When it comes to building muscle, there are countless things you can do (and take) to aid you in your bodybuilding and strength-building quest. The thing is, even though you can benefit from a lot of things, not everything is made equal.
For example, there are countless fitness routines you can find – but they may not all work best for you. The same can be said for supplements; there are countless of them available, but not all of them will work best for you.
When it comes to supplements, creatine and pre-workouts are some of the more popular types. If you don’t know what they are, what they do, or the difference between them – check out this article on their difference and how they can help your gym performance.
Why should you take supplements?
A lot of people think supplements are only for those who need help – but, truth be told, most people can benefit from using the correct ones.
You should always keep in mind that supplements will help you as long as you have the basics covered. Diet, rest, and exercise need to be dealt with before you start thinking about taking any supplements.
Think about it like this: supplements are like walking the extra mile. It will make a difference – but only if you already have exhausted all other options! For example, the right amount of pre-workout can help you push extra hard if you have your diet covered. It’s not a meal replacer.
What kind of supplements should you use?
There are countless supplements out there. A lot of them work – but many of them don’t. Veteran gym-goers know their way around what bodybuilding supplements to take for the best workout performance, but that’s something that comes from experience.
If you’re new to supplements, creatine and pre-workout are what you should try initially. There are a lot of things that the fitness community can’t agree on, but when it comes to creatine and pre-workout, everyone knows they work. Both science and experience backs them up.
What is creatine?
Creatine is not a supplement itself. It’s a natural compound found in your body. Whenever you’re eating meat, you’re ingesting creatine. Your body also produces creatine in the kidneys and liver.
Creatine is useful for improving physical performance, among other things. This will lead you to believe that the more creatine you take, the more muscle growth you will have–but that is not necessarily the case!
Many people supplement their creatine intake. That’s the creatine you buy in powder form. If you want to have bigger muscles, you need to take creatine.
What is pre-workout?
Pre-workout, unlike creatine, is not found organically in your body. It also produces a different effect. Both of these are designed to enhance performance.
Keep in mind that “pre-workout” is a broad term for all sorts of things and their ingredients can vary greatly. Most pre-workout products have caffeine and other stimulants in them. They sometimes also contain branched-chain amino acids and l-citrulline to support workouts.
Another one of the key ingredients in pre-workouts is beta-alanine. This is scientifically proven to improve stamina by increasing carnosine levels which reduces lactic acid accumulation in the muscles.
They’re there to give you enough of a kick to help you kill it in the gym by enhancing blood flow and cognitive function.
It’s impossible to know what your pre-workout is made of without reading the product’s label. Creatine, on the other hand, is generally always the same. but quality can vary.
What’s the difference between creatine and pre-workout?
Creatine supplements and pre-workouts have similar purposes. In fact, many pre-workouts contain creatine monohydrate as an ingredient.
Simply put, creatine is found naturally in your body. Because you can’t get enough creatine with a normal diet, you supplement it with creatine in powder form. It takes a while for creatine levels to build up in the body, so it is usually taken every day by athletes and bodybuilders.
If you’ve worked out today already, taking pre-workout would be a waste of time.
Pre-workout, on the other hand, comes into play earlier than creatine and covers more bases. While creatine increases muscular performance, pre-workout can enhance workouts by stimulating brain function, mental focus, increasing blood flow as well as enhancing muscular performance.
Related: Top Pre Workouts For Mental Focus
Can creatine and pre-workout be used together?
Yes, of course! You should take both for optimal results. Especially as pre-workouts often include creatine. As you know by now, they will help both help you with your gym session and creatine will help you recover better after you’re done lifting.
Take your creatine in the morning with your multivitamins and your pre-workout before going to the gym.
If you’re lifting on a budget and you have to choose between either one, you should go with creatine. It’s often cheaper! These supplements contain stimulants, so you may be able to drink a big cup of coffee instead of pre-workout. Also, with plenty of rest and a good diet, taking it might be redundant. Creatine, on the other hand, will help you no matter what.
Is there anything I should keep in mind when taking creatine or pre-workout?
Whenever you’re taking supplements of any kind, you need to remember that they are not a magic fix. Remember: you need to cover your basics (diet, exercise, and sleep) before supplements can truly make a difference.
One thing to note with creatine is that you should drink plenty of water throughout the day while taking it as it an lead to dehyrdration. Increasing weight due to water retention is also common when consuming creatine.
If you’re struggling with your lifts because of bad sleep, pre-workout won’t be as effective as it would if you slept well.
Don’t worry if you can’t afford creatine or pre-workout! You can still make huge improvements in the gym by training and eating right alone. Supplements are helpful but in no way essential!
Are there other useful supplements other than creatine and pre-workout?
There are tons of supplements out there that can help you in your lifting journey. Protein powders assist with recovers by adding much-needed nutrients required by the body. BCAA helps with maintaining muscle mass when on a calorie deficit. Vitamin B will help you recover better. Vitamin D3 will help you with almost all things health-related. Magnesium helps you improve your sleep quality.
It all depends on what you need. If you receive plenty of sunlight every day, there’s no need to take vitamin D3. If you have a great diet, you might not need Vitamin B. It’s all about who you are and what you need – and only you can answer that question!