Creatine vs. Pre-Workout: Which Is Better Based On Your Goals

creatine vs preworkout
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

  1. Creatine vs. Pre-Workout: What Are They?
  2. Creatine vs. Pre-Workout: Main Differences
  3. Pre-Workout vs. Creatine: Which One Is Better Depending on Your Goals?
  4. The Takeaway

Is creatine and pre-workout the same? It’s a common question since many people are unaware of the key differences between these two supplements. But, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will explain how these two differ, and which of them is better depending on your goals. Want to learn all about creatine vs. pre-workout? Then read on!

Creatine vs. Pre-Workout: What Are They?

Let’s start by briefly introducing both creatine and pre-workouts. They may both be used to enhance the effectiveness of your training sessions, but apart from that, they are quite different. Here’s a short description of each of them.

Creatine is a compound in your body, consisting of arginine, methionine, and glycine. It’s responsible for providing your muscles with energy, especially during exercise. It can be found in many foods in your diet, such as:

  • Red meat
  • Seafood
  • Animal milk

Pre-workout is a supplement, designed to increase the energy levels during exercise and to reduce the feeling of fatigue afterwards. It contains many different substances: amino acids, caffeine, and green tea extracts, with the formula varying depending on the products. You may read more about it in our article on pre-workout ingredients.

Creatine vs. Pre-Workout: Main Differences

As you can see creatine and pre-workout are far from the same. The first difference is quite obvious, with the former being a natural compound and the latter being a supplement, a mix of different ingredients. Nevertheless, they can both be quite an aid to your training, although not in the same way. Let’s take a look at the particular dissimilarities.


Starting from the most practical aspect, the dosage, which already proves how different these two are. With pre-workouts, you need to stick to the instructions on the label, meaning that depending on the formula, you will take different amounts of this supplement. With creatine, it’s simple – make it a maximum of 3-5 grams per day, and divide it into 3-5 portions.

This large discrepancy naturally leads to quite an important question: can you mix creatine with a pre-workout? The answer is yes – they’re different, so combining them should not be a problem.


We’ve already mentioned that creatine should be portioned and taken 3-5 times a day, but what about the other supplement option? Pre-workout timing is crucial since its effects are short and require some time to work. Thus, you should only take it 30-60 minutes before a training session.

Additionally, you should avoid taking stimulating pre-workouts in the evenings. Due to their high caffeine content, they may make it hard for you to fall asleep.

The Effects

Let’s be real, if you’re training, you’re mostly interested in the effects of creatine vs. a pre-workout. It’s the most crucial aspect, determining whether either of them is worth taking. What positive effects do they have? Let’s take a quick glance.


  • Faster muscle recovery – Exercising creates micro-tears in your muscles, which heal when you rest, leading to your muscles becoming stronger. Creatine accelerates this process.
  • Higher muscle water content – Creatine helps hydrate the cells in your muscles. This leads to fewer muscle cramps and faster muscle growth.


  • Elevated energy levels – A pre-workout gives you a powerful boost for an hour or two, making you much more energized and ready for intensive training.
  • Fatigue reduction – The way you feel after training, the fatigue that you suffer from – this isn’t as high as it could be if you take a pre-workout.

Pre-Workout vs. Creatine: Which One Is Better Depending on Your Goals?

If you don’t want an overabundance of different supplements in your home, and aim at choosing between pre-workouts and creatine, you probably want to know which one is better. This, however, similarly to the case of BCAA vs. pre-workout, depends on how you train and what you want to achieve.

What Is Creatine Better for?

Creatine is excellent for muscle growth if you prefer really short gym sessions with heavy weights and don’t have a problem with focus. It also works great for recovery, though in this case, it’s on the same level as a pre-workout. It will be excellent if you aim at building muscles through intensive training which doesn’t require that much time.

Creatine will also help you with fat loss. It will boost your metabolism and help you preserve lean muscle mass while you’re on a caloric deficit.

What is Pre-Workout Better for?

Pre-workouts will be better in terms of building muscle mass for a bit longer training sessions at the gym, with lighter weights. But, they truly excel at improving athletic performance. Sprinting, plyometric exercises, HIIT – if you wish to achieve even better times or results, pre-workouts are the way to go.

Additionally, pre-workouts are also quite good for recovery, though creatine doesn’t fall behind either in this aspect. They also work fine for fat loss, yet in a completely different way than creatine. A pre-workout will suppress your appetite and slightly increase your energy expenditure, making it easier for you to lose a few kilograms.

We should also mention here that many pre-workouts contain creatine in their formula, meaning that you get the benefits of both in one.

The Takeaway

Is creatine and pre-workout the same? No, it isn’t. The former is a natural compound in our bodies while the latter is a complex training supplement. They both may enhance the effects of your workouts, but in different ways: creatine will be better for intensive weightlifting, while pre-workouts will do great for improving your athletic performance. Either of these will work great for fat loss and recovery, so you should make your choice purely on what you focus your training on. And, if you need the best of both worlds, don’t worry – you can take both of them together!

Did you like this article? You may also be interested in reading: How Often Should You Take Pre-Workouts?

What Are Creatine And Pre-Workout?

Creatine and pre-workout are two popular supplements in the fitness world. Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in small amounts in certain foods and synthesized by the body. It’s often used as a supplement to enhance athletic performance. On the other hand, pre-workout is a specially formulated blend of ingredients designed to boost energy, focus, and endurance before exercise.

Main Differences Between Creatine And Pre-Workout

The primary difference lies in their purposes and composition. Creatine primarily aims to increase muscle strength and power by helping cells produce more energy during short bursts of high-intensity activity. Pre-workout, on the other hand, focuses on providing a quick energy boost, improving mental focus, and reducing fatigue during workouts. It usually contains a mix of caffeine, amino acids, and other stimulants.

What Are The Effects Of Creatine And Pre-Workout?

The effects of creatine are gradual but significant. It helps increase muscle mass and strength over time, making it a great choice for those engaged in weightlifting or explosive sports. Pre-workout, on the other hand, delivers rapid results. It can increase alertness, reduce perceived effort, and enhance endurance during workouts, which is beneficial for activities like cardio or high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

What Is Creatine Better For?

Creatine shines when it comes to activities requiring short bursts of intense effort, such as weightlifting, sprinting, or powerlifting. It aids in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of cells, allowing for better performance during these activities. If you’re looking to pack on muscle and strength, creatine is your go-to supplement.

What Is Pre-Workout Better For?

Pre-workout supplements are your allies for endurance activities and workouts that demand sustained energy. Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or someone who prefers longer, high-intensity workouts, pre-workout can help you power through, maintain focus, and delay fatigue. It’s your secret weapon for conquering cardio and endurance challenges.


What Should I Remember About Creatine And Pre-Workout?

In summary, creatine and pre-workout serve different fitness purposes. Creatine is your partner for building muscle and strength, especially during short, explosive efforts. On the flip side, pre-workout gears you up for endurance and sustained energy during longer workouts. The choice between the two depends on your fitness goals and the type of exercise you engage in. It’s essential to understand your objectives and consult with a healthcare professional or fitness expert before incorporating any supplement into your routine. Remember, supplements work best when combined with a balanced diet and a well-structured workout plan.

creatine vs preworkout

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