Ever wondered what the differences are between creatine and whey protein? Being two of the most popular workout supplements in the world, they are often subject to a lot of misconceptions and myths that are just untrue.
Even though they both have similar objectives when taken as a part of a workout regime, they have very different effects on the body, and it is crucial to understand these differences.
In this article, we will look at the basic facts behind each of the supplements, what they can do when taken alone, and if combining the two substances is a good idea or not.
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Creatine and Whey protein differ quite significantly at a molecular level which subsequently leads them to have different functions within your body.
They have been proven to be beneficial when supplemented during high-intensity exercises and weight training, which is the main reason why they are so popular. Let’s look at what each one does more closely.
Creatine is often cited as being the number one go-to supplement for improving performance in the gym. Pound for pound, nothing can seem to top it for pure performance gains.
It is a naturally occurring molecule in your body, produced by our liver, pancreas and kidneys. On average, we create about 1gram per day.
It works by increasing your stores of phosphocreatine within your muscles cells, which in turn goes on to create a vital molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
ATP is the real game-changer when it comes to creatine supplementation. It acts as the body’s energy currency, therefore the more ATP, the better.
This extra energy helps us to increase our output in the gym and push out extra reps that we wouldn’t usually be able to. This has a substantial compounding effect and will eventually result in significant performance gains.
Creatine users will usually see an increase in muscle mass, muscular endurance, exercise performance and overall strength. It has also been shown to have several neurological benefits too.
During the process of transforming cows milk into cheese, we come across two protein by-products. One of them is called casein, and the other is whey.
Whey protein is one of the best selling supplements in the fitness industry. It provides us with a healthy dose of all the essential amino acids, such as BCAAs which are vital components for protein synthesis and muscle generation.
Whey is particularly useful when it comes to weight training as it gives our bodies the nutrients it needs to repair our torn muscles and build new ones.
There have been many studies on whey protein and the effects that it has when taken during workout regimes and endurance programs. This mainly down to its high density of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine).
Some benefits of regularly supplementing whey that has been found include increasing muscle mass and strength, improvement of gym performance, increased muscular endurance and reduced muscle soreness post-workout.
As you can see, creatine and whey are both excellent for weight training and intense workout programmes. Our bodies can vastly benefit from having these nutrients as part of our diet.
What creatine and whey protein promote
Creatine and whey protein have been around for quite some time now, which has led them to be the focus of many scientific studies.
They have both have come under scrutiny at times; however, the overwhelming research shows that they are hugely beneficial for weight training and increased muscular growth.
The primary use of creatine and whey protein is to promote muscle growth when taken as part of a workout routine. They both affect the body differently at a molecular level; however, the effects they promote are very similar.
As mentioned earlier, creatine increases our stores of ATP, which is the fuel source in our cells. Having this present in larger quantities is especially beneficial during intense exercise as you will be able to force out a few extra reps that would have felt impossible before.
On the other hand, whey protein gives our bodies the valuable nutrients and resources it needs to produce new muscle cells and regenerate the damaged ones from intense exercise.
With creatine and whey both targeting difference processes in our body, it is okay to supplement them both at the same time, or will this cause conflict and cause more harm than good? Let’s see what the research is saying about this.
Should you take creatine and whey protein together?
The overwhelming majority of research states that creatine and whey protein do not affect each other negatively and can be supplemented together.
The better question to ask would be whether taking both is better than just taking one. Because after all, these supplements aren’t free, so why take it if it’s not going to work?
Logically speaking, if the creatine helps us to push out 1-2 more reps per exercise and then we take whey protein to aid in recovery and protein synthesis, we should see more rapid improvements in our muscle production.
Unfortunately, the studies on this are somewhat mixed. Some studies find that supplementing both can see dramatic increases in muscles synthesis and strength gains, while others show no real significant advantages.
The only thing that studies the to agree on is that they won’t hinder your performance in any way.
As the studies are unclear on the benefits of supplementing both at the same time, it certainly doesn’t harm your progress by trying.
The best advice would be to start off supplementing one and then add the other to your supplementation routine. If you see positive results, then you can continue using both at the same time.
When to take them together?
People are often overly concerned about the best time to take their supplements to achieve the optimal benefit.
When it comes to whey protein, the standard advice is to take it as part of a pre or post-workout supplement, preferably both. The BCAAs that are present have been proven to give us more energy and muscular endurance during our workout.
When taken a post-workout supplement, we are giving our muscles the vital stores of amino acids that they need to replenish and repair our torn muscles.
When it comes to creatine, the best times to take it to become less important, some studies show that it has no effect at all and we can supplement our creatine at any time of the day.
Others show that it’s essential to have our ATP stores at our highest shortly before workouts.
Because of this, we would advise taking your creatine and protein at the same time, preferably just before and after exercise.
This way, we are giving our muscles all of the nutrients they need for increased performance during exercise and optimal recovery post-workout. Plus, supplementing only once or twice per day and is much easier to maintain.
We would advise taking your creatine and protein at the same time, preferably just before and after exercise. This way, we are giving our muscles all of the nutrients they need for increased performance during exercise and optimal recovery post-workout.
Creatine and protein are both behemoths of the fitness supplement industry. Taking them individually will lead to increases in muscle growth over long periods of time and improved performance in our exercise.
The studies are mixed on whether supplementing them simultaneously will create a double benefit or not, as their individual effects are so similar.
The best practice would be to supplement one for a prolonged period, and then introduce the second further down the line and record your results.
If you feel stronger, have developed muscles at a faster rate or feel like your endurance has improved, then you can continue supplementing both at the same time. There are no adverse side effects to using both simultaneously.
For best results, take both of them as part of a pre and post-workout supplement. This way, our muscles have access to all of the key nutrients it needs for optimal high-intensity workout and post-exercise recovery. Thanks for reading!