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11 Best Pre-workouts With Creatine (2022 Buyer’s Guide)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: July 8, 2022

My fitness clients who want serious muscle pumps at the gym know the importance of pre-workout with creatine.

Knowing you need that ingredient is easy. There are so many options that identifying the best pre-workout supplement with creatine can be incredibly challenging.

I did an extensive survey with my colleagues here at Total Shape and solicited the help of some of my focused-on-pumps clients to try out a few newer products as part of their workout routine.

Building on years of my own experience with these products, I compiled the results of research here, giving you a guide to the best pre-workout supplements with creatine on the market.

Editor's Choice
Coupon for Gorilla Mode Product
Gorilla Mode
Taste
4.9
Quality
5.0
Value
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9
Click For Best Price
#2nd Best Choice
4 Gauge Explosive PreWorkout Product
4 Gauge
Taste
4.8
Quality
4.9
Value
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9
Click For Best Price
#3rd Best Choice
Naked Energy
Taste
4.7
Quality
4.8
Value
4.8
Overall Score 4.8
4.8
Check Current Price

Our Top Pre-workouts With Creatine

1 - Gorilla Mode Pre-workout (Editor's Choice)

Coupon for Gorilla Mode Product
Taste
4.9
Quality
5.0
Value
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9

Gorilla Mode contains the most well-balanced dose of muscle-building ingredients that have solid research backing their effectiveness, and it’s available in a wide variety of flavors to appeal to everyone.

Each serving contains 2500 mg of creatine, and at two daily servings, you are getting 5000 mg per day to keep your muscles fueled for intense exercise and muscle recovery.

I recommend Gorilla Mode to most of my clients because, so far, most of them have experienced significantly improved athletic performance without any stomach discomfort or bloating.

They also point out the addition of caffeine to boost energy and focus [2].

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine Monohydrate : 2500 mg
  • L-Citrulline : 4500 mg
  • Caffeine : 175mg
Pros
  • A hefty dose of creatine for maximum lean muscle gain
  • L-citrulline increases blood flow, feeding your muscles oxygen and nutrients
  • A wide variety of flavors to appeal to different tastes
Cons
  • The dosage of caffeine may be too intense for sensitive people

2 - 4 Gauge Pre-workout

4 Gauge Explosive PreWorkout Product
Taste
4.8
Quality
4.9
Value
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9

4 Gauge is a reasonably priced pre-workout that promises an explosive workout.

It contains a considerable dose of citrulline malate, an amino acid precursor to nitric oxide.

This boost to nitric oxide gives you a burst of blood flow to your hard-working muscles during intense workouts. L-citrulline works excellently in tandem with the strength and energy gained from creatine.

The 4 Gauge formula uses caffeine and l-theanine to enhance focus [3].

Talking to some fellow gym-goers using 4 Gauge, I learned that they saw significant muscle growth and that this is a good pre-workout supplement for improved muscular endurance and recovery.

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine Monohydrate : 1000 mg
  • L-Citrulline : 6000 mg
  • Caffeine : 150 mg
Pros
  • Caffeine and L-theanine for laser focus
  • Massive amount of L-Citrulline to boost nitric oxide production
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Only available in fruit punch flavor

3 - Naked Energy Pre-workout

Taste
4.7
Quality
4.8
Value
4.8
Overall Score 4.8
4.8

Naked Energy set out to create a pure and clean pre-workout supplement for men and women, so I looked closely at the label to see if they achieved that.

After the list of relevant pre-workout ingredients, I read, “other ingredients: None.”

The creatine dosage appealed to our female participants, who were initially unaware of the health benefits creatine offers women, especially in the muscles and brain [4].

Beta-alanine is an excellent addition to work with creatine to improve athletic performance in high intensity by boosting endurance and lessening fatigue [5].

Many pre-workout supplements contain caffeine anhydrous, made from the seeds and leaves of coffee plants, but Naked Energy sources caffeine from unroasted coffee beans.

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine Monohydrate : 1000 mg
  • Beta-alanine : 2000 mg
  • Caffeine : 200 mg
Pros
  • Vegan-friendly formula
  • Unflavored option available
  • Natural ingredients
Cons
  • The fruit punch flavor tastes bad

4 - Cellucor C4 Pre-workout

Cellucor C4 Original
Taste
4.7
Quality
4.8
Value
4.7
Overall Score 4.7
4.7

Cellucor promises explosive energy and amazing pumps in its C4 pre-workout supplement.

I am not a fan of any proprietary blends, and Cellucor uses “Explosive Energy Blend,” listing caffeine at 150 mg but no other amounts for velvet bean seed extract and the acrine in the mix.

Our trial participants liked the level of beta-alanine in the formula to reduce fatigue and felt it worked well with the creatine to give better muscle pumps.

They said the amount of caffeine was not quite enough for a pre-workout and missed the focus of other pre-workout supplements with higher caffeine content.

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine Nitrate : 1000 mg
  • Beta-alanine : 1600 mg
  • Caffeine : 150 mg
Pros
  • Calories and carbs listed on the label
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Significant “subscribe and save” discount
Cons
  • Many negative reviews for powder hardening and clumping, rendering it unusable

5 - JYM Supplement Science Pre Jym

JYM Supplement Science Pre Jym
Taste
4.7
Quality
4.6
Value
4.8
Overall Score 4.7
4.7

Pre Jym is a pre-workout supplement that has been around for nearly a decade.

The benefits of creatine, beta-alanine, and caffeine are all present in its formula, along with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which increase muscle growth and decrease muscle soreness and fatigue [6].

A few of our muscle-pumping testers loved the heavy dose of caffeine found in Pre Jym and reported feeling its effects beginning with the first workout.

However, they hesitated to use it continuously because of the artificial flavors and added sugar.

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine HCL : 2000 mg
  • Beta-alanine : 2000 mg
  • Caffeine : 300 mg
Pros
  • Stimulant heavy for those seeking laser focus and aren’t bothered by jitters
  • Available from online retailers like Amazon, iHerb, and Vitaminshoppe
  • Offers 15% off every subscription order
Cons
  • Added sugars and artificial flavors won’t appeal to many users

6 - Altius Pre-workout

Altius Pre-Work Out CTA
Taste
4.6
Quality
4.7
Value
4.7
Overall Score 4.7
4.7

Jacked Factory Altius is one of the more stimulant-heavy pre-workout supplements like Pre Jym.

Whether this is a good or bad thing boils down to personal preference and tolerance.

Many of my clients who exercise early in the day enjoy the heavy hit of caffeine, but I would understand gym-goers whose schedule allows for evening workouts would prefer a stimulant-free pre-workout.

The dose of citrulline malate here is significant at 8000 mg, which can help improve blood flow, lower high blood pressure and improve athletic performance [7].

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine Monohydrate : 3000 mg
  • Citrulline malate : 8000 mg
  • Caffeine : 325 mg
Pros
  • Includes stevia, a no-calorie, natural sweetener
  • No unnecessary fillers or dyes
  • A heavy dose of citrulline malate offers significant muscle-building and recovery benefits
Cons
  • Many negative reviews regarding taste

7 - Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-workout

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-workout
Taste
4.6
Quality
4.7
Value
4.6
Overall Score 4.6
4.6

Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard is a solid pre-workout supplement used by endurance athletes and bodybuilders.

I liked what I saw on the label; ingredients like citrulline malate, vitamin D, beta-alanine, creatine, and caffeine provide maximum energy production and muscle pumps.

In speaking with our dietician here at Total Shape, we agreed that adding branched-chain amino acids would have significantly benefited the formula by providing a great way to combat muscle soreness in an otherwise solid formula of pre-workout ingredients [8].

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine Monohydrate : 3000 mg
  • Citrulline malate : 1500 mg
  • Caffeine : 175 mg
Pros
  • Promotes nitric oxide levels, improving blood flow
  • Flavors like green apple and fruit punch are popular among users
  • Readily available online or in brick-and-mortar stores
Cons
  • BCAAs would have been a great addition to combat muscle soreness

8 - ProSupps Mr. Hyde Signature Series Pre-workout

ProSupps Mr. Hyde Signature Series Pre-workout
Taste
4.8
Quality
4.4
Value
4.6
Overall Score 4.6
4.6

A lot is going on in the tub of ProSupps Mr. Hyde Signature Series Pre-workout.

The label groups the ingredients into three sections called “Strength Matrix,” “Intensity Matrix,” and “Stimulatory Matrix.”

The Stimulatory Matrix is simply caffeine and theacrine, which is similar to caffeine in its effects, and at only 222 mg, you’re going to have some energy, but there is no wow factor here [9].

Our testers had mixed results with the Strength Matrix; some feel they gained better muscle pumps, while others saw no apparent difference in athletic performance. They did agree, though, that Mr. Hyde Signature was one of the better-tasting pre-workout supplements.

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine Monohydrate : 2500 mg
  • Beta-alanine : 1500 mg
  • Caffeine : 196 mg
Pros
  • Reasonably priced
  • Available on Amazon
  • Many positive reviews on taste
Cons
  • Includes artificial sweeteners, flavors, and dyes

“Based on the scientific evidence, creatine monohydrate is the recommended form. It’s backed by the strongest research, with studies demonstrating its effectiveness at increasing your body’s stores and improving exercise performance. While several other forms exist, most of them have minimal research examining their effectiveness.”

-Grant Tinsley, Ph.D.

9 - Cracked Pre-workout

Cracked Pre-Workout
Taste
4.8
Quality
4.3
Value
4.6
Overall Score 4.6
4.6

The gimmicky names given to proprietary blends on the labels of some pre-workout supplements, including Cracked Pre-workout, don’t always translate into the powder, so I prefer a label that gives me clear information line-by-line.

Cracked added some excellent vitamins and minerals into the formula to benefit overall health, appealing to our testers.

My clients that used this before working out felt it missed a bit of the kick you get from other pre-workouts.

Though they missed the benefits of beta-alanine, they didn’t miss the tingly feeling they experienced using pre-workouts that contain it.

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine HCL : 2000 mg
  • L-citrulline Malate : 5000 mg
  • Caffeine : 200 mg
Pros
  • Made in the USA
  • Added essential vitamins and minerals to the formula
  • It contains black pepper extract to aid absorption
Cons
  • “Mostly naturally flavored” means it contains artificial ingredients

10 - NutraBio Pre-workout Powder

Taste
4.7
Quality
4.4
Value
4.4
Overall Score 4.5
4.5

NutraBio claims it makes the “most effective and purest pre-workouts” containing “clinical doses of 22 researched-backed ingredients.”

I particularly liked the addition of l-leucine, one of the essential branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) that play a significant role in muscle protein synthesis, which is responsible for muscle growth and recovery [10].

We have missed this in some of the other pre-workouts in the review.

NutraBio put good doses of muscle-building, recovery, and energy-boosting ingredients into its formula.

Many negative reviews report stomach issues, and you might not want to pay a premium for that kind of experience.

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine Monohydrate : 3000 mg
  • Beta-alanine : 3200 mg
  • Caffeine : 350 mg
Pros
  • Contains key ingredients for a pre-workout
  • Good caffeine content to improve mental performance
  • Beetroot powder for color
Cons
  • Expensive compared to other pre-workouts

11 - KAGED MUSCLE Pre-workout

KAGED MUSCLE Pre-workout
Taste
4.6
Quality
4.5
Value
4.4
Overall Score 4.5
4.5

Kaged Muscle has the “go big or go home” mentality with its pre-workout, giving you an extra-large scoop to heap up, so you get approximately 32.3 g of powder per serving.

The manufacturer recommends you mix it with 12-16 ounces of water.

The users in our group preferred to be on the higher end of that recommendation as they found the flavor a bit tart.

An addition to the formula not seen in many other pre-workouts is coconut water powder.

Coconut water offers rapid rehydration and electrolyte replenishment during and after prolonged, intense exercise [11]. Hydration is as necessary during a workout as it is post-workout.

Quick Facts:

  • Creatine HCL : 1500 mg
  • L-citrulline : 6500mg
  • Caffeine : 274 mg
Pros
  • It contains coconut water powder to aid hydration
  • Contains stevia extract
  • Many positive reviews on its effectiveness
Cons
  • Contains artificial sweetener, sucralose

Buyer’s Guide

A man rating a star for an online shop

There are many more options than the eleven best pre-workout supplements discussed here. Let me outline some critical things to consider when purchasing a pre-workout.

Who Should Take Pre-workout with Creatine?

People who want to improve their workout performance and increase muscle mass should take pre-workout with creatine.

Take pre-workout with creatine if you want to improve muscular endurance and stamina.

Creatine helps produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), providing muscle energy. The body produces creatine on its own, and protein-rich foods like meat and fish contain it [12].

“Creatine is one of the best supplements for improving strength and high-intensity exercise performance. It works by increasing your capacity to produce ATP energy.”

-Rudy Mawer, MSc., CISSN.

Who Shouldn’t Take Pre-workout With Creatine?

You should not take pre-workout with creatine if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or diabetes [13].

Pregnant or nursing women and young children should also avoid creatine pre-workouts.

What Other Ingredients Work Well With Creatine?

Spilled coffee beans

Proven ingredients that work well with creatine are Beta-alanine, Glutamine, Caffeine, and L-arginine.

Beta-alanine may increase carnosine levels, working with creatine to support muscle strength, growth, and recovery.

Studies support that beta-alanine and creatine together significantly improve lean muscle gain and body fat composition [14].

While the muscles use creatine for energy, the amino acid glutamine alleviates soreness from your workout, aiding recovery [15].

Caffeine can increase focus, performance, and recovery working with creatine for a more focused and longer higher intensity workout.

Lastly, L-arginine aids nitric oxide production, increases blood flow, and provides hard-working muscles much needed oxygen and nutrients, thus working with creatine to enhance physical performance [16].

What Ingredients to Avoid

What ingredients to avoid in a pre-workout can boil down to personal preference and tolerance.

Caffeine content is a perfect example. If you are sensitive to caffeine and other stimulants or prefer not to use them, a stimulant-free pre-workout is better.

The best pre-workout supplements avoid unnecessary additives, fillers, artificial sweeteners, flavors, and dyes, which can be challenging as users want a pre-workout that mixes well and tastes good.

My advice to clients for label-reading is “less is more.”

You should avoid proprietary blends as these lack specific ingredient and dosage information, so you know what you are putting in your body.

If you are using pre-workout as a professional or competing athlete, it is crucial to avoid any ingredients considered a banned substance.

“When selecting a pre-workout, be mindful of unwanted added ingredients, such as sugar, and to focus on products that add to your current lifestyle and a nutrient-rich eating approach.”

-Wendy Bazilian, Ph.D.

Value

A scoop of creatine

The recommended maintenance dose of creatine is 2250-10,000 mg (2.25-10 grams) per day, so remember this when reading supplement labels [17].

If you are looking for the benefits of creatine, look for a pre-workout within this range to give you the most value for your dollar.

Also, a laundry list of fancy-reading ingredients or blends doesn’t necessarily equal value worth two or more dollars per scoop.

Some pre-workouts priced significantly less offer effective doses of key ingredients like caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, BCAAs, and L-citrulline. The best value comes when you have the proper amounts of the right ingredients that are in line with your fitness goals.

There is no value in settling. There are plenty of options for pre-workouts and finding the right one that works well with your body, tastes good, and gives you the results you want may just come down to trial and error.

FAQs

Is Pre-workout with Creatine Good?

Yes, a pre-workout with creatine is good because it helps fuel your muscles.

Creatine significantly benefits high-intensity speed exercise, endurance, muscular strength, power, and lean mass [18].

Which Creatine Is Best for Pre-workout?

The best creatine for pre-workout is creatine monohydrate.

It is cost-effective, widely available, thoroughly researched, and has a good track record of improving exercise performance in pre-workouts or as a stand-alone supplement.

Is It Better to Take Creatine before or after a Workout?

It is better to take a creatine supplement before your workout. Creatine promotes muscle growth and strength gains and delays muscle tiredness.

Taking a pre-workout with creatine thirty minutes before working out can increase workout intensity and improve muscle pumps and recovery.

Our Pick for the Best Pre-workout With Creatine

During the months our testers used the various creatine pre-workouts as part of their fitness routine, we took extensive notes about fitness goals, diet, energy, focus, muscle pumps, recovery, and side effects.

The results I saw and the group's consensus were that Gorilla Mode offered the best results in terms of power output, improved focus, energy boost, and faster recovery.

It just seemed to hit all the marks for our test group, including being one of the most reasonably priced and best-tasting pre-workouts.

For these reasons, Gorilla Mode is our top pick for the best creatine pre-workouts.

Our #1 Recommendation

Gorilla Mode Pre-workout

Coupon for Gorilla Mode Product
Taste
4.9
Quality
5.0
Value
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9
Pros
  • A hefty dose of creatine for maximum lean muscle gain
  • L-citrulline increases blood flow, feeding your muscles oxygen and nutrients
  • A wide variety of flavors to appeal to different tastes
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of August
Cons
  • The dosage of caffeine may be too intense for sensitive people

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