What To Mix Creatine With? (Liquids & Supplements)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: June 20, 2024
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Introducing creatine powder often leads to significant improvements in muscle mass and athletic performance.

However, finding the best way to mix it with other supplements in your stack is crucial.

Here, I share advice from our dietitian on how timing and knowledge about creatine combinations can be beneficial.

Quick Summary

  • To mix creatine effectively, combine it with BCAAs, beta-alanine, post-workout protein shakes, pre-workout supplements, smoothies, breakfast cereals, water, or fruit juice.
  • Creatine is versatile and can be added to various drinks or meals, making it an easy addition to your daily routine to boost your workout performance.
  • Combining creatine and beta-alanine supplementation has been associated with approximately 10-15% increases in strength and power, 2-5% improvements in peak power output, and a 10-20% delay in fatigue during endurance exercises.
  • In my opinion, understanding and experimenting with different creatine combinations can be a game-changer in achieving fitness goals, making workouts more effective and recovery faster.

What Can You Mix Creatine With?

You can mix creatine with BCAAs, beta-alanine, protein shakes, pre-workout supplements, smoothies, cereals, water, or fruit juices.

1. BCAAs

Powder and Pills

I've often taken BCAAs as a post-workout to help with muscle recovery, and the reduced soreness is a real game changer, allowing me to get back to the training faster.

But there’s also some scientific evidence that would suggest that BCAAs may help to maintain higher levels of mental performance during exercise [1].

When you combine better mental stamina and motivation with a boost in physical performance, then you might have a recipe to power through training sessions more effectively.

Our recommendation is to mix the two and drink them just before you start warming up. That way, you should start feeling the effects when your workout intensity picks up.

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2. Beta-Alanine

Pills and Powder

Beta-Alanine, mixed with creatine, has been a game-changer for me, boosting my training performance. It's a common ingredient in many supplements, but I prefer it solo.

Studies published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition have shown that it may help with performance levels in high-intensity training [2].

I talked with several professional athletes from different sports who have noticed positive improvements in their muscles when they combine it with creatine.

The two work differently but ultimately may provide more strength and delay fatigue. Imagine being able to lift more and not feeling as tired as you go through your sets.

3. Post-Workout Protein Shakes

man holding a protein shake

Protein powder after a workout is an absolute must. Getting that boost of amino acids at exactly the right time is the best way to help speed up your recovery process.

But something many people don’t realize is that you may be able to improve your protein shakes with a scoop of creatine.

Studies published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition have shown that taking creatine post-workout may further speed up the recovery time, allowing you to train the same muscles again sooner [3].

4. Pre-Workout Supplements

woman drinking from tumbler

As a high-performance athlete, I've found that adding creatine to my pre-workout routine significantly boosts my training performance.

This small tweak can lead to noticeable muscle growth over a typical 4 or 5-day training week. While many pre-workouts already include creatine, adding it separately ensures consistent intake, especially handy if you're used to a pre-workout drink.

However, mixing creatine and pre-workout is something that you would only need to consider if you’re training at least four days a week. Always check your pre-workout label to see if it already contains creatine, as many do.

5. Smoothies

woman holding a glass of smoothie

I find the unflavored nature of most creatine powders ideal for adding to my morning smoothies before hitting the gym.

It’s become an essential part of my morning routine.

Getting that creatine boost with my breakfast smoothies seems to be a great way to get a performance boost and allow me to work my muscles a bit harder.

6. Breakfast Cereal

bowl filled with cereal

I often recommend oatmeal for breakfast as it provides sustained energy for intense training.

Adding creatine can give an extra kick, helping muscles work harder with less fatigue, especially during bulking phases.

And getting that creatine boost with my breakfast smoothies seems to be a great way to get a performance boost and allow me to work my muscles a bit harder.

7. Water Or Fruit Juice

Woman drinking on a glass of fruit juice

I usually mix my creatine with plain water or juice, finding it straightforward and effective, especially for evening workouts.

While water is a typical mixer, creatine doesn't fully dissolve in it, creating a gritty texture. It's also important to drink it quickly as creatine breaks down in water over time.

For those who exercise later in the day and skip pre-workouts, I suggest keeping it simple. A small glass of juice is a great choice. The glucose in the juice helps convert creatine into ATP, the energy your muscles need [4].

Why Should You Consider Mixing Creatine?

Man Jogging Outdoors

Since I began combining creatine with other supplements, I've seen a notable energy surge in my muscles, enhancing my training.

Most of the time, you’ll find creatine supplements in powder form, usually labeled as creatine monohydrate.

The main advantage of a powder is that you can mix it with pretty much anything that you can imagine.

However, not all mixtures are equally effective. The right blend at the optimal time can significantly amplify your workout gains. Simply adding a few grams of creatine to your supplement shakes can be quite effective.

“Creatine is thought to improve strength, increase lean muscle mass, and help the muscles recover more quickly during exercise. This muscular boost may help athletes achieve bursts of speed and energy, especially during short bouts of high-intensity activities such as weight lifting or sprinting.”

- WebMD.com

What You Should Not Mix Creatine With?

pouring coffee and alcohol

You should not mix creatine with caffeine and alcohol.

Caffeine

In my sports industry experience, the creatine and caffeine combo has always sparked debate. I've found that mixing creatine with coffee lessens muscle pump.

The main issue isn't side effects; it's that caffeine, being a diuretic, causes dehydration. This negates creatine's benefits, which isn't ideal for muscle building.

Our team's tests also showed a noticeable drop in performance when combining creatine with coffee before training sessions.

Alcohol

First of all, you shouldn’t be drinking alcohol before you exercise for obvious safety reasons.

And mixing creatine with your favorite tipple will also do nothing for your body

FAQs

Can You Mix Creatine With Whey?

Yes, you can mix creatine with whey. Doing so will improve the effectiveness of a protein shake.

Creatine has been linked to improved recovery times, allowing you to train harder at your next gym session.

How Much Water Should I Drink When Taking Creatine?

You should drink an extra 16 ounces of water when taking creatine. The process of providing more energy to muscle fibers also draws in more water, which is why expert advice recommends additional water intake.

Is It Bad to Take Creatine on an Empty Stomach?

No, it's not bad to take creatine on an empty stomach. However, some evidence suggests that a sudden dose of creatine may cause stomach cramping and bloating.

Should You Take Creatine Every Day?

No, you shouldn’t take creatine every day unless you’re on a professional-grade training plan that involves exercising more than five days a week.

For most people, it would be a waste of their supplement budget as the main benefits come from taking it on your intense training days.


References:

  1. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-2-2-63
  2. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-018-0224-0
  3. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-6-13
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12701817/
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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