Most gym enthusiasts know that taking a pre-workout supplement can benefit their motivation, focus, and energy levels.

You also might know that taking creatine supplementation can help improve muscle gains, decrease resting periods, and speed recovery.

Is it ok to mix creatine with pre-workout? What if your pre-workout drinks already contain creatine? In this article, we will cover the benefits of both mixed together.

Yes, you can definitely mix pre-workout and creatine.

Benefits of mixing these two supplements together are enhanced energy, improved performance, increased strength and accelerated muscle growth.

Increased Stamina

Prolonging your workout is part of the pre-workout supplement benefits. It not only provides you with more energy to start your workout but can delay fatigue, reduce lactic acid build-up and help your muscles stay stronger, longer.[1]

This results in more reps, sets, and a longer gym session. Creatine supplementation also works to help hydrate the muscles and keep them performing longer.

Improved Muscle Building

One of the biggest benefits of the two working together is that you can increase lean muscle mass and that coveted muscle pump many desire.

Improved muscle building is also a benefit of taking creatine and pre-workout supplements and the essential amino acids found in a pre-workout drink mix.

Combined, you get more BCAAs, vitamins, minerals, and of course, creatine supplements, to your muscles when they need it most.

Easier Habit Formation And Consistency

There is so much to do daily, such as meal prep, gym prep, and multiple vitamins and supplements to take. By mixing your pre-workout with caffeine and creatine, you have one less thing to remember each day you head off to the gym.

When you get into a good habit of taking one supplement daily, you save time and effort and form a more consistent habit.

Can You Take Creatine With Pre-Workout? – Garage Gym Pro

What To Be Aware Of When Taking Creatine & Pre-workout?

Before you start pouring your creatine and pre-workout mix, there are a few things to be aware of:

1. Caffeine May Inhibit Creatine Absorption

There are a few reports that are reviewing the effects of multiple ergogenic molecules. While incomplete, research suggests that certain individuals may have a lower absorption tolerance when mixing supplements.[2]

The most common findings, though, show that when caffeine anhydrous (dehydrated caffeine) is used, it can block the absorption of creatine monohydrate before it is expelled by the digestive system.

You can combat this by ensuring the stimulant in your mix is not anhydrous but standard caffeine from natural sources like coffee beans or tea leaves.

2. Your Pre-Workout May Not Contain Enough Creatine

Part of the marketing of these pre-workouts is to claim more energy and focus. They also claim muscle strength, pump, and endurance. They cannot make these claims without including creatine in their ingredients list.

However, they aren't required to have clinical dosage amounts to make these claims. So often, you will find far lower than the recommended intake measurements.

By adding creatine to your mix, you can raise the levels to a more acceptable range and still reap the benefits of the energy boost.

3. Other Possible Side Effects

It is also possible that you can take too much pre-workout. If you are adding it to a mix that contains creatine already, you may experience bloating, digestive upset, or water weight gain.

These pre-workout side effects are usually temporary and can usually be avoided. If this is a concern, find a pre-workout powder that doesn't contain creatine already.

Alternatively, you can simply lower the amount you add to the pre-workout supplement.

What does pre-workout do?

The primary purpose of a pre-workout drink is to provide a boost of energy to get you motivated to work out. It also prolongs muscle breakdown so you can work out longer.

Increasing concentration, energy levels and motivation are reasons why people take pre-workout before work.

When Should You Take Your Pre-Workout?

Most dosage times and sizes will be recommended on the label, including how much creatine to take. This will also require some trial and error on your part. If you have never taken a pre-workout supplement before, the serving suggestions may not react well with you the first few times.

It is recommended that you take a dose 25 to 45 minutes before your tough workout begins. If you have negative reactions, cut the dosage in half, but maintain the half-hour window.

Once you find a dosage that provides the energy boost without the side effects, stick with it for a few weeks, gradually increasing until you can take the full recommended dose without fear. 

To maintain a lower tolerance and ensure the expected effects of your supplements, it is beneficial to cycle pre-workout on and off.

Women Sitting on Gym Mat Drinking a Pre-Workout Drink

When Should You Take Creatine?

There is no right or wrong time to take creatine. Most fitness enthusiasts prefer to take it within an hour of finishing a workout.

However, if you are in the loading session, you need 5g at least four times a day, taken at intervals throughout your awake hours. Most resistance training program followers, gym goers, and enthusiasts prefer to take them post-workout.

After the initial phase, a single dose of 3 to 5g per day is all that is needed, even on rest days. You can combine creatine as part of your pre-workout, after a session, or right before bed and still see the same results.

Why Use Supplemental Creatine?

You will want a high-quality supplement because the daily amounts needed to see improvements aren't found in a single meal.

Unless you wish to eat 6 to 10 steaks per day, supplementation can get your creatine levels where they need to be without filling your stomach.

Creatine monohydrate is the most studied and evaluated form on the market and is the most popular for supplements. It is recommended that you get 5 grams of creatine supplement per day (after a 20g per day loading phase of 5g four times a day for 5 to 7 days).

Related Article - Creatine Vs Pre-Workout

How Can Creatine Help Performance And Recovery?

Taking creatine regularly helps improve performance by preventing muscle breakdown during a high-intensity workout.

It also aids in longer high-intensity exercise sessions where a normal 3 to 5 second burst of energy stores can be lengthened to 10 to 11 seconds. After a workout, ATP goes to work to help power and rebuild muscular bonds. During rest, your muscles recover, and the aches and pains go away over time.

Phosphocreatine helps to minimize soreness, keep muscles hydrated and rebuilding, and can speed recovery time in the process.

Mixing Creatine and Pre Workouts

Mixing Creatine & Pre-Workout FAQs

What is the Creatine Cycle?

The creatine loading cycle is a period of supplementation that has shown some promise in maintaining results without the plateau effect. Essentially you have a week of loading, where you ingest 20 to 30g of creatine per day in 5g doses. This is followed by a maintenance period of 3 to 5g per day for up to 4 weeks, followed by a 2 to 4 week rest where none is ingested before starting the cycle over again.

Can you take creatine with C4 pre-workout?

Yes. You can add creatine to any multi-ingredient pre-workout mix. Most types and flavors of Cellucor C4 pre-workout contain between 3 and 5g of creatine monohydrate. During the loading session, you can add more to increase your store’s levels. After the initial phase, you will only need to take it by itself on rest days.

Can you mix BCAA with creatine and pre-workout?

Many studies have shown that creatine, pre-workout and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have no adverse effects when taken together. However, dosage is the main factor. If your pre-workout with BCAA and creatine is all-inclusive, you may need to limit the amount you add to the mix. Three amino acids make up protein synthesis, tyrosine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan, which are not typically found in a pre-workout with creatine.

Should I take creatine or pre-workout first?

Pre-workouts must be taken before you head to the gym. Creatine can be taken any time of day, even post-workout. If you're not mixing the supplement with your pre-workout, it is advised you take the pre-workout 30 minutes before your session and the creatine within an hour of completion.

Conclusion

Mixing creatine with many pre-workout supplements is ideal to ensure you get both in your system. It can improve cognitive function, muscular strength, athletic performance and help compounds like beta-alanine work more effectively.

While proper dosage and accumulation of the ingredients are needed, there are no adverse effects, long-term concerns, or known issues with mixing these two supplement types. Pre-workout creatine mixes are safe, effective, and beneficial.

References: 

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3894395/
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26219105/

Miloš Lepotic

Miloš Lepotic

Meet Miloš, a certified sports nutritionist and self-taught supplement expert whose pharmacological background and nearly a decade of gym experience make him the perfect guide for optimizing your health and athletic performance through supplement reviews and practical advice rooted in factual, science-backed information.