as compared to creatine monohydrate [R].
Benefits Of Creatine
- Increases muscle mass and strength
- Improves Speed And Sprint Performance
- Enhances Brain Function
- Improves Athletic Performance
What Is Pre Workout And What Does It Do?
Pre workout supplements are a combination of different ingredient’s, created to improve energy, strength and endurance. Pre workout can be a very beneficial supplement to improve performance and give you the extra bit of motivation you need, to smash out more reps. A common problem found within most pre workout supplements however, is that they don’t contain high enough doses to be truly effective.
Often times, pre workouts contain what’s called a proprietary blend.
Proprietary blends only list the combined amount of all the ingredients used in the blend; they don't disclose how much of each ingredient the product contains.
A large majority of supplement companies and manufacturers typically use proprietary blends for several reasons
- Most companies claim that they use proprietary blends to prevent competing brands from learning the precise amounts and ratios of each ingredient, to protect their product formula, which is purely false.
- To trick consumers and hide the fact that their product contains only trace amounts of the active ingredients listed on the nutrition label, and are instead composed mostly of fillers, additives, or the ingredients you don’t really want.
- It creates hype! By marketing something different such as ‘new and improved formulas or ingredients!’, supplement companies can use marketing tactics to drive more revenue and get you to buy more stuff.
- Production costs are minimized while profit is maximized. Because the ‘Proprietary Blend’ does not reveal the exact amount, less than 1% of the supplement could be made up with the beneficial ingredients and usually more expensive ingredients while the rest are just ‘fillers’ or the ingredients that won’t be truly effective.
Before you purchase a pre workout, take a look at the supplement facts. If you see a combination of ingredients, listed under a blend that does not list the specific amount per ingredient, then don’t buy it. Blends provide supplement manufacturers with a loophole, to underdose the proven ingredients you need to effectively improve training capacity. Only purchase supplements that provide complete transparency in labeling, otherwise you’re most likely getting ripped off.
So what are the correct doses of the ingredients you need? We’ve listed out a few of the most popular pre workout ingredients below and included what the minimum effective dose you need to derive the performance benefit.
Popular pre workout ingredients include but are not limited to
- Citrulline Malate: ≥ 5g
- Beta-Alanine– ≥ 3.2g
- Betaine Anhydrous ≥ 2.5 g
- L-Theanine ≥ 200 mg
- L-Carnitine – ≥ 1.5g
- Agmatine ≥ 1g
- Taurine ≥ 1.2g
- Pomegranate ≥ 500 mg
- Beet Root ≥ 500 mg
- Actigin ≥ 50 mg
Making your own pre workout, and stacking with stand alone ingredients like Beta-Alanine, Citrulline Malate, and Kre-Alkalyn is an optimal way to increase strength and performance. By creating your own pre workout, you don't have to worry about proprietary blends, fillers, or underdosed products.
Benefits Of Pre Workout
- Increases Energy
- May Enhance Mental Focus
- Increases Nitric Oxide = Better Pumps
- Increases Strength
- Improves Athletic Performance
What About Pre Workout That Contains Creatine?
Some pre workouts will contain creatine, however, adding creatine monohydrate to a pre workout formula, is not a very effective way of gaining the performance benefits. Studies show that creatine monohydrate requires a loading phase, before it’s truly effective. Your muscle tissue needs to be saturated with creatine phosphate, before it can be used as a viable fuel source. Therefore, you need a dose of 10-15g per day, for 10 days before it even works. All pre workout supplements, will contain 3-5g of creatine monohydrate at best.
If you want to improve strength, speed, and power, then your best bet, is to add Kre-Alkalyn, to your pre workout supplement regimen, not creatine monohydrate. Unlike creatine monohydrate, Kre-Alklayn is absorbed immediately, which means there is no loading phase. Creatine monohydrate has terrible absorption and converts to a toxic by-product called creatinine, that’s why you need to take so much of it. With Kre-Alkalyn, one 3g serving, is the equivalent to a 10g serving of creatine monohydrate. Not to mention, there are no associated negative side effects, that some people experience with monohydrate, such as bloating, cramping, and or water retention.
Creatine Vs Pre Workout Commonly Asked Questions
Can You Take Creatine And Pre Workout Together?
Yes – absolutely. Adding creatine to your pre workout, will directly stimulate ATP gernation, so you can create more muscle fuel, in conjunction with the performance benefits of your pre workout ingredients. Studies show that Beta-Alanine and Creatine taken together can benefit high-intensity training performance, strength, and lean muscle mass [R].
Is Creatine Good For Pre Workout?
Creatine can be taken as a stand-alone pre workout supplement. However it does need to be loaded, to effectively saturate your muscles creatine stores before it will provide any ergogenic benefit. Kre-Alkalyn, can be taken pre workout, and provide performance benefits immediately without any loading phase.
Is Creatine With Pre Workout Bad?
Pre workout supplements that contain creatine are not necessarily bad, they just won’t be as effective, since they don’t have a high enough dose. Creatine monohydrate can also cause side effects such as water retention and bloating. If you want both creatine and pre workout, then buy each one separately, not in one pre workout supplement.
Which Is Better Creatine Or Pre Workout?
Neither one is better than the other, they are two completely separate products. Creatine is one of the most well researched and clinically backed ingredients, with proven benefits to help increase strength and build more muscle mass. Pre workout is a combination of ingredients, that enhances performance through energy, strength, and endurance. If you want maximum performance benefits, then we recommend taking both.
Creatine Vs Pre Workout: Takeaway
Gains are comprised of three fundamental components, nutrition, training, and supplementation. Creatine will help you build more strength and muscle mass, and can help improve performance during high-intensity training. Pre workouts can also be equally as effective in driving more energy and endurance, so long as they have the correct doses and proven ingredients. If you want to optimize your training and exercise performance, then supplementing with both can help you crush your goals.
Ready To Add Kre-Alkalyn To Your Supplement Regimen?
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Stout JR, Cramer JT, Mielke M, O'Kroy J, Torok DJ, Zoeller RF. Effects of twenty-eight days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on the physical working capacity at neuromuscular fatigue threshold. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Nov;20(4):928-31. doi: 10.1519/R-19655.1. PMID: 17194255.