5 Best Pre-Workout Supplements With Creatine For Muscle Gain AU 2023

Lindsey Desoto

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Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

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Naked Energy Pre Workout

Naked Energy Pre Workout

  • Three flavor options
  • Free of additives and artificial sweeteners
  • Third-party tested

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

  • Three grams of creatine per serving
  • Affordable
  • Four flavor options

SHIFTED Maximum Formula Pre-Workout

SHIFTED Maximum Formula Pre-Workout

  • Five grams of creatine per serving
  • Comprehensive pre-workout formula
  • Sugar-free

Pre-workouts are designed to improve focus, boost energy, and delay fatigue, allowing you to achieve optimal exercise performance during a workout.

Most pre-workout supplements contain a blend of ingredients, such as beta-alanine, L-citrulline, and caffeine, each of which plays a role in improving performance and supporting muscle recovery.

Certain pre-workouts also contain creatine, considered one of the most effective nutritional supplements for increasing strength and muscle mass.

Unfortunately, many pre-workouts do not contain enough creatine to give you the results you’re hoping for. This is why it is so important to do your research before making a purchasing decision.

This article reviews the best pre-workout with creatine. It also discusses its benefits, safety, and side effects.

5 Best Pre-Workout Supplements With Creatine For Muscle Gain In 2023

Benefits Of Pre-Workout Supplements With Creatine

A pre-workout with creatine can be one of the most important tools in your muscle-building arsenal as long as it contains at least three grams of creatine — the daily minimum dose[1] to provide benefits.

Creatine is a popular ingredient in pre-workouts because of its ability to increase your phosphocreatine stores, which ultimately improves physical performance by increasing available adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, during training. ATP is like fuel for the muscles delivering needed energy in molecular form.

Creatine can also help increase lean muscle mass by raising IGF-1 levels,[2] a key hormone for muscle growth.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition[3] states that creatine monohydrate is the most effective ergonomic dietary supplement available to athletes looking to increase high-intensity training capacity and lean body mass during intense workouts.

Having creatine in your pre-workout supplement can also help you stay consistent if you have difficulty remembering to take it on its own regularly.

The Line Up At A Glance

Naked Energy

Editor’s Choice

Naked Energy Pre Workout

  • Three flavor options
  • Free of additives and artificial sweeteners
  • Third-party tested

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Best Budget Pick

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

  • Three grams of creatine per serving
  • Affordable
  • Four flavor options

SHIFTED Maximum Formula Pre-Workout

Highest Creatine Concentration

SHIFTED Maximum Formula Pre-Workout

  • Five grams of creatine per serving
  • Comprehensive pre-workout formula
  • Sugar-free

Pre Kaged Pre-Workout

Best For Athletes

Kaged Pre-Kaged

  • Informed-Sport certified
  • Includes a blend of 29 superfood antioxidants
  • Seven flavor options

Do Vitamins PurePump

Best Quality

Do Vitamins PurePump

  • Third-party tested
  • BSCG Certified Drug-Free and Labdoor Tested for Sport
  • Certified paleo, vegan, and keto-friendly

5 Best Pre-Workout Supplements With Creatine In 2023

Naked Energy Pre-Workout

Naked Energy Pre Workout is a great choice if you’re looking for a clean, pure pre-workout supplement.

  • Unflavored and flavored options available
  • Stimulant-free pre-workout available
  • Free of additives and artificial colors
  • Third-party tested
  • Only contains one gram of creatine

Naked Nutrition is a brand that aims to help people take over their health and fitness journey by producing products with pure, simple ingredients.

Naked Energy is a vegan pre-workout powder that is certified gluten-free and free of genetically modified organisms, soy-free, dairy-free,  and has no artificial sweeteners or unnecessary additives. It is designed to give consumers a boost of energy, strength, and power to help them through a strenuous gym session.

This pre-workout comes in Citrus or Fruit Punch flavors, which are sweetened using cane sugar and monk fruit. There’s also an unflavored powder option for those who prefer to mix it into a smoothie or favorite beverage.

In addition to beta-alanine,[4] which has been shown to improve high-intensity exercise capacity and performance, this pre-workout contains 200 milligrams of natural caffeine and a blend of B vitamins. If you are sensitive to caffeine, Naked Nutrition offers a stimulant-free pre-workout.

While it contains the highly absorbable creatine monohydrate, it only has one gram per serving, which may not be enough to provide significant benefits. If you choose to take this product, you’ll likely still need to supplement with creatine separately.

While this supplement is tested by a third party for heavy metals, lab reports are not publicly available.

One 50-serving container costs $44.99.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable pre-workout with an effective dosage of creatine.

  • Four flavor options
  • Affordable
  • Contains an effective dose of creatine
  • Contains artificial colors and sweeteners
  • Contains a proprietary blend
  • Lacks third-party testing

Optimum Nutrition has been around for over 30 years, helping performance-focused athletes reach their health and fitness goals.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout contains three grams of creatine monohydrate, which is considered the minimum amount effective at building muscle mass. It also includes 175 mg of natural caffeine and 1.5 grams of beta-alanine. This pre-workout also has acetyl-L-carnitine,[5] which may help increase cognitive performance.

It comes in delicious flavors, including Blueberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Green Apple, and Watermelon Candy.

Although some natural flavorings are used in this pre-workout, they contain artificial flavors and colors. It also has the artificial sweetener sucralose, which some studies suggest may alter the normal bacterial balance in your gut[6] and increase blood sugar.[7]

It’s also worth noting that Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout contains AstraGin, which is a proprietary blend. Many choose to avoid proprietary blends because it is impossible to know how much of each ingredient you’re getting per serving. 

Although several products offered by Optimum Nutrition are third-party tested and certified by Informed Sport, it does not appear that this product is.

One 30-container tub costs $32.99, which is cheaper than many other quality pre-workout supplements.

SHIFTED Maximum Formula Pre-Workout

Shifted Maximum Formula Pre-Workout is a high-quality pre-workout supplement designed to improve stamina, focus, energy, and strength.

  • Five grams of creatine monohydrate per serving
  • Comprehensive pre-workout formula
  • Third-party tested
  • Contains the controversial ingredient sucralose
  • Lacks third-party testing
  • Uses proprietary blends

Although Shifted Maximum Formula Pre-Workout is a newer pre-workout formula, it has quickly soared in popularity among everyday gym-goers and bodybuilders.

This berry-flavored pre-workout delivers a potent 300 mg of caffeine, 5 g of creatine monohydrate, 2.5 mg of beta-alanine, and 150 mg of L-theanine per one scoop serving.

Studies[8] show that L-theanine may improve a person’s attention and reaction times. When combined with caffeine, a stimulant, it may also increase overall alertness.

Shifted Maximum Formula Pre-Workout also features other beneficial nootropic ingredients, such as ElevATP,[9] Alpha-GPC,[10] and Rhodiola rosea,[11] which may help improve sports and exercise performance.

This product contains the artificial sweetener sucralose, which, as previously mentioned, may have adverse health implications. Additionally, it contains two proprietary blends, ElevATP and AstraGin.

Shifted Pre-Workout was put to the test in a recent research study,[12] which found that one serving can improve sustained attention and reaction time, as well as positively influence feelings of fatigue and vigor. 

A third party has also tested this product for purity and quality.

One 20-serving container costs $39.99. The stick pack containing ten servings costs $19.99.

Kaged Pre-Kaged

Pre-Kaged is a quality pre-workout with creatine that is designed to deliver a balance of energy, focus, endurance, and power to boost your athletic performance and give you better muscle pumps.

  • Seven flavor options, but only four are currently available
  • Includes 29 superfood antioxidants
  • Third-party tested and Informed-Sport Certified
  • Contains the controversial ingredients stevia and sucralose
  • Contains a proprietary blend of antioxidants

Kaged Muscle is a well-known brand that provides ultra-premium sports nutrition supplements to fitness enthusiasts of all levels.

Pre-Kaged contains branched-chain amino acids,[13] which may reduce muscle breakdown associated with endurance exercise, 274 mg of natural caffeine, and 1.5 grams of creatine hydrochloride.

Some studies[14] suggest that 1.5 grams of creatine HCL may be equally effective as 5 grams of creatine monohydrate to gain strength and lean mass.

It also has L-citrulline,[15] which can increase blood flow throughout your body and improve exercise capacity, and SPECTRA, a proprietary blend of 29 superfood antioxidants to help fight free radicals and support cellular metabolic activity. 

Flavors available include Pink Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Krisp Apple, and Grape. Orange Crush, Berry Blast, and Cherry Bomb are currently unavailable or out of stock.

While it is free of artificial colors and flavors, it contains stevia and sucralose, which tend to alter the composition[6] of gut bacteria. However, further studies must be done on stevia to confirm if this alteration is a positive or negative health experience, while with sucralose, it is known to adversely affect health parameters. 

This product is third-party tested, and Informed-Sport certified. This is the gold standard for quality control in sports nutrition and signifies that Pre-Kaged has undergone — and passed — an extensive screening for over 250 banned substances in sports. 

One 20-serving container costs $44.99.

Do Vitamins PurePump

Do Vitamins PurePump is one of the cleanest, pure pre-workout powders on the market today.

  • Third-party tested
  • BSCG Certified Drug-Free and Labdoor Tested for Sport
  • Certified vegan, paleo, and keto-friendly
  • Some people dislike the taste
  • Only contains 1 gram of creatine

Do Vitamins is a wellness company committed to producing ultra-clean sports nutrition supplements for ingredient-conscious athletes of all fitness levels.

Do Vitamins PurePump is designed to improve mental focus and provide clean, sustained energy without the crash that comes with many pre-workouts. It contains 200 mg of natural caffeine from green tea leaf extract, branched-chain amino acids, 2 g of L-citrulline, 2 g of beta-alanine, and 1 g of creatine monohydrate.

Some studies[16] suggest that beta-alanine may improve performance in endurance sports like long-distance running.

This unflavored product is free of artificial sweeteners, colors, gluten, and many other controversial ingredients. Because of this, many people report that it doesn’t taste very good. However, if you are looking for a clean, pure pre-workout, Do Vitamins PurePump is one of the best choices.

A third party tests every batch for purity and potency. Do Vitamins PurePump is also Banned Substance Control Group Certified Drug-Free, and Labdoor Tested for Sport. This ensures that it is free of substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

One 30-serving container costs $42.95.

Choosing The Best Pre-Workout Supplement With Creatine

When choosing a pre-workout, it is important to do your research to ensure you get a safe, effective supplement.

Here are several things to consider when shopping for pre-workouts with creatine.

Third-Party Testing

Like other dietary supplements, the Food and Drug Administration[17] does not review pre-workouts for safety or effectiveness before they are sold to consumers. This means a company can essentially put whatever they want in their supplement and call it a pre-workout.

For transparency, many companies choose to have their products tested by a third party, such as Informed-Sport, Informed Choice, ConsumerLab, or the National Sanitation Foundation, also known as NSF. Third-party testing ensures that what is on the label is actually inside the product. In most cases, it also tests for the presence of contaminants, such as heavy metals.

Ingredients

To ensure you get an effective yet safe product, check the label and look for ingredients with scientific evidence to support their benefits. The most effective ingredients for improving strength and athletic performance are caffeine, beta-alanine, branched-chain amino acids, L-citrulline, and creatine.

Additionally, some supplements contain proprietary blends, a unique blend of ingredients formulated for a specific purpose. Unfortunately, proprietary blends do not disclose how much of each ingredient is present. This makes it difficult to know if they are present in adequate doses. If you have a sensitivity or intolerance to any ingredients in a proprietary blend, it’s best to avoid it.

Lastly, if you are health conscious and notice a pre-workout made with artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or unnecessary filler ingredients, it’s important to know that healthier alternatives are available.

Dosage

Once you find a product that contains scientifically proven ingredients, it is important to ensure they are present in effective amounts.

For example, studies[18] suggest that taking 2-6 grams of beta-alanine for at least two weeks can improve exercise performance. Regarding L-citrulline,[19] doses between 3 and 10 grams are considered effective, and three grams of creatine monohydrate is regarded as the minimum amount of creatine to be effective.

Many trainers will start with a loading dose of creatine of approximately five grams of creatine for five to seven days and then follow with a maintenance dose of three grams per day. You cannot do this so easily with pre-mixed formulas containing high doses of caffeine per serving and only one gram of creatine. So, individualizing doses is difficult with the pre-mixed formulas as you would not want to overdose on caffeine to get a higher amount of creatine.

Caffeine has been shown to improve exercise performance when consumed in doses of 3-6 g per kilogram of body weight. This means an optimal caffeine dose[20] for a 160-pound (72.7 kg) individual would be 218-436 mg, taken 30-60 minutes before a workout.

If you are new to taking a pre-workout with caffeine, consider starting with half of the recommended dose to assess your tolerance.

Potential Side Effects Of Creatine

Although there are over 500 peer-reviewed studies involving creatine supplementation, it remains one of the most controversial sports nutrition supplements available today. 

For example, many think that creatine can cause hair loss, kidney damage, dehydration, and muscle cramping. However, at this time, there is no solid evidence[1] validating any of these claims. 

Studies[3] have shown that short-term and long-term use of creatine in daily doses of up to 30 g per day for five years is safe and well-tolerated in healthy individuals. 

Presently, the only consistently reported side effect[3] of creatine use is weight gain. This is because the supplement draws water into the cells in your muscles, making them appear larger, even if you’ve just begun training. However, evidence[1] remains mixed, with some studies suggesting that creatine does not alter total body water content.

Final Thought

A pre-workout with creatine may benefit you if you want to level up your sports performance and increase muscle mass.

It’s essential to choose a pre-workout that has been tested by a third party and contains effective ingredients in doses with a good probability of creating benefits.

As with all dietary supplements, you should speak with your healthcare provider before adding a pre-workout with creatine to your routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are pre-workout supplements with creatine good?

Yes. Creatine helps replenish ATP, which is your cells’ most basic form of energy. Taking a pre-workout supplement with creatine before training may help you improve muscular endurance and stamina.

What is the best creatine pre-workout?

The best creatine pre-workout depends on your personal health goals and dietary restrictions, but Naked Energy Pre Workout, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout, SHIFTED Maximum Formula Pre-Workout, Kaged Pre-Kaged, and Do Vitamins PurePump are all solid options. However, Shifted has 5 g of creatine per serving, a higher amount than the other options.

When should I take a pre-workout supplement?

Generally speaking, pre-workouts should be taken at least 30 to 60 minutes before training unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer.

What happens when you stop taking creatine?

Once you discontinue a creatine supplement, the amount of creatine stored in your body will decrease. This may cause a slight decrease in muscle fullness and lower energy levels.

Should I get creatine or protein first?

While both can be taken simultaneously, it is generally advised to take protein powder soon after a workout to help rebuild and repair damaged muscle fiber. You can take creatine any time of the day.


+ 20 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

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Lindsey Desoto

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Lindsey DeSoto is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based out of Coastal Mississippi. She earned her BSc in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Alabama. Lindsey has a passion for helping others live their healthiest life by translating the latest evidence-based research into easy-to-digest, approachable content.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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