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Pre-Workout With Creatine

3

Creatine Brands Reviewed

59

Hours of Research

84

Reviews Examined

3

Experts Interviewed

Published by David Williams

As an engineer, David loves technical product comparison and analyzing the data to assess top products.

Table of Contents

If you’re interested in optimizing your training performance, recovery, and results, you’ve undoubtedly considered taking a pre-workout with creatine.

But would that offer any unique benefits?

We first have to understand what creatine is and what makes it work to answer the question. So, let’s dive in and explore.

What is Creatine And What Benefits Does It Offer?

Creatine is an organic acid produced in the body with the help of some amino acids. We store most of the creatine as phosphocreatine (PCr) inside skeletal muscles, with trace amounts found in the brain, liver, and kidneys.

To understand creatine’s functions, we have to take a brief look at adenosine triphosphate (ATP)––the energy currency for all cells in the body. ATP molecules consist of adenosine and three phosphate groups.

Under normal circumstances, your body breaks ATP molecules, releasing energy for your cells. These molecules convert to adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and your body begins re-synthesizing them into ATP for later use.

As you start training, ATP demands can increase as much as 1,000-fold. When that happens, ATP breakdown rates far outgrow ATP synthesis, leading to a temporary depletion. As you can imagine, a lack of energy molecules means your muscles cannot contract with the same force, leading to a drop in performance and exhaustion.

Once you’ve taken some time to recover, your body has produced a new ‘batch’ of ATP, allowing you to do more physical activity before getting tired again. This is one reason why traditional gym training is based on alternating between work and rest until you complete all of your sets.

Creatine comes into the picture to speed up the ATP re-synthesis process, allowing you to train slightly more before getting tired. As mentioned above, most creatine in the body is stored as phosphocreatine. These molecules can donate their phosphate groups to accelerate ATP synthesis when your body needs it quickly, such as while training.

Aside from helping you train harder, creatine supplementation can lead to quicker fitness progress because you get to do slightly more work in the long run. So pre-workout with creatine is ideal for fueling your workouts, and also assist in recovery.

Our Top Picks for Pre-Workout With Creatine

CRN-5 Best Creatine Powder

Ultimate CRN-5

Ingredient Quality

Price

5.0
5/5
4.8
4.8/5

Overall Score

4.9
4.9/5
Transparent Labs Creatine

Creatine HMB

Ingredient Quality

Price

4.8
4.8/5
4.6
4.6/5

Overall Score

4.7
4.7/5
Pre-Kaged Best Pre-workout supplement by Kaged Muscle

Pre-Kaged

Ingredient Quality

Price

4.7
4.7/5
4.5
4.5/5

Overall Score

4.6
4.6/5

1. Crazy Nutrition’s Ultimate CRN-5 Creatine

CRN-5 Best Creatine PowderBrand Overview

One of the finest pre-workout powders on the market is Crazy Nutrition’s Ultimate CRN-5 formula. Not only does it offer 3,750 mg of creatine monohydrate, but it’s also packed with essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Crazy Nutrition is a product of UK-based Wolfson Brands Ltd. The company is known for using premium-quality ingredients and innovative formulations. It manufactures and supplies pure, high-quality sports supplements, health foods, and drinks.

Wolfson Brands has been at the forefront of developing an award-winning catalog of industry-leading health, fitness, and well-being products. That includes Crazy Nutrition, which, although launched in 2021, has quickly become a globally recognized brand among athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike.

Highlighted Features

  • 30 servings per container
  • 3,750 mg Creatine Monohydrate
  • 500 mg Di-Creatine Malate
  • 250 mg Tri-Creatine Pyruvate
  • 500 mg Tri-Create Malate
  • 128 mg Potassium
  • 1.25 g sodium
  • 300 mg calcium
  • 56 mg Aquamin® Magnesium
  • Grain-free
  • Non-GMO
  • Soy-free

Pros

Cons

Features

What makes the Ultimate CRN-5 formula unique is the creatine blend. It contains five different creatines scientifically formulated to provide the most effective performance. This blend works by supplying your muscles with an immediate energy source that helps you work out harder and longer.

Apart from the four creatines, you also benefit from the Aquamin© Ag and Mg. It is a mineral complex that helps support strong bones, healthy joints, and optimal muscle function. And with the added electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and calcium – you can stay hydrated and energized even during the toughest workouts.

While the Ultimate CRN-5 creatine formula comes in one lemon & lime flavor, it’s delicious and refreshing. Not to mention, it mixes easily with water or any other beverage of your choice – making it a great pre-workout option anytime.

Price

Ultimate CRN-5 creatine goes for $34.99 for a one-time purchase on the brand’s website. You can also opt for the subscription model and save 20% with each order. Plus, they offer a 60-day money guarantee and free delivery for orders above $50.

Customer Experience

When buying pre-workout supplements, it’s always important to look for customer reviews. That way, you can clearly see what you’re buying.

In the case of Crazy Nutrition’s Ultimate CRN-5 creatine formula, the reviews have been nothing but positive. While the brand’s website only has a few, they give it an average of 4.6/5 star rating.

Customers love its taste, scientific blend, and results-driven performance. One user said, “Great stuff. Tastes great and mixes well, and I am already feeling some gain in muscle mass in the upper body (which was my targeted area). I’ll be getting more for sure!”

Another one said, “I use this to recover. I’m bending over and lifting heavy boxes all day. I was using creatine to help with the fatigue and help me recover from muscle soreness. I wanted something stronger that lasted longer than the cheap creatine formulas you find at the store. Found this CRN-5 online on a list of the best new creatine formulas to try, and I started a subscription. This is my new favorite. It does way more than just normal creatine. I feel stronger while at work, and I feel like my soreness is way down.”

The only complaint we saw was concerning timely delivery, which got resolved later. Overall, customers are delighted with their purchases.

2. Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

Transparent Labs CreatineBrand Overview

Another fantastic option for your pre-workout routine is Transparent Labs Creatine HMB. The formula contains the most scientifically researched forms of creatine and HMB, giving you everything you need to push your limits and reach your goals.

The New York-based company has been in business since 2015, and, as the name suggests, they are big on ingredient transparency. Every product features a comprehensive list of ingredients, so you know what you’re putting in your body.

Highlighted Features:

  • 30 servings per container
  • 5000mg of creatine monohydrate per serving
  • 1500 mg of β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (HMB)
  • 5mg BioPerine®
  • 12,5mcg Vitamin D
  • zero artificial sweeteners
  • zero colored dyes
  • zero fillers or additives

Pros

Cons

Features

The leading powerhouse in this pre-workout formula is creatine monohydrate. It’s the strength-building ingredient that helps to improve your muscle endurance and promote an increase in lean mass.

Transparent Labs then adds HMB, which is an active metabolite of the essential amino acid called leucine. This ingredient helps to reduce muscle breakdown and retain strength and structural composition. That way, you can enjoy a toned and leaner physique for extended periods.

Finally, they added BioPerine® and Vitamin D to the formula for better absorption of all ingredients and an improved immune system. Plus, you get ten different flavors to choose from, including unflavoured, which is excellent for adding to smoothies and other beverages.

Price

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB will cost you $49.99 per container with 30 servings each. You can also opt for the subscription, which goes for $44.99 for the same package.

Customer Experience

Regarding customer reviews, Transparent Labs’ Creatine HMB pre-workout formula has an impressive 4.5/5 stars rating on their website. It also has over 1350+ reviews, with most being positive.

Most customers complemented the taste, mixability, and performance of Transparent Labs Creatine HMB. One user said, ‘Best product around. An excellent product with good taste gives you more strength with every workout and is a great recovery product.”

Another one said, ‘Really helps your strength. The product works and does what it’s supposed to do. Helps with strength and your energy level.”

We also noticed a few complaints about price, but customers are still happy with the product overall.

3. Pre-Kaged

Brand Overview

Pre-Kaged is yet another fantastic pre-workout option on the market. The formula is a product of Kaged Muscle, a renowned sports nutrition manufacturer founded in 2014. The brand has built a name for its ultra-premium performance supplements, and Pre-Kaged is one of its best sellers.

The formula contains a unique ingredient blend designed to increase energy levels, mental focus, and muscle endurance. It’s also packed with natural and organic ingredients, making it a healthy choice for anyone looking to take their workout sessions to the next level.

Highlighted Features

  • 20 servings per container
  • 1.6 g beta-alanine per serving
  • 6.5 g L- citrulline malate
  • 1.5-gram creatine HC1
  • 100 mg spectra antioxidants
  • 2g of taurine
  • 274 mg of organic caffeine
  • 50 mg L-Tyrosine
  • 6.5 g fermented BCAAs

Pros

Cons

Features

You might have tried a new pre-workout formula and ended up disappointed. That won’t be the case with Pre-Kaged. This formula has loads of ingredients designed for energy, focus, and endurance.

The 6.5 g L- citrulline malate per serving will improve your performance by improving muscle endurance and energy production and enhancing recovery. It boosts nitric oxide production, which enhances the blood floor. As a result, your body cells, including muscles, benefit from an increased oxygen supply. In the long run, it also improves your overall cardiovascular health.

There are also the BCAAs. The formula uses fermented BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio which is ideal for intense workouts. It helps with muscle growth, breaking down proteins, and improving recovery.

While the BCAAs may leave an aftertaste, you could try different flavors such as krisp apple, berry blast, fruit punch, grape, or pink lemonade.

Pre-Kaged also has a dose of Patented Creatine HCl. Nothing can ever go wrong with creatine. It’s one of the most popular and dependable performance-enhancing ingredients in the fitness world. It’s ideal for strength and power-based exercises, aiding muscle growth and recovery.

Price

Pre-Kaged retails at $44.99 per container with 20 servings on the brand’s website. The subscription option goes for $40.49, helping you save 10%.

Customer Experience

Customers love Pre-Kaged for its outstanding performance. It has an impressive 4.8/5 stars rating from over 1270 reviews on the brand’s website. They are most pleased with the quality, taste, and mixability.

For example, one customer said: “This stuff is amazing. The taste and mixability are spot on, and the energy you get from it is great! It’s a very workout and great recovery product.”

Another one said: “Second Container! It’s hard for me to find a cleaner pre-workout that doesn’t give me the jitters or a crash. I’ve come to love the Grape flavor. Definitely will keep purchasing and recommend it!

On Amazon, Pre-Kaged also had an impressive rating of 4.3/5 stars from over 6100 reviews. Users were satisfied with the taste and effectiveness.

But we also saw a few reviews from people who thought the product was expensive. However, most users didn’t seem to mind the price, given its premium quality and performance.

What Makes Creatine a Good Pre-Workout?

As discussed in the previous point, creatine plays a pivotal role in ATP re-synthesis, which is essential for our athletic performance. Exercise increases ATP demands significantly, making it impossible to maintain intense activities for a long time.

By taking creatine, you speed up the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate molecules, which offers benefits in the form of more strength, improved endurance, and quicker recovery between training sets.

How Soon Before Training Should You Take Creatine?

Creatine timing is highly individual and depends on stomach sensitivity, convenience, and overall nutritional habits. For example, if you typically eat your pre-workout meal a couple of hours before training, you can have your creatine then. Some research finds that taking protein with your creatine could lead to slightly better retention. (1)

Alternatively, you can take your creatine when it suits you most. For instance, people who don’t eat a pre-workout meal can simply take their daily creatine dose before training with some water or juice. If you find that taking creatine on an empty stomach leads to nausea, but you don’t eat before training, consider adding a small snack or simply taking your creatine with your first meal of the day.

What matters most is that you take creatine consistently to achieve muscle saturation. The timing is of lesser importance.

Creatine Form: Pills vs. Powder

Two popular forms of creatine are pills and powder, and people often wonder which is superior for absorption and reaping the benefits. While arguments could be made for both forms, powdered creatine is outstanding on all fronts.

For one, powder creatine gets absorbed quickly and more efficiently than pills. Instead of digesting the pills, the powder is already broken down, and absorption occurs more effectively.

Second, powder is much cheaper per dose. A simple creatine monohydrate tub can cost as little as $15 and last you for two months or longer. In contrast, creatine pills offer much less creatine for each dollar you spend and cost a lot more in the long run.

Third, powder goes down more easily. Most people hate taking pills because the experience is unpleasant. Powder is much better because you can mix it with some water and drink it in a few seconds. You can even pour the powder into your mouth and wash it down with water or juice.

Best Creatine Powder

What to Mix Creatine Powder With

Creatine works well with water. It mixes relatively well, and the taste isn’t so bad that it would be impossible to stomach. Alternatively, you can mix creatine with some fruit juice to mask the taste.

Add a small scoop of creatine to a glass, pour the liquid on top, stir for a bit, and swallow the mix in a few large gulps. You don’t need much liquid, just enough for the creatine to mix in well.

Three of The Best Creatine Brands to Consider

1. Thorne Creatine

Thorne is a brand known for its well-researched products. Their product is NSF Certified for Sport and is trusted by coaches, athletes, and casual trainees worldwide.

2. MuscleTech Platinum Creatine

MuscleTech is another high-quality creatine monohydrate. Unlike many options on the market, this product boasts almost 100 percent creatine per dose. The product works well, has fantastic reviews online, and is easy to consume.

3. MyProtein Creatine Monohydrate

MyProtein is another trusted brand that offers high-quality products, including whey protein and creatine monohydrate. Their creatine is affordable and mixes well with liquids.

Extra Pre-Workout Tips to Elevate Your Training

Aside from consuming protein, another fantastic way to improve your workouts is to do some low-intensity cardio for five minutes before training. Doing so is beneficial for warming up your body, improving your training performance, and keeping yourself away from training injuries.

Jumping into your weights workout with cold muscles is a surefire way to underperform and injure yourself eventually.

Good hydration is also essential, especially if you take creatine. Water makes up a large percentage of your body, and drinking up ensures that you feel great, recover well, and perform at your best. According to some research, as little as two percent dehydration can lead to significant drops in athletic performance. Hydrate well within 24 hours of training. (2)

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Picture of David Williams

David Williams

A diet and fitness enthusiast, David is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He loves the beach, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

References

  1. Preiato, D. (2019, August 12). Creatine and whey protein: Should you take both? Healthline.
    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/creatine-vs-whey
  2. Dehydration and its effects on performance. Human Kinetics. (n.d.).
    https://us.humankinetics.com/blogs/excerpt/dehydration-and-its-effects-on-performance