Protein powders, creatine, pre, and post-workout supplements. They all promise to help you get buff and achieve your fitness goals.
But with so many products on the market, it can be tough to know which ones are worth your money – and which ones are just plain snake oil.
As to creatine and protein, there are questions we get quite a lot, such as:
- Can you just take creatine and not protein?
- What happens if you just take creatine?
- Can I take creatine without whey protein, can I take creatine only?
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at creatine and protein and determine whether or not you can get all the benefits of either supplement by taking it alone.
Read on to learn more!
Creatine VS Protein
If you’re anything like me, when it comes to creatine vs. protein, you may feel a bit like that age-old conundrum: “should I bring a jacket or not?”.
Face it, deciding between the two can be tricky.
On the one hand, you have protein, essential for providing amino acids and packing on those gains.
And on the other hand, there’s creatine, helping you with that quick-fire burst of power your workout craves.
That being said, the truth is that protein and creatine both have unique functions, meaning that choosing between the two will simply lead to different outcomes.
Nevertheless, if we go to the extremes and ask, “which is better?” it would be fair to learn more about the functions of each supplement.
That way, you can choose the one that most resonates with your goals.
Let’s have a brief look at what these supplements do to the body.
Functions Of Creatine
Creatine might be the strongest superhero in your body, more powerful than Superman and Wonder Woman combined!
It’s got tons of amazing functions – without it, you wouldn’t have the energy to perform at optimal levels.
The best part – it spans from performance to cognitive abilities and even sleep.
Allow us to elaborate further by first pointing out the biggest effect in regard to training, to answer the question, “Can I just take creatine?”
Creatine is one of the best-selling supplements out there, and with good reason.
It is an incredibly powerful way to help get an athlete’s performance to the next level.
Some have even called it ‘liquid gold!”
But as a funny joker might say, you can’t take the supplement without getting your gainz.
With creatine, that means increased energy levels, improved strength and endurance, and more muscular power – perfect for any aspiring athletes out there!
To put it simply, by taking creatine, you will likely experience:
- Increased maximum strength
- Increased strength endurance (more reps with a given weight)
- Increased muscle mass
Besides its obvious benefits for athletic performance, lately, creatine has been getting a lot of attention as the newest potential ‘super supplement,’ guaranteeing impeccable brain performance.
While all the research isn’t conclusive yet, there have certainly been some interesting developments in understanding how it affects learning, memory, and tasks with a heavy cognitive load.
Some studies have found that people taking creatine supplements have significantly better short-term memory and cognitive performance with tasks that overload the prefrontal cortex.
Effects On Sleep
When the sandman fails to deliver his bags of blissful sleep, many turn to creatine for some extra help.
However, using creatine for bettering one’s beauty rest may not be as effective as a metaphorical inflatable mattress.
As it turns out, the link between creatine and improved sleep is largely inconclusive, with some studies showing drastically different results from one another.
Nevertheless, there is some evidence to suggest that creatine reduces sleep needs, suggesting that creatine supplementation may be a viable option for treating sleep disorders.
So what happens if you just take creatine? Well, you’re likely to experience all the effects it has on sleep, performance, and cognition!
Functions Of Protein
Our bodies have an incredible arsenal of proteins that do some really impressive things.
For starters, when it comes to protein & training, dietary proteins provide essential amino acids and act as building blocks for muscle and tissue development.
Not only that, but proteins are also important for critical bodily functions like hormone production, transmitting nerve signals, enzyme activity, and even maintaining healthy skin and hair!
This is to say… you are protein.
And because you are protein, you need enough of it to sustain the healthy functioning of your organism, besides recovering from workouts and gaining muscle.
To do so, though, you need quality protein sources.
And well, protein supplements are one of the best ways to get high-quality, highly absorbable protein.
With that in mind, I’m pretty sure protein is secretly running the show behind the scenes—talk about power players!
Can You Just Take Creatine And Not Protein?
It’s a common question – “can i take creatine without whey protein, can I take creatine only?”
Let us answer once and for all.
Creatine has long been a popular supplement in the fitness community as it has been known to improve athletic performance.
Despite this popularity, many people remain unaware that creatine can be effectively taken without protein.
Although proteins are vital for proper muscle growth and recovery, taking only creatine is a viable option for those who prioritize performance gains.
Creatine used on its own still promotes rapid energy production during workout sessions, allowing athletes to push themselves further in their workouts.
The powering effects of creatine have been well documented and continue to make it an appealing choice for athletes of all disciplines looking to increase their performance and endurance.
If You Had To Pick One…
So can you just take creatine and not protein?
Well, when it comes to choosing between supplementation with creatine and protein, creatine is the clear winner.
While protein can be obtained easily from food sources, it’s not the same for creatine.
Taking creatine as a dietary supplement has been shown to improve muscle strength and power output significantly.
As an added bonus, taking extra creatine may have beneficial cellular effects beyond those involved in providing energy for muscle contractions.
All these benefits make it clear that if you have a choice between creatine and protein, creatine should be the way to go.
So, can you just take creatine and not protein?
Creatine and protein are two of the most effective supplements backed up by numerous studies.
Nevertheless, you should remember that they are just that – supplements.
And by definition, a supplement is “a thing added to something else in order to enhance or complete it.”
Make sure to dial in your nutrition plan and only then add protein and/or creatine to it!
So the answer to the question “Can I just take creatine?” is a clear yes – but don’t completely rely on it!