Comparing creatine and whey and asking what’s better is like choosing between an apple and an orange. There is no comparison! They work differently from each other, and both have different benefits to offer.
Creatine and Whey protein are two of the most popular supplements in the fitness world. But the thing is, there is no one-size-fits-all, “right” supplement. Choosing the right kind of supplement is essential to achieving your body goals.
As we have always said, the right supplement for you is the one that matches your body’s requirements and fitness goals.
For some reason, the Creatine vs Whey debate has been a popular topic of discussion in the fitness industry. Although they both are protein supplements to increase muscle gain, whey is a complete protein source, and creatine contains three amino acids.
Is creatine better than whey or vice-versa?
My take is that creatine and whey protein work differently and should not be compared with each other just because they have a common goal – helping you gain muscle and increase strength.
In this article, I will help you to develop a thorough understanding of creatine and whey protein. By the end, you will decide which supplement is ideal for you and how to take it.
To pick one, you must understand what both of these supplements are, what they are composed of, how do they work and benefit your body.
Let’s start with creatine first, and then we will discuss whey protein in detail.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a derivative of amino acids. Chemically, it is a mix of three primary amino acids – glycine, methionine and arginine.
Some parts of our body, like the liver and kidneys, naturally produce creatine. Our muscles happen to store creatine in the long run. Although some food products contain creatine, they are nowhere near enough to help you gain.
You would have to be eating a kilogram of raw meat every day for the creatine to work. Did you know red meat is a good source of creatine?
Now, the question that arises is, how does creatine help you gain? To understand the outcome, let’s have a look at the process first. Here’s how creatine works:
Inside the body, creatine converts itself into phosphocreatine. This phosphocreatine molecule produces ATP (AKA Adenosine Triphosphate), which –as you might already– know, is the energy carrier for the cells of our body.
The skeletal muscles use up the ATP for energy during exercise, among other things.
Besides helping the body to produce ATP, creatine acts as the trigger molecule opening up cellular pathways that build muscle mass.
One more benefit of taking creatine is, it helps in water retention. As a result, your body appears bulkier and fuller.
When you consume a creatine supplement, you get an instant boost of energy. Why? Because creatine contains amino acids, which our blood vessels readily absorb. In a way, you skip the digestion process and directly take up the energy given by the amino acids.
Since creatine gives a rapid burst of energy, it is extensively used as a pre-workout supplement.
Taking up creatine 30 minutes before a workout will give you extra energy and improve your strength.
Bodybuilders and fitness experts affirm that creatine improves muscle growth, strength and brain function. Numerous studied to support the claims of athletes.
Summary: Creatine supplement is an amino acid derivative that provides instant energy for effective workouts. It helps to increase muscle mass and strength significantly.
Moving on, let’s have a look at whey:
What is whey protein?
If you have ever curdled milk during cheese making, you must have noticed a translucent liquid left behind after the cheeseball is formed. This liquid is rich in protein, and it is nothing but whey.
The whey powder that you see in the market is extracted from the same liquid.
Unlike creatine, whey is a complete protein. A complete protein is that source of protein that is rich in all the essential amino acids that our body can’t manufacture by itself. Whey is known to be one of the most significant sources of complete proteins.
EAAs are necessary for you to have a healthy body and build muscle. How? The muscle uses EAAs to make up proteins that would create more muscle tissue later. It’s a simple process with complex steps which we don’t get to the core of.
Some of the EAAs have different chemical structures, and they are BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids. BCAAs assist protein synthesis and makeup muscle tissue.
Whey is rich in leucine, which acts as a trigger for protein synthesis.
In simple words, whey puts your body into an anabolic state that helps you retain muscle after physical work instead of losing it.
The deal with whey is that your body will need to digest it before offering any significant benefits in your training regime. Thankfully, our body digests and absorbs way faster than other protein products.
The right time to take whey is 30 minutes after workout. During this time, your body goes in a state called “anabolic window”. It is a time when your body builds muscle tissue and other things most efficiently.
Although whey is a milk product, it is relatively low in fats. Whey is also very versatile. You can make up shakes and smoothies and whatnot with whey. The universal nature of whey makes it a favourite supplement of many.
Summary: Whey is a complete protein derived from milk, rich in EAAs and BCAAs that helps you to gain muscles by increasing protein synthesis.
Bottom line, whey protein and creatine work on helping you gain muscle without much loss. They have different mechanisms to complete this action.
Creatine helps you build muscle by providing extra energy, and whey does so by increasing protein synthesis.
Creatine Vs Whey: The Similarities
There aren’t many similarities between creatine and whey aside from the fact they both are a protein supplement that aims to increase your muscle mass.
Creatine has a different way of functioning than whey protein. They both have different ways of improving your overall performance and fitness. One is not better than the other.
If you were to combine them, you are more than likely to see the most efficient results. Based on thorough research and countless discussions with my fitness freak friends, I have concluded that instead of choosing between the two, you should combine them both.
Creatine Vs Whey: The Differences
There’s a whole world of differences between creatine and whey. From composition to the mechanism, they are very different. Let’s look at the critical differences in a bit of detail:
Creatine is made up of three amino acids – arginine, methionine and glycine. Creatine is produced naturally in the body. On the other hand, whey is derived from milk. It is a complete protein having all EAAs.
Creatine increases gains by activating pathways that produce energy in the form of ATP, which reaches the muscles and increases growth. Whey puts the body into an anabolic state by increasing protein synthesis.
Creatine has a way of increasing the strength of your workouts by increasing the sources of energy for your muscles. Whey promotes protein synthesis, and the proteins are used up in making more muscles.
Creatine works best as a pre-workout supplement because of its ability to provide instant energy, which can be helpful during the workout. Whey helps to increase protein synthesis, aiding in muscle repair. Whey is ideal as a post-workout supplement.
Creatine Vs Whey: The comparison
Although we cannot compare creatine and whey with each other, let’s look at this table to understand how they perform as a protein supplement and help you gain muscle and increase strength.
|Creatine is made up of arginine, glycine, and methionine
|Whey is composed of all essential amino acids
|Increases muscle mass
|Mechanism of action
|By increasing the ATP supply of muscles
|By increasing protein synthesis for muscles
|It gives an instant energy boost
|Aids muscle repair
|The ideal time for consumption
|30 mins before workout
|30 mins after workout
|2g a day
|0.8g per kilogram of body weight
Can you take creatine with whey?
Yes! Mixing up creatine and whey is one of the most effective ways to build muscle. Whey is a source of complete protein necessary to keep your body functioning correctly. Creatine fills the gaps left behind by whey protein.
Does creatine build muscle faster than whey?
Creatine tends to increase water retention in the body. Because of the extra water, your body might appear bulkier at first. But creatine doesn’t work any faster than whey; The supplements have different mechanisms for promoting muscle growth.
How should you take creatine and protein together?
There are different ways to take creatine and whey together. The efficacy of supplements lies in how and when you take them. I will tell you three ways in which you can take creatine and whey for best results:
Make a shake of creatine and whey mix and take it 30 mins before workout.
Take creatine before workout and whey after working out. Keep a difference of at least 30 minutes between workout and meal.
Make creatine a part of your morning routine, and take whey during the night.
Creatine and whey differ in all aspects except their goal. Comparing them and rendering one as the “best” would be unfair considering they’re both very different types of supplements.
My suggestion is, you should combine them both to make it a part of your fitness regime instead of settling for one. A mix of creatine and whey powder is sure to give you the best possible results.