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Should You Mix Pre-Workout with Creatine? (Pros & Cons)

If you are somebody who enjoys a pre-workout product, you might be wondering if there are any additional supplements you can take to improve your strength and endurance. Creatine, caffeine, and amino acids could be some of those supplements. Although these ingredients are commonly found in a  lot of pre-workout products on the market, it is not always available. In cases like that, you might consider having a jar of creatine as an extra supplement that you can mix in with your pre-workout product at your desired dosage.

Structural chemical formula of creatine molecule

What is Creatine Good For?

Creatine monohydrate is a supplement that helps with muscle building. The best creatine is a naturally occurring substance that is found in the muscle cells of the human body, in the liver and kidneys specifically, from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine. It is also formed when you eat foods containing these amino acids, such as meat.

Studies have shown that  supplementing your creatine intake can help you build muscle. The majority of pre-workout products do already contain creatine to accelerate the production of muscle cells while you are doing strength training or other high-intensity exercises. Adding creatine to your best pre-workout supplements can increase your intramuscular creatine concentrations and enhance your work capacity.

Creatine has several other benefits when it comes to weight lifting. One is pulling more water into your muscles. This is also known as cell volumizing. It also promotes water-based pumps. It is now quite common to find both nitric oxide boosters and cell volumizers in one pre-workout product or pump enhancer. For many bodybuilders, this is enough reason to use creatine in their pre-workout routine.

More muscle cells build muscle mass and stronger muscles allow you to complete much more difficult workouts. If you are an avid bodybuilder or if weightlifting is something that you do quite regularly, creatine should be one of your top priorities when you are selecting a certain type of pre-workout formula. If the formula you want does not contain creatine, we’ll show you some ways of mixing some creatine into it later on in this article.

Working Out the Dosage

If you look at a lot of bottles of pre-workout that contain creatine, you might see anywhere from 1 to 2 grams per serving. That might be a good start, but that dosage may not be enough to elicit the results you’re looking for. For maximum benefit, we recommend selecting a pre-workout product that already contains creatine, but then also getting an extra jar of creatine powder that you can add as a supplement.

Most of the studies done on the efficacy of creatine suggest a dosage of at least 5 grams every day for maintenance levels, with some people needing up to 10 grams a day to maintain their optimal creatine storage levels, and up to 20 grams a day for people who want to increase their levels of creatine loading. So, only relying on the amount of creatine in your pre-workout may not always be enough. This idea applies to all of the ingredients in your pre-workout, which we’ll discuss briefly below.

Other Common Pre-Workout Ingredients 

The ingredients in most pre-workout products can vary quite widely, and with so many products available on the market, it can be confusing to know which of these ingredients will give you the specific results you want during the loading phase of your workout. Apart from creatine, the top two essential pre-workout ingredients include caffeine and amino acids. 

Caffeine 

Caffeine is another common pre-workout ingredient and it can give you a real boost in your energy levels. As a nervous system stimulator, caffeine is often added to pre-workout products to get your body ready to train. It enhances your performance during endurance, power, and resistance exercises, and it can also improve your cognitive functioning.

Just like with creatine, it is important to read the label on the product to find out the amount of caffeine in each serving size. Some products have the same amount of natural caffeine as you might find in a regular cup of coffee, but others have significantly more than that, so be careful not to get the jitters. 

The combination of caffeine and creatine is something you see in a lot of pre-workout products but this may not be an ideal solution for you. When you consume caffeine and creatine together, you may not be absorbing as much creatine as you think you are, and because of this, your performance and your results may not be reaching their full potential.

If you tend to work out later in the afternoon or evening, or if you have any kind of caffeine sensitivity, you may want to select pre-workouts without caffeine. These types of supplements rely on other stimulants. You can also find non-stimulant pre-workout products that will get your blood circulating well and increase your energy levels. 

Amino Acids 

Branched-chain amino acids, often referred to as BCAAs, play an important role in the effectiveness of pre-workout. BCAAs help control the ways thatprotein is used throughout your body. They increase your protein production while minimizing the amount of protein breakdown that happens with the combination of amino acids like leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are clinically formulated to reduce recovery time and aid in muscle protein synthesis.

BCAAs help you build muscles and can minimize the amount of soreness and damage that you feel. With this type of muscle recovery, you can train longer and more often. BCAAs represent about 40% of all the essential amino acids in your body. Because essential amino acids include those that the body cannot produce on its own, BCAAs are an important ingredient to have in your pre-workout supplement. 

Mixing Creatine into Your Pre-Workout

It doesn't really matter whether you add your own creatine as a protein powder or whether you choose a proprietary blend of pre-workout supplement that already has it mixed in. The most important thing is to make sure that you are getting the correct dosage regardless of the form of creatine. There are plenty of good reasons to include enough grams of creatine along with your pre-workout supplement. These reasons include better muscle building, an increase in stamina and endurance, and easier habit formation and consistency.

Better Muscle Building 

When you have more energy available during your workouts, you’ll see better results from your training. But there are also other ways that creatine supports your muscle growth. Some research has shown that certain hormone levels, such as IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1) rise after you take creatine. Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 is a growth hormone that is important in the muscle-building process. Creatine can also increase cellular hydration by increasing the water content in your muscle cells.

This supports even better muscle growth and repair. So one of the major benefits of including creatine in your pre-workout can actually be listed as three things: improved strength output, better athletic performance, and better muscle building. This is because creatine helps your body produce more ATP, which is the cellular energy you burn for output.

Increased Stamina and Endurance

Another benefit of creatine supplementation is that it can increase your muscle endurance and stamina. Many bodybuilders have found that consistent creatine intake helps them to increase their total work volume during each training session. They have more energy, which allows them to perform more reps with heavier weights and with proper form. In the context of high-intensity cardiovascular workouts, creatine can also increase energy and help push you further before you start to feel tired. 

For even better stamina and endurance, you can try our  premium cognitive enhancer called Illumino, which is formulated to give you maximum mental energy without burning you out. You can choose from strawberry basil or caramelized pineapple as your flavors. Using a supplement like this can work well when you follow a nutritious diet.

Easier Habit Formation And Consistency 

Like many supplements, creatine has a cumulative effect. You probably won’t notice any difference in your workout performance if you only use it once. You need to take it consistently to increase the phosphocreatine storage in your body. The most important things are taking creatine consistently close to your workout, either shortly before or after. For many gym-goers, the main benefit of including creatine in pre-workout is to build a routine. 

Recent research suggests that creatine supplementation may be more effective when it is taken post-workout. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that creatine supplementation combined with resistance training can  increase fat-free mass and boost strength. So consuming creatine immediately post-workout may be superior to pre-workout for improving your body composition and strength.

One of the best reasons for having a routine is to be more consistent. By combining two beneficial dietary supplements into one product, you can simplify the process of taking creatine regularly. If you don’t have time to figure out all the different supplements you should be taking, you’ll find that using a pre-workout drink that already has creatine mixed can be a good solution.

Ultimately, when you take your creatine is down to your personal preference. If you are trying to boost your performance and prevent fatigue, pre-workout might be ideal, but if you are trying to enhance and speed up your recovery, post-workout is probably better.

Omega 3 tablets and capsules, carnitine, creatine, fat burners, BCAA or testosterone booster.

Other Ingredients to Try

Some pre-workout products might also include a few of the compounds below. While some of these might sound like they are artificial ingredients, they are really just scientific names for natural ingredients that already occur naturally in your body. Increasing your levels of these ingredients can also really improve your overall exercise performance.

Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine is related to the burning feeling you get when you push through your last few reps and push your muscles to their limit. Beta-alanine has been studied extensively and it has been shown to be safe in recommended amounts. However, it does have one side effect. Some people who take beta-alanine will feel an odd tingling sensation at first. If you have felt this sensation, you can avoid it in the future by taking smaller amounts of beta-alanine over a longer period of time. Many pre-workout products will include beta-alanine, so if this is a helpful ingredient for you, be sure to select one that does.

Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide (NO) helps dilate your blood vessels, which increases your blood flow. Nitric oxide provides a clear pathway for oxygen and nutrients to get into your blood vessels, which can also give you an extra boost during lifting. Many pre-workout products will include nitric oxide along with l-citrulline and l-arginine (valuable amino acids), so if these are useful ingredients for you, be sure to select one that does.

L-tyrosine

L-tyrosine is another valuable amino acid that helps produce adrenaline and norepinephrine, two hormones that are activated when the body is under stress, which can help you push through a difficult workout. Many studies have shown that l-tyrosine can actually help improve exercise performance when you are under stress. Many pre-workout products will include l-tyrosine, so if this is a helpful ingredient for you, be sure to select one that does.

L-theanine

L-theanine is a natural ingredient found in many types of tea. If you are looking for a pre-workout product that doesn’t contain caffeine, try and find one containing l-theanine, because it can improve your focus, attention, and alertness. Many pre-workout products will include l-theanine, so if this is a helpful ingredient for you, be sure to select one that does.

Acetyl l-carnitine

Acetyl l-carnitine is another amino acid that contributes to the production of energy. It helps your body convert fat into energy, so if fat loss is your goal, it can be an excellent ingredient. Many pre-workout products will include l-carnitine, so be sure to select one that does if you are trying to lose weight.

Vitamin B-6

In addition to all the different types of amino acids, you also may see vitamin B-6 listed on the label of your pre-workout product. Vitamin B-6 is vital for your body’s energy production, and specifically for the breakdown of muscle glycogen. It helps your metabolism and reduces your blood pressure, particularly during exercise, and getting enough vitamin B-6 in your low carbs diet can help with weight loss, too.

Overall Analysis

Creatine is one of the most popular ergogenic aids used by gym-goers because of its ability to increase intramuscular creatine concentrations. The overall analysis of taking creatine (and a lot of other ingredients) with your pre-workout is that it depends on the type of pre-workout you’re taking and the results you’re looking for. For blends that don’t contain many other stimulants, it’s useful to mix in your own creatine because there are no compounds that may inhibit the absorption and blunt the effects of the creatine.

If you are taking a pre-workout that is full of other stimulants, such as caffeine, green tea extract, or green coffee bean, it is better to take your creatine supplementation separately because it may not actually be as effective as you would like when you combine it with these other dietary stimulants and this can sometimes cause cramping.

Creatine is one of the most well researched and clinically backed ingredients, with a range of proven benefits that can help you increase your strength and build more muscle mass. Pre-workout is a combination of ingredients that can enhance your performance through energy, strength, and endurance. For maximum performance benefits, we recommend taking both. 

Muscle gains come from three fundamental components: nutrition, training, and supplementation. Creatine will help you build more strength and muscle mass, and can improve your performance during high-intensity training. Pre-workouts can be equally as effective in terms of giving you more energy and endurance, as long as they are taken in the correct doses and with the ingredients that have been shown to be beneficial. If you want to optimize your training and exercise performance, try mixing a little creatine into your pre-workout.

A good place to start is with our  VIS Premium Pre-Workout. VIS uses the highest quality ingredients with full clinical dosing to produce skin-tearing pumps, increased pain tolerance, superior mind-muscle connection, tunnel vision focus, and no caffeine crash. Try flavors such as Ginger Lime, candied limes muddled with a hint of ginger, or Raspberry Honeycomb, with fresh tangy raspberries and a chunk of raw honeycomb to bring out the berry's sweetness.

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