Creatine vs Whey Protein: Which is Better for Building Muscle?

Creatine vs Whey Protein: Which is Better for Building Muscle?

Creatine and whey protein have both been continuing to grow in popularity over the past decade. For the most part, these products are both marketed as great ways to build muscle and improve your performance.

But, the question remains: Which is better for building muscle … whey protein or creatine? A lot of people also wonder which one is worth taking over the other.

The truth is, both products are great tools you can utilize to build muscle. In my personal opinion, you should be taking both!

However, which one you prioritize over the other will really come down to your goals, your lifestyle, and your nutrition.

I’ll make sure to discuss of these topics today as well as explain what each one is and what it does for you. That way, you’ll leave here with all the knowledge you need to make the best choice for you and your goals!

First, What is Creatine?

Chances are you’ve probably heard all, if not most, of the rumors about creatine ... whether it was through Tik-Tok, google, or your local gym rat.

The Difference Between Whey and Casein Protein

For whatever reason, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about creatine in particular. These are myths about how it can magically alter your hormones, build a ton of muscle, or cause your kidneys to fail.

Let me assure you, all of these myths are just that ... myths.

The truth is, creatine is just an amino acid made from arginine, glycine, and methionine. We actually get creatine from a lot of the animal products that most of us consume on a daily basis. These are foods like beef, fish, dairy, and more.

Believe it or not, creatine is already found naturally in the body. Most of it is stored in muscle, but some creatine is also stored in the brain.

But what does creatine do? Really, creatine has two primary functions:

1. It can help volumize the muscle cells, allowing them to store more water and nutrients.

This is actually a great thing! However, this is where the water weight myth comes from. Your muscles survive off of water, and need nutrients in order to function properly. More water and nutrients is not a bad thing, even if it equates to a couple extra pounds on the scale. Think about it as if you’re helping to keep your muscle cells healthier.

2. Creatine can help your body produce energy.

I’m not talking about “energy” as in being awake and alert. The kind of energy creatine helps the body produce is ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This is an energy source your body can pull from quickly for high-intensity activities such as sprinting and weightlifting.

By supplementing with creatine, you give your body the ability to cycle more of this ATP. This is why creatine can be a great way to help improve your workout performance.

What Are The Benefits of Creatine?

Now that you know what creatine is, I’m sure you’d like to know how it can help. Creatine provides the body with a wide variety of benefits:

• More ATP production (burst energy)
• Muscular endurance
• Increased strength
• Increased power output
• Muscle hydration
• Energy production in the brain
• Can lead to more muscle breakdown in training, which can lead to building more muscle

So … is creatine going to make you big and bulky? No, only your nutrition and training can do that. Can creatine help you build more muscle mass? It absolutely can.

But you also need to make sure you take enough creatine to get the full benefits.

How Much Creatine Do You Need?

Does Protein Powder Make You Gain Weight?

"When" you take creatine is not as important as "how much" you take. As long as you are taking 5 grams of creatine every day, you can keep your muscles saturated.

You can even take up to 10 grams of creatine a day, with 5 grams being the most your body can utilize in a single dose.

So, whether you take it pre-workout, post-workout, or any time throughout the day ... it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you’re getting enough of it to keep your muscles saturated.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey is one of two proteins that is found in milk. During the cheese-making process, whey isolates itself in the form of a liquid.

This liquid is then dried out to make whey protein powder, which is one of the most popular supplements on the market today. A huge part of what makes whey protein so special is that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids.

These amino acids are the building blocks your body needs to stimulate the muscle-building process. Whey protein also has the highest concentration of leucine that you’ll find in any protein source.

If you didn’t know, leucine is one of these essential amino acids which is particularly important for building muscle.

What Are The Benefits of Whey Protein?

By supplementing with whey protein, you’re getting a high-quality source of protein that can help with muscle growth, recovery, and overall performance. Other than that, a huge part of what makes whey protein so beneficial is that it’s convenient and affordable.

Chicken, beef, fish, and just about any animal protein source you can get is expensive. Plus, you can’t just snack on a raw chicken breast … it has to be cooked. Even then, you still only have so much time to eat it before it goes bad.

To make things worse, you need to store it in a fridge or freezer. These reasons and more are what make animal protein sources such a hassle.

Whey protein, on the other hand, can be mixed directly with water and slurped down in under 60 seconds. Plus, whey protein powder has come quite a long way over the decades. The high-quality whey protein powders on the market today oftentimes taste far better than just plain chicken.

Creatine vs Whey Protein: Which is Better For Your Goals?

Whether you’re trying to build muscle or lose body fat, creatine and whey protein can both be great options. I don’t like to think of either one of them as being “better” than the other though.

Benefits of Whey Protein For Weight Loss

Rather, you need to consider your goals, diet, and lifestyle to determine which will benefit you the most.

Now, for 99% of people, whey protein will be the “better” fit for them. The reason I say this is because of how important your protein intake is for building muscle and losing body fat.

If you aren’t getting between .8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight, then whey protein is a great way to help you hit that goal. Doing so will help your body preserve and build new lean muscle.

Clearly, this makes a lot of sense for someone trying to build muscle. But, why is this important for fat loss?

Well, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories your body will burn at rest. With a goal to lose body fat, maintaining and even building new muscle is a great way to keep metabolism high and accelerate your fat loss goals.

But let’s look at a different scenario.

Say you are currently eating plenty of protein and you’re doing it consistently. In this case, you wouldn’t necessarily need a whey protein powder to hit your protein intake for the day.

In this case, creatine may be the “better” option for you and your goals. But, unless you are trying to build muscle, strength, or increase performance … there are other supplements that could potentially benefit you more.

Not to mention, after your workouts is one scenario where whey protein can be more beneficial than whole foods. So, even if you are hitting your protein goal through whole foods ... it's best to utilize a whey protein post-workout shake after your workouts to help maximize your recovery.

So again, it’s not that one of these supplements is “better” than the other. They do, however, have situations where they're perhaps more beneficial than the other.

Truthfully though, creatine and whey protein are both great supplements. Most of the time, I’d recommend taking both. In fact, it's been a part of my daily routine for years ... and it's worked great!

Creatine vs Whey Protein: Why Not Both?

Both creatine and whey protein have unique benefits that are different and can even work together to help you maximize your results.

If it makes sense to take both, awesome! But regardless of what supplements you take, you must understand that supplements are simply tools.

They are actually just designed to supplement the nutrients you aren’t able to get in through your diet alone. They aren’t magic, and they definitely won’t do the work for you.

Download the 1st Phorm App

At the end of the day though, your results are in your hands. If you aren’t dialed in with your workouts, nutrition, and recovery, that’s where we can help. This is also the reason why we developed the most complete all-in-one tool to help you reach your health and fitness goals: the 1st Phorm App.

In the app, you’ll be connected with your own personal advisor who is happy to help you form a game plan for success. On top of that, you also get access to every feature you need to crush your goals:

• Nutrition and macro tracking
• A full library of workout programs catered to your goals
• Educational live streams and exercise videos
• A way to measure your results and progress

…and so much more! If you’re ready to earn the results you’ve always wanted, just download the 1st Phorm App and get started now!

If there’s anything we can do to help in the meantime, reach out to us! We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Certified Nutrition Coaches who are more than happy to help. Just give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 or send us an email at anytime!