Muscle Gain 101: Creatine vs. Protein


Whether your reason for training is to condition yourself to improve your health, maximise your strength, or chisel your physique, a first-rate mineral and nutrient regimen is essential.

But on your meander through the millions of different supplements on the market you may have wondered what the fuss was about with creatine vs protein. Well, allow us to hit you with some findings that’ll help you understand why it’s such a big deal…

“The Mayo Clinic states that most evidence points toward creatine having the ability to increase lean body mass, strength and endurance”. (, 2017)

“Italian researchers discovered that jumpers and sprinters who took creatine supplements significantly improved the first 30 seconds of their performance by roughly 10%.” (, 2017)

“A review of 22 studies into creatine found users can increase one-rep max strength by 5% and strength endurance by 14%.” (, 2017)

In fact, creatine is one of the biggest-selling supplements around and since 1992 has been the preferred option for many athletes: footballers, tennis players, runners and general fitness buffs.

But still, questions abound:

  • Why is it so popular? And what has caused its peak in popularity?
  • What parts of the body does it affect?
  • Is it an energy giver, or a muscle grower? Or both?
  • When compared with protein supplements what’s the buzz all about?
  • And haven’t we got enough creatine in our bodies already?

Well, that last one is one of the easier questions to answer: No!

Because even though creatine is found in most of the meats you eat, and is synthetized by the body, if you specialise in vigorous exercise you simply won’t have enough.

Creatine really comes into play when your muscles are under stress. And the more stress you put them under the more creatine you will need. It is an amino acid that works at a cellular level, spiking various hormones to supply your body with extra strength and vitality.

In terms of creatine vs protein, it is a second-to-none molecule to boost endurance. When used in conjunction, protein and creatine make a formidable partnership and if you are someone who wants to gain the most from your exercise routine they are the two most important supplements to consider.

Today, we’re going to extol the virtues of creatine but also look in detail at the many creatine vs protein supplements. We’ll also look at how the two interact, combine and work in tandem to better your health.

The end result will be boosted knowledge of one of the most popular supplements around and of how best to level your supplement intake to suit your needs.

So, what are you waiting for…?

Creatine 101

What is it?

Creatine is one of the 8 or so amino acids used when our bodies get tired or are put under physical stress. Most of the body’s stash of creatine is found in muscle and its job is to help boost energy when it’s needed.

Without getting too technical, this particular amino acid is stored as phosphate molecules, and phosphate is the body’s go-to molecule for energy.

When you train hard, the molecules release their energy into the muscles.

But creatine doesn’t just help muscle-strength and endurance. It aids liver and brain function too: some studies have shown that it even has neuro-protective benefits.

If you’re working out regularly and intensively you will obviously need more creatine to keep your energy levels high. And that’s when supplements help because you won’t be able take in enough food-based creatine to maintain a high-end volume. Besides, most excess amino acids are discarded if they aren’t used.

We shall see in a moment just how effective creatine can be when combined with protein.

But even used singularly, creatine is arguably the most performance-enhancing of all nutritional supplements.

And the difference between it and protein is POWER: a must-have for those undergoing high-intensity workouts.

Where is it found?

Creatine is found in meat (that’s why we have a supply of it too). According to there are three types of meat that are especially high in creatine:

  • Game (animals caught in the wild: rabbit, wild boar, wild duck)
  • Domestic meat (free-range, non-factory-farmed animals: chicken, turkey and lamb)
  • Fish (not farmed: a 3-ounce serving of well-sourced fish contains around 1 to 2 grams of creatine)

How does it help?

In order to know exactly how creatine helps we have to go back to the basics of what makes protein. We learned how amino acids when strung together would constitute a protein molecule, and enough of those proteins synthesized, of course, make muscle.

Creatine is one such amino acid, except rather than be chained to the other amino acids it is converted by the body into phosphocreatine, which our muscles use to power themselves. When called on, it is there already in the muscle fibres.

But…it doesn’t last very long!

And because of the role it plays in energy provision, creatine supplements are in demand by athletes on high-intensity routines who need their muscles to be constantly spiked.

The benefits arising from creatine supplementing are:

  • An increase in muscular strength and endurance
  • A better power injection for sprinting
  • A quicker recovery rate after vigorous exercise
  • Better agility and power in the joints and core

And altogether that equals: better performance.

When do I take it?

If you’ve made the decision to try supplementing with creatine then it may be worth considering ‘loading’ your muscles with it for a week. It’s not always necessary but by doing so you will bring your creatine levels up to gain maximum effect from its energy-giving properties. After this point it will be simply a case of “topping up”.

It’s always worth checking the serving instructions for different blends of creatine. SCI-MX’s Creatine Monohydrate is to be taken before and after work out, by adding 1 heaped teaspoon (5g) to 200-250ml of water or fruit juice.

Protein 101

Protein is a valuable cell-building molecule that has many functions in the body.

In addition to it being an essential ingredient of your everyday wellbeing, protein is needed to repair and grow muscle. Whether following a routine for conditioning, general health or muscle development, a protein such as Whey provides all the amino acids the body will need.

Whey protein contains branched-chain amino acids which are sent straight to the muscles of the body and begin to work fast. Other aminos are broken down in the liver and used elsewhere.

Branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, valine) are used first when you start training; these are the aminos which act fastest on muscle to both repair and build. Leucine, for instance, helps the body to recover from exercise, builds cells, and boosts hormone levels.

Creatine is not a BCAA but it is a naturally occurring amino with an important use in the building of protein. As soon as your muscles begin to contract during high-intensity workouts, creatine acts as an energy source for protein synthesis.

The more explosive your workout is, and the more strain put on your muscles,the more creatine is called for.

Creatine also reduces the feeling of fatigue. The muscular ache that you may get after exercising is decreased with a high level of creatine in your muscles.

Creatine vs Protein

So, what of combining creatine and protein?

Well, as you have seen both can independently spike muscle growth, so naturally by putting them to use in conjunction you’ll get double the fun.

By following a protein-rich regimen and sustaining good levels of creatine, your muscle fibres will be at an optimum for excellent growth and strength. By consuming both together (and adding carbohydrate) you will actually absorb more creatine than you would if you were taking it by itself.

In essence, such a partnership is the Starsky and Hutch of any fitness lovers intake.

There are of course lots of different types of creatine supplement, just as there are with protein. But it is worth hunting for a hybrid mix of the two if you’re looking to take your fitness to another level.

SCI-MX’s WHEY PLUS HARDCORE includes 73g of whey protein and 5.7g of creatine per 100g. This also contains 12.5g of carbohydrate which, as we have already said, will aid a deep absorption of the creatine.

SCI-MX also offers a creatine isolate and a mix of creatine and amino acids which increases physical performance during fierce gym days.

Why creatine before AND after your workout?

With our Creatine CT-MX we recommend taking four capsules with water 30 minutes before training and another three immediately after. On rest days it’s best to take four capsules in the morning.


Taking creatine 30 minutes before a workout allows it to be absorbed into the body for it then to be used in energising muscles at the point they are contracting. It doesn’t last long, so keeping the creatine levels topped up is a must to prevent fatigue and aid muscle synthesis.

Creatine before = energise + sustained endurance + strengthen

Afterwards, creatine is put to use during the process of muscle rebuilding and recovery. And what’s more, after a workout your muscles will be especially hungry for whatever nutrients are going to make them feel better and, ultimately, grow.

Creatine afterwards = replenish + recover + strengthen

A final word…

Creatine and protein are both found naturally in our bodies and in those of the animals we eat. However, if we’re looking to condition or grow muscle, we have to have the right levels and… It just isn’t possible to achieve those levels through food.

Thus, both have to be supplemented.

  • Protein (or amino acids): to add to the synthesis of the muscles, enabling them to grow and to achieve a conditioned body. Lean mass protein powders also help for those looking to manage their weight whilst maintaining protein intake.
  • Creatine: to aid recovery, protein synthesis and improve stamina.

In addition, neither of these two goodies stays un-used in the body for very long, which is yet another cause to supplement them both throughout the day (with something like GRS9 PROTEIN SYSTEM after training and between meals or the Creatine CT-MX).

Taken together the pair can be immensely useful in empowering your athletic activity, and in terms of muscle gain, strength and recovery there really is no better combination of supplements.


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