There are more than 20,000,000 results for creatine vs whey protein powder Even though they’ve both been available for more than 20 years, people like us still want to know which is better for our needs.
After reading this article you will know whether creatine or whey protein – or taking both together – is the best choice for you. I’ve worked very hard to make sure this article answers every possible factor when comparing creatine to whey protein with regard to their health and performance enhancing capabilities.
The content in this article applies to guys and girls of every fitness/athletic ability.
A Quick Primer On Creatine And Whey Protein
Before we get started, let’s review the basics on creatine monohydrate and whey protein. We’ll then discuss which is better for various health and fitness goals and needs.
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Made from 3 amino acids.
- Not a complete protein.
- 0 calories per serving.
- Occurs in small amounts in some foods, especially red meat.
- Stored mainly in your muscles.
- Ready to be used as an immediate source of energy.
- Works quickly. See and feel results within 3-5 days.
- Very safe. People use for decades without negative side effects.
- Whey Protein Powder
- Byproduct of milk production.
- Clear, sweet tasting liquid.
- Complete protein – contains all the amino acids your body needs.
- High in BCAAs, especially leucine, the ‘building block’ of muscle.
- Highest quality proteins available.
- Easily digested, absorbed.
- Approximately 100 calories per serving (1 scoop).
Creatine vs Whey – Which Is Better?
This depends on your goals. Listed below are a variety of goals and needs you may have to consider when choosing either supplement.
Goal. Build Muscle And Strength Quickly – Winner Creatine
If you want or need to gain weight, build muscle, and get stronger as quickly as possible creatine is a better choice than whey protein.
When used properly, creatine monohydrate can help you gain 3-5 pounds within a week. Sure, some of the initial increase in weight is from water. But it won’t make you bloated.
To give you some real world numbers. Taking creatine can help increase your strength in lifts like the bench press by more than 20% in 4 weeks. This means if you can currently bench press 200 lbs. Creatine may be able to help you add another 40 lbs. to your max.
As an added benefit, creatine will also help you get significantly stronger and improve your workout endurance at the same time. I’ll discuss this in more detail later.
Goal. Eat Enough Protein To Stay Strong And Healthy.
Winner – Whey
On the days you’re not able to eat all of the protein your body requires from whole foods, nothing is better than a scoop or two of whey protein mixed in water.
Every serving a quality whey powder like Better Whey gives your body 24 grams of protein that contains all of the amino acids your body needs to recover and grow stronger. Since it is absorbed so well by your body, hardly a gram is wasted.
Creatine supplements, on the other hand are not a complete source of protein and don’t count toward your daily requirement.
Goal. Workout Harder, Longer.
Winner – Creatine
When you are training hard in the gym doing HIIT, intense WODs, or any other type of tough workout, you want to have as much immediate energy available for your muscles.
Sure, your body can use the amino acids it gets from a whey protein shake for energy. But it’s not going to produce the same results that creatine will. Creatine helps you train harder, longer during intense exercise. Without having to slug down lots of simple sugars found in most pre-workout formulas.
Studies find that when it comes to your workout endurance (more reps and sets),creatine can give you a boost of 26%. This is equal to being able to do 3 more reps on sets of exercises that you can normally on do 10. Over time this adds up to help you build your body and reach your goals faster.
Goal. Lose Body Fat.
Winner – Whey Protein Powder
When you’re dieting and exercising to lose weight, the last thing you want to do is lose muscle mass. You want the weight you lose to be from any excess body fat you’re carrying around your belly and thighs.
Research finds that supplementing with whey protein shakes 1-2 times a day help you keep and sometimes even gain muscle even though you’re cutting back on the calories you eat. The end result is a lean, attractive physique instead of ending up losing weight but looking ‘skinny fat’.
I actually used and continue to take creatine when I diet for fat loss. It helps me continue to train hard when I’m cutting calories. But since it does lead to fat free weight gain, whey protein is a better choice.
Another great thing about incorporating whey into your fat loss diet plan is that is really helps to shed abdominal fat. Research shows that when you’re cutting calories to lose weight and excess body fat, adding whey protein to our diet can help you lose it faster.
Goal. Recover Quickly From An Intense Workout.
Winner – Whey
Once your workout is finished, you want to give your body the nutrients it needs to recover and grow stronger so you’re rested and ready for your next workout.
In this situation, 1-2 scoops of whey protein are a much better choice than creatine. This is because whey contains all of the amino acids your body needs to repair the damage you’ve done to your muscles. Creatine does not.
Studies find that drinking a whey protein shake after your workout helps your muscles to recover and decrease inflammation so you aren’t as sore the next day. You’re also likely to be able to perform better at your next workout (i.e. do more sets/reps and lift more weight).
Even though we’re talking about post-workout nutrition, you don’t have to sweat the timing of your shakes too much. This may be important to you if you practice any type of intermittent fasting and don’t eat for several hours post-workout.
Research finds that drinking your shake in the evening may actually produce better results with regard to building muscle and increasing your strength than doing so right after your workout. I think the key thing is to make sure you eat or drink the right amount of high quality protein like whey. The closer to the end of your day, such as dinner, the better.
You don’t need to add carbohydrates to your shakes either. Whey protein alone is enough to get the job done.
If you’re going to take creatine around your workouts, pre workout is best. One study finds doing so enables your muscles to absorb more than taking it at other times of the day.
What’s Best – Take Them Together
Now that you understand the key differences between these supplements it’s time to talk about a second, and in my opinion better option. Using whey and creatine together.
Combining these products gives you the best of both muscle building and performance enhancing worlds.
Creatine monohydrate provides significant benefits rapidly. Whey, on the other hand makes it easy to get the right amount of protein your body needs to build muscle, perform its best, and stay healthy.
How To Choose Creatine And Whey Supplements
Now that you know when creatine or whey is the better choice, and when to take them together, it’s time to discuss which brands are the best.
Buying The Best Creatine Supplement
When it comes to creatine, my choice is Creatine Edge. Every canister contains nothing but pure creatine monohydrate powder that’s made in the USA. Creatine monohydrate is what’s been tested in over 100 clinical trials and proven to work in the real world too for more than 20 years. Don’t be fooled by liquid creatine, creatine HCL, creatine ester (CEE), and others. They don’t work.
Since it’s tested before and after packaging you can be assured that it’s safe and only contains pure creatine monohydrate. Other companies don’t make this effort which often leads to inferior forms of creatine and impurities making their way into your supplements.
Creatine Edge comes in a 500 gram container. This is enough (100 servings) to last you 2-3 months, depending on how it’s taken.
The Best Whey Protein
When it comes to whey protein, my current favorite and recommended product, is Isopure Natural whey protein powder. Every 2 scoop serving has 50 grams of whey protein isolate. This is the best type of whey protein since all of the fat and lactose have been removed. Filtering the whey protein to remove this ingredients also gives you about 5 more grams of protein per scoop.
Every 1 scoop serving of Better Whey contains 24 grams of whey protein. What it doesn’t have are artificial colors or sweeteners. It’s instead colored with natural ingredients and sweetened with a very tiny amount of cane sugar (3 grams, about ½ a teaspoon) and monk fruit.
Isopure Natural comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors. I’ve tried of hundreds of different protein shakes and both test better than any others. I also like the fact that I can drink it every day if necessary and never have problems with it causing me an upset stomach.
It’s convenient to drink too. Add 2 scoops to a shaker bottle, shake and in less than a minute you’ll have a creamy, delicious shake to drink.
Learn more or shop for Better Whey protein powder here.
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