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.
Table of Contents
- Can Pre-Workout & Creatine Be Mixed Together? (Benefits Explained)
- Considerations When Taking Creatine With Pre-Workouts
- All About Pre-Workout Supplements
- All About Creatine Supplements
- Mixing Creatine & Pre-Workout FAQs
Can Pre-Workout & Creatine Be Mixed Together? (Benefits Explained)
Can you mix creatine with pre-workout? The short answer is yes. The long answer takes some deeper explanation. First, we start with the benefits when you mix creatine and pre-workout.
1. 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. 
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Considerations When Taking Creatine With Pre-Workouts
Before you start pouring your creatine and pre-workout mix, there are a few things to be aware of.
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. 
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.
Learn More - Why Pre-Workout Does Not Work On You? (What To Do)
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.
Related Article - Creatine Vs Pre-Workout
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 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.
All About Pre-Workout Supplements
What Is the Purpose of a Pre-Workout Drink?
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 endurance, limiting muscle fatigue, and increasing energy levels make a pre-workout useful and simple.
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How Early 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.
Read Also - How Long Does Pre-Workout Last In Your System?
How Much Of An Effect Does Pre-Workout Have?
The effect will depend significantly on your experience level with creatine supplementation, your sports nutrition, and the ingredients in the chosen pre-workout brand. When you work out, it increases adenosine receptors which break down ATP.
The truth is that multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements (MIPS) are relatively new to the fitness world and are still being studied.
Consistent creatine intake is shown to improve muscle stores of ATP, promote lean mass, physical performance, muscle tissue recovery, and muscle endurance from resistance exercise.
However, one study published that MIPS have a high impact on active persons as an ergogenic aid, helping to boost endurance, muscle performance, sports performance, and duration as well as boost energy levels overall .
Factors That Determine Pre-Workout Effectiveness
Many factors determine how effective your supplementation regimen is. Not only the amounts you are taking but when and what types. The ingredients list is particularly important here.
Remember, supplements and vitamins are not reviewed by the FDA for safety or label claims.  When a brand uses a "proprietary blend," they must list the ingredients in order of weight per serving, but they are not required to list the actual amounts or weights used. You may not be getting as much as you expect, or sometimes, too much.
Finding brands that clearly list the ingredients and amounts will be the biggest factor. Your metabolism rate, blood flow to the blood vessels, workout regimen, time of day, and how often you supplement will also contribute to the effectiveness of these compounds.
Learn More - Pre-Workout Side Effects Explained!
All About Creatine Supplements
Creatine phosphate is a naturally occurring compound in the body. It is derived from eating red meats and seafood and helps the body produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In short, the phosphate molecule provides hydration and energy for skeletal muscles.
Supplementation also increases exercise capacity, resistance training volume and raises muscle levels, muscle growth, and workout performance power. Improving body composition, more muscle mass, and increased exercise performance all come from the right pre-workout ingredients.
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).
Creatine Monohydrate Vs Creatine HCL
Creatine monohydrate and creatine hydrochloride are both effective workout supplements.
The main difference is in absorption and solubility. Monohydrate attaches a water molecule to the creatine molecule as a delivery service.
This can increase water retention and slow absorption. To see the benefits, you need to go through a loading phase, so your own creatine stores build up in your body.
With creatine HCl, a hydrochloride molecule is attached instead of water. This makes it much more soluble in water, which leads to faster absorption by the body.  Some studies suggest you can even skip loading and still see results.
Creatine Makes ATP
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a compound that delivers energy to our bodies on a cellular level. In short, it takes stored energy consumed by food and converts it for use by your muscles, aiding in muscle contractions, chemical synthesis, and nerve impulses.
When dealing specifically with muscles and their recovery after a resistance training or gym workout, creatine is broken down by amino acids to produce ATP.
Once enough ATP is built up in the muscle cells through supplementation, the ATP speeds the recovery of muscle synthesis, hardens muscles, and promotes lean muscle mass growth.
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.
When Should You Take Creatine And How Much?
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.
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.
Learn More - How Long Does C4 Pre-Workout Last In Your System?
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.
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.
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Last Updated on January 22, 2023