Why Creatine Should Be Taken With Your Pre-Workout

Hi-Tech Creatine Monohydrate

Other than protein powder, the two most common supplements are probably pre-workouts and creatine. Actually, if you’re serious about gains, all three are cornerstone products. For many bodybuilders and other athletes, adding creatine to your pre-workout seems like a great way to take it. Another option is to use a pre-workout that already provides creatine. In this article, we’ll look at why creatine added to your pre-workout makes sense, and we’ll provide some product suggestions to get the most out of this powerful combination. Let’s get started!

What Is Creatine?

First, let’s briefly review. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance that occurs in fish and meats. It’s manufactured from three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine. The liver, kidney, and pancreas synthesize creatine. We’ll talk about its history as a supplement soon. (1) 

What Does Creatine Do?

Creatine has several benefits. The first is it pulls water into your muscles. This is also known as cell volumizing or water-based pumps. In fact, creatine is the first cell volumizer and for this reason, created a new supplement category. Now, you can find several cell volumizing ingredients along with nitric oxide boosters and cell volumizers in most pre-workouts or stim-free pump boosters. 

What Else Does It Do?

Of course, creatine is also heavily involved in the manufacture of ATP and occurs naturally for this purpose. It’s also believed to be important for recovery because it improves post-workout glycogen replenishment. Also, it’s involved in muscle growth due to its cell volumization benefits. For that reason, it’s believed to stimulate protein synthesis. Finally, recent studies suggest creatine may support overall cognitive health and function. (2, 3, 4)  

Creatine History

The French scientist Chevreul discovered creatine in 1835 and called it “Kreas”, which is the Greek word for “flesh”.  In 1847 creatine was first thought to have an impact on muscle tissue. Then, in 1922, scientist Andrew Hunter detailed human studies dating back to 1910. In these 1910 studies, test subjects loaded creatine by taking up to 20 grams a day for 6 days. A few years later, in 1926, another scientist, Chanutin, detailed case studies where human test subjects loaded creatine, in this case 4 times a day for 10 days. 


Fast-forward to the 1970s and clinical researchers first believed insulin could be involved in the uptake of creatine. In 1992, A scientist named Harris reviewed the insulin-creatine connection in 1992. Of course, it was released as a supplement by EAS in 1993 and promptly conquered the market. This is despite the supplement industry being in the midst of “calorie wars”. The hot supplements of the day were high-calorie gainers that came in large buckets and big dog food-like bags. Imagine if you will the rejection that took place when the original inventors of creatine shopped their “new supplement” and it was revealed it contained zero calories. (5, 6, 7, 8) 

Let’s Take A Closer Look At Creatine And ATP

Your muscles store creatine naturally as creatine phosphate. This means it functions as a part of the ATP-CP system of energy. The ATP-CP System is also called the Phosphagen System. 

Muscle cells contain as much as 6 times creatine phosphate as they do ATP. You could say that skeletal muscle needs creatine. Of course, we know that ATP is the immediate energy source for muscle cells. This is true for both high and low-intensity activity. 

However, it takes less than a second for your body to burn its reserve of ATP. Enter creatine phosphate. Your body has a small reserve of creatine. Your muscles will quickly convert it to usable ATP. However, this will power a maximum effort for only 3 to 15 seconds. 

As you can see, the Phosphagen System is used for shorter-duration forms of exercise. This includes intense bodybuilding training. Creatine is popular as an endurance enhancer. That’s one of the main reasons you will find it in the best pre-workout with creatine. (6)

Creatine Synthesis

Why do bodybuilders use creatine to improve muscle cell energy (ATP) production? The reason is clear when you understand creatine synthesis. There’s a regulating enzyme that breaks down creatine called creatine kinase. This is a process that separates the phosphate molecule from the creatine molecule. Phosphate attaches to ADP and then converts to ATP. This is how your body manufactures new ATP. However, if there’s a drawback, it’s that it takes up to 4-5 minutes for this to happen. (9)

Is Creatine A Pre Workout?

It’s not a pre-workout in the technical sense, but you can take creatine before your workout. It will certainly improve your workout performance if you do. However, once you’ve been using it for a while, it saturates your muscles, especially if you’ve completed a 4 or 5-day loading phase. Then, you only need to take it once a day. This means it will be available for your muscles whenever you take it. That means you could take it with or as part of a pre-workout formula. On off days, you can take it by itself.

A Look At Pre-Workout History 

Let’s move on to pre-workouts with a look at their history. Technically the first pre-workout, Ultimate Orange came out in 1982. (10) This was a long way from the pre-workouts you see today. It was an overloaded stimulant with nothing else to offer. It did not improve performance, extend endurance, or promote pumps, but it was great for energy. Still, like creatine, it created a new supplement category. Now, most pre-workouts contain several ingredient complexes. These should include an energy complex (not if it’s stim-free), focus complex, pump complex, endurance complex, and performance complex. 

Can You Take Creatine With A Pre-Workout?

As noted, you can take your daily creatine dose with a pre-workout (on training days). On your off days, you can take it with virtually any beverage. You can take other things with your pre-workout, too. Examples include EAAs/BCAAs, glutamine, or pump boosters. 

How Does Creatine Help A Pre-Workout

Creatine adds to both the endurance and pump aspects of your pre-workout. Does your pre contain nitric oxide boosters, cell volumizers, or both? As noted, creatine is the original cell volumizer. Take it with ingredients like betaine, taurine, and glycerol for a dramatic water-based pump effect. Now combine that with the nitric oxide boosters found in pre-workouts and you have pumps that will change your life!

A Great Pre-Workout/Creatine Stack

One of the best pre-workouts on the market is 5% Nutrition 5150. This is a high-stim pre-workout that Rich Piana, the founder of 5%, turned to for his toughest workouts. 5150 features 8 types of caffeine totaling 400 mg. Adding creatine will only make this formula even better.

Another good pre-workout to combine with your creatine is Jocko Fuel Jocko Pre-Workout. This is a basic, medium-stim (200 mg caffeine) formula that creatine would go very well with. Finally, creatine would be an excellent addition to the very impressive, stim-free Alpha Lion Pump. That’s 3 different types of pre-workouts creatine works well with. Now, here’s a great choice for your creatine formula: Hi-Tech Creatine, based on the original Phosphagen creatine monohydrate supplement, the one that changed the industry!

Can You Take Creatine If Your Pre-Workout Already Has Creatine In It?

Yes, you can use a pre-workout that contains creatine and still take it separately. Here’s how that should work. First, you should be taking in 5 grams of creatine per day, assuming you’re finished with your loading phase. It also assumes you’re using the original, time-tested creatine monohydrate version.

So, on your training days, use a pre-workout that already contains creatine, such as 5% Nutrition Kill It Reloaded. This impressive Pre features a potent Creatine Blend based on creatine monohydrate. There’s also an N.O. Blend with both N.O. boosters and cell volumizers. Plus, there’s a Nootropic Blend and a Stim Blend with 328 mg of caffeine from 3 sources. On your off days, take your daily creatine dose. 


You know how effective creatine is. The combination of a pre-workout and creatine will take your training to the next level. You’ve got several great options, including adding your creatine to a variety of pre-workouts. Or you can use a pre-workout already containing creatine, then take a separate creatine on your off days. The choice is yours, but don’t forget to stop by illpumpyouup and shop for all your supplement needs! 


  1. https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/creatine
  2. Nelson, A. G., Arnall, D. A., Kokkonen, J., Day, R., & Evans, J. (2001). Muscle glycogen supercompensation is enhanced by prior creatine supplementation. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 33(7), 1096–1100. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200107000-00005
  3. Ingwall, J. S., Weiner, C. D., Morales, M. F., Davis, E., & Stockdale, F. E. (1974). Specificity of creatine in the control of muscle protein synthesis. The Journal of Cell Biology, 62(1), 145–151. https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.62.1.145
  4. Avgerinos, K. I., Spyrou, N., Bougioukas, K. I., & Kapogiannis, D. (2018). Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Experimental gerontology, 108, 166–173. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2018.04.013
  5. Hunter A. The physiology of creatine and creatinine. Physiological Reviews 2:580-626, 1922
  6. Chanutin A. The fate of creatine when administered to man. Journal of Biological Chemistry 67:29-41, 1926
  7. Harris RC, Soderland K & Hultman E. Elevation of creatine in resting and elevated muscle of normal subjects by creatine supplementation. Clinical Science 83:367-374,1992
  8. Ed Byrd – The Man Who Put Creatine On The Map | Cory Holly Institute
  9. https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/exercise/sports-physiology3.htm
  10. Pre-workout – Wikipedia


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