Creatine Vs Pre Workout – Differences and Which is Better?

creatine vs pre workout
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Introduction – Creatine Vs Pre Workout

People want to build muscle, lose fat, and get stronger quickly. There are certain supplements in the fitness industry that can help you with achieving your various fitness goals faster when combined with working out and eating healthy. The two very popular supplements are pre workout and creatine which people use as they can help them with their health and fitness journey.

While both pre workout and creatine are somewhat different, they are mainly consumed to help achieve fitness goals faster and to improve workout performance.

Creatine and pre workout, both can provide amazing results if taken correctly and that is why you need to have a little knowledge and understand their uses before consuming them. In this article, we will compare creatine and pre-workout supplements, so that you can know how and when to use them.

What is creatine? 

Creatine is one of the most researched and popular supplements mainly used to increase workout performance and overall strength. It helps in supplying energy to the muscles for various activities [1, 2].

Creatine is a type of amino acid that helps in providing energy for muscle through ATP.  Although It can occur naturally in our body and is present in foods like red meat and seafood, bodybuilders and athletes consume creatine supplements to maximize their performance.

Creatine supplement mostly comes in powdered form and can be consumed by mixing it with water. 

What are the ingredients in creatine?

Creatine is formed of amino acids that are listed below.

  • L-arginine– L-arginine is a type of amino acid that is essential for the body. Our bodies naturally produce l-arginine but it can also be consumed through food sources. L-arginine is generally safe and can provide some potential benefits like improved strength, exercise performance, and enhanced recovery after workouts [3].
  • Glycine– Glycine is another type of amino acid that has many health benefits. It can be produced naturally by your body and can also be consumed through food sources. The potential benefits of glycine are- helps in preventing muscle loss, improves sleep, and helps with diabetes [4].
  • L-methionine– L-methionine is also an essential amino acid that can be naturally produced by your body and can also be consumed through food sources. The potential benefits include- might prevent cancer, helping with liver damage, and improving exercise performance [5].

Various creatine supplements might contain added flavors. 

Benefits and Side effects of taking Creatine

The main reason people use creatine supplements is that it helps in improving workout performance. Consuming creatine can provide some other benefits as well like-


Here are some benefits of creatine-

  • Helps in boosting muscle growth.
  • Helps in increasing overall strength.
  • Might help with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Enhances post-workout recovery.
  • It helps in supplying energy to the muscles.
  • Improves brain function.
  • Can help with lowering blood sugar levels.

Some side effects of creatine

Here are some supposed side effects you might face if you consume too much creatine

  • Kidney and Liver damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness

Overall creatine is scientifically proven to be a safe supplement when taken in moderate doses of 3-5 grams per day.

What is pre workout?

Just like creatine, pre workout supplements can also help in improving workout performance. As its name suggests Pre workouts are taken 30-45 minutes before the workout because they help in increasing energy levels [6, 7].

Pre-workout supplement is generally a mix of some ingredients in powdered substance that you’d mix in water and take before working out for optimal results.

What are the ingredients in a pre workout?

Pre workout supplements consist of various ingredients with the main ingredient being caffeine. The ingredients in various pre workouts might vary from brand to brand. So, here are some common ingredients of pre workout supplements-

  • Caffeine– Caffeine is usually the main ingredient in pre workouts. It is taken before a workout as it enhances physical performance and increases energy levels. It also helps in reducing fatigue [7]. Just make sure your pre workout contains caffeine in moderate amounts as taking too much caffeine might cause side effects.
  • Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)– Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) help with muscle growth and reduce muscle soreness. They are essential amino acids that can also be consumed through some food sources. They can also help with liver diseases [8].
  • Beta-Alanine– Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that can help in increasing athletic performance, improving workout performance, and reducing muscle fatigue [9].
  • Green Tea– Pre workout supplements might contain green tea extract as it can help with weight loss, increase energy levels and reduce fatigue [10].
  • Creatine– While creatine can be taken solely as a supplement most pre workout supplements also include creatine as one of the main ingredients because it can help with improving workout performance and increasing strength [1].

Pre workout supplements might also contain added artificial sweeteners and flavors

Benefits and Side effects of taking Pre Workout

Benefits of pre workout supplement

Here are some benefits of pre workout supplements-

  • Enhances overall workout performance.
  • Increases strength.
  • Helps to get a better pump.
  • Helps in boosting endurance.
  • Increases energy levels.

Side effects of pre workout supplement-

Here are some potential side effects of pre workout supplements-

  • Increased blood pressure and body temperature.
  • In rare cases, pre workout might cause nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.
  • Consuming too much caffeine through pre workouts can cause anxiety, heart rate issues, and headaches.
  • Allergies

If you want to prevent most of the side effects, It’s important to not overdose and not take too much pre-workout supplement.

Also Read: Pre Workout Vs Fat Burner – Differences And Which Is Better?

Which is better creatine or pre workout?

Creatine and pre workout supplements are great but they cannot be compared because there is no straightforward answer to it, as both creatine and pre workout supplements share some of their benefits and reasons they are consumed like improving workout performance and strength. 

No one out of both (pre workout and creatine) is better than the other. Some of their purposes are the same and some of them are slightly different. Both are really beneficial supplements that can help you get better results and faster if taken correctly.

Should you take creatine and pre workout separately or can take them both together?

Creatine and pre workout supplements can be taken together. One of the common ingredients in pre-workout supplements includes creatine so it’s obvious creatine and pre-workout can be taken together. However, there’s no issue if you want to take both of them separately.

Many people prefer to take creatine and pre workout together, so when their pre workout does not contain creatine or is there in low amounts they add it externally and drink the mixture.

Just make sure when you mix creatine to pre workouts that already contain creatine, the amount of creatine does not overdose as it might cause some consequences.


While creatine and pre workout do share some similarities and differences, both of them are very much beneficial for achieving your fitness goals.

Creatine is formed of three different amino acids- arginine, glycine, and methionine and pre-workout supplements are a mixture of ingredients like caffeine, BCAAs, beta-alanine, creatine, and more.

It’s important to consume both supplements moderately as when consumed too much they can have some severe consequences. Also, make sure to buy supplements that have been third-party tested.

Whether your goal is to lose weight or build muscle and strength you need to workout regularly and eat healthily to do so and if you think that adding supplements can help you with your fitness journey, go for them. Just make sure to do your research and choose the one that suits you.


  1. Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, Jimenez A. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jul 20;9(1):33. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-33. PMID: 22817979; PMCID: PMC3407788.
  2. Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 18 (2017).
  6. Harty PS, Zabriskie HA, Erickson JL, Molling PE, Kerksick CM, Jagim AR. Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Aug 8;15(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s12970-018-0247-6. PMID: 30089501; PMCID: PMC6083567.
  7. Martinez N, Campbell B, Franek M, Buchanan L, Colquhoun R. The effect of acute pre-workout supplementation on power and strength performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Jul 16;13:29. doi: 10.1186/s12970-016-0138-7. PMID: 27429596; PMCID: PMC4947244.
  10. Nobari H, Saedmocheshi S, Chung LH, Suzuki K, Maynar-Mariño M, Pérez-Gómez J. An Overview on How Exercise with Green Tea Consumption Can Prevent the Production of Reactive Oxygen Species and Improve Sports Performance. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Dec 25;19(1):218. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19010218. PMID: 35010479; PMCID: PMC8750450.


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